No Bone, No Dog

Mike Brown, Andy Caldwell Screaming Loud, Saying Nuttin’

Thursday, August 8, 2013
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SPITTING MAD: Back in the bad old days when Mike Brown prowled the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Building as Top Dog, he was known as a spitter. Those who endured his wrath ​— ​and Brown was by all accounts very much a wrathful, Old Testament kind of CEO ​— ​knew to wear raincoats and carry umbrellas at all times. Since Brown was given the heave-ho ​— ​albeit with the platinum parachute reserved only for those of the executrix class ​— ​he landed on his feet as Fulminator-in-Chief for the San Luis Obispo chapter of COLAB. There, he works hand-in-glove with his better-known Santa Barbara cohort Andy Caldwell, attempting to straitjacket 21st-century problems with 17th-century solutions. The good news is that no matter who’s signing Mike Brown’s paychecks, he’s still spitting up such a storm we need never worry about drought. On his COLAB website, Brown denounces the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and assorted South Coast tree-huggers as “enviro-socialists,” comparing them to the “Mafia and other parasites.” He suggests that the EDC’s real agenda is nothing short of “poverty, cataclysmic economic disruption, starvation, civil unrest and other consequences of a collapsed civilization,” all because they had the temerity to file written objections to a proposed new oil-drilling operation up in Santa Maria. By blowing up the economy, Brown argued, the EDC is hoping to create material conditions sufficiently terrible to persuade most voters to buy into the new “fees, taxes, and wealth transfers in the name of resolving the ‘emergency’ which they [EDC] have created.” This revelation, of course, gives me newfound respect for the EDC; I never knew they had their act so together.

Angry Poodle

Brown’s comments ​— ​for which he should seek professional help ​— ​provide context to COLAB’s recent accusation that the county supervisors violated the state’s open-government laws by voting in favor of applying for a grant to study the impact of sea-level rise. It should also be noted that the grant in question would provide $900,000 for the study if the county kicked in a $10,000 matching donation. By most reckoning, a 90-to-1 return on one’s investment is considered something to brag about. But Brown’s bosom buddy Andy Caldwell claimed the vote was tainted. The South Coast’s three supervisors had attended an eco-minded group-grope community forum hosted by the Community Environmental Council at which the electeds pledged vaguely to take undefined actions designed to “overcome energy, economic, and climate crises.” In today’s political climate, that should be as controversial as saying puppy dogs and grandmothers are a good thing. But COLAB spun it as a case of fifth-column eco-saboteurs calling the shots from behind the scenes and violating the due process of government decision making. Accordingly, they took their case to the District Attorney, and last week, the DA told Caldwell and crew they were all wet. Better yet, the DA reminded Caldwell that support for the sea-level-rise study was totally consistent with broader policies adopted by the supervisors in 2009 ​— ​back, coincidentally, when Mike Brown was still at the helm ​— ​to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and address the effects of climate change. Brown, I have been told, pushed hard for these policies at the time, if only because they were needed for the county to apply for federal economic-stimulus grants.

In this context, it’s well worth noting the key role played by UCSB researchers in a massive global study that demonstrates that sea creatures are responding to temperature changes in the water caused by climate change 10 times as fast as creatures on land, even though the underwater temperature change is only one-third as great. It might be an overstatement to say climate change has transformed our ocean environment into a vast Cuisinart set on perpetual frappe. But looking at 1,700 species over a 40-year span, the researchers found that on average, the species they studied moved 72 kilometers ​— ​45 miles ​— ​a decade for the past four decades. That’s a massive shuffling of the deck. If you look at phytoplankton ​— ​the most fundamental, essential food unit for life on Earth (even if the Foodies have yet to discover a gluten-free artisanal variety) ​— ​it’s moved 400 kilometers a decade for four decades. That’s like waking up only to discover your refrigerator had moved 250 miles away. By contrast, bony fish ​— ​as opposed to sharks and rays ​— ​have moved half that distance. It’s still a lot. The researchers predicted that cold-water species would move to remain in cold water and warm water species the same. They found their predictions were borne out 80-85 percent of the time. That’s a whole lot of change happening a lot faster than anyone has seen since the last major asteroid infestation 65 million years ago.

