PD Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

  • Pastor Diaz walks across the balcony of the Ruth Finley Person Theater, which is undergoing a remodel, in the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, in Santa Rosa, on June 21. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

THUMBS UP: In June, the sheriff of Lake County was ordered to pay the Lake County News $110,990 in attorney's fees for taking the online publication off its email list because, well, he didn't like what was being published. On Monday, Sheriff Frank Rivero had his hand slapped again, this time for trying to keep information from the Lakeport Police Department. A judge order Rivero to restore the police department's access to the county's computerized records and criminal histories so they can do their jobs. Rivero said he cut off access out of concern that officers were using the information in a possibly unlawful way. But his evidence was a little thin.

These are just the latest stories about the embattled sheriff. The county's Board of Supervisors have already called for Rivero to resign, but he has refused. His term is not set to expire until January 2015. Don't expect these kinds of stories to expire either.

A strike against rational thought?

THUMBS DOWN: Many people know that a BART strike has created commute nightmares throughout the immediate San Francisco Bay this week. But how many really understand what the workers are striking for? Here's what employees are demanding: a 23 percent pay raise over four years.

We like how the Contra Costa Times described it in a recent editorial: “They're already the top-paid transit system employees in the region and among the best in the nation. They also have free pensions, health care coverage for their entire family for just $92 a month and the same sweet medical insurance deal when they retire after just five years on the job.” Meanwhile, BART has a $142 million operating budget shortfall over the next 10 years and faces a $636 million shortfall in funds needed to meet pension and retiree health care obligations. The editorial's bottom line: “Their thinking remains completely divorced from reality.”

Sometimes there are worst things than a traffic jam — such as a settlement that leaves the public in a deeper financial jam.

Transformation of Wells Fargo center

THUMBS UP: There's been no shortage of attention given to the Green Music Center, new home of the Santa Rosa Symphony. But let's not overlook what's happening at the symphony's previous home — the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. The center, which has served this region's arts needs for more than 30 years, is undergoing its own facelift. Construction crews are working to complete a $2.8 million renovation of the Ruth Finley Person Theater in hopes of meeting an Aug. 14 deadline, in time for a Patti LaBelle concert two days later.

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