Sunday, May 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on June 6th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 14

What stinks?

My momma bird taught me to not count canaries before they hatch, which is unfortunately where I'm at with the June 5 election results.

A weekly paper's deadlines aren't always convenient for this bird, but you can check out the results in the Sun's news section (page 4). I will have plenty of pithy things to say next week, trust me.

In the meantime, there's still lots to talk about right here in our lovely Santa Manure Valley, wait, I mean Santa Maria Valley!

I know, I know, that's a hurtful slur that Central Coasters from other towns hurl our way (I'm lookin' at you, Lompton), but maybe it hurts because it's true.

At least, that's what the Santa Barbara County grand jury found when it looked into what stinks in the city of Santa Maria (page 7). Turns out there are so many things that make the valley smelly that it's unclear who locals should complain to, and the city hasn't made it any easier for residents to know where to whine.

You smell cow shit? That's one agency. You smell human shit? That's another. Of course everyone can smell the difference, right?

For those of us who were hatched and raised in Santa Maria, it's just a part of lifeďż˝"Santa Maria has always stunk, so why the report now? Are there a bunch of NIMBY-types moving to town and whining to grand juries? Get over it!

It's pretty hilarious to me though that the city had an "odor complaints" page added to its website the same day the report came out, but even funnier is that page also blames some possible odors on a county flood control lake at Jim May Park.

That's a pretty solid "sorry, not sorry," followed by some classic "whataboutery" directed at the county. Maybe we stink because of you, Santa Barbara County! And your grand jury could use some deodorant too!

Santa Maria is pretty good at pointing the finger elsewhere, just ask the family of Veronica Perez, who was killed by a Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT) bus in April (page 8).

"We don't believe we're responsible for this," Assistant City Attorney Phil Sinco told us.

The city contracts out its not-so-public transportation to First Transit, a company based out of Ohio. So, SMAT bus drivers aren't even city employees.

The Sun reached out repeatedly to First Transit's main media line in Cincinnati, and heard nothing back. The city did hook us up with a local company contact, but they didn't call back before press time either.

I wish I could tell you what First Transit's standards were for vetting bus drivers, or if the driver responsible for the accident is still piloting a bus around town. But private companies don't feel accountable to the public or the press in the same way local governments do, especially when their headquarters are halfway across the country.

This sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the city's liability, but it sure stinks for locals who just want to go for a bike ride.

The Canary would rather fly. Send your thoughts to

Weekly Poll
How should the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District improve its A-G completion rates?

Align graduation requirements with university entrance requirements.
Ensure that students and parents are well aware of A-Gs and what they are before high school.
Improve support services and summer school classes for students who fall behind.
Completion rates are fine as is. Not everyone wants to go to a four-year college!

| Poll Results