Jeff Denham

Jeff Denham


Denham Statement on Latest Report of California High-Speed Rail Overruns


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) issued the following statement in response to a new report that the initial construction package for California’s high-speed rail project could now cost taxpayers 50 percent more than originally projected.

“Despite past issues with funding this boondoggle, we were repeatedly assured in an August field hearing that construction costs were under control. They continue to reaffirm my belief that this is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. I will continue to fight against any further federal funding of this project. They can expect an audit and oversight hearing in the near future."

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Rep. Denham Re-Introduces “New WATER Act,” Requests Local Authorities to Increase Capture of Storm Water Runoff


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today re-introduced H.R. 434, the “New Water Available To Every Reclamation State Act” (New WATER Act) to authorize a pilot project to help finance development of water resources infrastructure in reclamation states, such as California.

“Our area has been blessed to receive a lot of rain lately, but our lack of available infrastructure to store all of this water means that too much of it will be wasted,” said Rep. Denham. “The New WATER Act would bring together public funding with private sector investment to improve water storage and delivery for the Central Valley.”

The bill encourages private investment in systems that serve the public interest by providing low-interest, government-backed loans with a long repayment period. In order to be approved, projects must be capable of generating sustainable revenue streams, whether through user fees or other dedicated sources.

Eligible projects include those that would contribute to a safe, adequate water supply; increase energy efficiency of existing water systems; accelerate repair or replacement of aging systems; develop desalination facilities; or use real property for water storage.

Additionally, Rep. Denham joined colleagues yesterday in sending a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service requesting that they increase pumping to rates over the next several days to continue capturing the storm water runoff entering the Delta. This action was authorized in the recently-passed “WIIN Act,” which included California drought relief provisions and received bipartisan support from the majority of the California congressional delegation.

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Editor’s Note: A copy of the full bill text is available here.

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Denham Welcomes Bronze Star Recipient as Wounded Warrior Fellow


Rep. Denham with retired Staff Sgt. Peter Butler of Turlock.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today welcomed retired Staff Sgt. Peter Butler of Turlock as a Wounded Warrior Fellow in his Modesto office. Mr. Butler is a 7-year veteran of the United States Army, having served two tours in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom where he earned both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
“The Central Valley has one of the largest communities of veterans in the nation and Pete will be a tremendous asset in advocating for the brave men and women who wore the cloth of this nation.” said Rep. Denham. “I admire Pete’s ambition in continuing to serve his country in a new capacity, thank him for his service and look forward to him joining our team.”
“I’m honored to start working for Congressman Denham and hope to provide quality service to the people of California’s 10th District,” said Butler.
Mr. Butler retired from the U.S. Army in November 2014, having most recently been stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. In addition to a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Mr. Butler counts two Army Commendation Medals for Valor, three Army Commendation Medals, a Global War on Terrorism Medal and an Army Service Ribbon amongst his many accolades. Mr. Butler will serve as Rep. Denham’s liaison with veterans and veteran groups, working to assist the nearly 63,000 veterans in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties who have fought in every conflict since World War II.
The Wounded Warrior Program through the House of Representatives provides two-year fellowships to veterans who have served on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, have less than 20 years of military experience and has a 30-percent of greater service-connected disability rating. Mr. Butler is the third Wounded Warrior Fellow Rep. Denham has hosted since joining Congress in 2011. 
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Denham Re-Introduces ENLIST Act for Young Immigrants Looking to Gain Legal Status through Military Service


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today re-introduced H.R. 60, the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act (ENLIST Act), which would allow otherwise qualified undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents through no fault of their own to earn legal status through military service.

“There is no greater act of patriotism than serving your country in the armed forces, and my ENLIST Act would allow young immigrants to earn legal status in order to stay in the country they love,” said Rep. Denham. “Immigrants have honorably served alongside us in the armed forces for decades, and this would be a positive step forward for our nation as we seek a collective solution to this issue.”

Rep. Denham introduced the ENLIST Act last Congress as H.R. 1989, where it garnered bipartisan support, and in September, President-elect Donald Trump expressed support for such a measure.

