Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018

Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth and City Councilwoman Amy Bublak in 2016, when they were allies on the Turlock City Council. Now they are running against each other and two other candidates.
Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth and City Councilwoman Amy Bublak in 2016, when they were allies on the Turlock City Council. Now they are running against each other and two other candidates. The Modesto Bee

Bates only one who can fix city hall

Is anyone else sick of the mudslinging in Turlock? How did we get here? The answer – we have voted for politicians instead of public servants. Politicians are willing to do and say whatever it takes to get your vote, and to take as much money from whomever they can to help muddy the waters. Politicians who are more concerned with their political futures than the future of the community they were elected to serve.

As a member of the city council from 2012-16, I saw the damage created by two such politicians – Gary Soiseth and Amy Bublak. It’s hard to fathom, but from 2014-16 Gary and Amy were strong political allies. Gary appointed Amy to serve as vice mayor two years in a row, and gave her choice appointments to regional boards. As Amy sought reelection, Gary walked door-to-door encouraging support for his ally.

Two years later, these former allies trade daily insults and accusations as if they weren’t both jointly responsible for the poor state of affairs at City Hall. I’ve had enough.

On Election Day I’ll be voting for former Mayor Brad Bates, the only candidate up to the task of cleaning up the mess left by these two politicians.

Steven Nascimento, Turlock

Soiseth isn’t just climbing a ladder

The motives of Amy Bublak and Brad Bates for running for Turlock mayor are simple: they like to climb ladders. Amy Bublak has been running for office (sometimes successfully) on and off again since she graduated from college. Most recently she was going to leave Turlock half way through her council term if she won county assessor. Brad Bates has run for assembly, county supervisor and now mayor (again!). He even left his last term as mayor in the late 1980s so he could run for the cushy Assembly seat and, when he lost, begged his way back to being Mayor!

Gary Soiseth hasn’t abandoned us and won’t. He continues to fight for hardworking families of Turlock – donating his salary, enforcing clear growth patterns that protect our farmers, focusing on securing drinking water and road funding from sources outside our general fund and increasing police and fire positions.

Join me in voting for the only candidate who hasn’t abandoned us before! Vote Gary Soiseth for Mayor!

Donna Payne, Turlock

Best choice for mayor: Bublak

On Nov. 6, citizens of Turlock will vote to determine what type of future Turlock will have. To me, the choice for mayor is obvious. My wife and family and I are voting for Amy Bublak. She and her husband, Milton Richards, love Turlock and have made it their permanent home.

Amy has a long history of public service including two decades as a police officer, three terms on the city council, three terms as Vice Mayor, chair of the Local Agency Formation Commission and as a member of the Turlock Planning and Arts commissions. Her experience, character, work ethic and love for Turlock make her the right person to meet the challenges our city .

Amy has also been a true friend to the Sikh community and has offered real solutions to the problems facing our city through several videos found on her Facebook page. Join my wife and family in voting for Amy Bublak for mayor on or before Nov. 6.

Harinder Sihota, Turlock

Harder stands up for Assyrians

Josh Harder will help the Assyrians who need healthcare, education and immigration access. As a husband, father and Assyrian, I know Josh understands my problems and concerns – access to affordable health care and education for my daughter. Josh’s commercials focus on giving people better healthcare, unlike his opponent who has mean-spirited intentions. My parents immigrated from Iraq to America for a better life, and not to be indifferent to racism, corruption and dishonesty. Jeff Denham votes with his party 98 percent of the time.

I support Harder because he is including the Assyrian community in his campaign. I saw Josh’s interview with local Assyrian TV and agreed with him on many issues, such as infrastructure and preserving our district’s water and helping refugees. He will help our future by advocating a better opportunity for young Assyrians. Every Assyrian has an opportunity to benefit from America and not be misled by irresponsible Rep. Denham. I will vote for Josh Harder because he cares about Assyrian Americans.

Sargon Eshaba, Modesto

First, get rid of Trump’s lackey

This is an extremely important election, and everyone qualified should vote. I am an independent voter. I detest Donald Trump for many reasons, and wonder how best to restrict him. The most effective way is to remove his Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

Jeff Denham, fake farmer, is in Trump’s pocket all the way. Josh Harder receives a lot of funding from Bay Area folks and didn’t even bother to go to Sacramento to protest the rip off of our water by the state. With Denham, it is a certain disaster environmentally and in many other ways. With Harder, it’s a question of who he represents, us or the Bay area. What to do!

I will vote for Harder, and hope he does his duty for us. If not, we will have a chance to kick him out later. At least we will have gotten rid of a Trump lackey.

