Another glorious weekend, despite the presence of on-again, off-again winter rain, and time to hand out roses and/or raspberries.

We begin with roses to all the North County newcomers to elected office, soon to learn the thrill of victory and the occasional agony of defeat. It’s all part of the game of politics.

Actually, it is far less of a roller-coaster ride here at the local level. The embarrassing missteps seem to be concentrated at the federal level.

Today’s roses go to Gilda Cordova and Dan Johnson, who this week were selected as City Council members in Lompoc and Solvang respectively.

Both newcomers assumed their council seats via appointment, filling vacancies caused by the former seat holders being elected to higher office.

Cordova’s real job is hotel operations, and she also serves on the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. However, she will soon discover that making public policy can be, and generally is very challenging — and not always popular with the governed.

Johnson in non-political life is an accountant, but he also is a former Solvang Planning Commission member, which gives him a solid foundation for the policy-making chores ahead.

Roses to both winners, and to all who dared toss their hats into the ring for public office.


We’ll stay with local politics for a moment, long enough to hand a bouquet to Santa Maria’s Steve Lavagnino who, as 5th District representative, will head up the county Board of Supervisors in 2019.

Steve and 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam carry the policy burden for North County residents, and it is often those two against the world on an elected body dominated by a South County majority. And they carry that burden quite well.

Keep up the good work, guys — and enjoy your roses.


OK, one more dip into the political pool — and raspberries to the Trump administration and every member of Congress, all of whom seem incapable of understanding that shutting down government hurts so many Americans.

We can understand their motivations. President Trump made a promise to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border and have Mexico pay the cost. That didn’t happen, so Trump essentially has backed himself into a corner.

The spineless behavior of congressional members is another matter. We can’t understand their reluctance to get all parts of the federal government back to work, for the workers’ and taxpayers’ sake.

Meanwhile, the deconstruction continues of a federal government that has served this nation well for two and a half centuries.


Finally today — and this is a first — we’re giving ourselves roses for doing our job.

The national news media has been under attack recently for doing its job, which is to report to readers and viewers what’s happening in their world. In our case specifically, the rose is for an exhaustive report on the city of Santa Maria’s finances.

That first in a series of reports appeared this week, explaining how members of the City Council overspent federal guidelines on various official trips, although elected officials managed to stay within budget.

Going over budget for hotel rates in places like Washington, D.C., is understandable, given the high costs in the nation’s Capital.

It’s not exactly Watergate or the Mueller investigation, but we feel such stories will keep readers — and taxpayers — better informed about how their tax dollars are being spent.

Complete, factual information is what citizens want, and that’s what we intend to deliver throughout the year. Think of it as a family member keeping track of the family’s budget.

And have a great weekend.

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