Editorial: Students move in, then move on

New Cal Poly students need time to get acquainted with their surroundings, but we believe the Week of Welcome should be exactly that: a week, as in seven days.

This year, the move-in period dragged on for 10 days and extended over two weekends. That almost certainly contributed to the uptick in rowdy partying that led to high numbers of arrests and citations, as well as to an escalation of town/gown tensions.

And no, we aren’t blaming the official Week of Welcome program for this; we fully support WOW activities, and we thank WOW organizers for all they do.

But experience now shows that it’s unwise to give new students an inordinate amount of free time before the start of school, and we’re glad to see that Cal Poly officials recognize that. They’ve already announced that next year’s move-in period will be shortened. That’s a wise bit of calendaring, and for that, we give the university an educated bouquet.

‘Smart Choice’ program is bogus

Froot Loops a healthy choice?

Sounds loopy to us, but sugary breakfast cereals are among the questionable foods that have qualified for a nutritional stamp of approval.

Under the new rating program, green “Smart Choice” check marks have been awarded to Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Krispies and other sugary foods that generations of parents have tried to persuade their kids not to eat. No, this isn’t a government rating program; it originated with “food manufacturers, dietitians, academics and others,” according to a Los Angeles Times story published in Tuesday’s Tribune.

Here’s what we find hardest to swallow: Putting a bogus seal of approval on foods that are marketed to kids. We’re dishing out a big helping of brainless brickbats to the “food manufacturers, dietitians, academics and others” who cooked up this scheme.

Book and Author Festival returns

Check this out: The Central Coast Book and Author Festival returns to the SLO Mission Plaza on Sunday following a one-year hiatus. MaryEllen Simkins deserves much of the credit for this literary revival. After reading that the 2008 event had been cancelled due to lack of a volunteer leader, she stepped up and offered to help.

Thanks to her and other volunteers, more than 50 authors, illustrators and publishers will gather at the plaza this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to exhibit their work and talk about their crafts. This is a great opportunity for writers and readers alike, and we’re dedicating a bestselling bouquet to Simkins and other volunteers for making it happen.

GOP hopeful’s insulting rationale

As transgressions go, neglecting to vote a time or two isn’t particularly egregious. But failing to vote for most of your adult life? That’s hard to condone — especially for someone aspiring to be our next governor.

At least Meg Whitman, Republican gubernatorial hopeful and former eBay CEO, had enough sense to eventually acknowledge that her voting record is “unacceptable” — after initially refusing to answer questions on the subject.

While she didn’t attempt to excuse her behavior, Whitman did offer this by way of explanation: “I was focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times.”

Please. Using “raising a family” as an explanation for shirking your civic duty is insulting to women — and men — who manage to juggle kids, jobs, volunteer work, housekeeping, cooking, PTA meetings and still vote in every election. She may be an extremely capable businesswoman, but we nominate Whitman for a late-to-the-party brickbat for absenting herself from the political process for far too long.