Who’s running the city of SLO, anyway? The mayor and City Council, or Residents for Quality Neighborhoods?
We pose the question in light of the city’s apparent decision to go ahead and hire three “neighborhood services specialists” who will deal with nuisances such as noise, trash and illegally converted living quarters. The new positions will cost the city $156,200 this fiscal year and $205,000 next year.
As we’ve said before, we don’t have a problem with stepping up enforcement of city ordinances aimed at loud partying, underage drinking, vandalism, etc., etc.
We do, after all, have the “America’s Happiest City” title to uphold, and we can’t do that if we have junker cars on cinderblocks, overflowing garbage cans and rusty lawn furniture despoiling our paradise not to mention hordes of beer-swilling college kids running amok.
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Seriously, though, we just don’t see where the city will find the money to pay for increased patrols when it’s facing a $4.4 million shortfall. It already plans to ask existing employees to take pay cuts and contribute more to their pensions and health insurance — and it wants to add positions?
Good luck with that. Oh, and when you do hire those neighborhood services specialists, we have an assignment for them: Picking up the rusty can of brickbats we’re leaving on the front steps of City Hall.
Warm welcome for garden director
This feels a bit like hauling coal to Newcastle, but we’re delivering a SLO-grown bouquet of welcome to Mike Bush, the new executive director of the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. Bush, who has a botany degree from the University of South Florida, most recently worked at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, where he oversaw construction of a $400 million horticulture conservatory. Closer to home, he was once the executive director of Santa Barbara’s Ganna Walksa Lotusland botanic gardens.
Bush takes over at an exciting time for the SLO Botanical Garden, which recently was awarded a $319,000 grant to develop a hardscape. Congratulations and again, welcome.
Kudos for snuffing out tobacco sales
We don’t agree 100 percent with the Atascadero City Council’s decision to not require licenses for tobacco sellers. A modest license fee — say, $200 per year — could have helped fund stings and outreach efforts aimed at discouraging businesses from selling tobacco to minors.
But we are impressed that, even without license fees, the city has done an impressive job of encouraging compliance.
In November 2009, 22 percent of Atascadero’s tobacco sellers — four out of 18 stores — sold to minors.
In February, not a single store sold cigarettes to underage decoys. The city earns a kid-friendly bouquet for that.
TTYL — probationer makes bad move
We’re texting a WIY (woe is you) brickbat to Robert Nicholas McGuire, 35, a probationer who picked the wrong time to visit the Apple store.
On Wednesday afternoon, sheriff’s detectives spotted McGuire in downtown SLO, whom they recognized from a previous child pornography case. They followed him into the Apple store where he (allegedly) accessed his Facebook page by using one of the display laptops in full view of a detective who had logged on to a neighboring computer.
Big mistake; one of the terms of McGuire’s probation is that he stay off the Internet.
Detectives arrested him as he exited the store. B4N! (Bye for now!)