Bouquets and Brickbats: PG&E should have been clear on alert

Never doubt the drama of living with a nuclear power plant in your backyard. On Wednesday, an alert at the plant — triggered when too much carbon dioxide was released during a test — somehow morphed into a rumor that a radioactive cloud was forming. In Pismo Beach, that prompted a roomful of people gathered for a business meeting to run fleeing for safety.

There were reports, too, that Diablo was under attack — also false, we might add.

We would don our hazmat suits and deliver a few spent brickbats to the Chicken Littles who spread the sky-is-falling tales via text message, but they’re probably feeling sheepish enough already.

Also, it might have helped clear the air had the powers-that-be — starting with PG&E — made it clear from the start that the alert was in response to a release of carbon dioxide, and not something more ominous.

Get ready for Senate race round two

Unless Sam Blakeslee manages to pull out a win, it looks like last week’s special election amounted to little more than an expensive dress rehearsal for the Aug. 17 runoff for state Senate.

Barring any stunning revelations and/or massive get-out-the-vote drives, we’re going to venture a guess and predict the outcome of the Aug. 17 election will pretty well mirror last week’s result.

The ballot, after all, will be much the same, with all four candidates — Democrat John Laird, Republican Blakeslee, Libertarian Mark Hinkle and Jim Fitzgerald, an independent — again listed.

Why, then, do we have to repeat this expensive exercise? We could understand if there had been multiple candidates from a particular party on the primary ballot. Then the primary would have at least whittled down the field and made the Aug. 17 election a bit more interesting.

Voting on the same set of candidates twice not only seems redundant, it also means another seven weeks of vitriolic campaign ads.

Candidates could at least show a little mercy and give us voters a break. No more gratuitous images of the burning PB oil rig or train wrecks, OK? And the earnest walks on the beach are getting a tad tiresome. Public-spirited bouquets of gratitude to the candidates who show us more substance in Round 2.

Thanks and farewell to Dave Romero

One name SLO voters won’t see on the ballot again: Dave Romero. At age 81, and after more than five decades of service to the city first as an employee and later an elected official, Mayor Dave has announced he’ll retire from public office. Many formal goodbyes and accolades are in store, we’re sure, but we didn’t want to miss this initial opportunity to toss a big, SLO-made bouquet of appreciation Mayor Dave’s way.

Sheriff touchy on Search and Rescue

Sheriff Pat Hedges seems awfully touchy about a fairly innocuous grand jury report on the Search and Rescue Team. The grand jury concluded that the team could use some additional revenue, as well as more volunteers. Also, it should be allowed to do fundraising. Those seem like reasonable statements.

Yet the Sheriff’s Department responded that the team has no funding deficiency, and furthermore, had never asked for any money before speaking to the grand jury.

There could be a good reason for that: A Search and Rescue volunteer told reporter Bob Cuddy that the team has been told not to ask for anything.

Hmmm how many more months before there’s a new sheriff in town? Until that happy day arrives, we’ll mount our own search-and-rescue mission to find a few last, wayward brickbats to lob at the outgoing administration.