Some stories hit on a visceral level.
A vandal’s wanton rampage through a hallowed and historic Sonora cemetery or the unconscionable neglect that left a Copperopolis couple’s horses filthy, malnourished and sick, both in the headlines this week, are among them.
We don’t step back and objectively appraise stories like these, slowly forming opinions.
Instead, our reactions are immediate, emotional and powerful: disbelief, revulsion, outrage. Our stomachs turn and blood rushes to our heads as we struggle — and fail — to make sense of what we just read.
The all-pervasive nature of the ongoing recession and ever-worsening state budget crisis is evidenced by Sonora’s fate.
Historically, the city has been like Switzerland, a fiscal rock seemingly immune to the financial winds that have buffeted the counties, schools and special districts around it. City government has been responsible, conservative and solvent. Look at a graph mapping past municipal income and expenditures, and there’s either no gap or there’s daylight in the form of annual surpluses.
Constituents, in fact, have so trusted the Sonora City Council and staff that they in 2004 voted in a sales tax hike to bolster police and fire protection. And last year, they approved an increase in the city’s hotel-motel tax.
That was the most startling statistic to emerge from last week’s Sonora High School Board discussion on student cell phone use.
That, said junior Luke Houghton, is the percentage of students who violate a school rule against texting or otherwise using a cell phone in class. In other words, he said, everybody flouts the rule.
Houghton should know: He’s the student representative on the school board.
“It may be an enforcement issue,” Houghton understated.
It also shows that Trustee Ed Clinite’s concern that using cell phones might be “distracting” to students is more than justified.
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