Bouquets and Brickbats

SLO’s voters can make their own judgments

May 10, 2013 

Candidate: Dan Carpenter | Race: San Luis Obispo City Council

 

Dan Carpenter is knowledgeable, highly principled, well organized and he looks out for the taxpayers. Read our endorsement »

 

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

If we didn’t know better, we’d suspect that someone had appointed SLO City Councilman Dan Carpenter to be arbiter of the city’s special election. Consider:

First, he chastised the SLO Democratic Central Committee for having the temerity to make an endorsement in a nonpartisan race: “Shame on them for thinking their inconsequential endorsement will have any effect on the well-educated and informed electorate here in our community,” he harrumphed in a letter to the editor.

Then, he called on candidate Carlyn Christianson (the candidate endorsed by the SLO Democratic Central Committee and — full disclosure — The Tribune) to resign her volunteer seat on a task force that’s helping to update the city’s land use and circulation plans.

If that’s not enough, he also suggested the council consider prohibiting all task force members from running for public office to avoid conflicts of interest. (We see a couple of problems with that: For one, the city attorney said it would violate city code. And for another, Carpenter served on advisory bodies — the city Planning Commission and the Cultural Heritage Committee — during his campaigns for council.)

Carpenter has been an effective city councilman, but where this election is concerned, he’s been a self-righteous scold.

Of course, he has the First Amendment right to speak his mind, as he reminded Mayor Jan Marx this week. But he seems to forget that others, including the SLO Democratic Central Committee and Carlyn Christianson, have that same right. To help him remember, we elect to send him a brickbat.

Carpenter is right about one thing, though: We do have well-educated and informed voters who are perfectly capable of judging whether it’s proper for a partisan group to make an endorsement, or for a task force member to run for office.

Stay safe — fire season is here

It’s only May, and already wildland firefighters have been hard at work in California. Last week, nearly 2,000 mobilized to battle a huge blaze in Ventura County — one of three major fires in the state that were burning at the same time. Luckily, a spate of cool weather helped bring those fires under control, but as the summer heats up, we won’t be able to count on that. If you’re planning a trip to the backcountry — or if you’re lucky enough to live there — now’s a good time to review fire safety tips; http://www.readyforwildfire.org is a place to start.

We’re keeping fire-safe bouquets on ice in the hope that we’ll all do our part to make it through the season safely.

Flowers for benefit fashion show

Phyllis’ Musical Revue and Fashion Show raised nearly $174,000 for the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County this year — a 15 percent increase over 2012.

For once again putting on a spectacular performance, we toss runway-ready bouquets to all the participants — from the models who danced down the catwalk to the behind-the-scene organizers who made the show run so smoothly.

We offer a special bouquet of — what else? — pink roses to Phyllis Madonna, who has shown a remarkable level of commitment to an organization that’s been indispensable to our community.

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