Cheers to the fresh air in Hollister; jeers to pulling a no-show at crucial budget hearings

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The following events, organizations and people deserved either a thumbs up or thumbs down this week.

Thumbs up: For the return of the annual San Benito Rodeo and Horse and Saddle Show. With 71 years of history, it’s nice to see an event that brings the community together still going strong. From riding in the parade to riding bulls, this weekend’s show promises to be another success of the continuing tradition. Yee-haw!

Thumbs down: For Councilman Brian Conroy who missed four of the five budget hearings the City Council has held to review department spending for the coming year. In the past, the councilman, who won’t seek re-election in November, has said he’s missed meetings because of career commitments. He’s also said his first priority is his family, second is his job and third is city business. With the city struggling financially, hashing out the budget must be a top priority for all elected officials. If you can’t juggle three balls, you might want to reconsider taking the stage, which he appears to have done.

Thumbs up: For the city sewer, which doesn’t smell as bad as in years past. The city and Utility Supervisor Mark Clifford also have reduced by half the number of wastewater backups and spills on the town’s streets. The city has been sanctioned for odor problems for the last seven years. This year, the city managed to clean up its act by creating a computer system to help prevent spills and installed aerators to cut down odors. The results are a breath of fresh air.

Thumbs up: For police and firefighters that want to give the city back the compensation time they accrued for working on the National Day of Mourning for former President Ronald Reagan. The move could mean $26,000 in savings for a city struggling with a large deficit. Not only is it a good faith gesture, it sets a good example for other city unions, which promised concessions to the city when the City Council voted against laying off 12 employees earlier this month.

Thumbs up: For a rapid-fire response by the California Department of Forestry in regards to a 30-acre wildfire Tuesday evening. CDF raced to the scene and attacked the blaze with numerous personnel and equipment. The fast reaction kept the inferno small and prevented a minor emergency from developing into a serious catastrophe.

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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