Cheers for World War II planes and vets; jeers to expensive gas

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Thumbs up: To the “Wings of Freedom” tour that brought an authentic World War II B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator to the Hollister Municipal Airport this week. Residents were able to hop in the cockpits, target the machine guns and inspect the equipment that the World War II generation used to beat back the Nazi threat. That generation, which did so much for our country and the world, is fading quickly into the history books, and the planes were a fitting tribute to their achievements during Veterans Memorial Month.

Thumbs down: For the decision by Anzar High School’s MEChA program to purchase a piñata resembling a blond girl to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. The piñata caused some grumbling, but it was an over-the-top letter talking about stereotypes written by the teacher who bought the piñata that really set some people off. A student organization at a public school should focus on bringing students closer together, not driving them apart. Granted, nobody wanted to exacerbate racial tensions at the school, however, the modern world is ultra-sensitive to issues such as these, and the organization’s adviser should have known better.

Thumbs up: For members of the Seniors Council of Santa Cruz and San Benito counties who hosted a “Spring into Health” fair in the Veterans Memorial Building for area seniors Thursday. Educating our seniors on health habits and providing free screenings is absolutely essential to ensuring our older generation is well cared for. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and who knows how many potential problems were identified for our elders.

Thumbs up: For county supervisors for their diligence in ensuring San Juan Oaks Country Club develops at an organized and well-planned pace. The county all but gave final approval to the 186 houses, 200-room hotel and golf course development expansion project this week, but they also made sure the project would benefit other residents of the county with a fire department the development will build, equip and dedicate land for. Considering Measure G failed by 69 percent of the popular vote, the county supervisors appear dedicated to allowing San Benito County to grow, but not at break-neck speed.

Thumbs down: Again, for rising gas prices that officials predict could reach $3 a gallon by the end of summer. If this trend continues, even Gov. Schwarzenegger will have to trade in his Hummer for a hybrid by August.

Thumbs up: For the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership San Benito County program that will educate 30 to 35 residents about the unique issues facing the area over the next year. Though the sign-up has just begun, the idea itself is a wonderful way to educate future leaders in our community and increase awareness of problems we are facing.

Thumbs up: For the more than 700 Cerra Vista students who strolled for money last week and raised $20,000 for school supplies and materials in the school’s fourth annual walk-a-thon. In years past, the money has paid for playground equipment, film projectors and P.E. equipment. And thumbs up to the 35 businesses that sponsored the event. That’s a huge bump up from four businesses the year before and shows how a tight-knit community can come through and help its kids.

Thumbs up: For District Attorney John Sarsfield, who made public an investigative report into alleged election abuses in the March County Supervisors race between Jaime De La Cruz and Bob Cruz. The merits of the accusations against De La Cruz and his campaign advisor Ignacio Velazquez still must be judged. But opening the report to all will allow the public to do just that. In something as important as an election that could be overturned, the community must know if this case is worth the time and effort being put into it.

To respond to this editorial or comment on this issue, please send or bring letters to Editor, Hollister Free Lance, 350 Sixth St., Hollister, Calif. 95023 or fax to 637-4104 or e-mail to [email protected]

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