Editorials

Bouquets and Brickbats: Best wishes for child with cancer

We offer a huge bouquet of hope to 10-year-old Tyler Borges, who recently appeared on a nationally televised Nickelodeon show dealing with children with cancer.

The Atascadero boy is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, a relatively rare type of pediatric cancer that affects the nervous system and can produce tumors throughout the body.

As Tribune writer Amy Dempsey reported on Sunday, Tyler’s treatment has included surgery in New York, chemotherapy sessions in Los Angeles every 21 days and frequent stays at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. A stem cell transplant also is planned.

Tyler’s mother, Karen, describes him as a “very positive kid.” We’d use the same adjective to describe his family, for remaining upbeat despite some daunting challenges.

In addition to dealing with hospital visits and treatments, the family faces serious financial issues. To care for Tyler, Karen quit her job in the medical profession, which means the family is left with one income — and on top of that faces expensive medical co-pays and travel expenses for out-of-town medical treatments. As a result, the family worries about losing their home.

Several readers who first learned about Tyler in Sunday’s Tribune have inquired about how they can help.

An account for Tyler has been set up at Golden 1 Credit Union, which has branches in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara. Deposits can be made at any branch to the Tyler Jacob Borges Fund.

‘Mistake’ and ‘nuclear’ don’t mix

We normally subject our brickbats to scrupulous testing to ensure they’ll hit their targets, without inflicting permanent damage. But in the case of PG&E, we don’t think we’ll bother with quality control.

After all, the giant utility didn’t make it a point to test whether two safety valves at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant could be opened remotely, according to a report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In the event of an emergency, plant operators would have had to open the valves manually — which never happened, of course.

In its defense, PG&E discovered the problem and immediately took steps to remedy the situation. Company officials also stress that the public was never at risk.

That’s good to know. Still, when we hear the words “mistake” and “nuclear” in the same sentence, we get nervous, which is why PG&E gets an untried, untested brickbat.

Readers were wise to Light’s act

We offer a tipster’s bouquet to alert readers who warned us about Ellie Light, the letter writer accused of bogusly misrepresenting herself (or is it himself?) in a slew of pro-Obama letters submitted to newspapers around the nation. The Tribune was among the 70 or so publications deceived by the misguided Light.

Light claimed to be from San Luis Obispo. She (he?) even obligingly agreed to our request to cut a 294-word letter down to 200 words. For that, she (he?) gets slammed with 200 ill-illuminated brickbats.

We authenticate Letters to the Editor by requiring addresses and phone numbers, and routinely reject letters that turn out to be SPAM or are submitted under obvious aliases. Obviously, though, that’s not a fail-safe system so again, thanks to readers for passing on “Ellie” intelligence.

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