Roses & Raspberries: Opening world to everyone
Our View: Roses & Raspberries

Roses & Raspberries: Opening world to everyone

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The last time the Santa Maria Public Library was open on Sundays the nation was recovering from the Great Depression. In other words, about three-quarters of a century, or the typical lifespan of a modern American.

The long wait is now officially over, as the library will be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, thanks to Santa Maria having fully-engaged voters.

The new Sunday hours are courtesy of passage of Measure U, which provides a little extra sales tax to facilitate such community-centric things as opening a public library to the public when more members of the public can enjoy a library’s many benefits.

Not only did the Measure U funds allow the resurrection of Sunday hours, but they also allowed officials to expand regular weekday library hours. Now the library opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Roses to insightful voters who understand the value of enhanced community services, and to the city’s decision makers who carry through when the funding is made available.

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So, your teenager is now old enough to get a driver’s license and start driving the family chariot. How are your nerves, mom and dad?

The California High Patrol is once again offering its Smart Start driving classes for newly-licensed drivers in the 15- 20-year-old category. Classes start Monday, and you can still get enrolled by calling the Santa Maria CHP office, 805-349-8728.

It’s not just for the younger set. Parents and guardians can participate, and learn all about such things as collision-avoidance techniques, collision-causing factors, driver responsibilities and local vehicle crash trends.

If you are a frequent driver on local streets and highways, you understand the importance of programs like Start Smart. Roses to all who get it.

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Now that you’re thoroughly clued in on the new library hours and safe driving, how about some hands-on experience with democracy.

The Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters Office is seeking volunteers — a lot of them — to serve as poll workers for the March 3 presidential primary election.

We say “a lot” because the Elections Office operates 170 precincts countywide, and each polling place has one or more precinct boards composed of one inspector and two to four clerks. Each polling place also has a coordinator and often a traffic clerk.

Roses to all who volunteer, and if you complete the task, there’s more than aromatic flowers awaiting you. Volunteers who work at a polling place earn a stipend of $180 to $240 to attend training and for their service on election day.

Participation requirements include being a county resident, registered voter in California or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, and eligible to register to vote except for a lack of U.S. citizenship. To volunteer, complete the application at secure.countyofsb.org/care/elections/election-officer.

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Every coastal community needs its own, special beach, and Lompoc now has that in Surf Beach, which community leaders successfully lobbied to keep open year-round.

Now those citizens are campaigning on behalf of increasing recreational activities at Surf Beach and the adjacent estuary. If successful in this second phase, the beach could have a boat ramp again at Ocean Park estuary, which would encourage local fishermen to resume catching the big ones.

This is a glowing example of what happens when civic leaders get behind an idea and push to turn it into a reality. Roses to the community — and to those who appreciate the need to protect snowy plovers.

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