Editorial: Budget battle puts young, old at risk

Talk about déjà vu all over again. The governor is threatening to slash health care funding for children, the elderly and the disabled — just as he did last year and the year before that.

But this time it’s even worse. Instead of reducing services, the governor’s budget plan reportedly is calling for total elimination of some programs. According to the L.A. Times, home health care for the elderly and the disabled and health insurance for needy kids are among the programs that could be in jeopardy.

We’ll hold the brickbats, though, because Arnie isn’t solely to blame for this mess. It turns out that targeted programs are caught in the middle of a federal-state dispute.

The programs receive federal funding, and therefore, come with strings attached. If states fail to meet federal requirements, they can be taken to court and ordered to restore whatever cuts they attempted to enact — which happened several times in California.

That’s led to an all-or-nothing situation, with the governor threatening to completely eliminate programs if the state can’t scale them back. The issue could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the meantime, our kids, our elderly residents and disabled citizens are pawns in yet another budget battle.

So — bam! — take that, Sacramento. And — bam! — take that, Washington!

Brickbats to you both until you come up with a compromise that protects these necessary programs, while cutting states some slack during this fiscal crisis.

Welcome back, Morro Bay fireworks

Fireworks are back in Morro Bay — or they will be on the Fourth of July. After last year’s laser light show earned less-than-stellar reviews, the Chamber of Commerce is returning to a traditional fireworks extravaganza.

The Chamber and business improvement district have already raised the $25,000 to $30,000 needed to put on the show. That’s good news — and it earns the Chamber and other show sponsors a red-white-and-blue bottle rocket bouquet.

Applicant should pay for study

We fully support the Atascadero City Council’s request for a financial study on whether the town can support two 10-screen theaters. But why should the city get stuck paying up to $10,000 for it? Shouldn’t the applicant at least pick up a share of the cost? That seems only fair, especially in this awful economy.

Can we have the envelope, please? For lousy fiscal performance by a government body, the Atascadero City Council is awarded a 3-D — as in dumb, dumb, dumb — brickbat.

Farewell to Festival Mozaic head

We toss a virtuoso bouquet to Curtis Pendleton, who will be stepping down as executive director of Festival Mozaic later this year and relocating to Vancouver, Canada. Pendleton has been leading the popular festival — one of SLO County’s signature events — for the past 20 years. She’s also on the faculty of Cal Poly’s music department.

She’s given a bravura performance at the helm of Festival Mozaic. So take a bow, Curtis, and accept our thanks for bringing some world-class performances to SLO.