Bouquets and Brickbats: Special Election Edition

Felicitations to SLO County election winners

letters@thetribunenews.comJune 5, 2014 

Staff Sgt. Alex Rosario has overseen elections overseas, but Tuesday, June 3, 2014, was the first time he cast a ballot in the U.S. He drops off his vote-by-mail ballot at Precinct 525 in San Luis Obispo as Johanna Cresmer, lead precinct inspector, looks on.


We’re sending up a batch of balloon bouquets for all of the winners in Tuesday’s local elections: Dan Dow, our new district attorney; Bruce Gibson, who handily won the 2nd District supervisors race; Jamie Irons, who dodged a recall attempt six months ago and went on to win a second term; and newcomer Matt Makowetski, elected to the Morro Bay City Council in his first run for public office. Congratulations to you, your families and your hard-working campaigners.

Didn’t vote? Boo to you

Brickbats — limp with apathy and plastered with “I Didn’t Vote” stickers — are en route to all of you registered voters out there who elected to sit this one out. Unfortunately, there are far too many of you; so far turnout is hovering at 31 percent, though that should rise a bit when all votes are counted. (Provisional ballots and mail-in ballots turned in Tuesday are still being counted.) We know it was “just” a primary, but the DA’s race alone was worth showing up for, and the “I Voted” stickers are an understated way to dress up a purse or a collar.

DA candidates end it classy

Bouquets of olive branches are on their way to DA candidates Dan Dow and Tim Covello, who put the negative rhetoric aside once the returns were in and spoke graciously of one another.

Covello, who lost to Dow by nearly 10 percentage points, wished Dan “all the best“ and offered to help with the transition of leadership from Gerry Shea, who retires at the end of the year, to Dow, who officially assumes office in January.

Dow was equally conciliatory. “I have a lot of respect for Tim, and I could see the possibility of us working together in the future,” he told The Tribune.

Dow says he’s anxious to begin the healing process and rebuild morale in the office. We hope that includes mending fences with Covello and placing him in an appropriate position in the DA’s office, as it would be unfortunate to lose one of the most successful and experienced prosecutors on the staff.

Beyond that, we look forward to other changes Dow promised during the campaign, including placing more emphasis on cyber crime and financial fraud cases; cracking down on heroin dealers; and running the office in a more open and approachable manner. To that end, he raised the suggestion of holding town hall meetings. That’s an excellent idea; we promise to be there.

A notion for the November race

Lynn Compton and Caren Ray are now the last candidates standing in the race for 4th District supervisor. They’ll face off in November — and we promise them bouquets if they keep signage to a minimum. Or, here’s a radical idea: How about no campaign signs at all?

Just think — no more fussing over whose signs are in violation of which ordinance; no accusations of sign thievery or defacement; no judging popularity — or even worse, competency — on the basis of who has more signs in a particular neighborhood.

Sure, we’d miss those cute Compton signs with the dog that says “I bark for Lynn,” but the idea of using photogenic animals to help sell candidates is a little like using talking babies to sell stocks. It works, but it feels a bit unnatural and creepy at the same time.

Morro Bay stays the course

We float a bouquet of water lilies to the voters of Morro Bay, who stayed the (new) course by reelecting Mayor Jamie Irons and voting in Councilman Matt Makowetski. Both candidates are committed to the changes we believe are necessary to ensure a sound future for Morro Bay — including locating a new sewer plant outside of the flood zone where the old one is located.

Council candidate John Headding came in second in the Morro Bay race, barely missing the 50 percent needed to win in the primary. He still could squeak in, once all ballots are counted — a process that will continue into next week. That’s a long time to be in suspense; we’ll send Headding and his remaining opponent, Nancy Johnson, bouquets of cottonwood to cushion the wait.

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