Vance Kennedy, Modesto

Withrow does more than just pose

The Wednesday before Tony Madrigal filled out the application to run for Stanislaus County Supervisor for District 3, he showed up at the Helen White Memorial Trail in West Modesto. Every week, Terry Withrow joins the community to clean up the trail. Tony who had only been there once, maybe twice, took a bunch of selfies then posted them as if he had been a part of it all along. That’s his MO. He takes credit for things he had no part in.

When Terry was asked why he had no pictures of himself on the trail, he said he wants the focus to be what the community has done for themselves and not on him. That speaks volumes. Terry is still the man he promised us he would be eight years ago. He truly cares about this county. He stands with Wood Colony and Salida to keep us out of Modesto’s grasp. Tony voted to annex us.

Please do your homework. Why is Madrigal’s campaign contributions only coming from LA and Sacramento? What do they want with our county? What is the hidden agenda? Vote Terry Withrow for District 3.

Karen Gorne, Salida

A supervisor with a lot of heart

About a year ago, Alzheimer’s killed my wife of 41 years. Not long after, a knock came on my door. Upon opening it, much more was revealed to me than merely the people standing on the other side. Outstanding character and compassion was present. Supervisor Terry Withrow and his wife Kristen came to give me support.

I know of Terry’s work ethic and commitment to the needs of his constituents. We have worked together for years for smarter land-use choices. He is a top-rated CPA and one of the nicest guys you will meet. He has taken heat lately for leading the effort to mitigate the problems of homelessness, yet understands the cost/benefit of leadership. He agrees with me that in order to have well managed land-use we need to constantly upgrade our transportation improvements.

If you don’t already, get to know your supervisor and please vote for him. He’s the tall guy, always in a long-sleeve white shirt. And he’s one hell of a human being!

Denny Jackman, Modesto

Try a different view of abortion

It’s safe to say that all of us lament the fact there is a lot of sad division along political lines in our community, in our families and even within our churches. We wish we could forge greater unity. I propose a thought experiment: What would happen if there were a political party which recognized the right to kill 4-year-old children at the local clinic? Or Jewish children? Or Mexican children? What would we say? What would we do? How would we vote?

Of course we would unite against it. Our country was never so united as against Hitler. What is it about unborn children that makes them different? Geneticists and pediatricians find no significant difference. I pray someday we will discover that we all have a common interest in the right to life. I dream of a more harmonious and humane society in which both political parties agree that abortion leaves 1 dead and 1 wounded.

Fr. Mark Wagner, St. Joseph’s Church, Modesto

College faculty left behind in pay

Only one of six Stanislaus County residents age 25 and older has a bachelor’s degree, compared to one in three among all California residents. Modesto Junior College is the launching point for many future degree holders; students and the community have a stake in whether Yosemite Faculty Association strikes this fall term.

The potential strike is not just about pay, but when our instructors are being paid 22 percent below the median wage of similarly sized community colleges, nothing will stop them from moving on to other, higher-paying schools. The brain drain will be real, the consequences devastating for our already underserved communities.

MJC and Columbia College will never attract professors who have a passion for educating and are willing to devote years to students when they are paid cents on the dollar. Over the course of a career, 22 percent makes a huge difference in the quality of life for our instructors – so it follows that the quality of instruction they provide to us. This gap in pay is in conflict with the YCCD’s mission statement, that the district is committed to excellence in serving its students.

Melana Cook, Modesto

Rents out of control; yes on 10

In America, the almighty dollar has replaced almighty God. I was driven out of my rented home in the Bay Area due to astronomical rents. This is capitalism run amok. Homeowners are not satisfied with a fair return on investments. Many have succeeded in becoming millionaires. As an American, I resent the fact I can no longer rent or buy a home in any major city. I have a fairly good income, yet I could no longer afford to buy the house I am living in here in Turlock. Why do you think so many people are now homeless? Landowners who rent are terrified Prop 10 will pass. Vote yes on Prop. 10. Don’t believe all those mendacious ads by homeowners you see on TV.

Edward R. Brault, Turlock

Conservation fund can hurt farmers

Re “If we’re smart, we can find enough water for all of us” (Page 1B, Aug. 19): The recent opinion piece from a member of the Tuolumne River Trust and the full-page ad from the League of Conservation Voters regarding the defunding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund does not address what this fund can do to local communities when it is used to buy private property simply to acquire the water rights in riparian areas.

The recent Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon is a prime example. A hot-headed group led by the Bundy family came to Malheur to make political points after the National Fish & Wildlife Service used money from this fund to buy local farms and ranches to enlarge the preserve. The local farming community cannot compete with the U.S government, thus local agriculture is denied the ability to buy ranches for the younger generation.

The government will never state that it will stop at a certain amount of acreage or water, it just keeps buying with the goal of destroying the local ag base. It is too bad the individuals and groups that support this fund don’t have any compassion for local people who rely on private land and the ability to buy it.

Bill Fogarty, Oakdale