Editorials

Taking out the trash at Pirate’s Cove

Trash is piled in the parking lot at Pirate’s Cove.
Trash is piled in the parking lot at Pirate’s Cove.

Let’s talk trash about Pirate’s Cove. More to the point, what’s up with the ugly mound of garbage spotted in the parking lot last weekend?

We asked County Parks and, as it turns out, a group of volunteers with the Whales Cave Conservancy picks up trash at Pirate’s Cove and schleps it to the parking area. County Parks then hauls away the garbage twice a month.

But why no garbage cans, we wondered?

County Parks says trash containers would fill up so quickly they would have to be emptied on a frequent basis — even daily — and the county just doesn’t have the staff for that. Besides, trash cans were among the proposed improvements to Pirate’s Cove that were nixed by the state Coastal Commission. Of course, if beachgoers simply took their trash home, there would be no need for garbage cans and it would make life a lot easier for volunteers who, by the way, earn bouquets of sweet-smelling gardenia and honeysuckle. As for those beachgoers too lazy or too inconsiderate or too whatever to haul their garbage, they get a pirate’s curse and a mound of brickbats swarming with flies and reeking of refuse.

Tiny town is a vision of SLO’s future

A bouquet of miniature roses is en route to Becky Jorgeson, who is working to establish a San Luis Obispo community of small, mobile housing units for homeless people. A prototype was recently on display at Home Depot; the small, attractive cabin contains a bed, a desk and closet. No bathroom — the idea being to cluster the small houses around a central common house that would include bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities. The nonprofit that Jorgeson founded, Hope’s Village, is trying to find about five acres in the San Luis Obispo area for the cluster of cabins. Ideally, Jorgeson is hoping someone will donate land or offer an inexpensive, long-term lease.

Many communities across the nation are turning to tiny house villages as one way to provide low-cost, permanent housing for homeless people. In Austin, Texas, for example, work is underway on a 27-acre village of tiny houses, teepees, trailers and other structures that will house 200 chronically homeless people.

Given the lack of affordable housing in San Luis Obispo, tiny houses may be just the right fit, and we applaud Jorgeson’s vision.

A new chance for 1st-time offenders

First-time offenders will soon have a chance to avoid having a petty crime — being drunk in public, for example — sully their clean slates.

Under a diversion program approved this week by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, eligible participants will be allowed to attend a one- or two-day class, similar to traffic school, rather than go to criminal court. If the class is successfully completed, acriminal case is never filed.

The program is only for those first-timers accused of misdemeanors such as petty theft, driving without a license, public intoxication, trespassing, assaults with no injuries or minor injuries and possession of small quantities of illegal drugs, excluding heroin.

The diversion program should help unclog the courts and, if Orange County’s experience is an indicator, reduce the likelihood that someone will reoffend. According to one study, Orange County had a 22 percent recidivism rate for first-time petty offenders before a similar diversion program started, compared to its current rate of just 6 percent.

On that basis alone, the program is worth trying in SLO County. We’re serving bouquets of paperwhite flowers on District Attorney Dan Dow and his staff.

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