The dumbest cities in California? Five of them are in the San Joaquin Valley

By Ed Martin, Editor
The dumbest cities in California? Five of them are in the San Joaquin Valley

I know you’ve been kicking yourself wondering which of California’s 427 official cities are the 10 dumbest? Good news. Lemoore is not one of them, thanks in huge measure, I truly believe, to the very high percentage of Lemooreons who read The Leader on a regular basis, thus enhancing their ability to comprehend Donald Trump.

However, six of our Valley neighbors, including a couple within spitting distance of Lemoore, unfortunately, earned spots in the top 10, and none of them is named Trumpville.

What list? Well, if you haven’t noticed, the Internet seems to have a strangle hold on all manner of information (good and bad), including numerous facts that when compiled by the proper website, can determine what constitutes a dumb or smart city?

I discovered RoadSnacks while perusing the online newspapers in my routine daily effort to make myself smarter (yes, it takes a daily effort). Almost every morning, while sipping my coffee and sneaking an occasional glance at CNN, I read (mostly look at the pictures) The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Fresno Bee, and the San Francisco Chronicle via my IPad.

The dumbest and the the smartest?

 It was on The Chronicle’s website that I discovered RoadSnacks, which is somewhat of a light-hearted info-tainment website that scrounges the web looking for interesting tidbits or information, and then compiles often humorous lists based on that information. According to its website, it gathers its information from facts and resources on the internet, and in its most recent list, RoadSnacks list of dumb cities was based on the following criteria:

  • percentage of city’s population with less than a high school education, and …
  • percentage of high school drop outs (ages 16-19).

RoadSnacks looked at cities with populations greater than 5,000, leaving it with 427 cities in California to rank, and while dropout rates and lack of a high school diploma may not necessarily be the best indicator of a city’s intelligence quota, it is certainly fun to read.

The bad news. Unfortunately for the Valley, and its apparent lack of rocket scientists, astronauts, or nuclear physicists, the dumbest city, according to RoadSnacks, (and I want to make it clear that I had nothing to do with compiling this list) is our neighbor to the west, Huron, with a population of 6,777. A majority of Huronians, 72.9 percent of them, according to the website, don’t have high school diplomas. The high school dropout rate is 15 percent, which might explain why Huron’s chess team has never won a match.

No. 2 on the list are our friends from Avenal, in Kings County, where 54.4 percent of adults don’t seem to have earned a high school diploma, and the high school dropout rate is whopping 24.7 percent. Ouch! Were Avenal Prison’s 3,000 guests considered in the fact-finding?

Our fair town of Lemoore is in fact ranked, but nowhere near the top 10 in California. Instead Lemooreons, with a population of 24,788, can be proud that we’re No. 116 out of 427 ranked cities in California. Only 16.5 percent of our adults don’t have high school diplomas and a paltry 6.4 percent drop out early.

The remaining dumbest cities:

  • 3. King City – 56.2 percent with a high school diploma and 20.2 percent dropout rate
  • 4. Greenfield – 50.3 percent without a high school diploma and 25.8 percent dropout rate
  • 5. Mendota – 66.5 percent without a diploma and a 14.5 percent dropout rate
  • 6. Arvin – 65.5 percent without a diploma and a 11.4 percent dropout rate
  • 7. Wasco – 49.7 percent without a diploma and an 18.9 percent dropout rate
  • 8. Lindsay – 52.6 percent without a diploma and an 11.3 percent dropout rate
  • 9. Hawaiian Gardens – 43 percent without a diploma and a 25.6 percent dropout rate
  • 10. Bell –  54.7 percent without a diploma and a 9.6 percent dropout rate.

To be fair, RoadSnacks also listed the 10 smartest cities, and again Lemoore failed to make the top 10 in that list as well, but unfortunately not a single Valley community earned “smartest” city honors. Well, maybe next year.

For the record, according to RoadSnacks, the smartest city in California is Los Gatos. Go figure, that’s where all the rocket scientists, astronauts, nuclear physicists, computer nerds, and used-car salesmen live.

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