Bouquets and Brickbats

New Oceano CSD hire should have done own work

letters@thetribunenews.comDecember 20, 2013 

Isn’t Google great? Except, that is, if you happen to have “borrowed” someone else’s work. Then, all it takes is a quick Google search and it quickly becomes apparent that an “original” piece of work — be it a term paper, a magazine article or a PowerPoint presentation — isn’t so original after all.

That’s the awkward situation that faces Lonnie Curtis, the new general manager of the Oceano Community Services District. As part of the job application process, Curtis was required to submit a professional writing sample. He obliged by submitting a PowerPoint presentation dealing with water supplies titled “The Road Ahead — An Agenda for Sustainability.”

Only problem is, Curtis didn’t author the presentation — it was the work of Timothy Brick, who manages a nonprofit group.

Curtis told Tribune reporter Cynthia Lambert that Brick gave him permission to use the slides when he made his own presentations for his former job with Golden State Water Co.

Brick more or less confirmed that, though he was surprised that Curtis submitted the work as a writing sample for a job application. So are we.

Oceano board members, however, don’t seem too perturbed by the discovery. They appear to be more frustrated that it was uncovered by Julie Tacker, the former Los Osos CSD board member who has become a perennial critic of the Oceano CSD.

Full disclosure: We’ve always been a bit puzzled about why Tacker has made the Oceano CSD her latest cause célèbre, but that’s no reason to discount valid concerns she raises.

We don’t believe it’s asking too much to hold applicants for a position paying $126,000 per year to the same standard as junior high kids writing term papers about endangered animals or Harry Potter or President Martin Van Buren or whatever it is that seventh-graders write about these days.

The Oceano CSD board may not care, but we’re giving the new GM a failing grade on his first assignment — along with a brickbat — for trying to pass off a not-so-original writing sample as his own.

Recall fliers not endorsed by Tribune

Speaking of “borrowing,” we also lob a brickbatat Morro Bay recall proponents for their less-than-forthright use of quotations.

As has been pointed out by some letter writers, the group supporting the recall of Mayor Jamie Irons has circulated a flier using a couple of Tribune quotations, along with lettering very similar to The Tribune’s logo.

The quotations are accurate, albeit taken out of context, but their prominent placement on the flier could lead some to incorrectly assume The Tribune is in favor of the recall. To avoid confusion, we want to point out that The Tribune Editorial Board does not support the recall.

It’s also worth noting that another source quoted on the recall flier, Coastal Commissioner Mary Shallenberger, wrote a letter to The Tribune stating that she was “distressed to see my words characterized so inappropriately.”

Farewell, thanks to CCC’s Santangelo

Domenic Santangelo retires this month following an amazing, 35-year career with the California Conservation Corps. As director of the CCC’s Los Padres Center in SLO, he’s had a huge impact on the lives of hundreds of young adults, who signed on despite — or perhaps because of — the CCC’s motto of “hard work, low pay, miserable conditions... and more.”

As Santangelo pointed out in a Viewpoint in Thursday’s Tribune, corpsmembers have worked on many of the area’s most popular attractions, such as the Bishop Peak and Bob Jones trails, the Oceano Depot and the Port San Luis Lighthouse. They’ve also helped us weather emergencies, including fires, floods and earthquakes.

Santangelo has been a force for good in our community, and in gratitude, we offer him a bouquet of wildflowers plucked from the many, many places where CCC crews have made a mark.

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