Report from the Badlands

Orange Acres Election 2002!

We New Idrians were astounded last week after reading responses to questions that The Pinnacle put to Hollister City Council candidates.

Frankly, the candidates running for Orange Acres council seats are humbled by this latest onslaught of irrelevant sound bites and nonsequitors. We are ashamed we didn’t come up with those brilliant pearls of wisdom ourselves.

That’s right, folks. While many of you have been rapt with morbid curiosity over your own local elections, us rubes living in the defunct ghost mining town of New Idria and its outlying suburbs have been keenly focused on our own political melodrama, albeit one that marches to the tune of a different drummer.

Three of us are running. Mayor Orange the Cat and myself are up for re-election. Get this: we’re being challenged by my brother Kemp (head of the New Idria Water District) who apparently wants to get back into the Orange Acres political arena since newcomers Cousins Phony BooHoo and his separated Siamese twin Crony Minutia took two seats at our council when no one else wanted the miserable jobs.

Taking our cue from The Pinnacle, we all met in the Community Wreck Room for a political forum. The questions were posed by the Mad Hatters Hallucination Weekly, and I must say, none of it was original. I guess we were all still dazzled by what was printed in The Pinnacle. In the audience were City Attorney Lawnmower Man, our mom (LAFHO director Jane), City Manager Mel the Tambourine Virtuoso, and Molly the Dog.

Here’s how it went:

Q: The city has never been in worse shape. You’ve got a lousy “Bilk Boner” plan for a sewage fix, the council doesn’t get along, staff seems to dictate decisions – how will you address these problems?

Kemp: “I want to know a little bit more about what staff’s job entails.”

Just then Mayor Orange walked through the chambers wearing a double-sided little cat-sized sandwich board. It said, “As far as George, I had forgotten about George.”*

A long silence followed as every one watched this spectacle cross the room. The Mayor shed the boards as he went out his cat door. Determined, we carried on.

Q: Why do you want to run and what makes you qualified to serve?

Me: “I’ve been involved in everything from housing to food stamps.”*

A few in the audience were scratching their heads on that one. Molly, one of our many welfare-bum dogs, barked, but no one knew what she was saying.

Q: You have been part of a divisive city council which has put Orange Acres on a state-mandated standstill on construction and economic development, indefinitely.

Why didn’t you see this coming? Why should anyone vote for you?

Kemp: “Well, I don’t think it’s at a standstill. I think it will be lifted and we’ll move forward.”

Again, Orange walked through — this time sporting a new sandwich board. It said, “What do you mean by divisive? You know, I’m not even going to answer that question.”* The boards fell away again as he scurried out his cat hole.

Q: Please give an example of an instance in which you have used good common sense in your life to solve a problem.

Me: “Ah, I got to think, I got to think on this one. All right, let me throw this at you. Back in the rainy season, I remember years ago, the state of California came ahead and offered each farm worker $1,000 and some odd dollars…”*

More head scratching. Kemp walked out, disgusted. Then the paper threw us a hypothetical question.

Q: It’s been rumored that a Wal-Mart is coming to Orange Acres. Won’t that destroy the local businesses that specialize in duct tape and dog bowls? Would you support it?

Me: “I would support it, yes. You got to get to progress, you can’t lock the doors of New Idria.”

Orange walked through again. His sandwich board said, “I couldn’t answer that, because I’ve never heard of it.”*

What a corker! Everyone groaned and all hell broke lose. Molly started chasing Orange, but when Orange slipped through his cat hole, the sandwich board came off and, well, “bitch slapped” Molly in the kisser.

When it finally ended, no one felt they had gotten any answers for some reason. The outcome of this weird election is anyone’s guess.

San Carlos Creek Update: Who wants to participate in the Great New Idrian Acid Mine Drainage Water Charity Tour? We are planning to bottle a million jugs of orange

iron-sulfide-methylmercury tainted San Carlos Creek water and personally deliver it on a greyhound charter bus to the state EPA and Water Resources Board headquarters in

Sacramento. Anyone who wants to sign up for this worthwhile endeavor and help us share this fine San Benito resource with our state pencil-pushing policy-givers will get a free New Idrian dog.

(* For our neighbors in South Valley: These answers are transcribed from the actual utterances given by Hollister City Council candidates in last week’s Pinnacle. I’m not making it up.)

Comments about the Badlands? Email Kate “Let Me Throw This at You” Woods at [email protected]

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