We’ve never really thought of turning to Vito Chiesa for decorating advice, but perhaps we’ve been overlooking one of the Stanislaus County supervisor’s hidden talents.
Chiesa is among county leaders who want to beautify the view from Highway 99 through Stanislaus County – especially where it passes through Turlock, Ceres and Modesto. No doubt about it, those urban stretches of highway need all the help they can get. Leaders in Turlock and Modesto are in support, and so are we.
We’re less enthusiastic about how this is being approached – especially the cost of figuring out what to do.
Stanislaus Council of Governments director Carlos Yamzon is suggesting the cities and county put up $100,000 to study the problem. Modesto City Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer wants to pay for it out of the transportation tax that hasn’t yet been placed on the ballot.
In days gone by, that is exactly what we did. Identified a need, commissioned a study, put the solution up for bid and watched as the work got done. But that’s 20th-century thinking.
Shouldn’t we give something a little more 21st century a try? Why not crowdsource a solution? Put the problem (pictures of the blighted areas) on the county’s website and ask for suggestions on how to cure it, or at least cover it up? Landscapers, artists, even artistic farmers could contribute. Perhaps a truck driver or two would have an idea about what they would like to see.
We might not like any of the solutions, and then we could always turn to Plan B. But we might also be pleasantly surprised. It’s unlikely that Supervisor Chiesa is the only person in Stanislaus County with an artistic eye.
Beauty of almond blossoms
We understand the frustration people are feeling about thousands of almond trees being planted on land whose only source of water is underground. But it must be pointed out that hundreds of thousands of trees are being grown in irrigated orchards, with a secure source of water from Turlock, Modesto, Oakdale, South San Joaquin and other irrigation districts. The people who planted those trees and nurture the nuts are not villains. They’re both farmers and business owners who have carefully weighed the costs and benefits of sustainably growing nuts. And perhaps the only thing prettier than the blossoms is the greenery that arrives after harvest.
Find new ways to save water
We hope the state wasn’t surprised by the lack of water conservation in January. Back in December the state was delighted that water use fell 22 percent from the previous year. Unfortunately, there was only a 9 percent drop in January. The reason is obvious. It rained hard in December and almost not at all in January. The State Water Resources Control Board is talking about establishing statewide watering regulations, a good idea. We think a better idea comes from the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California. The Met combined with many south-state cities to pay people to remove lawns and replace them with drought-resistant landscaping. For before-and-after photos, go to http://socalwatersmart.com (click on Turf Removal).
Vaccines work, don’t delay
The death of an infant from whooping cough in San Joaquin County was tragic. The disease is in a cyclical epidemic that has reached 11,000 cases since it began late last year. The youngest are the most vulnerable. There is a vaccine for the disease, but it must be given to the mother while she is pregnant. A baby cannot be immunized until age 2. If you know a pregnant woman, urge her to be immunized.