Visiting Editors: Doing some research before you vote is important

June 28, 2014 

  • Visiting Editors

    The Bee invites up to three community members per quarter to join our Editorial Board as participating members. They are asked to attend weekly meetings and provide at least two editorial opinions during their three-month tenure. The Bee will publish an invitation to submit application for the 2015 visiting editorships in September. For more information, contact Opinions Page Editor Mike Dunbar at or call (209) 578-2325.

Visiting editors get great access

As a visiting editor on The Modesto Bee’s Editorial Board, I have had the honor of sitting in on some of the most thought-provoking interviews and discussions. I have been able to question the governor of our state on his Strategic Growth Council initiatives; I prodded a former U.S. Secretary of Transportation about his views on high-speed rail, and I lifted my eyebrows as county supervisorial candidate Dave Lopez made some wild comments about Salida. I even formed an opinion about labels on sugary drinks.

I consider all this part of a process by which I was able to form positions on issues and candidates. Becoming educated on these and many other issues that came before the editorial board during my three-month tenure was incredibly important, and now I feel more prepared to vote.

Being prepared to vote is one of our responsibilities as a citizen. I am troubled by how many citizens vote without a diligent process of fact-finding. For instance, how many people voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger for the sole reason that they liked him in the “Terminator” movies? Did you know nearly 380,000 Californians voted for Leland Yee to be secretary of state even though the senator withdrew his name from consideration after federal gun-trafficking charges were filed against him?

Voting should never be about picking people or taking sides strictly because of familiar labels or ideology. Think of how much more our elected officials could get accomplished if we allowed them to vote, not along party lines, but on their own education, common sense and informed gut feelings.

Voting at all levels takes work. Do the research.

A city of great neighbors

Parks are part of any great neighborhood, but parks littered with trash or plagued with broken equipment and rundown restrooms are anything but great. That’s why we need to clean them up. “Modesto, a City of Great Neighbors” intends to spearhead that effort. This effort is a collaboration of existing and new neighborhood and community groups striving to improve Modesto.

In my previous column as a visiting editor, I called for cleaning up and improving our parks. Many Modestans reached out and asked how they could help. Others took steps on their own, such as creating an “Improve Modesto” Facebook page.

There are many examples of Modestans working together to improve our community. The “Love, Modesto” campaign has become a phenomenon, spreading to dozens of cities. The late Pete Bakker improved the Briggsmore entrance to Modesto with a brick archway. The downtown arch was restored through the vision of La Loma activist Michael Moradian. Tony Mistlin has donated statues and Mike Zagaris rallied support to save the State Theatre, creating a community gem.

Against all these examples, cleaning up our parks is a modest goal. But it is important for our neighborhoods and families.

Last Tuesday, the Modesto City Council approved a resolution supporting “Modesto, a City of Great Neighbors.” By acting together as Great Neighbors, we can improve Modesto. I will help conduct a kickoff meeting in my neighborhood on July 10. If you would like to do the same in your neighborhood, contact me on Facebook or call (209) 404-7795.

The Modesto Bee has provided me and others an opportunity to be visiting editors and spread the word about such projects. In that regard, it, too, is being a great neighbor.

Reeves is a Salida resident.

Grewal is a lifelong resident of Modesto and president of Grewal RE Holdings LLC.

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