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Editorials

Glad to see Gallo, many others are helping those in need

Tragedy and disaster often bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, it seems that this year we’ve had to put that theory to the test far too frequently.

Still, it was good to see E.&J. Gallo Winery rise to the occasion, spectacularly, in response to our most recent disaster – the Northern California wildfires that have claimed 42 lives, destroyed thousands of homes, cost millions of dollars to put out and will cost billions more in recovery. The Modesto-based winery will donate $1 million to organizations providing humanitarian relief.

Gallo has operations all over the northern half of the state, including a winery in Napa that sustained minor damage. But we don’t think that’s what is driving Gallo’s generosity.

Such generosity doesn’t surprise anyone who lives in our region. We’ve seen it before from the Gallo family; in fact, we see it fairly often, though the family usually prefers to remain anonymous.

This time the winery went a little further, encouraging employees to respond, too. It will match $2 for every $1 donated by its employees. If there’s a cap, the winery didn’t mention it. So we hope those Gallo employees living in the Northern San Joaquin Valley can make that total grow. Who knows, the next disaster might strike even closer to home.

In times of adversity most of us answer the call. Many have already donated to those hurt by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Others found ways to help when floods drove many from their homes and threatened thousands more earlier this year. For those who want to help now, you can contact the Red Cross, or visit California Fire Relief at www.gofundme.com where there a dozen charities who need your help. We are grateful to be able to respond when called to help.

WE SALUTE whoever is putting up all those American flags along Ladd Road on special occasions. Modesto Irrigation District should, too.

Instead, the district worries. Perhaps a little too much.

Officially, Modesto’s electricity supplier expressed concern that MID workers might be injured by the brackets that are attached to the poles then hold the flags. But we are certain MID’s line workers are handy, ingenious, careful people and we’re certain they can figure out a way to avoid getting hurt or even snagging their clothing on the brackets. If not, we don’t want them messing with electricity.

If there’s a legitimate beef with how the brackets are attached to the poles, perhaps MID can help craft a solution. We’ll be happy to mention it here so whomever is putting up the flags will get the message.

We understand that the district cannot condone attaching anything to the poles. Point made. But somebody is doing something nice, patriotic and fun out there on Ladd. Let’s not discourage it.

WE DIDN’T HEAR any complaints from the city of Modesto over being fined $165,000 by the state for dumping partially treated sewage into the San Joaquin River back in March. And we shouldn’t. It happened during the record-setting rainstorms last spring, and though it was virtually unavoidable the ponds still leaked and the city is responsible. Counting what it cost to fix the problem, the city will be out a total of about $2.2 million. Fair enough.

What’s not fair, though, is that the city of Sacramento can continue to dump partially treated sewage into the Sacramento River without similar fines. We know our state’s capital is building a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant, but it won’t come online until 2021 and won’t be fully operational until 2023. Don’t most of the folks who levy water-pollution fines live in Sacramento? Ahem.

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