Editorials

Strong, Martin vote for pot and compassion

Bravos and bouquets to Paso Robles City Councilmen Fred Strong and Steve Martin for having the courage to vote against banning mobile delivery of medical marijuana.

The proposed ban was presented by city staff as a “housekeeping measure” that would close a loophole allowing mobile sales within city limits.

Mayor Duane Picanco and Councilman Ed Steinbeck voted in favor of the ban, but because the final tally was 2-2 — Councilman John Hamon was absent — no action was taken.

We aren’t surprised by the attempt to ban medical marijuana deliveries — it’s been tried in other cities as well, including San Luis Obispo — but we are disappointed that some Paso leaders were so ready to ignore the wishes of California voters, who easily approved the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, as well as city residents who have a legitimate need for the drug.

For example, the mayor’s suggestion that patients could still buy marijuana on the black market if a ban were in effect defies all logic. Would the mayor really prefer illegal drug trafficking to delivery services operating in the open? And does he want to turn sick people into petty criminals?

Unless there is strong evidence that medical marijuana deliveries are inciting a crime wave in Paso Robles — and no such evidence was presented at the council meeting — the city should let them be.

Generosity in a time of drought

We’re serving bouquets of generosity with a dash of kindness to avocado farmer Rick Sauerwein and the volunteers of GleanSLO, who have teamed up to provide a few thousand pounds of fresh avocados to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.

Due to the drought, Sauerwein decided to cut back more than 850 avocado trees on his Morro Bay ranch. Because the undersized fruit from the trees wasn’t marketable, he invited GleanSlo to salvage the crop for the Food Bank. GleanSlo expected to harvest 3,000 pounds of avocados, which will be distributed, via the Food Bank, to various organizations that help needy residents of SLO County.

Comeback attempt raises eyebrows

Here’s a jaw-dropper: Lonnie Curtis, the former Oceano Community Services District GM who was fired after just five months, is now running for election to the same board that terminated him. (The Oceano CSD is now managed by Paavo Ogren, the former county public works director.)

The exact reason for Curtis’ firing was never revealed, though during his brief tenure as general manager, he was suspected of plagiarizing a writing sample for his job application; violating California’s open meeting law; and overcharging residents for district services.

“Everything is in a tangle — our minutes, our agenda, our rules and policies and even our goals,” one board member said following Curtis’ termination.

Sounds like Curtis burned more than a few bridges, but in love and politics, surprises abound. After all, who would have thought disgraced state Sen. Leland Yee would win 300,000 votes for secretary of state after he was accused of gun running?

Still, sounds like Curtis faces an uphill battle — and he looks to be the odds-on favorite to win a brickbat for Oddest Attempt at a Political Comeback in SLO County.

Team Joseph champions good cause

We toss a big bouquet of water lilies to “Team Joseph” and to the trio of Cal Poly students who designed a floatation device that will allow Joseph Cornelius, a 20-year-old Los Osos resident with cerebral palsy, to fully participate in Sunday’s SLO Triathlon.

Joseph and his father, John, have competed in many short- and long-distance running events — John pushes Joseph’s wheelchair — but they have never been able to complete a triathlon together due to the swimming component. Thanks to development of a raft-like device called an Aquabullet, that’s no longer the case. Joseph can lie atop the “bullet” that’s attached via a harness to his father, who swims in front of Joseph. It’s a great invention — one that could potentially help many others as well.

We wish Team Joseph — and all the Triathletes competing on Sunday — the best of luck.

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