Ham Shirvani is a nationally known expert on building buildings, large and small. Apparently, he's not as good at building relationships. Or so it seems from the latest news out of North Dakota.
Some folks in the Peace Garden State are learning what many folks in Turlock found out long ago: Ham Shirvani is an acquired taste. And at least one politician wants to, uh, spit him out, according to an Associated Press story in Thursday's Bee.
There's no doubt that Shirvani did a lot to improve the California State University, Stanislaus, campus during his seven-year tenure as president. He increased donations, endowed chairs and spearheaded the building of a new science building.
But he also stepped on a few toes. He especially irritated faculty, who gave him a no-confidence vote in 2009. That was the same year the students whose views differed from that of the faculty successfully campaigned to have him named the CSU system's college president of the year.
Their enthusiasm was tempered later that year when the university came up for accreditation. While CSUS was fully accredited, the committee ordered a follow-up visit in 2011 and another in 2014 to review steps taken to improve faculty collaboration and communication.
Tony Grindberg, a Republican legislator from Fargo, apparently doesn't like Shirvani's communication style. Or much else about him. Grindberg wants to buy out Shirvani's contract at a cost of around $800,000. He didn't approve of Shirvani's plans for improving the university system, calling them grandiose. This is after only eight months in North Dakota.
This isn't meant to be impertinent, considering we live 1,500 miles away, but the first thing Shirvani should build are better relationships. Then he can work on the university.
Clinic a big improvement
Speaking of buildings, we're impressed with the new veterans outpatient clinic on Oakdale Road. The public was invited in for a tour Friday, getting their first look at a facility, which is nearly double the size of the old building. It will have 20 examination rooms and 44 staffers doing everything from blood pressure checks to hearing- aid repair. The new clinic officially opens Feb. 27.
Was it a banana shake?
Unless the public is being asked to pay for it, it's hard to understand why the mayor pro tem of Atwater would get upset over the price of a milkshake. Apparently, Craig Mooneyham didn't like what he was being charged last week. The discussion civil and controlled by his account, out of control and profane by others made the Sun-Star and The Bee. He says it's all politics. That might be true. That milkshake might very well have political costs, and they're likely to be much higher than whatever the person who made it was asking.
Keeping this candle alight
We were moved by the words of Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll at Tuesday's vigil for 19-year-old Tylor Crippen, who was killed in Creekside Park in late January.
Many at the vigil were holding candles in Tyler's memory. "The candles don't go out tonight," Carroll told the 100 who attended, "but they keep growing."
The saddest part is that there are so many for whom we could light candles. Marty Kent, a 17-year-old who was killed in west Modesto in early January, is among them. His senseless death will be remembered in "Marty's March" on March 16 at 11 a.m. at McHenry Bowl.
It could have been worse
Finally, Samuel Matos of Ceres should send the officers who responded to his home a thank-you note ... when he recovers from that gunshot wound. According to reports, Matos picked up a machete and threatened officers. They responded by pelting him with beanbags fired from a gun. That didn't work, so they shot him. He was struck once in the arm. Matos is lucky to be alive. Being threatened with any kind of weapon is scary. It must be extremely difficult for any peace officer to show restraint when facing an angry man with a large knife. We commend the Ceres officers for their restraint.
On the Maddy Report
This week's Maddy Report will be "School Finance Reform: Show Me the Money!" The program airs at 7 p.m. on KVPT, the Fresno-area PBS station, and is rebroadcast on the Cal Channel at 7:30 p.m. Mondays. It also is available at www.maddyinstitute.org. On Feb. 17, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon will be among the guests discussing school finance on KMJ (580 AM) at 9 a.m.