We toss for-the-birds bouquets to the city of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor District, for taking steps to make fish-cleaning stations safer for pelicans.
As Tribune environmental writer David Sneed reported on Sunday, cleaning stations are suspected of posing a threat to pelicans and other wildlife. Pelicans hungry for scraps often hang out near the cleaning stations and in the water directly beneath them.
Some say it’s a risky practice: Birds can be harmed by ingesting bony spines from fish, and the oily water that’s used in the cleaning process — which is often drained directly into the ocean — can saturate their feathers.
On top of that, fights over carcasses discarded into the sea can break out between seabirds and seals.
To avoid those problems, both Morro Bay and Port San Luis have taken precautions, such as installing mesh screens to keep pelicans away from the stations. They’re considering other upgrades, as well. Morro Bay has applied for a grant that would fund a fully-enclosed fish-cleaning station, and Port San Luis has set money aside in case more improvements are needed.
But the local chapter of the Sierra Club isn’t satisfied, and that’s had a ripple effect on the harbor district’s plan to develop a new resort near the entrance to Diablo Canyon.
The Sierra Club has filed an appeal of the port’s Harbor Terrace development — a 134-unit project that will include campsites, RV spaces and cabins — to the California Coastal Commission. The appeal claims the project will lead to increased use of the fish cleaning station, because Harbor Terrace guests will want to take advantage of recreational fishing opportunities.
Now that’s a brickbattable stretch.
Avila Beach/Port San Luis is a tourist destination and, as such, it promotes its attractions and activities — including fishing — to a variety of audiences.
Would the Sierra Club like to clamp down on those promotional efforts as well, in the off chance that they might lure in some anglers who might get lucky enough to catch some fish and then might use the fish cleaning station?
If the cleaning station continues to pose a potential problem for pelicans, it needs to be addressed, period.
To single out a particular group of visitors — those staying at the future Harbor Terrace — for special concern is absurd. Please, leave Harbor Terrace out of it.
Restoring felonies: The right call
Because it’s a situation that should not have happened in the first place, we won’t offer any bouquets, but we’re relieved felony charges have been reinstated against two defendants in an $8 million North County fraud case.
Rodney Virgil Jarmin, 75, and Tammy Marian Jordan, 53, were accused of failing to disclose crucial information to investors purchasing securities. As the case was about to go to trial, a deal was struck, and the judge agreed to reduce seven felony charges to misdemeanors. The District Attorney’s Office did not object at the time, but it later filed a motion to rescind the deal.
Superior Court Judge Donald Umhofer overturned his actions this week, saying he erred because judges are only allowed to reduce charges at a preliminary hearing or sentencing. He also took himself off the case.
The defense has argued that investors were warned the securities were risky and subject to fluctuations in the housing market, and that the plea bargain — which included nearly $115,000 in restitution payments — was appropriate.
Ultimately, it will be up to a jury to determine whether the defendants are guilty of felonies, misdemeanors or nothing at all. Given the dispute over the severity of the case, that’s as it should be.
Mid-State Fair: 70 years young
A happy birthday bouquet is on the way to the California Mid-State Fair, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
The fair may be getting on in age, but it’s still got plenty of game.
Several attractions were added this year, including a daily parade down the midway. There also are lots of new food choices at the fair, including praline sticky buns, bacon wrapped jalapeños, fried catfish and mint julep ice cream.
But not to worry — there also are plenty of opportunities to walk off those calories when you check out the rides, the exhibit halls and the entertainment. The fair runs through Aug. 2; stop by and say happy birthday.