Bouquets and Brickbats

Capps and Maldonado debate took many hands

October 5, 2012 

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado shake hands before the debate Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.

LAURA DICKINSON — Special to The Tribune Buy Photo

By a landslide, we elect to offer bouquets of gratitude to the League of Women Voters and San Luis Obispo High School for assisting with last Friday’s Lois Capps/Abel Maldonado forum at The Tribune. League member Marguerite Bader did a superb job as moderator, while other members of the efficient team collected and sorted questions; timed candidates’ responses; and occasionally held up a red stop sign to keep the vocal audience in line. SLO High provided chairs and a sound system, operated by the leadership and student government group led by social science teacher Jim Johnson.

Thanks, too, to the standing-room-only crowd for its patience and understanding in dealing with the close quarters. We were gratified to have such an impressive turnout, particularly on a Friday night. That said, we deserve a too-close-for-comfort brickbat for not providing a more comfortable venue, and you deserve a promise that we’ll find a bigger meeting room next time.

Knock off the nasty political ads

We feel a tad like ungracious hosts, but we can’t leave the subject of the candidates forum without holding Lois Capps and Abel Maldonado accountable for their responses to the last question of the night, which asked whether they would pull the plug on negative ads for the remainder of the campaign. Capps sidestepped that portion of the question completely, which Maldonado deftly pointed out — good for him. But then he incited a mini-riot by stating that he has not run a negative ad in this campaign.

It’s true other organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are behind many of Maldonado’s ads, but what about that Maldonado-approved ad that accuses Lois Capps of supporting “14 years of bad ideas in Washington”? Not nearly as nasty as some, to be sure, but we’d still file that in the negative category.

Each candidate deserves ballot-shaped brickbats, but we’ll replace them with bouquets if they tone down the viciousness.

‘Empty Bowls’ filled with goodness

We offer bountiful fall bouquets to all those who contributed to the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition’s inaugural Empty Bowls fundraiser last week at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Arroyo Grande. The group estimates that it raised about $24,000 — money that will help it set up warming stations this winter and provide clothing vouchers and gas cards to the homeless, among other things, says Shelly Higginbotham, 5 Cities Homeless Coalition board member and Pismo Beach mayor.

Eventually the group plans to set up a one-stop South County Community Services Center to provide numerous services including a health clinic, career and housing assistance, job training, laundry facilities, showers and a permanent home for South County People’s Kitchen.

Artists, schools and Altrusa International donated 600 handmade ceramic bowls that lunchgoers bought for $25, then filled with soup donated by 23 restaurants and served by 15 celebrity servers with the aid of St. Patrick’s Church and countless volunteers — all countywide. It’s heartwarming to see such an outpouring of support.

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