Opinion

Bouquets and Brickbats: Of Caltrans, grads and a shot dolphin

We won’t argue with Caltrans officials who found that trees and shrubs along a stretch of southbound Highway 1 in Morro Bay were heavily infested with insects and needed to be removed. But we will lob a disease-infested brickbat at them for failing to inform residents whose houses abut the freeway of the intended removal.

Residents say noise and headlights from passing cars have increased dramatically as a result.

“It’s like living in a fishbowl,’’ one of them told The Tribune last week. They also claim it’s a safety hazard, a point that Caltrans denies.

The state agency promises to plant 325 fast-growing, screening-type shrubs along the highway in coming weeks. Like the residents, we’ll be watching closely to see just how fast they really grow.

Well done, graduates, well done

Graduation season is upon us, and we present a colorful and celebratory bouquet to the thousands of hard-working achievers in the county who are finishing high school and college.

Enrobed in flowing gowns and ceremonial caps, they’re marching to much fanfare and to the adulation of loved ones showering them with effusive praise.

In addition to the graduates, we laud the teachers, mentors, families and friends who guided them along the path toward greater knowledge.

As our local graduates move on, we encourage them to be a force of good to change our world for the better.

A whole new level of stupidity

A Cambria man walking along the beach near San Simeon last week stumbled upon an unpleasant sight: a dead dolphin with open wounds. Days later, he noticed a second dolphin in the area with similar wounds.

Concerned by the similarity of the injuries, the man called authorities, including a marine official who “verified it was bullet holes,” the man said. Although another official later said it could not be determined whether the puncture wounds on the second dolphin were caused by bullets, the death was still classified as suspicious.

The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the shooting of dolphins. Several agencies are working to investigate the dolphins’ deaths.

While they do so, we blast a beyond-belief brickbat at anyone who might derive enjoyment from killing protected wildlife.

If there is indeed a dolphin-shooter at large on the North Coast, we can only hope the individual is hooked and netted quickly to prevent additional marine mammal deaths.

Budget cuts over education, again?

We reserve our last brickbat laden with dumbbells for Gov. Jerry Brown for his hare-brained proposal to eliminate the second year of science as a high school graduation requirement.

Though he wants to free the state from reimbursing local school districts for the $250 million annual cost of the second-year science course — California owes districts $2.5 billion in unpaid claims — the potential consequences are devastating.

At a time when we need more students who excel at science, educators worry that if enacted, this could cause high schools to cut science classes, preventing students from qualifying to attend the University of California and California State University systems. Both require two years of science.

Editorials are the opinion of The Tribune.

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