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Our Opinion: Politically correct?

June 02, 2002

We agree with those who think Bruce Kuhn might have crossed the line of good taste in the remarks he made regarding Sen. Dianne Feinstein "recommending" that the Imperial Valley fallow farmland in order to send water elsewhere in the state and still save the Salton Sea. (We also have to say one of the public officials who scolded Kuhn for his words has not exactly epitomized scholarly, measured debate during his long tenure in public office.)

We do agree with a civil debate in which all options are examined rationally, on this and all other issues. Emotions are important, but so are facts. On the issue of fallowing we have seen nothing but dire predictions on what it would do to our Imperial Valley, so it can't and won't be forced down our throats.

Kuhn strayed too far when he made negative remarks that could be construed to be about Feinstein's body, but he was correct in his stance. While Bruce Kuhn may shoot from the hip, his shots tend to be fired to protect the Imperial Valley, and this time they were right on target.

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Kuhn basically said the Valley wouldn't be bullied into fallowing, something that would be bad for the majority of the people here. He has been backed up strongly by three of his fellow IID board members, who have been at least slightly more diplomatic in their approaches.

Feinstein and Gov. Davis have told Imperial Irrigation District leaders in recent weeks that fallowing is the route they should take, and if they don't do so soon the Valley will face dire ramifications.

We wonder if Bob Filner, our likely future congressman, has been quiet on this issue because he is reluctant to cross the state's high-ranking Democratic higher-ups. Or is it that he is serving two masters by trying to represent the interests of the Imperial Valley and the San Diego area? Filner, who has been loud and consistent in his opposition to power plants in Mexicali that would pollute our Valley skies, has been conspicuously silent on this issue of the Valley being forced to fallow.

Duncan Hunter, who will be our congressman for six more months, has been tireless in his work to protect the Imperial Valley from being bullied into fallowing, despite the fact that he will be representing an exclusively San Diego district come January that would only benefit from the pending IID-San Diego water transfer. Many say that transfer now hinges on fallowing. We applaud Hunter, because the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, now controlled by a Republican presidential administration, also is pushing for the Valley to fallow thousands and thousands of acres of its farmland, and Hunter is a loyal Republican. But Hunter is being a true and honorable public servant on this issue in trying to keep a portion of his constituency from harm and risking his political future by doing it.

Hunter, Kuhn, IID board President Stella Mendoza and IID board members Andy Horne and Rudy Maldonado are putting their blood, sweat and tears into protecting our Valley. They are politicians of whom we can be proud, even if a couple are a bit rough around the edges.

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