Bouquets and Brickbats

A rare bit of unanimity from council

letters@thetribunenews.comAugust 23, 2013 

What’s this? The SLO City Council unanimously agrees on something … without so much as a “nay” of dissent from resident curmudgeon Dan Carpenter?

Cheers to that! We’re in complete agreement, by the way, with the council’s 5-0 decision to reject a moratorium on new alcohol outlets — as in bars and restaurants — in the downtown.

To pass a moratorium, the city would have been required to prove bars are posing a threat to public health, safety or welfare in the downtown. That would have been a stretch — not to mention a blow to the reputation of HappyTown.

We toss the council a bottoms-up bouquet for having the sense to just say no to the booze ban.

Do the crime, pay the penalty

We can’t say we blame former SLO police officer Daniel McDow for trying to get his job back. All McDow did was sneak misbranded prescription drugs from Mexico across the border.

That practically makes him a choirboy compared to John Ryan Mason, the SLO firefighter/paramedic who got into a bar brawl that left another man with 17 facial fractures, including a broken jaw, nose and cheekbones. Mason — who walked away from the fight uninjured — was eventually allowed to rejoin the Fire Department, though he was demoted.

True, Mason was never convicted of a crime — a criminal jury failed to reach a verdict — while McDow pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge.

Now, McDow is out of a job and has filed suit to be reinstated, while Mason’s back on the job.

To be clear, we don’t believe a police officer convicted of a drug crime should be allowed to stay on the force — and we slap McDow with a properly prescribed brickbat to make our point.

But as we’ve said before, we don’t believe a firefighter who inflicts such a vicious beating on someone — and then walks away — should keep his job either.

Library director to close the book

A one-for-the-books bouquet is on order for library director Brian Reynolds, who retires Oct. 12 after 20 years as SLO County’s top librarian. Reynolds has overseen voluminous changes during that time, including the construction of several new branch libraries, the rise of the Internet and a big increase in demand for DVDs, books on CD and other forms of media. He’s helped the library system weather major budget cuts and, through it all, has been accessible, professional and gracious. Thanks, Brian, for a job well done.

Great work on rotunda restoration

We’re delivering masterfully crafted bouquets to all who had a hand in restoring Atascadero’s beautiful City Administration Building. The rotunda, which houses city offices, had to be vacated after it was badly damaged in the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake. This week, it reopened to the public as City Hall. The architectural gem, built in 1918, is as gorgeous as ever. If you haven’t visited it lately, it’s worth a trip.

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