Below is a list of common misconceptions about the ENLIST Act:

MISCONCEPTION: The ENLIST Act would incentivize more illegal immigrants to come to the United States.
TRUTH: The ENLIST Act only applies to those who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own prior to the year 2012. Anyone coming to the United States after that date would not be eligible, so this cannot be an incentive for those individuals.

MISCONCEPTION: Under this bill, immigrants would sign up to serve and then leave the military after receiving legal permanent residence.
TRUTH: Qualified immigrants must serve out the term of their enlistment contracts in order to receive legal permanent resident (LPR) status. They cannot earn the status if they do not serve full terms or are dishonorably discharged.

MISCONCEPTION: We can’t trust undocumented immigrants to have America’s best interests at heart.
TRUTH: Rep. Denham served with many immigrants during his 16 years in the Air Force and while serving in Operations Desert Storm and Restore Hope. The immigrants he met, and which many of his veteran colleagues have also met, were wholly dedicated to our country and to its best interests. Immigrants have fought in every major conflict since the beginning of our nation and more than 660,000 military veterans became citizens through naturalization between 1862 and 2000.

MISCONCEPTION: Undocumented immigrants broke the law to get here. Why should we reward them?
TRUTH: We shouldn’t hold society’s most vulnerable persons responsible for the actions of their parents. These individuals were brought here as young children, through no fault of their own. They know no other country to call home. Allowing them to serve in the military is not a reward or job. Serving your country is a sacrifice that could result in the loss of life for the freedoms of protecting our great nation.

MISCONCEPTION: The ENLIST Act would allow undocumented immigrants to take priority over citizens to enlist in the military and deny Americans the right to serve their county.
TRUTH: The ENLIST Act only allows undocumented children to apply to serve. The bill does not guarantee they will be accepted. Instead, it keeps enlistment at the sole discretion of the respective military branches, meaning they must fit all other requirements. Under this bill, military forces would continue to accept the very best of their applicants – regardless of their heritage. Applicants would have to meet enlistment requirements, including speaking English, passing a background check, and having a high school diploma.

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Editor’s Note: Full bill text available here

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Denham Announces January 2017 Mobile District Office Hours


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today announced Mobile District Office Hours for the month of January 2017. Mobile District Office Hours are an opportunity for 10th district residents to meet with the congressman and staff to hear more about his work in Washington, D.C. and the Central Valley, have their questions answered or get help with specific casework.
MDOs are hosted by staff and when possible by Rep. Denham. Staff members are available to assist 10th district residents with casework on matters including Medicare, Veteran’s Affairs, Social Security, the Internal Revenue Service and other federal legislation.
Additional information is available through Rep. Denham’s website and the schedule for the month is provided below. Regular office hours are open to the public and no appointment is necessary. Schedule is subject to change throughout the year; any alterations will be posted online. For more information, please contact Rep. Denham’s Modesto district office at (209) 579-5458.
Wednesday, Jan. 4 and 18 – Tracy
1-2 p.m.
Tracy City Hall
333 Civic Center Plaza, Rm 216, Tracy, CA 95376
Friday, Jan. 6 and 20 – Manteca
10-11 a.m.
Manteca Chamber of Commerce
183 W. North Street #6, Manteca, CA 95336
Friday, Jan. 6 – Waterford
2-3 p.m.
City of Waterford
101 E Street, Waterford, CA 95386
*Held in conjunction with Senator Tom Berryhill’s office.
Friday, Jan. 6 – Oakdale
3:30-4:30 p.m.
State Senator Tom Berryhill's Office
102 Grove Avenue, Suite B, Oakdale, CA 95361
*Held in conjunction with Senator Tom Berryhill’s office.
Tuesday, Jan. 10 – Escalon
10-11 a.m.
Escalon City Hall
2060 McHenry Avenue, Escalon, CA 95320
*Held in conjunction with Senator Cathleen Galgiani’s office.
Thursday, Jan. 12 – Hughson
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
City of Hughson
7018 Pine Street, Hughson, CA 95326
*Held in conjunction with Senator Tom Berryhill’s office.
Thursday, Jan. 12 – Modesto
2-3 p.m.
Housing Authority of Stanislaus County
1701 Robertson Road, Modesto, CA 95351
Friday, Jan. 13 – Newman
9-10 a.m.
City of Newman
938 Fresno Street, Newman, CA 95360
*Held in conjunction with Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray’s offices.
Friday, Jan. 13 – Patterson
10:30-11:30 a.m.
City of Patterson
1 Plaza, Patterson, CA 95363
*Held in conjunction with Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray’s offices.
Thursday, Jan. 19 – Riverbank
4-5 p.m.
Riverbank City Hall
6707 3rd Street, Riverbank, CA 95367
*Held in conjunction with Senator Cathleen Galgiani’s office.
Friday, Jan.20 – Ceres
1-2 p.m.
State Senator Anthony Cannella's Office
2561 Third Street, Suite A, Ceres, CA 95307
*Held in conjunction with Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray’s offices.
Tuesday, Jan. 24 – Ripon
1-2 p.m.
Ripon Chamber of Commerce
929 W Main Street, Ripon, CA
*Held in conjunction with Senator Cathleen Galgiani’s office.
Wednesday, Jan. 25 – Turlock
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Turlock Chamber of Commerce Conference Room
115 South Golden State Boulevard, Turlock, CA 95380
*Held in conjunction with Senator Tom Berryhill’s office.
Thursday, Jan. 26 – Denair
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Denair Community Services District
3850 North Gratton Road, Denair, CA 95316
*Held in conjunction with Senator Tom Berryhill’s office.
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The hunt for dollars to build the $64-billion bullet train


