Thumbs up: A victory for hometown media
Going into last week, Santa Rosa city officials recommended pulling funding for the Community Media Center of the North Bay and bringing many of its functions, including broadcasting City Council meetings, in house. That would have forced the closure of the 17-year-old media center next to Santa Rosa High School. But the City Council would have none of it on Tuesday night, encouraging staff to instead come back with a plan that would keep the center open and ensure the continuation of public access programming.
Granted, many changes have occurred in the past two decades in terms of local video production. But it's disappointing that with the hundreds of channels now available on cable TV, few offer local programming. We don't know what the long-term solution is. But we know that killing the media center and expanding the workforce at City Hall to take over its functions is not the answer.
Thumbs down: Hurry up and wait
The national Boy Scouts organization satisfied no one with its non-decision Wednesday on ending the exclusion of gay youngsters from its ranks and gay adults from leadership positions.
Citing "the complexity of this issue," Scouting leaders said they weren't prepared to act on a proposal to allow local troops to decide for themselves.
In our eyes, the issue is straightforward. Studies have repeatedly shown that there isn't any link between sexual orientation and pedophilia, so excluding gays doesn't advance the goal of protecting children from predators. That's why many troops already ignore the ban. Recognizing that would be a small step toward inclusion. Waiting only fuels needless controversy.
Thumbs down: One power outage explained
It came five days late, but officials in New Orleans finally pinpointed the source of the 34-minute power outage at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. The culprit was a device that had been installed in 2011 — to prevent power outages during the Super Bowl. The relay was part of an upgrade needed in preparation for the championship football game. Apparently there was no device installed to prevent a blackout of the device that prevents blackouts. Still unexplained is why the public was left in the dark so long about the source of the blackout. Not that true Niner fans care all that much. They're still looking for an explanation for their own team's power outage for much of the first half. That investigation is ongoing.
Thumbs up: Return of the regatta
After a two-year hiatus, handcar races will return to Santa Rosa's Railroad Square in August. During a four-year run starting in 2007, the Great Handcar Regatta drew large and lively crowds for a summer street fair that blended science fiction and nostalgia.
Ty Jones, a West End resident who co-founded the regatta, is working with city officials and SMART to set a date for the new festival, called "Dr. E.P. Kitty's Wunderkammer, Featuring the Great Sonoma Handcar Races."
Don't miss it. With construction scheduled for rail platforms and track upgrades needed to get SMART up and running, this may be the last year for handcar races in Railroad Square.