The good news, at least according to another aquatic study just released, is that if you give fish Prozac and other antidepressants, they’ll respond much better to stressful situations and not just sink to the bottom of the tank in a depressed funk. Researchers with the Max Planck Institute found a mutant species of zebra fish that lacks the hormone needed to regulate stress ​— ​as in “turn off the stress” switch ​— ​is prone to serious depression. By doping the water in which these fish swam with antidepressants, researchers found the test subjects responded much better to stress and displayed less of the lethargic “why bother” behavior characteristic of depression. Frankly, I’m not sure how much this will help the zillions of creatures under the sea now scurrying to find water temperatures that fit their physiognomies, but it will be a major boon for Eli Lilly the manufacturer of Prozac. Maybe we should ship a couple of crates up to San Luis Obispo. Clearly, Mike Brown needs some help getting his stress-regulating hormones back in whack. As for his spitting, resign yourself to rain gear.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It's surprising Caldwell and Brown haven't turned completely into vinegar yet.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 3:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Santa Maria Energy Project that has Brown and Caldwell all aroused with mental erections has a very slick public relations campaign. Here is an excerpt from their p.r. propaganda - " At Santa Maria Energy, we consider the health and safety of our workers and the protection of the environment to be our highest priorities. We are committed to employing the safest practices and conducting our operations in harmony with the environment and the local community."
" Harmony with the environment" ? Folks , we are running out of water. Their extraction process will plunder already depleted water supplies. Below is a description of SMEG's proposed methods of extraction.
"The extraction technique is called Cyclic Steam Extraction, or CSE. The process is extremely similar to fracking: a carbon-intensive process that pollutes the local environment and uses insane amounts of water to heat up fossil fuel so it can be extracted."
Don't let Caldwell and Brown bully the county into approving this project until all the facts are in .

geeber (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 4:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Even more amazing than the delusional rants of Mike Brown and Andy Caldwell is the fact that Scott Steepleton, News-Press editor, publishes their diatribes in the form of front page "news". Sad that almost a decade after the N-P "implosion", nothing there has changed.

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

whosecity nails it, and Caldwell's crazy stuff should help continue the News-Suppress's meteoric decline in circulation, ad revenue, and importance in our fair city.
Nice line, Nick, and Caldwell, Brown, Ebenstein are "attempting to straitjacket 21st-century problems with 17th-century solutions."
The Blue Line lives on.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 10:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes one has to wonder what Wendy is doing with Caldwell columns in her paper at times.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well since Craig Smith stopped writing about the NP this is our opportunity to weigh in on the "Guest Editorials" by Lanny and Andy. What is that all about? Are Wendy and Nipper really trying to save money by not hiring a professional editor? I never thought things could get worse after Travis left, but they are. Lanny is a poor writer and repeats himself incessantly on the same subject. Andy I know well enough to believe it is in part tongue in cheek catering to his small but committed constituency. Still I expect he is paid per Editorial published and he is getting more Travis by the day, trying to come up with something to publish. Making stuff up; citing fringe references to support out there Tea Party themes; and he is also a poor writer. What is behind that, what is Wendy and Nipper thinking? I guess that is the new era Libertarian voice but could she at least hire a professional editor to write it for her?

sbreader (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ebenstein's still practicing his alphabet eh?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 2:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An "executrix" is female.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 6:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

O, you haters. Anyone the least to the right of you is Attila the Hun. Try to at least fake a balanced view, wilya...

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

sbreader's comment was about the execrable writing styles of Ebenstein and Caldwell, not on the political spectrum. No one 'hates' these guys, they're so very Far Right (like you, JL, & were you ever center-left?) they come off as crazed, kinda like Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 7:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It amazes me that a self-professed Christian, such as Andy Caldwell could possibly be so consistently grumpy. After all, with a whole eternity (purportedly a very long time) of bliss and joy ahead of you, how could one possibly be grumpy about the mere thee score and ten allotted to us on this imperfect planet? My advice to Andy is, don't worry, be happy, heaven will welcome you soon enough. Also, back in 90s, Andy used to brag about how effective COLAB used to be at influencing public policy in Santa Barbara County, now he just complains about how nobody listens to him anymore. What happened to his influential role? Finally, if Mike Brown thinks that environmental protection advocacy is secretly a great plot to spread socialism in the United States, he has lost sight of the forest in the midst of all the trees. Social Security and Medicare are the programs that are promoting socialism in this Country and they will just get stronger as the Baby Boomers all reach 65 years of age. Mike should realize that socialism is here to stay and just get over it and enjoy his comfortable publically funded retirement.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As much as I don't like Michelle Malkin at least she is a professional writer. Ann Coulter is a lot like Andy, I think much of what she (and he) does is schtick, meant for entertainment for the demented few. One of my themes is why is Wendy taking this approach, using a couple of non-professional hacks as "Guest Editors." What is the intended protocol calling them "Guest Editors" at this point when everybody who regularly reads the NP knows the "Guests" have taken up residence.

