Modesto gadfly Emerson Drake’s gifts for political theater were never more apparent than when he presented a bill for $68,461 to Jim DeMartini at the June 13 meeting of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. Drake was protesting using tax dollars to pay for security when the Republican Central Committee (DeMartini is committee chairman) sponsored a fundraiser featuring Ann Coulter. Lost in the whirlwind of debate and controversy over the […]
Modesto Irrigation District water rates
Will MID Fail on Water?
“We’re in a new world here,” said John Mensinger during last Tuesday’s Water Workshop in the Modesto Irrigation District’s (MID) boardroom. And while many in the audience seemed to agree, his fellow directors apparently weren’t listening. The subject was a modest proposal by MID staff to increase water rates to $29.25 an acre foot by 2017. People in the know about today’s water world might think $29.25 is a misprint, […]
Can the MID Justify Water Subsidies for Farmers?
The Modesto Irrigation District (MID) is contemplating rate increases for water and electricity customers. The proposal has raised ire about below market water rates for local farmers. City dwellers argue that they should not have to pay higher rates as long as farmers receive water at subsidized rates. Any time a government entity provides a subsidy, three possible reasons explain it. First, the subsidy may exist to promote an activity […]
MID Rate Policy Threatens Survival of Small Farms
Farmers are businesspeople first and friends second. When it comes to relationships in the farming business, the farmer looks after his own interests, just like a businessperson in any other business. Water is an indispensable part of the business of farming. No farmer is going to sell his entire water allocation to others unless he does not intend to farm. As a businessperson, the farmer is not likely to sell water to a friend below […]