The appalling conditions at Camp Roberts — raw sewage bubbling up in showers, no heat or air conditioning in some buildings, rodent infestations, unsafe electrical wiring — are egregious enough. To add to the outrage, millions of dollars in supplies, tools, building materials and furniture that could have been used to upgrade the facility instead went to waste.
A report by our sister paper, The Sacramento Bee, published in Monday’s Tribune, found that appliances and furniture had been left outside to rust; building materials like doors and sheetrock rotted; and many items were never even logged in the first place.
There also are questions about funding; it appears that Camp Roberts never got its full allotment of money to repair damages by the San Simeon quake, for example.
As the largest training area for the California National Guard, Camp Roberts is essential to national safety. Letting it deteriorate to this point is an affront to the Guard members who train there, as well as to taxpayers.
We’d lob dishonorable brickbats at those responsible for this travesty — if we could track them down.
State and federal lawmakers must demand an accounting.
Greeting cards and a good cause
We toss a hand-drawn bouquet to 12-year-old entrepreneur Emily Flachman, who created a line of greeting cards to raise money for cancer research. Emily started the business, Kids4Kures, as a school project when she was 10 years old. She saw it as a way to honor her grandmother, who died of pancreatic cancer.
The greeting cards — which are available at French Hospital gift shop and the SLO Chamber of Commerce, among other locations — feature the illustrations of a family friend, Peaches Olson, and sayings written by Emily.
They’re upbeat, colorful and whimsical — and they’ve raised $7,000 so far. That’s awesome.
Much ado about little
We’re not sure why the SLO firefighters union was so hot to get its hands on Dave Garth’s salary info, nor do we know what the union planned to do with the information once it had it.
If its intent was to embarrass the chamber by revealing Garth’s “six-figure salary,” the effort fizzled when the Chamber of Commerce made the information public — pre-empting any big reveal the union may have planned.
So we now know that the Chamber of Commerce president earns $120,000 per year — after 38 years on the job.
Were we supposed to be appalled by such extravagance? If so, it’s not working, because $120,000 sounds like a bargain.
OK, Garth also earns bonuses — almost $7,000 last year — plus perks like health insurance, a car allowance and a cell phone. And when he retires, he’ll earn a retirement equal to half his highest annual salary.
Not bad, especially for SLO’s notoriously underpaid private sector, but compared to what many public employees earn, it’s nothing to raise an eyebrow over.
No, Garth’s salary is nothing but a red herring designed to shift focus away from binding arbitration and public employee pensions, and the union’s self-righteous harrumphing about the public’s “right to know” won’t change that.
The firefighters union gets dinged with a charred brickbat for shedding more heat than light on the critical debate over arbitration and pensions.