The California High-Speed Rail Authority quietly approached federal officials in July to discuss an ambitious solution to its most pressing problem, one that has hung over the project for more than five years.

The state does not know where to find all of the $64 billion it will cost to get the first passengers rocketing between San Francisco and Los Angeles on a bullet train.

With the Obama administration on its way out, it seemed like a good time to nail down more long-term federal support on the assumption that Hillary Clinton would be the next president.

So the state set up a meeting to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to publicly announce a federal loan of up to $15 billion that would help build an initial rail segment from San Jose to Shafter, northwest of Bakersfield, which would cement federal support during the transition to a new presidential administration.

Such a loan — even the commitment for one — would also show potential private investors that the project was “creditworthy,” according to a briefing document for the meeting.

But federal officials did not go along with the state’s suggestion. “At this time, California has not submitted a financing request,” said Clark Pettig, press secretary for the Transportation Department.

Federal officials are unlikely to make any new loans in the next month. Meanwhile, the election of Republican Donald Trump makes the rail authority’s funding problem more serious than ever.

The project has long been vilified by congressional Republicans, particularly by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who has called it a “boondoggle” that was “doomed to fail from the start.”

And House rail subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) has vowed to block any future federal funding for the project, citing long-standing concerns about its poor management controls and planning.

Senior congressional staffers say they don’t have any direct knowledge of Trump’s views or those of Elaine Chao, his pick for Transportation secretary, but they doubt they will attempt to challenge the existing Republican opposition to the project.

Robert Poole, transportation policy director at the libertarian Reason Foundation, said he too is doubtful that Trump and Chao would support the project with new money. Poole noted that Chao, a former deputy secretary at the Transportation Department, has supported projects that have private backing, something California’s bullet train lacks.

If those expectations are borne out, it would leave the project on a continued search to fill giant gaps in its funding, even as construction of rail bridges, viaducts and trenches through a section in Fresno accelerates.

Voters approved a $9-billion bond for what was then a $33-billion project in 2008, but most of that money has been hogtied by complex taxpayer protections that were part of the ballot proposition. The rail project has been unable to satisfy those rules.

The Obama administration provided $3.5 billion in grants. And California lawmakers gave the project rights to 25% of the proceeds from the state’s greenhouse gas permit auctions, but those funds have fallen sharply below expectations this year.

An effort to tap private investors for cash proved futile when more than two dozen companies said they wouldn’t put any money into the project until the state proves the system can operate profitably carrying passengers.

The most immediate problem is unlocking the bond funding, which could keep the project going for at least several years. The rail authority believes it has a solution, thanks to a key assist this summer from the Legislature — assuming the maneuver is legal.

Opponents have already filed a suit against the plan.

