PD Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down
Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.
Making sure the story gets told
After getting brushed off by school officials, a team of student journalists at Casa Grande High in Petaluma rose to the challenge.
Keeley Chism, Mara Paley and Maggie Pearce asked Kenilworth Junior High's principal for copies of letters and emails received after female students were called to an assembly and told they couldn't wear leggings and tight pants because male students got too aroused. School officials said no, even though the correspondence is indisputably a public record. The reporters confirmed that they were legally entitled to the records and filed a formal request with the Petaluma school district. District officials grumbled, but they are providing the correspondence to the Gaucho Gazette.
A thumbs up for the young journalists — and a thumbs down for school officials who tried to bury the news.
Playing politics at the IRS
Memo to the Internal Revenue Service: Politics has no place in tax collections.
On Friday, the agency acknowledged that conservative political groups — organizations with the words “patriot” and “tea party” in their names — received special scrutiny from the IRS division that reviews applications for tax-exempt status. IRS officials insist the reviews weren't motivated by partisan concerns. OK, it was just a case of spectacular incompentence.
Does anyone feel better? Thumbs down.
One gets praise the other the hook
We are not necessarily opposed to the Santa Rosa City Council's decision last week to approve a scaled-down version of what developer Hugh Futrell is proposing for the former AT&T building at Old Courthouse Square. After all, redevelopment no longer exists as a tool for cities to use to get projects they want. We just give the council a thumbs-down for consistency. Last month, the council was faced with a project that also had been decimated by the loss of redevelopment. But in the case of San Francisco developer John Stewart, who invested $7 million in cleaning up a former cannery site at Railroad Square to get it ready for a mixed-used project, the council gave it the hook. The twist? At least Stewart was offering housing, albeit low-income senior housing. Futrell has now cut out all housing from his project. Remember, this is a building the city bought for $3 million and sold for $1.9 million. Someone remind us, what was the city hoping to get in return? Oh yeah, mixed use. Call us mixed on this one.
A different kind of budget season
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to deliver the May revise — the annual update of state finances that drives final decisions on the budget. Between a slowly improving economy and voter-approved tax increases, Brown is expected to announce that revenue is running about $4.5 billion ahead of projections. The primary beneficiary will be public schools, which are guaranteed a hefty portion of any windfall. There's pressure building to restore deficit-driven cuts to mental health and social service programs. To their credit, Brown and legislative leaders say they will be cautious about spending. But wouldn't this be a good year to start a rainy-day reserve?