Bouquets and Brickbats: Atascadero shop working to resolve mural issue

The city of Atascadero and the owners of the ARTery may be on the way to resolving their artistic differences. The city’s Design Review Committee has agreed to reconsider the tree mural that it initially rejected on the grounds that it didn’t fit the character of the downtown. The owners of the building have offered to make a few changes — including painting over some words and fixing some peeling paint — to help satisfy the committee’s concerns.

We thought the owners had painted themselves into a corner by not bothering to apply for a permit before the mural was completed. We’re glad to hear that both sides appear to be in the frame of mind to compromise, and we toss them a creative and colorful bouquet.

Good riddance to foie gras

Ah, California! The land of fruits, nuts and foie gras? Not anymore. In case you missed the news — understandable, given SCOTUS decisions, wildfires, the TomKat breakup and everything else that’s been going on — a statewide ban on foie gras took effect July 1.

Being foes of silly regulations, we were initially tempted to serve up a few goose-feathered brickbats to Sacramento lawmakers, but then we read the fine print, explaining that foie gras is produced by sticking a tube down the throat of the goose or duck and force-feeding it several times a day.

Some experts say that isn’t nearly as painful as it sounds — in fact, may not be painful at all — because the esophagi of ducks and geese expand easily and they have no gag reflex.

That may be true in theory, but not so much in practice.

Consider this, from the website of the Humane Society of the United States: “Force-feeding causes a number of injuries: bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe into the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea. Wounds of the esophagus may subsequently become infected. Force-feeding also results in numerous illnesses and disease, including hepatic lipidosis, bacterial and fungal infections, malnourishment and lameness.”

Bottom line: All animals — including farm animals that will eventually be slaughtered — deserve to be treated humanely during their lives. California has been a national leader in this regard; the ban on foie gras is the most recent in a series of measures prohibiting cruel and inhumane practices. For that, we offer the state a for-the-birds bouquet.

Time for some basic arithmetic

We’re coughing up some nicotine-stained brickbats for the 11 stores in the county’s unincorporated areas that recently sold cigarettes to minors in a “sting” operation. Ten of the 11 clerks sold cigarettes after requesting IDs. Huh? Could they not do the math? To give credit where it’s due, we offer law-abiding bouquets to the vast majority of merchants — 41 out of the 52 visited by underage decoys — who refused to sell to minors.

Editorials are the opinion of The Tribune