Bouquets and Brickbats

On pins and needles over accreditation

letters@thetribunenews.comNovember 8, 2012 

A bird's-eye view of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

We’re keeping our fingers crossed and putting a bouquet on ice in the hope that Cuesta College will soon lay its accreditation demons to rest. A six-member team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges visited the campus last week. Now, Cuesta will have to sweat it out until January, when a decision should be announced.

The stakes are huge. If Cuesta’s accreditation is yanked, it will have to shut down, although there’s been speculation that it could operate as a satellite of Hancock College in Santa Maria.

There’s a chance, by the way, that a decision could be delayed until June. We hope not; bouquets — and nerves — can only hold out for so long.

A candidate cools his heels

The County Jail is not where we’d expect to find a mayoral candidate hanging out on Election Day. Yet that’s where Paso Robles write-in candidate Jeff Rougeot was on Tuesday, after having been taken into custody on suspicion of making criminal threats and brandishing a firearm — both felonies — as well as a slew of misdemeanors.

According to a Tribune pre-election story, Rougeot was a single-issue candidate whose pet cause was improving youth sports facilities.

Rougeot didn’t win the mayor’s race — or even come close — but we’ve elected to present him with a souvenir brickbat embellished with his booking photo.

County votes for reasonable taxes

Apparently, SLO County didn’t get the memo from the Grover Norquist crowd that’s forever harrumphing about the evils of taxation.

Local voters approved nearly every tax measure on the ballot, including Proposition 30 — the governor’s temporary tax increase to raise funds for schools — as well as a local sales tax increase in Paso Robles; a bond measure for Templeton schools; and a parcel tax in Cayucos. The Cayucos measure, which will raise funds for the Fire Protection District, required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. It squeaked by with 67.59 percent, according to preliminary results.

Passage of all of these measures is a credit to voters. They’ve demonstrated a willingness to support reasonable tax increases to keep vital services afloat.

We offer hip-hip-hooray bouquets to voters, as well as to the public officials who had the gumption to put the measures on the ballot and the finesse to present them in a manner palatable to the public.

Greg Hind leaves a wonderful legacy

To the many fine memorial tributes to Greg Hind, we add a huge bouquet of SLO-grown wildflowers to honor a man who had a huge role in making our community the wonderful place that it is.

It's impossible to list the many ways that Hind helped and inspired those around him. Often, he stepped in to lend support at a crucial stage of a project — raising spirits along with the bottom line.

The Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly, Friends of Wild Cherry Canyon, the Cambria Historical Society, Atascadero and Cambria libraries, Harmony Headlands State Park, the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial in Atascadero are among the worthy causes that benefited.

But beyond that, Hind had a knack for bringing out the best in people.

In a recent letter to the editor, South County residents Kevin Watkins and Pete Kelley recalled how inspired they were by competing in the Hind Swim and Run Invitational in 1980.

“Our lives, and those of many who competed that day, were changed forever,” they wrote. “We entered dozens of similar events up and down the coast over the years, and one of us (OK, it was Pete) went on to complete a successful crossing of the Catalina Channel.”

Many, many lives were changed for the better by Greg Hind. That’s a wonderful legacy that will long be remembered.

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