Bouquets and Brickbats

Supervisor Hill’s tirade does no good for homeless

letters@thetribunenews.comDecember 21, 2012 

We, too, disagree with Bill Thoma and other SLO business owners who oppose building a homeless services center at Prado Road and South Higuera. As we’ve said before, we believe it would be a shame to abandon the project now and start over at a new location.

Nonetheless, Supervisor Adam Hill’s over-the-top rant aimed at Thoma is embarrassing and a little scary, especially coming from an elected official.

Hill should be encouraging public discourse; instead, he appears to be trying to stifle dissent and, yes, free speech.

Ironically, Hill accuses Thoma of trying to defeat the project. Yet by publicly accusing Thoma of dishonesty, selfishness and fear mongering, Hill has only drawn more attention to the opposition’s arguments. In the process, he may have alienated SLO residents who might otherwise have supported the shelter on South Higuera — or at least remained neutral.

Hill’s cause is just, but his self-righteous, meanspirited, unrestrained tirade earns him a torrent of bloated, bombastic, bull-headed brickbats.

It’s time to tone down the rhetoric and focus on getting a shelter built.

Wishing Hilford a happy retirement

We toss a huge bouquet of gratitude to SLO County Assistant District Attorney Dan Hilford, who retires this month after spending the past four decades bringing some heinous criminals to justice. We watched Hilford in the courtroom for years, and appreciated his professionalism, his dedication and his compassion for victims and their families.

Hilford — who’s something of a Renaissance man in his off-hours, having pursued art, music and, above all, surfing — plans to hit the beach even more once he’s retired.

With that in mind, we’ll turn that bouquet into a lei, and deliver it along with our best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Sanitation district situation murky

After being slapped with a $1.1 million fine for a large sewage spill — a fine that’s being appealed — the South County Sanitation District is in more hot water over a state inspection that found evidence of additional problems at the Oceano plant.

The district is blaming at least some of the alleged violations on misunderstandings. It’s also faulting the Regional Water Quality Control Board because it didn’t sit down to discuss problems with sanitation district officials before issuing a notice of violation.

The findings of the inspection — which include a lack of alarms on critical equipment and unacceptably high levels of fecal coliform bacteria — don’t exactly inspire confidence. Neither does the sanitation district’s defensive posturing.

Still, for taxpayers’ sake, we urge the water board to work with the district as much as possible, and to avoid piling on more penalties.

No brickbats for now, but we’ll keep an eye on developments.

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