The original bond measure set up tough conditions: The rail authority had to identify all the sources of money needed to build a usable segment of high-speed rail before starting construction; it had to prove that it would not need an operating subsidy; it had to show it could design the system to move passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes; and much else.

Until now, the rail authority could not show it had all the money in hand to build an actual operating segment. But the Legislature found a fix.

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) authored AB 1889, which addresses what the original act meant when it said a segment had to be “suitable and ready” for high-speed rail. Under the Mullin bill, the rail authority can use bond funds that would enable bullet train operations “after additional planned investments are made.” That means that the rail authority could spend the bonds without any immediate plan to carry passengers.

The bill also allows the rail authority in December to approve two funding plans.

One plan provides for building what amounts to a 119-mile test track from Madera to Shafter for $7.8 billion. After the testing is completed, the rail authority said in its funding plan that it would explore other uses for the track, though they would not immediately include high-speed trains.

Another funding plan, for $819 million, was approved to help convert the Caltrain commuter rail system from diesel to electric power along the route leading into San Francisco.

Stuart Flashman, a Bay Area attorney, filed suit against the funding plans immediately on behalf of several antirail groups and local government units, asserting it is unconstitutional for the Legislature to amend or alter a voter-approved proposition and bond act.

Flashman has said court rulings since the 1920s have gone against the Legislature and local boards that attempted to modify or clarify bond propositions.

“I told the high-speed rail board they need to take this back to the voters,” Flashman said.

Rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Richard Hasen, a UC Irvine law professor and expert on election law, said that unless the bond act specifically granted the Legislature the power to make interpretations or amendments, the Mullin bill’s funding plans could be found unconstitutional.

But since the bond act does provide the Legislature with a major role in approving funding plans, the legal issues in the case could be quite complicated, Hasen added.

Alley said the two funding plans were “significant decisions … that will accelerate the program, continuing progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail program.”

The Mullin bill was so important that the rail authority apparently never moved ahead with its plan for a federal loan, according to sources knowledgeable about the matter.

The watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design obtained the briefing document about the loan plan under a Public Records Act request.

Elizabeth Alexis, a co-founder of the group, said the funding problems are putting California in exactly the position it wanted to avoid, increasing the state’s financial commitments while the benefits of an actual train service move further into the future.

“It is a desperate move,” she said. “It is exactly the bind that the Legislature didn’t want to put itself in. They are going to have to put a lot more money into this project than they thought.”

Mullin, whose district includes the section of Caltrain track that will be electrified, said his legislation simply “clarified the term ‘suitable and ready’ ” and will help the state to meet its obligation to deliver funding for an appropriation made in 2012.

Mullin said in a statement that he is confident the lawsuit against AB 1889 will be unsuccessful, noting that he had attorneys help draft his bill.

“Our transportation infrastructure has many needs, and AB 1889 will allow Caltrain to address one of those needs by moving forward with electrification of their system, providing both short- and long-term benefits,” Mullin said. “It’s going to be a big deal for the [San Francisco] Peninsula both economically and environmentally.”

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Naval Academy Nomination Provided for OHS Senior Hill


U.S. Representative Jeff Denham has named Oakdale High School senior Sophia Hill as one of the 2016 service academy nominees from California’s 10th congressional district. Rep. Denham nominated 25 students from cities across the district to four of the nation’s prestigious military academies.

“One of my greatest honors representing the Valley is nominating these young men and women to our nation’s service academies,” said Rep. Denham. “Their patriotism and commitment to our country’s future is commendable, and I look forward to seeing their accomplishments in the years to come.”

Hill was nominated to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Students seeking attendance at one of the military academies must be nominated by a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator or the Vice President. Nominees are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and are chosen based on factors including academic achievement, leadership ability, physical aptitude, participation in extra-curricular activities and demonstration of character. Students may seek acceptance to more than one academy. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require nomination to attend.

Academy students commit to serving in the military for a minimum of five years active duty upon graduation. If their nominations are accepted, students will receive notice from the individual service academies in April 2017.

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Ceres High Student Stugelmeyer Nominated for Annapolis


Ceres High School student Elijah Stugelmeyer has been nominated by Congressman Jeff Denham to compete for appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Denham nominated 25 students from cities across the 10th Congressional District to apply for the nation's prestigious military academies.

