Bouquets and Brickbats: Collective’s approval shows pluck

The county Planning Commission deserves a compassionate bouquet for approving a medical marijuana collective in Oceano on a 4-1 vote Thursday.

We recognize that the commission’s decision isn’t necessarily final — it can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors — but whatever happens, we commend the planning commissioners. This has been a controversial issue throughout the county, and it would have been easy enough to give the application a cursory review and a knee-jerk denial. Instead, commissioners thoughtfully considered the project — adding a condition that the owner come back for a review two years after opening — and ultimately had the courage to approve it.

Safe Rides for the inebriated

We raise a rosé bouquet to bars and restaurants in downtown San Luis Obispo for joining forces to revive a nighttime shuttle service, called Safe Rides. Not only will it help curb drunken driving, it should also reduce the number of drunks who try to make it home on foot late at night — disturbing the peace in the process.

Downtown drinking establishments also have targeted rowdy behavior by launching a “One 86, All 86” program. Here’s how it works: If a patron is kicked out of one business, that person’s picture is snapped and circulated to other bars and restaurants.

Sounds great in theory, but we wonder how easy it will be to put into practice, especially on busy nights. We’ll stay tuned on that.

Agencies blow off health concerns

For their stunning lack of concern for the health of residents on the Nipomo Mesa, we toss bad-neighbor brickbats at two South County agencies — the Oceano Community Services District and the Pismo Beach City Council — that want to block or delay efforts to control dust emissions linked to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

The Oceano CSD board, in particular, is so worried that lucrative off-road tourism might take a hit that it’s completely blowing off concerns from Mesa residents who are sick and tired of breathing in sand stirred up by off-roaders.

OCSD board member Matthew Guerrero gets an extra brickbat for his ultra-insensitive comment: “You need to not only be certain, you need to be damn certain of what you’re claiming. And since there are questions in the air, I think this (letter in opposition to the new regulations) is appropriate.”

Actually, questions aren’t all that’s in the air. Dust particles are, too, at levels that exceed state health standards. This year alone, there were 99 violations of state standards at three monitoring sites on the Mesa.

Given that, we believe it’s far safer to be “damn certain” that the dunes aren’t contributing to dust pollution before so cavalierly dismissing efforts to clean up the air.

And for the record, the economy is important, too, but no one in authority is talking about closing the dunes to off-roaders. The state is looking at windbreaks and revegetation to reduce dust emissions — methods that proved highly effective in pilot programs. So let’s clear the air, please, and stop predicting economic disaster.

Hard work should be rewarded

The Children’s Resource Network of the Central Coast — a homegrown nonprofit founded by Lisa Ray that provides clothing for youth in need — has a new project. The Teen’s Closet allows low-income participants to pick out and try on donated clothes, instead of simply accepting bags of clothes already picked out for them. The space was provided by the Arroyo Grande Care Center.

Recently, a team of Cal Poly student volunteers and the United Way youth board joined 80- and 90-year-old residents from the Arroyo Grande Care Center to paint and organize the portable building. The seniors will also run The Teen’s Closet, allowing them to interact with the youth who come in.

For this arrangement, we award dressed-up bouquets to all the volunteers whose hard work brings some color to buildings, wardrobes and lives.