Editorials

Bouquets and Brickbats: The census determines our fair share

We have a bouquet that counts for all local residents who filled out their census forms and dropped them in the mail. If you didn’t, you can expect a visit from census workers in the coming weeks.

The intent of these canvassers isn’t to snoop, to harass or to violate anyone’s right to privacy but rather, to carry out federal law — which mandates a census every 10 years — and to make sure we in San Luis Obispo County get our fair share of government funding and political representation.

That said, it’s disappointing to learn that the federal government somehow managed to miss some newer residences built in SLO County after 2000. In this age of instant information, there’s no excuse for relying on outdated data in compiling a mailing list. We’re taking our own head count to figure out how many statistically challenged brickbats to forward to the Census Bureau.

Beer at the movies not a bad thing

If you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer — as John Travolta says in “Pulp Fiction” — shouldn’t you be able to do the same in Atascadero?

We think so, which is why we’re keeping an open mind about a plan to sell beer and wine at a special VIP section of the new Galaxy Theatres under construction in Atascadero. While this would be new for our area, movie theaters around the country are drawing crowds by adding everything from cocktails to full-scale meals to their menus. After all, beer is sold at ballgames, concerts, plays and other entertainment venues, so why not movies?

Of course, alcohol consumption will have to be carefully monitored, but it sounds as though the applicants are on the right track in Atascadero by limiting sales to a separate, adults-only auditorium.

We’ll wait and see how it plays out before tossing any backstage bouquets, but this could be just the ticket in helping Atascadero attract more visitors to the downtown.

Use drones for search and rescue

We hope we’re never around to see drones routinely used for domestic surveillance — too Big Brotherish, if you ask us — but employing unmanned aircraft for search-and-rescue missions is an excellent idea. Drones could help locate missing people more quickly, especially in rough terrain, and would improve safety for search teams.

We’re tossing sky’s-the-limit bouquets to Cal Poly and the sheriff’s search and rescue team for launching the project. Northrop Grumman gets one too for donating a $200,000 helicopter that will be used in the effort.

Cal Poly is awaiting word about a state grant that would provide funds to equip the aircraft. We strongly urge the state to approve the application — this worthy project deserves to get off the ground.

Why not drop bear hunt idea?

We’re relieved that the bears of SLO County won another reprieve from state Fish and Game, though it sounds as if the commission didn’t have much choice. The item was tabled because the state agency was unable to meet a legal obligation to respond in writing to the more than 10,000 comments it received.

That’s an amazing response; given the level of interest, we hope the commission schedules a full slate of public hearings next time around, including one in SLO County. Better yet, why not drop the idea altogether? A honeysuckle bouquet — and a bear claw for breakfast — for every commissioner who goes along with that.

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