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After Measure C: A time for reconciliation

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Posted: Saturday, June 12, 2010 12:00 am

Bryan Pilkington and the other leaders of the "No on Measure C" campaign have won much more than an election.

They now hold the reins of power for determining Lodi area's water future.

The other four directors of the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District â€" president Tom Hoffman, Joe Merhten, Dan Parises and Mark Beck â€" worked diligently to address the threat of a declining water table.

As Pilkington urged them to rescind the proposed water fee and correct errors by district management, the other four directors endorsed the vision of NSJWCD manager Ed Steffani. He proposed ways to protect this area's tenuous right to draw water from the Mokelumne River and use it to recharge our water table, to protect it from saline contamination.

The sum total of their caring and problem solving was embodied in Measure C, and it was rejected 2-to-1 by the voters on June 8.

Pilkington is rightly seen as the champion of those who opposed the vision of other district leaders.

To his credit, Pilkington says he accepts that the declining water table is an important problem.

We are encouraged by those words, and pledge to work with Mr. Pilkington as he and his supporters create new and better solutions. And when they make progress, we hope others will be supportive.

Starting today, those who are seeking a new direction have inherited the duty to lead Lodi's quest for a sustainable source of water.

If we are to preserve this precious resource, those who supported Measure C must dedicate themselves to reconciliation and progress, not retribution.

A big Delta dream

Before you can build big, you have to dream big.

Reducing deaths and injuries on the treacherous stretch of Highway 12 between here and Napa is a big project.

The chance to dream big began June 3.

The news didn't make a big splash. After all, with an election campaign in full swing and a devastating oil gusher splashed on the front page, what chance did readers have staying awake when they read about formation of the State Route 12 Corridor Advisory Committee?

But if someday there is a gleaming viaduct rising above the Delta peat dirt, carrying an uninterrupted stream of cars and trucks high above the boats and ships, then directing them into a tunnel beneath the Sacramento River, June 3 will be the date in history when it all began.

To be sure, this "big dream" may remain an unrealized dream. The new committee has more modest options as well:

• A four-lane freeway lying on an improved roadbed and traversing better bridges;

• A two-lane highway with better turn lanes;

• Or maybe just a continued effort to keep the present roadway patched and marked for safety â€" an improved version of "business as usual."

But the mere fact that four or five counties, three CalTrans Districts, several Highway Patrol offices and several cities including Lodi and Rio Vista have a chance to sit down and talk about improving Highway 12's dismal safety record is worthy of note.

Motorists who want to become involved in improving Highway 12 should check out www.cahwy12assoc.org â€" the website of the Highway 12 Association which has been pushing this issue for years.

And if this modest news presages historic improvement, remember you read it hear first.

â€" The Lodi News-Sentinel

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