Thumbs up: Back to school days

Making good use of extra funding from voter-approved Proposition 30, the Santa Rosa Board of Education erased three furlough days from the calendar. Students and teachers in Sonoma County's largest school district will be in class on March 29, April 1 and April 29.

That's half of the six furlough days originally built into the calendar for 2012-13 as a hedge against midyear budget cuts, which were headed off by Proposition 30.

Next year, we trust the district will return to 180 instructional days. Eventually, we'd like to renew consideration of a longer school year for California students. In many industrialized countries, the school year is much longer. Perhaps that's why American students lag behind on some subjects.

Thumbs down: Separation of powers

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman and Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero may be candidates for a remedial class in constitutional law.

Allman belongs to a Texas-based group called the Constitutional Sheriff's and Police Officers Association. Some members vow to resist rather than enforce new gun laws. Allman recently hinted that he might do the same: "I certainly will defend the Second Amendment. But I'm not going to sit here and puff up my chest." How about a pledge to enforce the law, sheriff, while lobbying for any changes you consider necessary?

Rivero has been the source of numerous controversies during his brief tenure. The latest is his decision to take Lake County News off an email list for press releases. A lawsuit is pending, and the county is trying to settle. The Board of Supervisors, meanwhile, is drafting a media policy intended to ensure even-handedness. Will the sheriff comply?

Thumbs down: Council's needless haste

No one can accuse the Santa Rosa City Council of taking forever to fill its open seat. Even some council members were taken aback by the push to decide Monday evening after speed-dating their way through 15-minute interviews with 17 candidates, each of whom was asked to be available for a possible follow-up the next day.

At the end of the interviews, Councilwoman Julie Combs asked for more time to research the applicants. City Attorney Caroline Fowler said that would be inappropriate.

"I was executive director of a state agency previously, and I've done a hiring of staff," Combs said. "And I've never done a hiring of a staff member over a weekend with so little information."

Mayor Scott Bartley replied: "I hear you on that, but we're not hiring staff. We're appointing a peer."

"It's even more important, isn't it?" Combs asked.

"And it means we spent the weekend doing our homework," Bartley replied.

Less than five minutes later, the position was filled. No comments from the public, no need for anyone to come back.