Our Views: Politicians are talking, and we’re listening

08/08/2014 5:47 PM

08/08/2014 6:21 PM

Our elected representatives have opinions on just about everything, frequently sharing them with The Bee’s editorial board via press releases. Some of those releases are serious, such as Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen’s impassioned plea for all parties to begin “working diligently over the next five days to negotiate a final (water) bond” that actually does something. Others are a bit fluffier. All of them include talking points, and we’re happy to pass them along ... with a talking point or two of our own.

• Last week we wrote about the intense battle to woo Tesla to Modesto or Stockton or Nevada or several other western states. Assemblyman Adam Gray apparently decided to go the extra mile. He drove over to Fremont to visit Tesla’s factory (the old NUMMI location). “We have the land, the work force and resources to bring the Gigafactory to the Central Valley,” he said. Gray was probably touting both the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater and the former Crows Landing Naval Station near Patterson. Wonder if he got in a test drive while he was there? ...
• Sen. Anthony Cannella is hosting a block party in Patterson today to welcome students back to school, starting at 9 a.m. in the downtown circle. He’s also using it to highlight his Safer School Zones legislation that would increase fines for anyone doing dangerous things in a school zone. Just say he’s making it more costly not to pay attention in school. ...
• Sen. Tom Berryhill is a co-author of the Republican alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown’s stripped-down water bond. Even as he submitted it, Berryhill showed a little frustration, saying: “We can’t continue talking this thing to death.” He’s right, and it appears the Republican version of the bond comes closer to the mark for building additional storage than the governor’s. Lets hope he and the others who drafted this bill aren’t drowned out by those who think we can create more water on the cheap. ...
• Back to Cannella: An engineer by training, he attended hearings on the Bay Bridge problems. After listening to Caltrans admit it should have been more open about welds and other problems plaguing construction, he turned the conversation toward home: “California must rebuild our aging infrastructure, most pressingly our water system which is over 50 years old. ... The problems with construction of the bridge greatly hinder our efforts ... by making it harder to convince voters to entrust the state with billions of dollars for additional construction projects.” If that’s true and disillusioned voters reject money for water infrastructure, then we can say that bridge helped create a desert.

He brought a college to the foothills

Harvey Rhodes was never really called Harvey. He was known as “Dusty” to his friends and family, but he was probably best known as the man who helped bring an affordable college experience to the foothills. Rhodes died Monday in Sonora at age 96. In the mid-1960s, he was tasked to help get the new Yosemite Community College District campus established. It probably didn’t help that it was going to be built in an official ghost town. But Rhodes did get it off the ground, and Columbia College now draws students from throughout the region to study a full range of disciplines, from anthropology to forestry to welding technology; it’s especially well known for its hospitality-management courses. Rhodes started his teaching career in Modesto after having served in the Navy during World War II and helping form the Central Valley Naval Reserve Unit. The things he helped get started apparently have a tendency to last.

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