Bouquets and Brickbats

Kudos to Arnold for going own way

letters@thetribunenews.comJanuary 18, 2013 

Debbie Arnold, center, and Adam Hill are sworn in by County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald on Monday, Jan. 7.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

What’s this? Supervisor Debbie Arnold voted to confirm an appointee frowned on by COLAB? In case you missed it, we’re talking about Betsey Nash, who is Supervisor Adam Hill’s appointee to the county Civil Service Commission.

The curmudgeonly COLAB faulted Nash — not for her qualifications, mind you — but because it disagreed with her radical philosophy that employees should find their jobs satisfying and meaningful.

That was too much for COLAB. Why, employees already receive compensation, a pension, health insurance and paid vacation and holidays! Let them look for meaning on their own time.

So no smiling, you county employees. No whistling while you work. And if you like your job, well, better keep that a secret — at least from COLAB.

Not buying it? Neither are we. It may be slightly out of season, but COLAB earns a bah-humbug brickbat. And Debbie Arnold deserves an encouraging, go-your-own-way bouquet for bucking COLAB.

Assistant coaches prove dedication

We toss MVP bouquets to assistant coaches in the Paso Robles school district for their willingness to hang in there during the prolonged budget crisis — even when it meant serving without pay.

Two years ago, the Paso Robles school board reluctantly eliminated stipends for assistant coaches to help reduce an $8 million shortfall. Since then, the Bearcat Boosters have stepped up to the plate and raised funds to restore stipends for assistants.

We aren’t talking about huge sums of money — stipends range from about $1,700 to $4,000 for ahead coach — but it’s an acknowledgement of the dedication of these coaches, who spend umpteen hours working with young athletes every season.

It takes a special person to be a coach, and it’s good to see the Paso Robles community recognize that talent by reinstating stipends.

We offer three cheers and a big Bearcat bouquet to the Paso Robles High boosters.

New NRC chair is a touch laconic

Allison Macfarlane, who was appointed chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in July, paid her first visit to Diablo Canyon this week. For that, we offer her a couple of courtesy carnations.

But could she have been any less communicative?

Macfarlane is a geologist, but she didn’t waste time speaking about her area of expertise. Instead, she pointed out that there are many natural hazards that nuclear power plants must be prepared to face — including tornadoes. (Well, OK, but we’re in California … not Kansas.)

Here’s her take on the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan: “This is the kind of disaster we don’t want to have here.” (No argument there.)

And what does she think of Diablo Canyon?

“It’s interesting to see these plants and their different layouts.”

(Wake us up when this interview’s over.)

To be fair, Macfarlane hasn’t been on the job long, but providing answers that sound like they were cribbed from a 1973 elementary school textbook on nuclear power doesn’t inspire confidence in her leadership. For that, Macfarlane earns a tight-lipped brickbat.

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