Bouquets and Brickbats

Mayor’s car seems to have been targeted

letters@thetribunenews.comMarch 14, 2014 

Jan Marx

JOE JOHNSTON — The Tribune Buy Photo

We’ll resist the temptation to speculate on the identity of the creep or creeps who smashed in the window of Mayor Jan Marx’s Prius while it was parked in the Madonna Inn lot. We will point out, though, that this doesn’t appear to have been some random act of violence, since the mayor’s car was the only one vandalized. It’s bad enough to deliberately damage someone’s vehicle, but targeting a public official — if that’s what this was — is a no-class act of intimidation deserving of a brickbat shattered into hundreds of tiny shards.

Welcome, future superintendent

We toss a congratulatory bouquet to Jim Brescia, who will succeed Julian Crocker as county superintendent of schools. As the only candidate on the June primary ballot, Brescia, 49, is guaranteed the seat when Crocker retires next year. Brescia currently serves as superintendent of the Cayucos Elementary School District and is a clinical education faculty member at Cal Poly’s School of Education. His 28-year career in education also includes teaching in the Paso Robles school district.

Sounds like he’ll be a good fit for the post; we wish him a smooth transition.

Keep it civil this election season

Before we leave the subject of elections, we offer our usual pleas for sanity and civility in the coming weeks. That means no personal attacks; no distorting candidates’ records; no dragging candidates’ family members through the mud; no claiming nonexistent endorsements. And if we can make it through to June without hearing any reports of vandalized or stolen yard signs, we’ll personally deliver red, white and blue bouquets to the campaign office of every candidate.

By the way, if you plan to write a letter of endorsement for a candidate, remember to keep it at 200 words or less and avoid name-calling and other personal attacks. There’s no “astroturf” or cutting and pasting from the Internet, and to better ensure publication, submit as early as possible, preferably by emailing to

One of each for Paso Robles

Paso Robles turned 125 this week, and to celebrate, we toss the city a bright birthday bouquet and wish it many, many more (birthdays, that is). The city has an illustrious history, and it’s obviously proud of its heritage.

So we were puzzled by the City Council’s recent decision to approve a request to tear down a little piece of the past — a 120-year-old brick house that had been included on the city’s Historic Buildings Inventory. The owner of the home, former City Councilman Walter Macklin, wants to sell the property and sought permission to demolish the home because of structural damage. According to a city staff report, the prospective buyer wants a new building on the lot and asked that the old house be torn down as a condition of purchase.

Macklin submitted an engineering report that concluded the house is in hazardous condition, but the city Planning Commission turned down the request to tear down the building. The council, however, approved the “delisting” of the house, to clear the way for demolition.

Members of the local historical society — including board member Joe Brenner, who authored a Viewpoint published in Thursday’s Tribune — pointed out that the house had survived multiple earthquakes, including the 2003 San Simeon quake.

“My concern is that this decision by the City Council potentially sets a precedent for other buildings on the Historic Registry, many of which create much of the charm of the city,” Brenner wrote.

Exactly. What’s the point of having a historic buildings registry if the City Council can be so easily persuaded to remove a building? At the very least, the council should have gotten a second opinion by ordering another engineering report. Sorry, city, but we’re presenting you a birthday brickbat to go along with the bouquet.

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