Bouquets and brickbats: Maldonado, Tea Party friction continues

Way back in the primary campaign — remember those days? — we were baffled when the Santa Barbara County Republican Party backed the woefully unqualified Chris Mitchum for Congress over former state Sen. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria. Republicans in SLO and Ventura counties didn’t do much better; they declined to endorse either candidate.

But when Maldonado defeated Mitchum in the primary — no surprise there — we expected Maldonado to be welcomed back to the fold.

But what have we here? This week, members of the North County Tea Party publicly chastised Maldonado for failing to appear at an event they held in Atascadero. One event organizer harrumphed that she will not be voting for Maldonado — she’ll leave the ballot blank. (To the delight, no doubt, of the Lois Capps camp.)

Maldonado’s staff said his failure to show wasn’t a snub. Rather, it was the result of an undisclosed family conflict. But Maldonado’s detractors would have none of that; they implied that this is his MO and accused him of backing out of as many as 10 engagements — though they didn’t supply alist.

Maldonado’s staff was aware of only three cancellations, and one occurred because the campaign event conflicted with a funeral.

This all sounds like classic tempest-in-a-teapot stuff, to which we’ll gladly contribute aplate of biscuitshaped brickbats.

One final word: The Tribune will host a forum for candidates Maldonado and Capps at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at The Tribune office, 3825 S. Higuera St. We hope to see you (and Maldonado) there.

Cool heads prevail in plane crash

We toss a bouquet of water lilies to Coast Guard rescuers who plucked a pilot and passenger from rough seas near San Simeon, following the crash of an amphibious plane.

The crew from an Alameda-based Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the 77-year-old pilot, Stanley Shaw of Santa Barbara, and his son Stanford Shaw, 36, to safety about two hours after their plane lost power and crashed.

Father and son waited inside the floating plane, as a CHP Cessna circled overhead.

“You were right there with the big elephant seals and great white sharks, although I didn’t see any sharks,” Stanford Shaw said.

Sounds like cool heads prevailed all around; we’re glad the Shaws survived the ordeal without a scratch.

Primates aren’t petsM/b>

There’s nothing funny about this monkey business: Jennaeve, aJavan macaque, was illegally kept as a pet in a trailer in Paso. She was caged inside a small dog kennel and fed an improper diet that included Frosted Flakes and juice. As a result, the 22-year-old monkey is obese, weighing twice as much as she should.

This outrageous situation came to light when the monkey bit a woman who had been caring for her. (The woman was not the owner.)

Now, Jennaeve is in quarantine at Zoo to You. The owner could face a charge of unlawful possession of a restricted species. Let’s hope so. Meanwhile, we’re rolling out a big barrel of brickbats for all who had a hand in the shameful mistreatment of avulnerable animal.