A dream that’s out of this world

A one-way ticket to Mars may sound more like a threat from a peeved parent than a prize, as in, “Hey mister (or miss) you’d better adjust that attitude or you’ll be getting a one-way ticket to Mars!”

But apparently there are bunches and bunches of people who would like nothing more than a no-return trip to Mars. So many, in fact, that a nonprofit group planning a Mars mission in 2024 is conducting a multi-step application process to winnow more than 200,000 applicants down to four.

Los Osos native and Mission Prep graduate Spencer Harris, 21, is among the 1,058 who made it to the second round. So is Radzik Warren, a 53-yearold Reno resident who graduated from Cal Poly’s architecture program.

“I’m an adventuress. I don’t have a problem with this,” Warren told a Reno Gazette-Journal reporter. She also said she’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from family and friends.

Harris’ mom, on the other hand, wondered why the mission didn’t send inmates on the one-way trip. Maybe because it would be cruel and unusual punishment?

But, hey, we’re all about people following their dreams, no matter where they lead, so in lieu of bouquets, we’ll load the transporter with a lifetime supply of Mars bars for Harris and Warren. May you live long and prosper.

Tightening belts on water use

We toss a bouquet of water lilies to State Parks for emptying the iconic Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle and using the water to irrigate landscaping. Fountains at the castle also have gone dry on account of the drought. While these water-saving measures may detract from the ambiance of the grounds, they serve as an excellent public education tool for visitors to the Castle.

We also commend local communities that are responding to the drought with more stringent conservation requirements. The city of Morro Bay, for example, is limiting outdoor watering, prohibiting use of hoses to wash cars (buckets are still OK) and requiring restaurants to serve water only upon request. Sounds like a good practice for all restaurants to follow.

The low bid that wasn’t the low bid

Due to “technical errors” in the two low bids for the Los Osos sewer treatment plant, the county Board of Supervisors went with a bid that was nearly $2 million higher. Ouch! But wait, it gets worse: One of the low bidders would have subcontracted with a local electrical company, and that would have meant approximately 50,000 hours of work for Central Coast residents. Double ouch!

The county could have started the bidding process over, though that would have delayed construction and could have resulted in even higher bids. We’ll save the Monday morning quarterbacking for after the Super Bowl, but let’s just say we wouldn’t have grumbled too loudly if the board had opted to take its chances and rebid the project.

Ordinarily, we’d be inclined to toss a poorly played brickbat or two over this disappointing turn of events, but we understand that technical errors happen. So we’ll hold on to the brickbats for now and offer the successful bidder, Auburn Constructors of Sacramento, a game-winning bouquet if it follows through on an offer to hire some local workers for the project.