"One of my greatest honors representing the Valley is nominating these young men and women to our nation's service academies," said Rep. Denham. "Their patriotism and commitment to our country's future is commendable, and I look forward to seeing their accomplishments in the years to come."

Students were nominated to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. and the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.

Students seeking attendance at one of the military academies must be nominated by a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator or the Vice President. Nominees are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and are chosen based on factors including academic achievement, leadership ability, physical aptitude, participation in extra-curricular activities and demonstration of character. Students may seek acceptance to more than one academy. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination to attend.

Academy students commit to serving in the military for a minimum of five years active duty upon graduation. If their nominations are accepted, students will receive notice from the individual service academies in April 2017.

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More people turn out to criticize ‘water grab’


Hundreds of people, perhaps a thousand altogether, showed up for a public hearing Tuesday in Modesto, where farmers, workers, residents and elected officials spoke out again to oppose a state plan for increasing flows from reservoirs in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced watersheds.

Some farmers and ranchers call the plan a water grab, but State Water Resources Control Board members say the plan has been mischaracterized. State Water Board staff describe a proposed amendment to update the 2006 Bay-Delta Plan’s San Joaquin River flow and southern Delta salinity water quality objectives and the program of implementation for those objectives.

“The proposed flow objectives would require increased flows from three eastside, salmon-bearing tributaries to the San Joaquin River: the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers,” State Water Resources Control Board staff say.

TUD perspective

Tom Haglund, general manager for Tuolumne Utilities District, said Tuesday he and his staff are carefully watching and evaluating the Bay-Delta Plan and State Water Resources Control Board activities. The current version of the plan is several thousand pages.

“Generally speaking, we are very troubled about the substitute environmental document on the basis of disputed science and its apparent failure to properly or fairly evaluate the plan’s significant impact on municipal, business and agricultural uses of water,” Haglund said Tuesday afternoon.

“We are concerned that the proposed unimpaired flows for the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers are likely not adequately supported by the science that the SWRCB has received, therefore impugning the plan’s overall intent and goals,” Haglund said. “Given the disputed scientific basis for the current iteration of the BDP and substitute environmental document, we are concerned that it is premature for any definitive action.”

Haglund said his staff at TUD intend to submit comments to the State Water Board by Jan. 17.

‘Stop this mess’

Ted Heilman, a resident of Denair, between the Tuolumne River and the Merced River, wore a dark “Make America Great Again” ballcap and a plaid shirt as he voiced opposition to the state plan at the hearing in Modesto.

“This plan is full of bad science,” Heilman said. “I can’t believe that between Turlock Irrigation District, Modesto and Fresno we can’t come together on this. Stop this mess. Start over.”

Greg Tucker told the State Water Board he is a full-time farmer and 20 years ago he put in a $50,000 system of micro sprinklers.

“According to TID we’d a had no water the past two years,” Tucker said. “We would not have survived. In the Denair area, a lot my neighbors’ wells have gone dry. If this proposal goes through I would have to sell my farm. My grandma’s picture is still up in the high school.”

Extra time

Some local government representatives and water districts requested additional time to address the State Water Board. The City of Modesto asked for 20 minutes, Stanislaus County, 30 minutes, the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers Groundwater Basin Association, 15 minutes.

Turlock Irrigation District asked for 45 minutes, the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority and City of Turlock asked for 30 minutes to make a joint presentation, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau staff asked for 15 minutes, the Yosemite Farm Credit Association, 15 minutes, Modesto Irrigation District, 45 minutes and Western United Dairymen asked for 30 minutes.

“I want to talk briefly on the economic impacts of this on Stanislaus County,” said Jim DeMartini, District 5 supervisor for Stanislaus County. “It’s a $4 billion economy in agriculture. A 40 percent unimpaired flow from the rivers will devastate our area. We are a land of orchards. We rely on water to keep this economy growing. There is not enough sustainable groundwater to go around. Relying on groundwater to make up surface water loss is not going to do it.”

New Don Pedro Dam and its predecessor on the Tuolumne River are privately owned, built and maintained by Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District since the 1920s, DeMartini said.

