Signs' origin remains a mystery in Oakdale Irrigation election

Somebody doesn't appreciate Frank Clark.

There's really no other way to explain those road signs popping up around Oakdale and Knights Ferry.

The message on the sign is unmistakable:

A large red circle with a slash through it is centered over Clark's name. Above and below the international symbol for "No" are these words -- "No SF Water Sales" and "No More Broken Promises."

Clark, who is seeking re-election to the Division 1 position on the Oakdale Irrigation District board of directors, can't say for sure who's responsible for creating the signs.

But he has his suspicions.

"I wish I could tell you who's responsible for them and why, but I can't," Clark said. "I don't know for sure. This kind of stuff has been going on around here for 20 years. There's a small group of people who don't like the district."

As to who specifically posted the signs, Clark said Wednesday that he wouldn't be surprised if they had something to do with a group of Knights Ferry farmers who are angry with the district.

Clark said the farmers are taking OID to court in an effort to stop the district from shutting off their irrigation water.

Richard Sylvester, the man trying to unseat Clark this fall, said neither he nor his campaign have had anything to do with the signs.

"I know nothing about them," Sylvester said. "If someone's spending their own money on them, more power to them. I am appreciative."

Sylvester, a retired aircraft mechanic and chairman of the Oakdale Airport Commission, said he believes Clark wants to sell a portion of the district's water supply to San Francisco or other willing buyers.

Clark says he opposes selling water to San Francisco.

But he supports development of a regional water plan that would include the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts.

Such a plan, Clark said, would enable the three districts to readily move back and forth between them -- providing flexibility that could prove invaluable during a drought.

Clark says he's not losing sleep over the signs targeting him.

"They're so nonsensical," he said, "it's just not worth worrying about."

Bee staff writer Michael G. Mooney can be reached at mmooney@modbee.com or 578-2384.