The Hollister Free Lance gave thumbs and down this week to the
THUMBS UP For Congressman Sam Farr and the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee. During a recent swing through town, Farr suggested that the county focus on the natural beauty of the area to draw in tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. It was a positive idea from Farr that focused attention on what the county has to offer rather than rehashing all the problems facing the local economy.

And the tourism committee is working hard to get the word out about the area’s wineries, historic ranches and trails for off-road enthusiasts. The committee is also partnering with a tourism organization that represents Monterey and Santa Cruz counties to market the area.

Using the stunning natural beauty and history of the area to lure people here to spend time, and money, is a great idea.

THUMBS UP For Hollister’s Sam Doty whose prize pig Atilla won him the highest award at the California state fair last week – the Supreme Grand Champion. The hours of work, months of feeding, and countless time spent grooming the 269-pound porker, didn’t only earn him the coveted title – he sold Atilla for $6,000. Nice work Sam, way to bring home the bacon!

THUMBS UP For the Hollister police department. Adding Sgt. James Weathers to the Detective Bureau a month ago has paid off, and officers are beginning to whittle down the backlog of 1,000 open cases. It was appalling that so many crimes were never investigated because the two-man department was so overwhelmed it had to perform triage on cases – working on the major problems, while the smaller ones sank to the bottom of the stack. While there is a lot of work left to do, police must have the man power to solve Hollister’s crimes, and it appears that Weathers and his team are making a dent.

THUMBS UP For a bill that, if passed, would make information about where sex offenders are living available to everyone on the Internet. As it is now, residents must go to the sheriff’s office to access this information. If the bill passes, California would join the 30 other states already posting locations online. In this day and age, parents deserve to know which, if any, of their neighbors could be potentially dangerous and this bill makes that information readily available.

THUMBS DOWN For price gouging phone contracts in place in county jails across the state, including San Benito County. Inmates are forced to make collect calls from the jail to their friends and family who pay the exorbitantly high rates from the unregulated industry. Many of the companies servicing the jails are out-of-state and offer big signing bonuses for the business – the Associated Press reported Los Angeles County received almost $17 million for signing its contract. How unfair to punish the families trying to support their loved ones when they need it the most.

THUMBS UP For the return of amateur boxing to Hollister. Sunday’s Box Off at South County Performance Cycles, put on by Bulldog Boxing Club owner Zeke Lopez, is a welcome addition to an otherwise slow afternoon. It’s been two years since local residents had the chance to see the best boxers in the area face off against other clubs. The event should provide ample entertainment for $10.

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

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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