Our View: Valley has able representative on air board

August 22, 2013 

Congratulations to agribusinessman-farmer John Eisenhut of Turlock on his appointment to the California Air Resources Board, a powerful state board that makes critical decisions affecting business, industry and individuals. It deals with all types of air pollution issues, from promoting the use of alternative-fuel vehicles to making rules on implementing AB 32, the state's controversial law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We think Eisenhut, 67, will provide a useful perspective to the air board as someone who knows the valley and agriculture but also has a master's degree in economics from University of California at Santa Barbara. Eisenhut will replace another valley representative, Dorene "DeeDee" D'Adamo, also of Turlock, who was named to the State Water Resources Control Board last spring.

Eisenhut owns almond orchards and is manager of Hilltop Ranch, Inc. He ran unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 2008, losing to Bill Berryhill. Eisenhut, a Democrat, was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown; his nomination must be confirmed by the state Senate. The position pays $41,889 per year.

Over the years, we have not had enough northern San Joaquin Valley representatives on these key state boards. Now we have one on both the air and water boards, and both are capable and well-respected. It's good news for our region.

Free admittance comes with an obstacle

Yosemite National Park is offering free admission Sunday, in observation of the anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service. However, the park may not be easily inaccessible for valley residents unless the large and growing Rim Fire on the north side of the park is brought under control. Highway 120 is closed in both directions, with no indication of when it will reopen.

We urge potential visitors to check the fire status before heading toward the park. We have regular updates on modbee.com, and the Stanislaus National Forest provides details on its fire incident website at http://inciweb.org/incident/3660. This may be one of those situations where a free opportunity is not a good deal.

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