The bad news is that Doug Boyack is hanging up his robe after nearly 20 years on the Tuolumne County Superior Court bench.
The good news is that Boyack is putting that robe back on almost every day, as a state-assigned judge filling his own vacancy. He’ll continue to do so until Gov. Jerry Brown appoints a permanent replacement, and that could be months or even a year away.
Even after that, Judge Boyack may fill in on occasion, both here and in counties around the state.
Yes, after two decades on the bench and another 14 as a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office, the 63-year-old jurist deserves a rest. But we’re happy he’s sticking around awhile longer, because this soft-spoken, thoughtful man seems ideally suited to the job.
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.
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