We’ve always thought it odd that public libraries would be closed to the public at times when most of the working public is free to visit a library.

Odd, but necessary, given the up-and-down nature of municipal finances. When times are good and the tax revenue stream is flowing strong, public services stay in play. But there are downswings in every economy, and when the revenue stream is squeezed down to a trickle, a city’s services and programs take a hit.

Elected officials and city staff try to predict the swings, and they do a pretty good job, especially in Santa Maria, whose fiscal ship is sailing smoothly.

All of which has resulted in a decision to open the downtown Public Library on Sunday afternoons. Beginning Jan. 5, the library will be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Roses to the city’s decision makers for recognizing the value of a public library being open when working folks can take advantage of everything the library offers, which is an entire world of information and entertainment.

Maybe several bouquets of roses would be in order, given that the local library hasn’t had Sunday operating hours for nearly three-quarters of a century.

The rebirth of the Sunday hours is made possible via funds raised from the Measure U sales tax approved by voters last year.

Now, if only city officials could figure how to keep the library Sunday hours when the tax revenues fall off.


We usually have a favorable opinion of the personal finance website WalletHub’s analysis, but we have to say the number-crunchers earn a tub of raspberries for deciding that California is not a place for retirees.

The research covered 257 cities and towns, and Central Coast communities came out looking like gulags.

For example, when it comes to overall rankings as best places to retire, Santa Maria came in at a dismal 178th place, one spot better than Lompoc. Orcutt didn’t fair so well either, placing 166th.

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But get this — Gilroy, the garlic capital of the universe, was a glorious 38th best. Maybe WalletHub’s computers have been hosting some malicious malware.

Stockton was dead last, ranked 257 out of 257. Yeah, we can see that.

Santa Barbara was No. 1 in the concentration of museums, but 249th with regard to family and general practice physicians per capita — as were Santa Maria, Lompoc and Orcutt.

Let’s just agree to disagree.


Just about every North County resident understands that driving here comes with certain risks, depending on which routes you choose.

If you like those spectacular ocean views, you will choose Highway 101. If you like the backcountry’s hills and lake vistas, you go over the hill on Highway 154.

Spoiler alert: Highway 101 has wrong-way drivers. Highway 154 has the same, but without the median dividing traffic going in opposite directions. Bad crashes happen on both highways, which makes trips to South County and back a challenge.

But the Buellton California Highway Patrol division has beefed up patrols, and is using social media to get valuable intel from drivers using those highways.

Roses to the Buellton CHP officers doing what to us seems an impossible job, patrolling all 650 miles of roads in their jurisdiction. Roses also to the conscientious motorists who are paying close enough attention to the rules to alert the CHP when something isn’t right about what’s happening in the flow of traffic.

Here’s the deal for drivers — be prepared for just about anything, and if you spot a potential problem, contact the CHP, ASAP.

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