Bouquets and Brickbats

Dropping public prayer was right call

letters@thetribunenews.comApril 18, 2014 

Pismo Beach City Hall.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Pismo Beach City Council earns a dothe-right-thing bouquet for agreeing to drop opening prayers at the start of council meetings. The council also agreed to eliminate an unpaid chaplain‘s position. The changes were made to settle a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a local member of Atheists United San Luis Obispo.

Some background: While nonsectarian prayer is legally permitted at public meetings, in Pismo Beach the invocations were almost exclusively delivered by Christian clergymen and the prayers included Christian references such as “Your Son and our Savior” and “Christ our Lord.” That led to the lawsuit filed in November. As we said then: “Rather than wrestling with ways to make the invocations meet the letter of the law, we strongly urge the council to discontinue the spoken invocations.”

The council’s decision to drop public prayer could not have been an easy one, but we believe it’s right on two counts: It saves Pismo Beach taxpayers the expense of fighting a lawsuit and it sends a message of inclusivity to all who conduct business before the Pismo Beach City Council.

Questions remain in pup’s adventure

All’s well that ends well for sweet little Belle, but what a traumatic few days for this cute little doggie! First, she’s dog-napped from an adoption fair held in front of the SLO Petco this past Saturday, triggering San Luis Obispo police to release her photo to the media, along with a request for tips as to her whereabouts.

A family that temporarily took possession of the dog — they reported that the dog had been given to them by another family “frantic” to find a home for the puppy — saw Belle’s photo in The Tribune and took the dog to a vet to check the animal’s microchip. That investigation revealed the dog was indeed Belle, who was then returned to the nonprofit Laton Animal Rescue & Care, the Fresno-based organization that had put the dog up for adoption.

So, Belle is back where she started.

“We’re going to give her a few days recovery before we put her up for adoption,” said Kim Colvin, co-owner of Laton Animal Rescue.

She expects Belle to be back in SLO on April 26, once again available for adoption.

For those wondering why a Fresno-based rescue group would come so far, Laton Animal Rescue holds adoption fairs in the Bay Area and San Luis Obispo because the Valley is so overpopulated with unwanted dogs, Colvin said. Her group rescues animals from shelters in the San Joaquin Valley, saving many animals that would otherwise be euthanized. Belle and her two siblings were among the dogs rescued from ashelter.

We don’t have any more details about Belle’s “napping,” though Colvin said police continue to investigate. So, we’ll put a slobber-coated brickbat on hold until we learn more, while tossing Belle and her rescuers dogwood bouquets and a side of bones.

Work the polls on Election Day

Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day: 1) Make some money; 2) Do some good; 3) Be finished in a matter of hours; 4) Earn a patriotic red-white-and-blue bouquet. Too good to be true? Not if you’re an Election Day poll worker.

If you’re interested, now’s the time to step up. The County Clerk-Recorder’s Office — which has added 10 precincts to accommodate voters in upcoming elections — is looking for individuals to serve as precinct workers, as well as nonprofit organizations that want to “adopt” apolling place.

Here’s how that works: A nonprofit agrees to supply two people to work throughout the day; other members of the group can work shorter shifts. Nonprofits can earn as much as $525 for working on Election Day and attending training sessions. Individuals earn $97 for afull day of clerking, and $48.50 for a half day, and inspectors earn $137 and $162, depending on assignment. Two-hour training sessions are offered throughout May. For more information, email precinctworker@co.slo.ca.us or call 781-4106.

And, don’t worry, we’ll keep your bouquet on ice until after your Election Day shift.

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