Bouquets and Brickbats

Christianson wins; turnout disappointing

letters@thetribunenews.comJune 21, 2013 

Carlyn Christianson


We toss a congratulatory bouquet to newly elected SLO City Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson, who will fill Andrew Carter’s vacant seat. The latest election results, while still unofficial, have her nearly 1,000 votes ahead of her nearest competitor, Paul Brown.

Interestingly, two candidates who dropped out of the race but whose names were still on the ballot — Kevin Rice and John Spatafore — had more than 1,000 votes between the two of them. We’ll never know whether their supporters failed to realize their candidates had quit the race or couldn’t bring themselves to switch allegiance, but it’s a bit of a bummer that so many votes were essentially squandered.

Another disappointment: Overall turnout in the special mail-in election was just a shade over 36 percent. Some city officials weren’t unhappy with that, but we expected better. Considering how easy it is to drop a ballot in the mail, that was a ho-hum showing that merits a campaign coffer stuffed with apathetic brickbats.

SLO budget approved, to our relief

Before we leave SLO City Hall, we’ll heave a sigh of relief and present the council with a small-but-tasteful, thanks-for-the-budget bouquet.

In case you missed the news, the Carter-less council managed this week to pass a two-year spending plan after deadlocking during earlier discussion. The council had been divided over whether to hire one or two additional police officers to patrol downtown. In the end, council members opted for two officers, although Dan Carpenter still voted against the budget, though for other reasons.

We’re not convinced that hiring two officers was necessary; we thought it made sense to give one additional officer a try before deciding to make the financial commitment to hire two.

Be that as it may, at least SLO will start the new fiscal year with an approved budget. That means council members won’t have to take a page from their counterparts in Washington, D.C., and pass a continuing resolution to ensure that the SLO wheels of government keep turning.

A good move to avoid duplication

We agree that it’s logical for the city of Pismo Beach to consider two large developments planned for the Price Canyon area concurrently — if for no other reason than to avoid duplication. (For example, does the area really need two hotels and event centers?) We’ll toss the council a strategic bouquet for asking for comprehensive plans. But we do question the timing of the request — wouldn’t it have made sense to give that direction before Spanish Springs completed its separate proposal?

A pair of longtime couples

Finally, we toss bouquets of 65 red roses to each of the two couples who recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversaries together. Janet and Stan Kirk of Paso Robles and Dana “Zeke” and Florence Mulder of Shafter have been friends ever since their children attended school together. What a beautiful example of love, loyalty and friendship — congratulations to all!

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