From Casey’s Daily Dispatch:
The Path to Perdition
In Orwell’s 1984, it was the job of the Thought Police to ferret out miscreants whose thinking and actions ran contrary to the dictates of the all-controlling state.
While things haven’t quite degraded to that point yet, even a casual glance at the news confirms that we’re well on the way. The first, from the Ventura County Star, is about a spilled can of water-based paint. Some relevant excerpts…
- The incident started on an afternoon in late June when Steve Pettersen of No Regrets Painting upset a can of water-based paint inside his van, parked on a client’s driveway at Mandalay Bay.
Paint, once spilled, is harder to return to the can than worms. Nonetheless, Pettersen said, he was able to scoop up most of the contents of the toppled gallon and capture it in a container. A third-generation painter, he then sopped up the residue with rags, as he had learned to do through the process of getting his California contractor license.
Cleanups are messy affairs and a small quantity of the paint oozed onto the driveway. When it appeared the paint would stain his customer’s attractive and recently installed drive, he used the garden hose to rinse it off the pavement.
With the curb appeal restored, he went back into the house to complete the job.
A while later, he came outside to get something from his van and froze in his tracks.
Before his eyes were two firetrucks, each staffed by three firefighters, including paramedic and hazardous-materials specialists. There were two city of Oxnard code compliance officers. A Harbor Patrol vessel had been dispatched. A California Department of Fish and Game warden also responded. The scene was short only moon suits and a hovering helicopter.
In all, 13 public officials arrived on the scene.
…Because this neighborhood borders the harbor, anything in the storm drain goes directly into the sea. This is true anywhere in Southern California, but in this case it had to travel only 60 feet.
Responders discovered faint wisps of a whitish substance believed to be paint floating in the waterway nearby and proceeded to deploy a soft boom to keep the milky plumes from drifting into the main channel.
One problem: Since the paint was water-based, the boom could not soak it up.
After a few hours and much consultation, the decision was made to let nature take its course and to remove the boom when it was most likely that the tide would push the foreign substance out to sea, according to Oxnard Fire Battalion Chief Mike O’Malia, who responded to the incident.
In the end, she said, officials carried away the evidence against Pettersen in a Mason jar that held “a dollop of color in it.”
…The spill of aqua paint is going to put him in the red. He already has received a bill from the Oxnard Fire Department for $534. He also has been summoned to the Ventura County Hall of Justice to face charges he violated California Health and Safety Code. For that he faces up to $25,000 in penalties.
For small-businessman Steve Pettersen that is not exactly a drop in the bucket.