Bouquets and Brickbats: Gun? What gun?

Former SLO city councilman and current Morro Bay police-officer-in-training Paul Brown is taking some heat because two guns were stolen from his personal vehicle parked in front of his house. But cheer up, Paul. At least you didn’t earn a dumdum brickbat for exceptionally sloppy handling of firearms.

No, that dubious honor goes to state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a staunch gun rights advocate who represents the Inland Empire. Donnelly tried to board a plane in Ontario, Calif., Wednesday with a loaded pistol in his carry-on bag. He — oops! — said he forgot it was in there.

“I completely forgot that it was in my briefcase,” he told reporters. “It was about as heavy as it is when you carry a laptop. So it just didn’t register.”

We sometimes forget whether we packed a toothbrush or an extra pair of socks in our carry-ons. But forgetting a loaded weapon? That’s not just stupid, it’s scary — and a great argument for strong licensing laws.

Will Sam run or won’t he?

Sam Blakeslee announced this week that he “likely” won’t run again if the redrawn state Senate districts are allowed to stand, in spite of a Republican legal challenge.

If the new districts are upheld, Blakeslee will lose northern Santa Barbara County and gain more of Santa Cruz County. As a result, Democrats will outnumber Republicans in his district by 17 percent. Blakeslee doesn’t think he’ll be able to overcome that gap.

Buck up, Sam. While it wouldn’t be easy to win over those liberal Santa Cruz voters, you do have the power of incumbency and a strong environmental record on your side. Besides, what other Republican candidate would have even a remote chance of beating the odds?

We’ll put a going-away bouquet on ice just in case but can you please stop with the threats to take your marbles and go home if redistricting doesn’t go your way?

Of iron men and women

Two inspirational SLO County athletes win gold medal bouquets not only for their records of accomplishment, but also for their perseverance and upbeat attitudes.

Jim Railey, who turned 80 on Jan. 1, continues to coach racquetball at Cal Poly and teaches the sport at the San Luis Obispo YMCA. He also plays racquetball three times a week; between the ages of 60 and 75, he won five gold medals at international racquetball tournaments.

Longtime triathlete Karen Aydelott, 65, was hit by a car and dragged along the street nearly six years ago in Southern California. She ultimately had her leg amputated and wondered whether she would ever compete again. However, she trained and trained and got used to her prosthesis. On Nov. 20, Aydelott placed first in her age group at the Ironman Arizona triathlon. Not only that, she became the first female amputee to qualify as an age group athlete for October’s Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Railey and Aydelott remind us that despite our life circumstances, the power of believing and perseverance can help us accomplish our goals.

An answer to his dreams

We’re delivering two milestone bouquets to the SLO PD — one for outgoing Chief Deb Linden, who recently retired, and the other for her successor, Steve Gesell, who takes over on Jan. 17.

Gesell, who grew up in SLO, spent 20 years with the Scottsdale, Ariz., police force. He then returned to SLO County to join the Atascadero Police Department, and became acting chief there last year.

Returning to SLO, he said, has been a personal goal for eight years.

“I knew that if I could finish my career in San Luis Obispo it would be the answer to all my dreams,” he told reporters this week.

Good luck, chief, and welcome home.