Bouquets and Brickbats: Food and gift drives worthy of praise

We’re making last-minute deliveries of mistletoe and holly to the many generous donors who contributed to the various holiday food and gift drives this year.

The Food Bank Coalition, for one, had an overwhelming response to its holiday drive. While the grand total wasn’t available, Executive Director Carl Hansen said that as of Thursday, donations of both food and money had set a record for December.

As recently as a couple of weeks ago, he wasn’t so sure that would be the case.

“I was really concerned we would be deeply in the red at the end of the year, but now I don’t think we’re going to be,” said Hansen.

Whether you dropped some dollars in a Salvation Army kettle, donated canned goods to the Food Bank, contributed to Toys for Tots or found some other way to help — your generosity is appreciated.

And for the volunteers who gave of their time in so many ways — delivering food baskets, serving meals, wrapping toys, helping out a homeless shelter — you are our holiday heroes, and we have bright red poinsettias coming your way.

Time for a flood fix in Oceano

We offer hang-in-there bouquets to all SLO County residents dealing with flood damage from recent rains. Residents of the Oceano Lagoon area were particularly hard hit, with some families evacuating their homes and others staying to deal with the mess. That’s an awful circumstance at any time of the year, but it’s especially tough to be hauling out soaking carpet and stacking sandbags instead of enjoying the holidays with family and friends.

With flooding an ongoing issue in Oceano, we agree that it’s time for county and state agencies to pool their resources and look for a long-term fix for this area of town.

Lawmakers grant selves secrecy

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander — except, apparently, when it comes to the California Legislature. As the Associated Press reported, state lawmakers have exempted themselves from certain provisions of the California Public Records Act, which means some documents can be kept confidential. Examples include letters from lobbyists to lawmakers; memos from party leaders directing their colleagues on how to vote on bills; and e-mails from campaign donors.

As the AP reported, other state agencies aren’t granted those exemptions. Neither are local government bodies. That’s outrageous, and it earns the Legislature a two-faced brickbat for hypocritical behavior.

Kudos to Dan Carpenter

We toss a congratulatory bouquet to newly seated SLO City Councilman Dan Carpenter, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Jan Marx’s term. The City Council did the right thing in unanimously choosing Carpenter, given his close finish in the recent election. Dan has a long history of service to the city, most recently on the Cultural Heritage Committee, and we like what he had to say about taking a fiscally conservative approach to operating the city — something that’s sorely needed, given the current economic climate.