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Coming to the end of a very hectic week, we feel the need to hand out some roses, and a raspberry. First, the good stuff:

Roses to the 100 or so volunteers who turned out on Thursday to serve meals at the Central Coast Rescue Mission’s annual Thanksgiving banquet.

A hot meal wasn’t the only reason for homeless souls to gather at the Veterans Memorial Hall. During the event, blankets and sleeping bags were given to those in need — and many of them were in need, and sadly, will likely continue to be.

The Rescue Mission provides services to men and women who are living in poverty or struggling with substance-abuse problems. The Mission folks organize the meal each year with help from the community.

It sort of kicks off what we like to call the season of giving — as in, giving of your time and energy to help those in need. Not everyone has a postcard-perfect holiday season, but they can get at least some of it as kind-hearted men and women come forward with acts of charity.

As has become our habit, roses to the folks at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County for donating nearly a ton and a half of turkeys for the big event. As one diner said of the hosts:

“They are amazing. It’s not the first time they’ve fed me. I’ve been homeless for about a year, and about a couple months ago, I was hungry and they fed me … If everyone was like them, it’d be a beautiful town to live in, you know?”

Yes, we do.


Roses to everyone who took the time to vote last Tuesday. We’re going to need a bigger flower truck — the voter turnout was the largest ever for a mid-term election in Santa Barbara County.

County officials said about 155,000 cast ballots, which is 71 percent of the total number of registered voters. The previous high was 68 percent eight years ago.

Election fever washed over the nation, with more than 114 million voting in congressional races, compared with 83 million voters in 2014.

Big turnouts are important at the federal level, but they also help local candidates and ballot measures.

We truly believe it’s time to consider switching to an all-mail-in ballot, eliminating a lot of the costs of a traditional, at-the-polls process, and making voting just that much more appealing. A strong democracy requires lots of participation.

So, if you voted on Tuesday or earlier, a rose for you.


Finally, raspberries and punishing prison terms — or worse — for anyone who picks up a firearm and starts shooting into a crowd.

The latest mass shooting occurred close to home, in Thousand Oaks, where a former Marine killed 12 people, including himself, at a bar’s country music night event.

Among the dead was Telemachus Orfanos, a 27-year-old man who had survived the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert last year. He did not escape the hidden rage bursting into the open at the Thousand Oaks club.

The Las Vegas massacre killed 58, making it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, but only one in a growing string of mass shootings that are plaguing the United States.

There was a time when we would have bet we’d never say what we’re about to say, but that time is gone — mass shootings have become commonplace in our society.

Raspberries to all those responsible for putting every community in America in the running to become the next “Anywhere USA Strong.”

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