Bouquets and Brickbats: Holding debate is the right move

The show — or in this case, the candidates forum — will go on, and for that, we say bravo to the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. The League has decided to go ahead and hold a forum for state Senate candidates on July 26 at Cuesta College, whether or not a recalcitrant Sam Blakeslee accepts the invitation.

We won’t bore you with all the ins-and-outs of the efforts to persuade Blakeslee to attend the forum. Suffice it to say, multiple dates were offered in an attempt to accommodate the assemblyman’s busy schedule.

Could it be that Blakeslee figures he’s got the Central Coast sewn up?

At least he has committed to attend an Aug. 6 forum in Arroyo Grande hosted by COLAB, the conservative-leaning Coalition for Labor, Agriculture and Business.

But here’s our concern: Aug. 6 is a bit late in the process, seeing as how absentee ballots are being issued Monday.

Also, if Blakeslee only has a limited number of appearances he can make — in the blunt words of his campaign staff, he can’t make everybody happy — it would make sense to allow a more neutral organization, such as the League of Women Voters, to be in charge.

There’s still time to change your mind, Sam. We hope to see you on July 26.

In the meantime, we offer a red-white-and-blue bouquet to the League for public-spirited perseverance and a drop-the-ball brickbat to the Blakeslee campaign.

Welcome to new superintendent

We welcome Eric Prater, the new superintendent of the San Luis Coastal school district, with a farmers market bouquet and a bushel of See Canyon apples.

Prater, who last served as superintendent of the Byron Union School District in Contra Costa County, was chosen from among 34 candidates to succeed Ed Valentine. He starts his new job Aug. 1.

This is not an easy time to take over the reins of any public agency, but Prater has the advantage of a talented and dedicated faculty and staff, along with involved parents and students. We wish him and his family the best as they settle into their new home.

Much ado about serpentine

We toss a rock-on bouquet to our esteemed state legislators, for distracting us from depressing budget negotiations with — of all things — a delicious debate over serpentine.

In case you missed the news — and we don’t see how you could, since it’s landed on many a front page — lawmakers are considering giving serpentine the heave-ho as the official state rock, since it can contain cancer-causing asbestos. Geologists, though, say that information is misleading, and they’ve rushed to defend serpentine. It’s even been argued that, if serpentine is dethroned, it could lower the value of properties that contains the olive green rock. And that, in turn, could lead to litigation.

We probably wouldn’t recognize serpentine if we stubbed our toe on it — it’s been a long time since Geology 101 — so we aren’t about to weigh in on either side. Nor are we going to get on our high horse and rant and rave that lawmakers should not be wasting time on such nonsense, as opposed to the other nonsense they waste time on.

Nope, we’re just going to close with a suggestion. Should the Legislature ultimately decide to replace serpentine with another rock, here’s our nominee: fool’s gold.