<b>GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS:</b> The boom-and-bust cycles of the oil industry make the hyperbole coming out of the Measure P campaigns even more dubious.

AREA 51: I mean, who’s writing this No on P stuff, anyway, people from scary Area 51, or outer-space aliens on loco weed?

Maybe fear-mongering comic-book cartoonists?

Is it coming from the same wackos who believe that the so-called Area 51 military base in Nevada is a secret hotbed of UFOs and conspiracies?

Look, I can handle doomsday warnings of Armageddon, the final battle between the forces of good and evil, the Rapture, End Days, the Great Big Quake, the Ultimate Tsunami, even if the Dodgers miss the World Series, but what I can’t fathom is the gusher of craziness from the No on Measure P moneybags. The Big Lie strategy lives! Repeat it often enough and in enough places, and people start to believe it.

Barney Brantingham

It reminds me of the snake-oil salesmen who hoodwinked us into state water. In my innocence, I thought Measure P ​— ​the clean air and water, anti-fracking measure on the November ballot ​— ​is aimed at trying to prevent toxic pollution from being pumped into Santa Barbara County water aquifers.

Who could be against safeguarding our water? Well, how about Big Oil, Chevron, and their North County minions, who are pumping out scare tactics, branding the measure as something that would lay waste to the entire county from Cuyama to Cachuma?

To read their ads you’d think long lines of grubby orphans starving in the oil fields and bread lines forming in Santa Maria are on the horizon. Facts? Who needs facts?

Yes on P people say, “The county has confirmed Measure P will have no impact on current oil production.” But oil companies want to drill 10,000-plus new wells using risky techniques like fracking and acidizing, Yes on P says.

We’re already being barraged with Big Oil propaganda and can expect loads more. Robert Redford just endorsed Measure P and warns, “An oil front largely funded by Chevron just transferred in another $1.6 million to defeat Measure P.” He’s begging for $10 or $20 donations to fight that at nationbuilder.com.

No on P vampire ads warn that hardly a single drop of life-giving oil would be pumped if Measure P passes. And worse, if anything could be, I notice scads of color cartoons showing giant tankers steaming toward the U.S., increasing our dependence on the hated red flag “foreign oil.” Excuse me? Whatever happened to the clean water and air issue?

County firefighters and Sheriff’s deputies have joined the valiant fight against Measure P and the way it would “cause the loss of over $16 million in tax revenues each year for schools, fire protection and other government services.” If by chance that’s true, might that affect pay raises and pensions for said firefighters and deputies?

Big Oil money is making Measure P the North County Full Employment Act for PR folks. Behind them is an army of ad writers cooking up this stuff to bamboozle the natives.

So why is Big Oil spending so much dough in little Santa Barbara County? It seems that other anti-fracking campaigns are popping up or threatened around the country. So Big Oil doesn’t want one infection to turn into a national plague, not when there’s cash by the barrel to stomp it out.

Oddly, the No on P people, a shadowy group that calls itself Californians for Energy Independence, has so much cynical arrogance that they’re even stealing catchphrases from real environmentalists, like “Think Globally, Act Locally.”

Look for the campaign to really get nasty, as names come out as to who’s endorsing Measure P, who’s not, and who’s operating undercover ​— ​or running for cover.

BACK AT THE RANCH: The wacky comedy Boeing Boeing is the funniest thing I recall ever seeing at the Circle Bar B Ranch Dinner Theatre ​— ​and it’ll be the last. Sadly, producers Susie and David Couch have lost their lease and will be moving on (who knows where yet?) after the final sold-out performance on October 26. Both Susie and David star along with the devilish bachelor Raymond Wallenthin and three of the sexiest flight attendants you ever saw, Tiffany Story, Jenna Scanlon, and Gerry Hansen.


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