School district kicks up its heels with a new effort; the city
spent how much on water pipe investigation?; and the mural under
the bridge is a beauty
The following organizations and individuals deserve either CHEERS or JEERS this week:

CHEERS: For the walk-to-school event coordinated by the Gilroy Unified School District. There are so many benefits to “changing the culture” in our community with regards to walking to school. Besides the obvious health benefits, there are so many positives that could come from a wholesale change from the estimated 78 percent of students who are currently being driven to school. Less traffic, reduced pollution, wasted time in line, more time for social interaction between students and less stress for frustrated drivers are just a few. If 78 percent of students were walking to school, drivers would also likely be more careful around town. Hopefully, this jump starts a real trend.

JEERS: For the figure quoted by City Manager Jay Baksa with regard to the city’s “investigation” of whether $1.4 million in water funds were misspent by the city. Baksa told reporter Chris Bone it cost the city between $10,000 and $15,000 to look into the matter. That’s as outrageous as the city’s new pay policy for exempt employees – especially for something that Baksa dismissed out of hand from the get-go. Unfortunately, the city’s response became as political as the initial allegation.

CHEERS: For the Gilroy Unified School District’s switch to the online communication program, School Loop, for Gilroy High students. A full 80 percent of students are using it to check homework, grades and assignments. Think about that, 80 percent of students have incorporated it into their digital lives. Coupled with rave reviews from parents and teachers, it’s a very powerful endorsement.

JEERS: For the $4.2 million county budget deficit. Voters will be surveyed in the coming weeks about a possible ballot measure that would trigger a sales tax increase to bolster the county budget. Meanwhile, the bloated, poorly managed and out-of-control Santa Clara Valley Water District is awash in funds. That’s hardly just.

CHEERS: For the beautiful new mural under the Luchessa Bridge along the Uvas Creek Levee trail. Local artist Sheryl Cathers has created a serene and visionary depiction of life in Gilroy. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a walk, a bike ride or a roller blade trek on the wildly popular levee trail. The city’s growing support for public art is also most welcome.

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