Meals — The donation of three Subarus for Meals on Wheels demonstrates what’s innately good about our community. First someone who did not want recognition donated $25,000 to go toward a lease on the three vehicles. Then, the owner of Sonora Ford and Subaru agreed to make up the difference on the cost of the lease. Sierra Senior Providers operates Meals on Wheels here and provides hundreds of meals every day to homebound residents. It’s a generous gift to an essential program.
Trash — Overflowing trash bins — whether they are for recycling or regular trash — are not a good look for a community seeking to impress visitors. The adage in business is a good idea with bad execution is no better than a bad idea. It won’t work. And that seems to be at play in this situation. It looks hip and modern for a community to have lots of prominent recycling cans along its main street. It says we care about the community. But when they are full of stuff that’s not recyclable and merchants and other residents have to empty them to get the stuff off the streets that is the definition of bad execution. Merchants are right to complain, and the city of Sonora should have cleaned it up long before the merchants had to bring it to their attention.
Homes — Another bad look for the city of Sonora is the Truckenmiller Road neighborhood where abandoned houses have become home to drug addicts and other squatters. This area was a forgotten wasteland until fire destroyed one of the houses and people who live nearby complained to City Hall. Mayor Connie Williams and representatives from the police and fire departments deserve praise for going out to see the situation. Now’s the time for action. The owners of the properties should be held accountable, and the city is the entity to get that done.
Choices — The people selected to consider the future of the Sonora Dome and Wildcat Ranch is heavily weighted toward those with some tie to Wildcat Ranch, the 138-acre property bought by Sonora High School in the 1980s. It once was a thriving farm, a place where high school students could absorb a bit of the region’s heritage. Budget cuts have rendered it virtually unused. Of the nine people on the committee, four have direct ties to the property. One has extensive background with the Dome, the former home of Sonora Elementary, now a deteriorating but majestic building on a hill overlooking downtown. The interests of four of the members are not as clear, such as a parent and the school district’s transportation director. Let’s hope this group can set aside preconceived notions and think creatively about what’s good for the community as a whole.
Angels Camp — The Calaveras County Grand Jury took a huge leap in recommending that discussions be held about dissolving a city of 107 years. To be sure, the grand jury reported on some financial problems within Angels Camp city government. But it must be noted these problems were discovered by city officials themselves months before the grand jury’s report. These same city officials took steps to correct some lax management. Again, this was well before the grand jury report was submitted. Also, the jury’s suggestion that no one is interested in running for office in Angels Camp seems unfounded. Grand juries provide valuable oversight to California communities, but this one took a wrong turn.