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No Merit Badge for BSA

Boy Scouts Marching to Beat of the Wrong Drum


SHOPPING GREEN: I strolled through Carpinteria’s revamped, expanded, bright-and-shiny mega-Albertsons and actually had fun shopping. It’s green and not just the produce.

It’s the best supermarket on the South Coast for my money, the pride of a town with fewer than 14,000 people. There’s a grand opening Saturday from 10 a.m., so you can see for yourself.

The Boy Scout leadership, by contrast, is on the wrong side of history, a smudged showcase of bigotry. Run not surprisingly from Texas, it’s lost its moral compass and has become a quasi-religious organization, dominated by anti-gay Mormons and Catholics. Atheists, agnostics, and the like can go play in the freeway for all the Scouts care.

Barney Brantingham

BSA is out of step with the times, marching to the beat of the wrong drum. Maybe the smart people who put a 2012 face on Albertsons could be asked to do the same for the Scouts.

Or enlist the Girl Scouts to do the job. They seem to have found it as American as apple pie not to exclude gays or lesbians.

As Troop 743 scouts in Chicago many camping seasons ago, my brother and I met in a church, but no one asked if we were gay or believed in God. (He did, I didn’t, and which God would that be, anyway?)

Our pack sponsor was one kid’s mother, and no one asked about her sexual orientation. Yet the Scouts of today forced Jennifer Tyrrell to resign as a den mother in Ohio because she is a lesbian. More than 300,000 people signed a petition urging that she be reinstated. That’ll happen when Wall Street goes nonprofit.

Also waiting for the change of heart is Zach Wahls, a 20-year-old Eagle Scout in Iowa, with two lesbian moms. I’m not sure why Scout management fears gay scouts so much when what they should be concerned about are pedophile scout leaders. In a Santa Barbara case involving molestation of a 13-year-old Scout by an adult volunteer, the family’s attorneys seek access to thousands of secret BSA so-called molestation “perversion files.” BSA is appealing a Santa Barbara judge’s order allowing access, claiming that the files are irrelevant.

But the world has a way of turning. The Scouts will come around some day this century. I watched the civil rights movements change laws and hearts. Call me a cockeyed optimist, as the song goes.

Meanwhile, back at Albertsons in Carpinteria, everything’s up to date. A woman I know hated to shop at the old Albertsons. “It was dark. Now there’s a huge difference. It doesn’t look anything like the way it used to look.”

I found accountant Amanda Hartley in back, answering phones ringing off the hook. “We’ve gone completely green,” she said. “All of our lighting is LED, and it’s lowered our energy costs tremendously,” with help from the 45 new skylights.

The store also boasts the nation’s first low-carbon ammonia refrigeration system. All refrigerator cases have glass doors instead of being open-air, another energy-saving measure. A full-service pharmacy has opened. The store has been enlarged to 29,900 square feet. There are lobsters in tanks. There is free Wi-Fi next to the flower stand.

The store is bagless, of course. Bring your own, and we did. “We grill our own tri-tip,” Amanda pointed out. “We’re going to make potting soil from composted waste.”

There are tempting help-yourself food stations scattered around, offering everything from ribs to cheeses. In one corner, Victoria Ramilo was displaying a case of store-made sushi in packages. “We make sushi every day, fresh.” Made to order if you ask.

Albertsons is spending millions to become a true leader. It gets my merit badge.

CLARK’S MILLIONS: The fate of the late Huguette Clark’s hilltop mansion above East Cabrillo Boulevard remains in will-battle limbo, but hedge-fund whiz kid Boaz Weinstein has snapped up one of Clark’s Fifth Avenue apartments for $25.5 million, $1.5 mil above the listing price.

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