Bouquets and Brickbats

Real action needed to combat gun violence

letters@thetribunenews.comJune 13, 2014 

Santa Barbara Rampage

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, pays her respects at a makeshift memorial in front of the IV Deli Mart, where part of Friday night's mass shooting took place by a drive-by shooter Sunday, May 25, 2014 in the Isla Vista area near Goleta, Calif. Calif. Sheriff's officials said Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood.

CHRIS CARLSON — AP

Was the ink even dry on theCongressional resolution authored by Rep. Lois Capps, condemning the recent “senseless rampage and mass shooting” in Isla Vista before yet another school shooting occurred?

Unlikely, seeing that there was another fatal shooting — this one at an Oregon high school on Tuesday. That was the 31st firearms attack at a U.S. school since the start of the year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

If the House of Representatives and other elected officials truly are “committed to working to help prevent tragedies like this from happening again” — as Capps’ resolution states — they will concentrate more on passing meaningful legislation, such as a California bill requiring law enforcement to check a firearms database before conducting welfare checks, and less on feel-good rhetoric. Otherwise, we have no doubt that we will continue to send bouquets of sympathy to communities like Isla Vista and Troutdale, Ore., with depressing regularity.

Gibson should have set hearing

Who doesn’t love a good water fight? Apparently, not Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who opted against scheduling a public hearing on an amendment to a state bill that would allow creation of a new type of water district in the Paso Robles basin.

The amendment would permit some members of the district’s board of directors to be residents of the district, rather than allowing only property owners to serve. That change makes sense to us. Supervisor Gibson must have thought so, too, because he sent a letter to the bill’s author, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, supporting the amendment on the board’s behalf.

That ticked off Supervisor Debbie Arnold, who said she wasn’t consulted before the letter was sent. She asked that the amendment be placed on the board agenda for public discussion. That, she pointed out, was what Achadjian had originally requested. The board ultimately acquiesced and placed the item on Tuesday’s agenda.

We believe Gibson had plenty of good reasons to handle the issue as he did. Among other arguments, he pointed out that Tuesday’s agenda was full; he needed to respond in a timely manner; and formation of a district already has been discussed at length.

Yet anyone who has sat through several years’ worth of hearings on the Los Osos sewer should recognize that trying to stanch the flow of public comment is a bit like trying to coax water from an overdrafted basin. It can be done — but only at considerable expense, and we’re not just talking money.

Gibson should have erred on the side of caution and scheduled a hearing without having to be cajoled into it, if for no other reason than to draw attention to an amendment that strengthens this bill. For that omission, Gibson gets gaveled with a brickbat.

Congratulations to grads

We toss congratulatory SLO-grown bouquets in campus colors to the thousands of students graduating from our local high schools. It’s been a long haul, and now an exciting stage of your life is about to begin. Whether your plans include college, the military, the workforce or a gap year or two while you figure things out, we wish you all the best.

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