Bouquets and Brickbats: Get grocery bags while you still can

Better stockpile those paper grocery sacks. SLO County is contemplating a ban that could make it illegal for local markets and big drug stores to issue paper or plastic bags — not even for a price.

We’ve supported a ban on plastic grocery bags in the past, but isn’t it a little heavy-handed to expect us to go cold turkey and give up plastic and paper? Even San Francisco allows recyclable paper bags, and a bag ban recently approved in Los Angeles County permits stores to sell paper bags for 10 cents each.

At least this isn’t a done deal yet. SLO County’s proposed bag ban — the work of the county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority — will be considered again in September.

COLAB’s Mike Brown suggested broadening the conversation by holding public hearings throughout the county. Good idea — a brown-bag bouquet if the county agrees.

Fair rakes in the concert money

We toss a grandstand bouquet to the California Mid-State Fair for its stellar record of attracting big-name entertainers, which has paid rich dividends. As Tribune writer Sarah Linn reported on Sunday, concerts have helped boost the fair’s bottom line. The fair’s net profits averaged $910,000 per year from 2006 through 2010. That’s an amazing run, especially in this rotten economy.

By the way, if you haven’t been to the Mid-State Fair yet, check it out. The fair runs through Sunday, July 31, and as always, there are plenty of impressive stars in the line up, including Counting Crows, Selena Gomez, Kid Rock and Lady Antebellum. Pay-cut reversal is disappointing

If Gil Stork, the interim president of Cuesta College, didn’t want to take a voluntary pay cut, why in the world did he raise his hand in the first place? Announcing such an altruistic move — then failing to follow through — is worse than never announcing it at all. It’s a bit like offering to pick up the tab for dinner and then realizing your credit card has expired and — sorry! — you didn’t bring any cash.

Sure, technically it was the board of trustees that decided to delay the 5 percent pay cut for Stork and three vice presidents. But come on, couldn’t Stork and company have twisted the board’s arm?

Granting a last-minute reprieve to higher-ups isn’t exactly good for morale, especially given that five Cuesta employees were laid off and several others had their hours reduced by the board.

Passing on the voluntary pay cuts for the upper echelon merits a backpedaling brickbat, but we’ll replace it with a better-late-than-never bouquet if the Cuesta board reconsiders. We’d like to see it approve a temporary, 5 percent pay cut for top officials until the college’s financial picture improves enough to restore the full salaries of those employees who have seen their paychecks shrink.