“There is no federal money in the system,” DeMartini said. “The water cannot just be taken away. The theft of our surface water would destroy our economy and throw thousands of people out of work. And this is for about 1,100 salmon.”

State Water Resources Control Board chair Felicia Marcus said the proposed plan is not based on a total of 1,100 fish.

‘This is personal’

Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County’s superintendent of schools, said he is a voice for 106,000 children in his county.

“I’m a farmer. I’m superintendent of schools,” Changnon said. “This is a time of angst and heartache at dinner tables around this county. Because we are farmers. We are employers. With less water I’ve watched my family talk about planting less and having to decide to let people go because they want to keep their boys working. This is personal. We’re talking about employees who have worked for them for decades, like their families.”

Newly elected TUD board member Bob Rucker, is also a staffer for 10th District Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. Rucker said he intends to go into semi-retirement from his position with Denham in January. On Tuesday, Rucker read a letter to the State Water Board for Denham.

“The congressman is out of state,” Rucker said. “He asked I read you this letter. President Obama has signed the water bill we all worked so hard for. This is a win-win for the environment and the salmon. That brings us to the flows. I stand with my colleagues that your flows need to be adjusted. In your rewrite I suggest you tie these together. Don’t penalize a part of the state that has invested in water infrastructure more than most Californians.”

Katherine Borges, chair of the Salida Municipal Advisory Council, told the State Water Board, “You drove through Salida. If you’ve eaten fruits, vegetables or beef, you’ve eaten food from Stanislaus County. Depleting water supplies will devastate our economy. It’s not about the salmon. The salmon is a straw man. This is a water grab. Please reconsider the compromise you’ve already offered.”

Jack Cox, chair of the Lake Tulloch Alliance, told the board, “You need to cancel this order. End it now. This is a policy that simply doesn’t work.”

A resident of Connor Estates on Lake Tulloch, David Mensch, spoke after Cox.

“I would like to remind the state water board that your highest priority, state policy says the use of water for domestic purposes is the highest use, then irrigation, it doesn’t say anything about fish,” Mensch said. “There’s no sheep in this room. But if you choose to view us as sheep, beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

More impacts

Dairy farmer Duane Marson said he gets his water from Turlock Irrigation District and the current state plan could destroy his livelihood.

“If this proposal goes through it will end our business,” Marson said. “Pumping groundwater will not support our business. Businesses will fail, people will lose their jobs, the elderly on fixed income will not be able to afford their electricity. There are other ways to protect fish without devastating this area.”

Walnut grower Dan Barton said his family has been farming in the Stanislaus County area since 1913. He said he believes a state estimate of how the plan could reduce economic output by $64 million is “laughably low.”

Marcus spoke generally to people attending the hearing when she reminded speakers to please stay focused, because she and other board members were trying hard to listen.

“Impugning intent and tearing it down might feel good,” Marcus said. “But it’s not the most effective way to convey what you are trying to say.”

Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki, District 4, said there are 25,000 people employed in Stanislaus County directly in food processing, with corporations including Foster Farms, Gallo Winery, Del Monte, Frito-Lay and Nestlé.

“All of those major users are right here and all of them are very much in need of a reliable water supply,” Zoslocki said. “Modesto has planned extensively to ensure its reliable water supply.”

Modesto Councilman Tony Madrigal, District 2, appeared before the State Water Board with women and children holding “Family of 3” signs. Then he asked all people who could be impacted economically by the state plan for increased flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers to please stand up.

“These are the faces of the families that this proposal is going to effect,” Madrigal said. “Everybody standing here in this room. These are all the people who will be impacted by this. Farm worker jobs are so important to this valley. These people here, these hands, they feed the world. They are here to fight for our future, fight for our water, fight for our farms. You know our motto, ‘Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health.’ If you take away our water, you take away our wealth, contentment and health. Please find another way.”

Sandra Anaya, a parent and Stanislaus County resident, urged state water board members to consider recreational uses of local rivers before increasing unimpaired flows.

“We have a wonderful experience canoeing the Tuolumne River,” Anaya said. “The downfall is the water flows are currently low and it affects our recreational activities on the river. This impacts our children and families. I would rather see my children grow up with nature than in the streets.”

