Cheers to the Santa Clara Valley Water District board and employees who recently negotiated new contracts that will save the agency $7.7 million over the life of the three-year contracts. Starting in April 2012, employees will contribute 15 percent of their health care premiums and pay an increase of 1.1 percent to 11 percent of contributions toward the California Public Employees Retirement System. And, new employees who start after Jan. 1 2012 will earn a rate of 2 percent of their salary for retirement plans, multiplied by their years of service at the age of 60. Current employees maintain the 2.5 percent at the age of 55. Employees will also lose a paid holiday, reducing them to 12 per year. Sick leave payouts upon retirement are capped at 480, with a 50 percent rate of the equivalent cash value.
Jeers to Wyatt Miller and his misguided “henchmen” associates for taking a sledgehammer and electric tools to the walls that surrounded the walk-in humidor Miller built in 1996 at what is now the Morgan Hill Cigar Company. Miller arrived Sunday to remove some of his property that remained after the shop’s sale a few years back to a group of local investors, but after the items were loaded, Miller and his crew began to destroy the walls that surrounded the humidor. That’s a cheap shot from a bitter man. Besides being an a slap in the face to his former customers who supported him, willfully destroying property that may in fact belong to the city since they now own the building, is an avenue to face legal proceedings in court.
Cheers to the Friends of the Gilroy Hot Springs, an advocacy group formed five years ago to lead the charge for the landmark’s rebirth in the 21st century. The springs that opened in 1866 have experienced a fluctuating relationship with the public, from a choice escape for the elite, to post-World War II hostel for resettling Japanese, to a decaying landmark nestled in the recesses of isolated overgrowth. Seeing it reborn would be a great asset to the community. The California Department of Parks and Recreation will host a Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs Public Forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the El Toro Room at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center at 17000 Monterey St. The meeting will include a briefing on the current use and situation of the springs, along with a public participation process to receive recommendations pertaining to the management of the springs.
Jeers for the very limited news provided by the management at Saint Louise Hospital regarding a possible forthcoming sales tax initiative that would support the hospital. Being up front with the community is the best way to approach such matters. Of course, it’s only a matter of time when telephone polling in our close-knit community evolves into a newspaper story. Being prepared to answer basic questions at that time goes a long way toward establishing credibility. That’s a far better tact than trying to control the situation when the word is already “on the street.”