Bouquets and Brickbats

Sending off one official and welcoming another

letters@thetribunenews.comDecember 14, 2012 

Atascadero City Councilman Jerry Clay at the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial which Clay supported during his tenure. Photo by Joe Johnston 12-11-12

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

To add to his other accolades, outgoing Atascadero City Councilman Jerry Clay earns a bright bouquet of 16 roses — one for each year of service on the council. Of course, Clay has been active not only in city government, but also in youth sports, 4-H and many other good causes. He plans to stay involved: “I’ll keep trying to do the right things in the community,” he told The Tribune. We don’t doubt that for a second.

Newly appointed Councilwoman Heather Moreno, meanwhile, merits a big welcome-aboard bouquet.

Moreno, 45, was chosen to replace Tom O’Malley, who was elected mayor in November. The council chose Moreno, a former planning commissioner, over Clay — not an easy decision, we’re sure. However, we believe the council was wise to recognize the benefits of bringing a young person on board.

As Councilman Brian Sturtevant said of Moreno, “(Being a) young professional and female would add a little more dynamic to the group.”

Sick and tired of the ‘fiscal cliff’

Another reason to resolve the “fiscal cliff” fiasco: So we never, ever have to hear the term “fiscal cliff” again. Sure, it was dramatic — maybe even instructive — when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used the term when he spoke to Congress last February. But like any overused phrase, it’s starting to lose all meaning, even as the edge of the cliff (sorry!) looms ever closer.

Both sides need to quit pointing fingers and come to an agreement, for the sake of the economy and our collective sanity.

It’s time for “fiscal cliff” to ride off into the sunset, where it can join “My bad,” “Show me the money” and “carmageddon.”

Otherwise, we’ll be tossing a mountain of brickbats at all those responsible for sending us over the brink.

Cal Poly should stick with quarters

Ding! Round 1 is over, and the clear winner of the academic debate du jour at Cal Poly is … the quarter.

A Semester Review Task Force at Poly had recommended the university stick with quarters at this time, though the final decision rests with the CSU hierarchy.

We support the task force’s call. While a system-wide switch to the semester system could save money over the long haul, there’s a huge initial outlay: The task force report estimates the conversion just at Cal Poly would cost between $18 million and $21 million over seven to 10 years.

Given what public colleges have been through over the past several years, it makes far more sense to concentrate on restoring what was lost to budget cuts then pouring money into an unnecessary change. Besides, public opinion is clearly not on the side of the semester. Out of nearly 7,000 students, staff and faculty who responded to a Poly survey, 74 percent opposed the switch.

The task force earns an “A” and a bouquet for a job well done.

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