Hearings have already been held in Sacramento, Stockton, and Merced. There is one more scheduled Jan. 3 in Sacramento.

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Briefs (Dec. 21, 2016): Six earn nominations to service academies


Lego building offered at Troke Library

STOCKTON - On Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m., through May 31, the Margaret Troke Branch Library welcomes all to have fun building Legos, Duplos and other building materials.

All materials will be provided by the library and is intended for children ages 3 and up.

The Troke Library is located at 502 W. Benjamin Holt Drive in Stockton. For more information, call (209) 937-8221 or visit the library website

Six earn nominations to service academies

STOCKTON - Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, announced the 2016 service academy nominees from his 10th District. Denham nominated 25 students from cities across his district, including six from Manteca and Tracy.

Students seeking admittance to one of the military academies first must be nominated by a congressman, senator or the vice president. They are selected from an extensive application and interview process that highlights their academic achievements, leadership abilities and demonstration of character among others. Nominees then compete for an appointment by the academies.

Academy students commit to serving in the military for a minimum of five years active duty upon graduation. Students will receive acceptance letters from their desired academies in April. Those nominated from San Joaquin County are:

• Christina Aquinde, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy (Tracy High)

• Domencia Avila, U.S. Air Force Academy (Kimball High)

• Philip Garcia, U.S. Military Academy (Tracy High)

• Jamie Tellez Patino, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy (East Union High)

• Hannah Presley, U.S. Military Academy (Tracy High)

• Katherine Ray, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy (Sierra High)

CPFSJ board appoints Baker executive director

STOCKTON - The Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin board of directors has announced that Meredith Baker was appointed executive director on Dec. 8. Baker has led the organization as interim executive director since June.

The San Joaquin County native has spent her career working in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, including five years at CPFSJ. She joined CPFSJ in 2011 as the director for youth services where she helped develop new programs such as the youth program, which has continued to grow rapidly and annually serves more than 120 previously incarcerated and/or gang-involved youngsters.

During her time with CPFSJ, she also initiated a more thorough data collection system that includes measures of the mental and physical health of program participants and tracks their overall well-being.

Baker said she looks forward to continuing to strengthen existing partnerships with funders and collaborative agencies and to forge new working relationships and further CPFSJ's mission, which is to provide tools, resources and connections to help families improve their quality of life.

"We want to know how resilient our youth are. How they are doing: psycho-emotionally, physically, socially, and if they feel safe," she said. "(The agency) will be moving forward into the new year with a plan for improved foundational success, including a clear process for keeping our funders and partners informed of our work through data collection and outcome communication."

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Contact Information

1730 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4540
Fax 202-225-3402

Congressman Jeff Denham represents the 10th District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes all of Stanislaus County and part of San Joaquin County. He was first elected to Congress in 2010, and is currently serving a third term in the 114th Congress.

Rep. Denham’s public service career began with the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 16 years between active duty and reserve status. He fought in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Hope in Iraq and Somalia, respectively.

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Rep. Denham worked in the agriculture industry as an almond rancher and entrepreneur. He understands the critical importance of agriculture business in cultivating California’s economy and maintaining employment.

In his work as a California State Senator from 2002-2010, Rep. Denham focused on balancing run-away spending in California and protecting taxpayer dollars from wasteful state projects. He was a proven and courageous leader in the California Senate, where he was the subject of an unsuccessful recall attempt for his refusal to vote on irresponsible budget proposals.

First and foremost, Rep. Denham is a family man. Jeff and Sonia Denham have been married for 21 years, and they have two children, Austin, 18, and Samantha, 16.

In his position as a U.S. Congressman, Rep. Denham remains focused on representing the long-term interests of California’s agricultural businesses, finding a solution to the long struggle over water storage and conveyance, transportation interests in California and fighting for the rights, protections and benefits America’s brave and heroic veterans deserve. He is also an advocate for a top-to-bottom approach to reform for our broken immigration system.

Serving With

Doug LaMalfa


Tom McClintock


Paul Cook


David Valadao


Devin Nunes


Kevin McCarthy


Steve Knight


Ed Royce


Ken Calvert


Mimi Walters


Dana Rohrabacher


Darrell Issa


Duncan Hunter


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