sbreader (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure the working-class are fascinated by the goings-on in Andy Caldwell's world and COLAB.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was wondering what Caldwell was having for dinner and whether we should stop there or if they're serving steak at Ebenstein's instead.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like how Mike Brown urges COLAB supporters attending public meetings to bring signs that say "BOO" on them, then to wave them when "someone says something stupid".

Seriously Mike?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 8, 2013 at 10:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The hate filled negativity is a complete turn off after awhile and I would say destroys any credibility. I would certainly tune into an episode of celebrity death match (fictional by the way) with Caldwell vs Beck. Winner takes on Hannity. I think the two mentioned in the article are an emberassment to an already embarassing news paper.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckermann, your use of the term "socialism" is fine by me, but for lots of Americans the phrase "social democracy" feels easier to embrace. Even radical socialist Tony Judt by the end of his days pressed for the usage of social democracy since it simply steps around the baggage associated with the dreaded "Socialism" term. And yes, all hail Social Security and Medicare, and Obamacare will make it even better for the 47%.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

geeber: I think SM Energy plagiarized PG&E's Diablo Canyon PR.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 2:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The fundamental question I have is this, who hired Mike Brown, who kept him employed by the County year after year, and who replaced him with Waller? With "friends" like our Board who needs enemies?

dontoasthecoast (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry Dr. Dan. I did not mean to upset anybody. I'm just an old fashioned socialist (small s please) and have a hard time getting my tongue and keyboard strikes around phrases like "social democracy" and "communitarian." The point that I was trying make about Mike Brown is that that someone who gets well over $100,000 a year from a government pension has a lot of chutzpah to complain about "leftists." Also, environmental protection advocacy is really not a leftist movement per se. It is not about social and economic justice so much as it is about preserving an environment that will continue to nurture all humans, rich and poor, into the near and far future. The problem with the free market is that it does not care if the Earth is habitable by humans a hundred years from now, or even next year. The problem with Mike Brown is anybody's guess.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 8:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"O, you haters. Anyone the least to the right of you is Attila the Hun. Try to at least fake a balanced view, wilya..."
-- JohnLocke

And anyone to the left of Beck is Soros' buttboy. I'll cease, JohnLocke, as soon as the phrase "liberal agenda" is no longer prepended with the word "extreme" by you righties.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2013 at 10:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

JohnLocke lost credibility when he defended the use of racial epithats in debate.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 10, 2013 at 12:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Ken_Volok: "JohnLocke lost credibility when he defended the use of racial epithats in debate."

JL cannot lose what he never had.

@EastBeach: "I like how Mike Brown urges COLAB supporters attending public meetings to bring signs that say "BOO" on them,"

Michael Brown shouldn't run a hot dog stand, much less a county. But those COLAB signs are great. If anyone needs to identify the dumbest people in the room, it's the people carrying 'BOO' signs.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
August 10, 2013 at 7:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

oh I get and accept the small "s", Eckermann, and apologize if I was censorious of your usage... Social democracy has a rich a long tradition in these United States, and I also think of the Social Gospel of the later 19th century and Wm. Jennings Bryan. When the concept gets tangled up in European socialism the discussion so often goes totally ideological.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 10, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Who is the arbiter of what constitutes a racial epithet? I am serious. Some are obvious (I suppose), some are not.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2013 at 7:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

forgetting outright racial epithets since they are entirely unacceptable, other terms with heavy and/or historical "connotations" of racist use (or, partial racist usage) need to be avoided. I try to avoid them, and this isn't being silly & PC. On another thread they're debating the use of -- not my term! --"niggardly" -- it's easy for me, I won't utilize that loaded term in my writing. It kinda goes on and on.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2013 at 10:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Andy has always had issues and always angry AKA tea party mentality. And if I had a gun to my head, Mike Brown was a heck of a lot more effective CEO than Ms. Waller could ever hope to be. You have to be pretty goofy to want to work with this group of Supervisors.They have chased away more talent in the administrative ranks than Simon Cowell could ever do.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

SBLifer (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 10:37 p.m.

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