Jeff Jardine

Jeff Jardine: Which ‘farmer’ candidate wins the title for most local?

Incumbent Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, and challenger Michael Eggman, a Democrat, are vying for Denham’s 10th Congressional District seat, and their respective signs seem to indicate they are trying to out-local farmer each other as well.
Incumbent Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, and challenger Michael Eggman, a Democrat, are vying for Denham’s 10th Congressional District seat, and their respective signs seem to indicate they are trying to out-local farmer each other as well. jjardine@modbee.com

From the emails, voice mails and eyeballs:

SIGNS OF THE TIMES – The race is for the 10th Congressional District seat held by Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. But by their respective campaign signs, you’d think Denham and Democratic challenger Michael Eggman seem to be vying for a different title: local farmer.

Indeed, they seem to be trying to out-local farmer each other, when in reality, both are disingenuously claiming the title.

Denham’s signs tout him as a local farmer because he owns a 20-acre almond orchard he bought after winning a state Senate seat and moving to Atwater in 2002. Denham still owns the property, as well as a home in the area, but his family lives in Virginia. Farmer? Barely. Local? Barely-er.

Meanwhile, atop many of Eggman’s signs are the words “Real Local Farmer.” A farmer and beekeeper, no doubt. He farms family land in the Turlock area. But he lives in Kingsburg, which no one in Merced or Stanislaus counties would consider local.

I wonder how quickly these candidates would distance themselves from the “local farmer” tag if the wells all went dry because of the massive expansion of the almond orchards and the groundwater being pumped to sustain them.

And Eggman’s most effective sign might not be the one proclaiming his superior farmer-ness, but instead one placed next to a Denham sign found on West Main Street in Turlock. It bears an arrow pointing toward Denham’s sign. Its message?

“He Voted To Cut Your Social Security.” In small print at the bottom: “Paid for by Eggman For Congress 2014.”

GIRL RISING – “Girl Rising” is a movie about girls fighting their own cultures for human rights and education. The film focuses on the lives of girls from Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, where arranged marriages and slavery often are the norm.

The movie will be screened Nov. 4 at Modesto’s State Theatre, with the Charles Schwab office in Modesto hosting a showing. Schwab’s Sherryll Atkins will be distributing 200 free tickets on a first-come basis. Other tickets cost $8 per person and are available at The State. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. Contact Atkins at (209) 557-2846 for more information and to obtain tickets.

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL – Nearly two years ago, a Modesto woman was slain in a shooting in Stockton, a case that remains unsolved. Denise Lemberg, 27, and her boyfriend were dropping off another couple after a double date at a home on Mist Trail Drive when two teenagers approached the car and opened fire. Lemberg and the male passenger were hit, and Lemberg died at a local hospital, leaving behind a daughter who is now 11.

The gunmen were described as Latino and 15 to 17 years old. One was 5 feet 6 inches tall, 150 pounds; the second, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 pounds.

With hopes of rekindling interest in the case that would generate information to catch the killers, there will be a candlelight vigil Oct. 21 at Modesto’s Graceada Park beginning at 6 p.m.

UH ... YOU, TOO – I logged into my email Monday morning to find a note from an angry reader promising a lawsuit over an article I “put in the Turlock paper.” Huh? It involved a crime story that included the name and photo of the email writer’s daughter.

I replied by explaining that I am the columnist of The Modesto Bee. I don’t “put” things in the Turlock paper and, quite frankly, had no idea what she was talking about.

A few minutes later, her reply arrived: Oops! A sorry, wrong paper type of apology.

“I do apologize again,” she wrote after explaining her mistake. Then she concluded by adding the kind of personal touch you might expect from someone who had mistakenly threatened you with a lawsuit:

“Have a great day.”

Uh, you, too ...

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – Turlock native Carol Cherry Anderson, who published her first novel, “Love Transcends War,” in 2012, recently released its sequel. Titled “Love Beyond War,” it’s based on true stories that happened here in the Central Valley and elsewhere. The Turlock Historical Society is hosting a book signing Oct. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at its museum, 108 S. Center St., Turlock. Anderson grew up on a farm near Turlock; graduated from Turlock High in 1961; attended Modesto Junior College; and earned her degree from California State University, Stanislaus, in 1984.

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