The Valley’s on the map for Villaraigosa

Antonio Villaraigosa, city council member Jesus Andrade and his wife Andrea meet during Villagairosa's Stockton visit last year.

The good news is that gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa continues to give the Valley serious attention.

“Villaraigosa will be in Modesto later this month for a fundraiser hosted by almond growers, one of dozens of trips he has made as a candidate to the Other California,” writes CalMatters.

The bad news is he’s favoring the Big Ag constituency located mostly at the Valley’s southern end. Water grabbers all.

“J.G. Boswell Co., one the state’s largest farmland owners, has given him $50,000. Fresno almond farmer Donald Peracchi chipped in $25,000. Peracchi is president of the Westlands Water District, which supplies water to farms in Fresno and Kings counties, and no issue is more important to farmers than water.

His donations from Boswell and the Westlands’ boss are worrisome to any advocate of sustainable Delta water policy.

Not that it’s all bad, not at all “Sarah Woolf said Villaraigosa spent “two full days” with her Fresno-based farming operation last year, “learning about water and agriculture,” and has returned multiple times since.

“He wasn’t coming with answers. He was coming to listen,” said Woolf, a Republican. Woolf Farming donated $15,000 to his campaign.”

It’s impossible to be entirely comfortable to hear Villaraigosa is being schooled on Ag by customers of the Westlands Water District. I can just hear farmer’s grousing about the durned Delta smelt …

Villaraigosa’s platform reflects south-Valley Ag. He the proposed Temperance Flat reservoir east of Fresno, though it doesn’t make any sense, and Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento. Temperance Flat made it into the water bond because Dems needed Republican support. But analysis by UOP’s business Forecasting Center showed the project is a big loser.

On the other hand, he opposes the Delta tunnel project.

Villaraigosa isn’t perfect — no pol ever is — but he’s got the Valley on his agenda. Which is more than I can for front runner Gavin Newsom.


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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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