By Emerson Drake
The Modesto Bee Editorial Board chose to endorse Stu Gilman, a known supporter of selling our water, and Janice Keating an outspoken election denier. Not only does Ms. Keating claim the 2020 nation wide election was fraudulent but she casts aspersions on our current local elections. And Nick Dokoozlian is a young political opportunist with no experience.
The overriding question should be, why is the Bee taking this course of action? None of their three endorsements for the MID Board makes any sense. They’re aware that Bill Lyons has been selling water the question there is how much of it was “mined” and how much of it was free from the sweetheart deals from the past. Mining water refers to using wells along side of a river. As we’ve shown before Bill has a canal running across his property. The Lyons’ deal with MID was to give them the land in exchange for free water going down the canal.
Land use attorney George Petrulakis was Stu’s ‘advisor’ in his last election for the nominal fee of $10,000. A large amount Stu wasn’t required to pay at the time. And large when you consider the Board on pays $1,000 a month. But Georges fingers don’t stop there. He’s been behind Janice Keating since she was on the Modesto City Council and ‘supported’ her in her failed bid for the Assembly when she lost to Kristin Olsen.
But all of this is just background when you consider Garth Stapley wrote articles showing Janice not only took money earmarked for advancing MID’s attempt at selling our water to San Francisco back in 2011, she also spoke publicly in favor of the sale at a MID Board meeting back then. So he was well aware of her inclinations to take money for providing her public support.
To make things even more interesting in 2011 Judy Sly, former Bee opinion page editor, came out in favor of the water sale. Now Judy was near retirement and looking for somewhere to spend the rest of her working days. Needless to say it’s been suggested she received some help getting a position with the County soon there after. For her supporting Modesto’s Chamber of Commerce concerns proved useful.
A concern with the water sale was that we had to sell the water to San Francisco in both wet years and dry years. The amount of water MID has access to is limited by rainfall, storage and by contract since we split the water with the farmers for irrigation. The smaller the pie (water) the less there is for everyone to eat or drink as in this case. Modesto needs the water to blend with our polluted ground water to make it drinkable. During the last drought we were running pretty lean in the water department. If the drought had gone another year the excrement would have hit the oscillating rotary device.
We were almost forced to laugh when the Bee Editorial Board suggested Stu would be the best one to lower our prices since the “City Boys” Stu, John, and Paul had been in charge for the last five years and didn’t bother to give residential electrical customers an even break. Yes, we’re still subsidizing big customers like Gallo and others by giving them below cost prices (Garth wrote this story too).
Is the Bee suggesting Stanislaus County elections are fraudulent and using Janice as a tool?
We certainly hope not. We had the opportunity to see the County’s election division in action under Donna Linder. Every single vote is tracked and verified (to explain the process completely would take another 2,000 words) leaving no room for any doubts or concerns. We can’t speak for other states or counties but Stanislaus County is definitely legit. Maybe if the Bees’ Editorial Board went to see the operation instead of endorsing failed retread politicians they would be more retrospect in their endorsements.
Nick Dokoozlian is a field rep for Supervisor Mani Grewal with no experience, well except for sucking up to Mani. To the best of my knowledge Nick hasn’t been to a MID meeting in person and we haven’t seen his name on line in zoom meetings. He’s articulate but even if you sound good you need to know what you’re talking about. I guess in Mani’s and Garth’s world that isn’t important. Influence is.
The Bee Editorial Board knew or should have known that MID has what they call discretionary money (that’s what they call the profits from residential electric ratepayers) shortfall compared to prior years and if they were doing their due diligence they would know this and it’s no surprise to most of us that the MID Board run by the ‘city boys’ has scheduled rate talks regarding rate hikes for the week AFTER the election.
We need people who have fought to keep our water in the Modesto Basin and have studied the situation not people who are just looking for somewhere to begin being a lifetime politician. If you want to make a difference in the way people will be treated by MID going forward you need to get out and vote for:
MID District 2: Frank Damrell
Mid District 3: Robert Frobose
Mid District 4: John Boer