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Saturdays are special, because for most working folks it’s the first day of a restful weekend.

Saturdays became extra-special for us several months ago when we embarked on our Roses & Raspberries editorials. Roses to our heroes, raspberries to people and things that aren’t, well, so heroic.

And we always start with roses, because they’re sweet, never sour and emblematic of good things.

In this case, we’re handing out red beauties to members of the Lompoc Valley Neighborhood Alliance, and to the two city officials the group honored last week who helped community members rid the city of some particularly irksome visual blight.

Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl and Police Chief Pat Walsh were honored for their efforts to persuade Union Pacific to finally clean up the ancient caboose that has been residing on the tracks in the 100 block of East Laurel Avenue.

The train car had been an eyesore for years, covered in graffiti, rust and other detritus — and it’s been that way since the 1980s. Some street taggers do artful work, but the caboose managed to evade the artistry.

Sometimes commerce moves at a snail’s pace, which apparently is what happened in Union Pacific’s handling of the derelict caboose. But thanks to the alliance members and those city officials, all is now right with the world and the community.

And we have to mention again that this is exactly how communities can collaborate on cleanup projects, large and small.

Now, about abandoned shopping carts …


We’ll do some pre-emptive rose bestowing to decision makers at the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department for setting up yet another special day for Santa Ynez Valley residents to safely get rid of hazardous household waste.

The big collection event will take place tomorrow at the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station, 4004 Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos.

Residents can bring their unwanted stuff from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eligible discards include common household items such as but not limited to automotive fluids, cleaners, paint, pesticides, computers, batteries, VCRs, DVD players and TVs and even old CDs, DVDs and video and cassette tapes. If it has a chemical warning label on it, chances are it qualifies to be deposited tomorrow.

Other items that can be dropped off include unwanted household medications and needles and syringes, which must be delivered in rigid, puncture-proof containers.

Even though they may be considered household hazards, tomorrow’s drop does not include narcotics or dangerous prescription meds.


Seems like today’s editorial is spending a lot of time in mid-county, so we’ll just keep the string going with a bushel of raspberries to the four remaining members of the Solvang City Council.

The recent resignation of Hans Duus left the council with a tie-vote-inducing four members, and the tie votes have been abundant, especially with regard to settling on a method of replacing Duus on the council. A series of 2-2 votes have left the fifth seat in limbo.

By state law, the council has until Oct. 27 to find a replacement. Making that deadline is looking less and less likely, because the divided council can’t even agree on times for special meetings to choose a selection method.

This can go one of three ways — name the runner-up to Duus in the most recent election, seek applications from the public and choose from that list, or hold a special election costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. The city’s agreed-upon method is to name the runner-up, but two council members refuse.

It’s a raspberry situation.