The grand jury has become the de facto overseer of Sanger politics ...
Only .0636 percent of the residents of Sanger attended a well publicized State of the City presentation by mayor Frank Gonzalez on Tuesday evening.
That miniscule percentage is based on only 16 people, not counting city staff, elected officials and media representatives out of an estimated population of 25,161 showing up for the meeting.
Hizzoner's mom and dad, Delores and Rene Gonzalez, did their part to bolster the percentage. If they hadn't been there it would have been only .0556 percent.
There wasn't even a big enough crowd to make much of a dent in the several plates of cookies on a table in the lobby at city hall.
The sign on the front wall of the council chamber "MAX. OCCUPANCY 95" seemed to be mocking the ridiculously poor turnout of residents for an important presentation about what the city has done, what it's doing and what it plans to do for the health and welfare of its 25,161 residents, including the approximately 25,145 who stayed home Tuesday evening.
There could be no better - or worse - validation of my oft repeated contention that Sanger residents care more about potholes than politics than the poor turnout for the State of the City presentation.
Maybe if they cared at least a little more about politics there would be fewer potholes.
I have frequently mentioned a comment made to me by former Bee reporter George Hostetter at an awards presentation in Fresno.
It's very relevant to what happened Tuesday.
The Herald was being presented an investigative journalism award for a story about the goings on that prompted the scathing 2008-2009 grand jury investigation.
After the master of ceremonies read a summary of our story, George turned to me and asked, "How could the voters let something like that happen?"
I suspect it's because a majority of voters, maybe about 99 percent based on those who showed up at the State of the City presentation, don't know or care about what goes on at city hall as long as the Apaches keep winning and their toilets keep flushing.
In spite of the low turnout Gonzalez managed to deliver an upbeat 30 minute presentation filled with lots of facts and some undeserved praise for the political awareness and involvement of the majority of the citizens of Sanger.
No wonder the grand jury has come back to Sanger every other year for the past decade and has become the de facto overseer of Sanger politics.
The vocal minority, God bless them, who show up at almost every city council meeting to ask questions and vent about one thing or another don't seem to realize how little, if anything, they are accomplishing.
The only change for the better in voter awareness and participation will have to come about through organization and action. It will not happen because of entertaining and snarky comments at a city council meeting.
Don't get me wrong.
I love Sanger.
It's a great town with great people who love their Apaches and their pizzas and apparently couldn't care any less about the town's politics or politicians.
Sanger's elementary schools in the City of Sanger are going back to the way they were years ago before 6th graders were moved over to Washington Academic Middle School (WAMS) to join the 7th and 8th graders.
It's just a matter of time.
The school board gave the okay Tuesday evening to begin the process.
There are at least a couple of reasons for the change:
• WAMS has pretty much reached its capacity; and,
• Population growth in the district, outside the city of Sanger, has put lots of pressure on elementary schools that serve Fresno's southeast growth area and the area where the new education complex is being built off Jensen Avenue between Armstrong and Fowler avenues. Those 6th graders will have to be bused into Sanger where there's room to add a 6th grade to the city schools.
Population growth in the district is outpacing the district's ability to build new schools.
Hope to see you at the Blossom Trail Festival in downtown Sanger this Saturday!
"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.''
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