Those ‘Balers Made Us Proud

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The following events, organizations and people deserve either a
Thumbs Up or a Thumbs Down this week:
THUMBS UP: The San Benito High School girls volleyball team’s season ended Tuesday night with a loss to undefeated Foothill High in the Northern California finals. The ‘Balers themselves are no doubt still stinging from the heartbreaking loss – they had built a two games to one lead in the championship match before a key player was sidelined with an injury – but our community feels nothing but pride in their performance this season. The team, which won the school’s first-ever Central Coast Section title in volleyball, gave us a great season, even though it ended just a little sooner than any of us would have preferred. Way to go, ‘Balers. We’re already looking forward to next year.

THUMBS DOWN: Just when it seemed that all of the nastiness of a particularly rough-and-tumble local election season was behind us, word came this week that San Benito’s civil and criminal grand juries will be investigating alleged irregularities in two races on the Nov. 7 ballot. One investigation involves the race for District 4 supervisor, in which a citizen reported that a voting machine would not allow him to cast his ballot for challenger Tracie Cone, who lost to incumbent Reb Monaco by just 60 votes. The other involves a school board race in which a disqualified candidate received 1,820 votes – certainly enough to affect the outcome of that election – after her name was supposed to have been removed from the ballot. The allegations are serious. Obviously, it’s essential that any suspected irregularities come under scrutiny and that these questions are answered. Voters must have confidence that the system works. It’s just that we were hoping, with election results scheduled to be certified this coming week, that we could all move along. Instead, we’ll be waiting until well into next year for the outcome of the grand jury investigations.

THUMBS UP: Thanks to all of the dedicated law enforcement officers who put in extra time over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to ensure our safety. Traditionally, our roads are choked with traffic over the long weekend, which is one of the most dangerous times of year for highway travel. Indeed, the traffic was as brutal as ever this year, but because of the extra enforcement effort by city police, county deputies and the California Highway Patrol, the number of accidents was down significantly.

THUMBS DOWN: As if this week’s below-freezing weather wasn’t enough to deal with – who chooses to live in California so they can scrape ice off their windshield in the morning? – we were treated on Wednesday to a little trembler. The 4.0 earthquake, centered between Hollister and San Juan Bautista, was the most powerful to strike the area between the San Andreas and Calaveras faults in at least six years, but caused no real damage. Even so, we think we’ve had quite enough for now of this shivering and shaking.

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