Throwing gasoline on brush fires

The point of the ferocious mudslinging going on in the Republican Party primary election in the 19th CD of California is simple: water and the Endangered Species A ct.
The future of the San Joaquin River Settlement will be influenced by whoever gets the congressional seat that contains the Friant Dam. In addition to the San Joaquin River. The 19th CD contains the headwaters of the Merced, the Tuolumne and the Stanislaus rivers, which provide water for a half a dozen eastside irrigation districts north of the dry bed of the San Joaquin River and if the Friant Water Users are included, 28 additional water contractors  south of it, fed by San Joaquin River water through the Friant-Kern Canal.
It looks like at least two of the contenders believe that by smearing each other -- even to the point of smearing each others' smears -- they will suppress any thought at all and drive away any thoughtful voters who might go to the poles in the district. The district contains, in addition to a section of the Sierra including Yosemite, seasonal pastureland and wildlife habitat running through the Valley's eastern border in three counties, towns and small cities in the Valley the foothills and the high Sierra including four county seats, a number of reservoirs and a great deal of land controlled by the federal government. It appears that the largest population is in Fresno County at the district's southern end, and the second largest population is in Stanislaus County at its northern end. The district carves off the eastern parts of three Valley counties and contains all of two mountain counties. It is a contentious collection of communities. We somehow doubt that any of the three major contenders for the seat -- two of whom do not live in the district and the third lives in the southernmost part of it -- actually understand how frisky this little old rural district can get when one of its parts is provoked  which it is easy to do. In fact, if there is anything even faintly humorous about this contest it is the spectacle of millions of dollars being spent on high-grade negative flak to rile up a constituency that has habitually looked for fights -- any fights -- since the Gold Rush. 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Fresno Bee

Pombo, Denham spar over radio ads
Congressional primary heats up....John Ellis
The campaign to replace George Radanovich in the 19th Congressional District heated up Wednesday with two of the four Republican candidates sniping at each other -- primarily about radio advertisements sponsored by a Washington, D.C.-based environmental organization.
The ads attacked former Congressman Richard Pombo by highlighting alleged ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and claims that Pombo took family vacations on the taxpayers' dime.
State Sen. Jeff Denham called a news conference Wednesday to say he has no connection to the environmental groups running the ads.
He then accused the Pombo campaign of making the claims -- as well as spreading other false rumors. The Pombo campaign denied the charge.
The back-and-forth highlighted an intensified battle for the Republican nomination in the 19th District, a race that features former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson and Fresno City Council President Larry Westerlund, as well as Denham and Pombo.
Denham -- who was joined at the news conference by former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, as well as Radanovich -- also called on Pombo to prove that Denham is tied to the environmental ads, as well as another charge that Denham cooperated with Democrats.
Pombo's campaign denied that charge, too.
An independent committee formed last month by Tal Cloud, a Fresno businessman, along with partner Tim Orman, made claims that Denham twice voted for Democratic Party-backed state budgets that contained deficits.
Fresno Bee
Supports Patterson...Kole Upton, Chowchilla...Letters to the editor
Mark Watte (letter April 20) joins Rep. Devin Nunes of the 21st Congressional District in recommending the voters of the 19th select Richard Pombo (formerly of the 11th Congressional District) to replace George Radanovich.
However, Rep. Radanovich anointed Jeff Denham as his recommended replacement. So, we have the D.C. power brokers and their big money donors split on who should represent the 19th District.
Perhaps, the voters of the 19th can solve this dilemma by deciding for themselves who should represent them?
As an elected director of a water district in the 19th, I join with my fellow farmers, taxpayers and Tea Party enthusiasts in suggesting Jim Patterson should be that representative. Jim lives in the 19th District, understands our unique water situation and, especially, the devastating effect of the San Joaquin River Settlement on this area.
His eight years as mayor of the largest urban center in the 19th clearly indicates that only he has the local knowledge and experience required to effectively represent the 19th.
This republic was founded on the principle of voters selecting their own representatives, not having power brokers do it for them.