Saturday Shorts: Counting down politics, music and education

June 21, 2013 

EC Graffiti Nites02

Modesto Band of Stanislaus County performs for an audience during MoBand Concert in early June.

ED CRISOSTOMO — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo

This week, by the numbers: On upcoming elections, high school graduates and the opening of the MoBand and wildfire season.

2: The number of challengers so far in the race for Stanislaus County Sheriff. Patterson Police Chief Tori Hughes is the most recent to take on Sheriff Adam Christianson. Also in the 2014 race is Stanislaus County deputy Tom Letras, a former Christianson supporter who later claimed the sheriff uses bully tactics and creates legal problems. Having more than one candidate for national, state and local offices is always good for the public.

8: The years it took for Modesto High School graduate Aaron Felish to receive his diploma. Felish, whose mother was ill with cancer, missed graduation with his classmates. He served four years in the Army and now attends college in Nevada. Modesto City Schools Superintendent Pam Able delivered his diploma during a trip to Las Vegas. We congratulate Aaron and wish him — and all graduates this year — all the best.

25: The percentage of building permit fees cut by Turlock to encourage more construction and development. Developers and consumers alike complain about the high cost of building permits. This sounds like a good option in a challenging economy.

72: The number of hours in print that Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen's proposed legislation ACA4 would require before a vote can be taken on proposed legislation. Her bill to increase transparency and eliminate last-minute, ride-along legislation likely would have prevented the scenario this week with SB71 and AB76. These last-minute additions to the state budget package would have effectively gutted the California Public Records Act, one of the pillars of government transparency. Fortunately, because of an immense public outcry, the Legislature and governor reversed positions.

78: The percentage of Modesto City Schools students who graduated on time in 2012. It's up 3 percent from 2010, but that means 22 percent either drop out or graduate late, a number that needs more improvement.

155: The number of musicians who showed up in the second week of June for the MoBand concert series. It's one of the highlights of the summer season in Modesto.

700: -plus The number of firefighters battling wildfires in Mariposa and Madera counties. Officials believe that the Carstens fire six miles northeast of Mariposa, which has scorched about 1,700 acres, started from a campfire. It's tragic when fires are caused by acts of nature; it's inexcusable when human carelessness sets off an inferno. Be extra vigilant while camping and traveling this summer.

27,400: The number of veterans living in Stanislaus County. The jobless rate among them is 20 to 25 percent. Stanislaus County Supervisors are considering building a veterans hall where vets could obtain help finding jobs and other services. It sounds like a good idea worth pursuing.

QUOTE

'The longer it lays in the sun, the more it smells, as they say about the mackerel'

— Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) on using procedural tactics to stall immigration reform

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