Bouquets and Brickbats

Highway heroes rushed to aid injured

letters@thetribunenews.comNovember 15, 2013 

An SUV rolled and caught fire Monday on northbound Highway 101 in Paso Robles. A 19-year-old woman died in the crash.

ERIC MEYER

We offer good Samaritan bouquets to all of the rescuers who selflessly rushed to aid the three young siblings trapped inside a burning SUV on Highway 101. Sadly, the 19-year-old driver, Jeanette Montes, died in the Monday accident just north of Highway 46 West in Paso Robles. Amazingly, her two younger brothers, 6 and 15, survived the rollover with just minor injuries.

At least four people were involved in the rescue effort. One witness told The Tribune she saw a woman in a red shirt pull the 6-year-old from the back seat. That same witness also saw a couple of men working to pry open a car door, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the vehicle had caught fire.

We may never know the identities of all of these highway heroes, but whoever you are, please know that your willingness to risk your personal safety to help others made a difference in this tragic situation, and it is an inspiration to us all.

$516 million in bonuses excessive

We agree that government employees should be fairly compensated, but $516 million in bonus pay for state employees goes too far. According to a report by The Associated Press, the bonuses were paid to employees who took on special duties or had specialized skills, such as knowing multiple languages.

Such perks may have made sense at one point, but they’ve gotten out of hand; as reported by the AP, one psychiatrist received $531,000 in bonuses last year — nearly double his annual salary. That’s a brickbattable outrage, and a clear sign that it’s time to reform the system.

Welcoming new A.G. councilwoman

We offer our congratulations to Kristen Barneich, the newest member of the Arroyo Grande City Council. Barneich was appointed Tuesday to take the seat of Caren Ray, who resigned to take a seat on the county Board of Supervisors.

Barneich’s application stood out among several strong contenders. She’s served on the city Planning Commission since 2007, which means she’s well-versed in the workings of local government and has knowledge of local planning and development issues. She’s also had a role in the “greening” of A.G.: She co-founded the Arroyo Grande Tree Guild Association, which has planted nearly 300 trees in the city since 2005.

Sounds like the council made an excellent choice. In lieu of a bouquet of flowers, we’ll send a sack of saplings ready for planting to Councilwoman Barneich.

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