Editorials

Bouquets and Brickbats: County air tarred with a broad brush

We expected cities like LA, Bakersfield, Houston and Sacramento to wind up on a list of the nation’s top 10 smoggiest places. But San Luis Obispo County? Surely, the American Lung Association can’t be talking about our San Luis Obispo County, because the SLO we know and love is renowned for its clear blue skies and clean air.

But wait. As it turns out, there are some spots in the county where the air isn’t so pure. The Nipomo Mesa is one, but we already knew that. There also are a couple of remote locations along SLO County’s eastern edge where federal clean air standards have been exceeded repeatedly.

County air pollution officials blame that on ozone wafting over from Los Angeles, the Central Valley and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the high readings have given our entire county a bad rap, landing us on the notorious top 10 list.

So darn you, L.A., for spewing your dirty air and taking us down with you! We’d hand-deliver a soot-stained brickbat to you, but we don’t want to fight the smog or the traffic.

Instead, we’ll direct it to the American Lung Association, for painting our county with too broad a (polluted) brush.

Maldonado quick to ditch his district

Certainly, Abel has bigger fish to fry now that he’s lieutenant governor, but we’re struck by how quickly he’s shifted his focus from the 15th Senate District.

When asked whether he’d get involved in the growing brouhaha over the scheduling of special elections to fill his Senate seat, his office issued this royal brush off:

“Calling a special election was the governor’s decision. The lieutenant governor has already gotten to work holding meetings with economic development directors and working toward creating jobs. That’s his focus — not publicly questioning the governor’s decisions.”

Given that county governments face spending millions of additional dollars on a special election, Abel could at least muster up a little public sympathy. He might even go to bat for the counties he once represented by suggesting that his boss reconsider and allow the Senate runoff to be consolidated with the general election.

We know he’s barely had time to warm up that lieutenant governor’s throne — err, chair — but we’ve got a scepter-shaped brickbat headed his way.

Then again, it’s probably a good thing that Maldonado is working so hard to create jobs. At least that will generate some more tax dollars to help pay for all these elections.

Ed Arnold’s woes not media’s doing

At last, Ed Arnold did the right thing by resigning from the Arroyo Grande City Council, but he couldn’t resist a final jab at — what else? — the media.

His farewell statement included the following: “I hope that everyone will see I’m not quite the bad guy I’m painted to be in the press right now.”

Sorry, Ed, but when an elected official is charged with serious felony crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon and possessing child pornography, the press can’t look the other way — or mention the allegations in passing while reporting on the city’s latest budget woes or zoning battle. For shooting the messenger, Arnold can add a brickbat to his growing collection.

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