We offer huge bouquets of public service to law enforcement, fire departments, Red Cross and others who helped with last Friday’s orderly evacuations of coastal neighborhoods, beaches and campgrounds.
Fortunately, coastal communities in SLO County escaped major damage from last week’s devastating tsunami. Morro Bay caught the worst of it, with and estimated $455,000 to port facilities reported. Elsewhere in California, Santa Cruz Harbor reported damages of $22.5 million and Fort Bragg, $4 million.
There was one U.S. fatality linked to the tsunami — a man in Crescent City was swept away as he was photographing waves — but deaths and injuries could have been worse had there been no early warnings and subsequent evacuations.
With that in mind, we were concerned by reports that a Republican budget that passed the House of Representatives would so drastically cut funding that it would “cripple” operations at a tsunami warning center in Hawaii that played a big role in sending out alerts following the Japanese quake.
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According to news reports, the GOP budget plan includes a 28 percent decrease in funding for the National Weather Service. A union leader who represents weather service workers said that would trigger furloughs and rolling closures of offices.
That’s not exactly a “crippling” of operations, but given the crucial nature of tsunami forecasting, we agree that this is not a place to scrimp. We strongly urge legislators to restore full funding for this live-saving service.
Shameful dereliction of duty
Let’s see if we have this straight: Two sheriff’s deputies happen upon an obviously intoxicated man who is inside a parked state vehicle — one of the deputies describes the man as “(expletive) blottoed” — yet they don’t ask him routine questions that could have led to a drunk driving arrest? Nor do they administer a sobriety test?
The (allegedly) blottoed man turned out to be a CHP captain, who has since resigned. Martin Joel “Marty” Whited was on trial this week for misdemeanor drunken driving, but the case was dismissed Thursday due to lack of evidence — evidence that would have been available had the deputies treated Whited like any other drunk they spotted in a parked car. In other words, had the deputies done their job.
Whited gets served a blottoed brickbat. As for the deputies who let him get away — your dereliction-of-duty brickbats are en route.
Kudos to reasonable drinkers
We toss belated bouquets of shamrocks to all the St. Paddy’s Day revelers who kept it under control Thursday. But those who didn’t — including the partier or partiers responsible for the trail of vomit spotted on a downtown SLO street at 7 a.m. (yuck!) — get served pints of brickbats swimming in rotten cabbage and day-old green beer. Cheers!
County Supervisor Paul Teixeira has abandoned his plan to create one giant advisory council in the South County by combining two separate groups. Teixiera got an earful at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting — and not just from South County residents. Folks from throughout the county objected not just to combining groups, but also to Teixeira’s proposal to appoint representatives to the council, rather than to allow communities to elect their own.
To his credit, Teixeira knew when to give up on a lost cause — and that earns him a backpedaling bouquet.