Bouquets and Brickbats

Panga boat busts prove grant’s worth

letters@thetribunenews.comMay 31, 2013 

Drug-sniffing K-9s Jack and Nico helped with the seizure of these 53 bales of marijuana during an investigation into a panga boat found Wednesday at Montaña de Oro. The van was also seized by investigators; it's advertising a fake business, the Sheriff's Office said.

SLO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

We toss the Sheriff’s Office a public service bouquet for intercepting yet another panga boat — this one with 53 bales of marijuana on board. It was the fifth panga boat bust to occur in SLO County since last May.

We’re impressed that the Sheriff’s Office — aided by a federal grant — has been able to respond so effectively to this growing threat.

Incidentally, Rep. Lois Capps recently asked the House Appropriations Committee to continue funding the $50 million program that helps coastal counties like ours to apprehend panga boat smugglers. We believe it’s money well spent, and we join in urging Congress to continue the funding.

Roofs over the heads of veterans

Home-sweet-home bouquets are on their way to Hope’s Village — one for each of the seven RVs that the organization has already helped provide to homeless veterans.

The RVs for Vets project links RV owners interesting in donating their vehicles to the veterans who need them. This may not be a permanent solution, but it’s a practical way to lend a hand to those who served us in the military, and now find themselves in need of the most basic necessity: a roof over their heads.

By the way, eight more vehicles — four RVs and four travel trailers — were offered to the program following publication of a profile of the program in Monday’s Tribune.

Pismo’s victory over pigeon poop

Here’s the straight poop on pigeons: The city of Pismo Beach appears to have successfully discouraged them from using the pier as their stamping ground, and as a result, water quality has improved dramatically.

The transformation didn’t happen overnight. To discourage pigeons from congregating on the pier — and pooping in the sea — the city banned beachgoers from feeding the birds. It also installed barriers in niches where pigeons used to roost. At one point, the city also considered trapping and killing the birds, but in the end, less lethal methods of pigeon proofing paid off. Pismo recently passed water quality tests with flying colors, earning straight “A’s” from the nonprofit group Heal the Bay. For that, we’re serenading the city with a birdsong bouquet.

Unfortunately, not all beaches fared so well in water quality tests.

Olde Port Beach, often referred to as the dog beach, received a “C” for water quality. Officials suspect it’s on account of dog poop. Of course, Fido is not at fault — it’s the dog owners who fail to pick up after their pooches who deserve a brick-batting and a warning to clean up their act.

Olde Port Beach is a wonderful playground for dogs, and we would hate to see that opportunity lost on account of some nincompoops who fail to obey rules of common courtesy.

A cheeky way to stop a crime

Here’s a headline you don’t see every day: “Neighbor spots man breaking into van, sits on him until police officers arrive. … ” As it turns out, it was actually two men, Christian Mercado, 22, and Christopher Elisarraras, 21, who sat on the suspect until Paso Robles police arrived — a feat deserving of a cheeky bouquet. Mind you, we don’t recommend that others try this — unless they’re built like The Hulk or The Rock or whomever the reigning strongman (or strongwoman) may be — but it’s good to know that once in a while, flying by the seat of your pants can save the day.

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