Another glorious weekend, and despite a suggestion of rain — in June, really? — we have our regular Saturday job of doling out roses to the winners and raspberries to the others.

It is customary to bestow roses here at the start because, well, being positive about most things is just our general attitude about life here in paradise.

But we break that trend today, with a bucket of sour raspberries to the Lompoc City Council for not embracing the will of the majority of people who have spoken for putting a 1 percent sales tax increase on the ballot and letting the public decide whether they want to shore up the city's financial woes.

We understand the position of council members Jim Mosby, Victor Vega and Dirk Starbuck, who melded for a 3-2 vote in favor a city budget laden with slicing and dicing, including the elimination of several city jobs.

Lompoc Finance Director Dean Albro said that building a budget dependent on the sales tax could leave the city facing a $700,000 deficit if the tax measure is not approved by voters and the city is required to approve a budget by the end of the fiscal year.

However, Lompoc residents have spoken, rather loudly, about their preference for approving a sales tax increase to resolve the deficit problems. We say pass a budget, but put the tax to a vote of the people and fill those positions if it passes.

Let the electorate decide. It’s not exactly rocket science.


OK, enough with the sour fruit. Back to the beautifully-scented flowers.

Roses to the decision-makers at Cabrillo High School who created the annual Bite of Reality program for graduating seniors. This year the program involves a crash course in financial planning.

Participating students are submersed in an interactive financial simulation as part of the one-day program, which was held a couple of weeks ago at the school in partnership with CoastHills Credit Union and 18 other community volunteers.

The need for such instruction is pretty evident — the loan debt for college students nationwide has reached a staggering $1.5 trillion, and it’s a burden that is dragging a lot of young workers down.

In fact, financial planning and money management should be among the basic core disciplines taught in every high school. It’s a skill a person will need, and use for a lifetime.


How about it kids, are you ready for college?

We’re not speaking to graduating high school seniors, but to those still in the local K-12 schools, who once again have an opportunity for some summer fun at Allan Hancock College’s Community Education Program.

It’s called College for Kids, which offers an array of youth classes, from the arts to sewing, and a lot more in between.

There’s also a taste of academia at College for Kids, in case your youngsters didn’t get enough of that during the regular school year. The program runs June 10 through Aug. 10, and will offer science, chemistry and math courses. The classes will meet Monday through Saturday.

Registration is open now, and admission forms are available online at hancockcollege.edu/communityeducation. Registration can also be completed in person at Hancock’s Community Education building. Call (805) 922-6966, ext. 3209, for more information.

Roses to the adults involved, who clearly recognize the benefits of keeping young minds occupied — and learning — when regular school is out for the summer.

There’s another important reason we bring the College for Kids program to the public’s attention. It’s a way to remind all adults, and especially those who drive regularly on the streets in our communities, that when the smaller ones are on vacation they can be rambunctious, having fun and ignoring some of the commonsense rules about personal safety.

We are talking specifically about kids who randomly dart out into the street, maybe chasing an errant soccer ball. Be the person who watches out for such things — and earn a rose.

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