Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Here’s something rich: A whole list

stevenson column sig

By
From page B7 | July 13, 2014 |

I always get nervous when this issue of Forbes magazine comes in. It’s the annual America’s Richest Families edition.

I open to the special section gingerly, because I never know if they’ve spelled my name right or used an old picture that makes me look overweight. Last year, I offered to let the photographer use my high school yearbook photo, but she wanted something more current. I told the editor that if they’re not going to use the right picture, they can leave me off the list completely.

Sure enough, the cover family had been there before. If Forbes had been around 150 years ago, the Mellon family would have been near the top of their list every year.

The Mellons are not the wealthiest family on the list, but they win the award for longevity. The Mellon family came to America from Ireland in 1818, and, ironically, settled in the town of Poverty, Pa. Real estate, banking, oil – Gulf Oil – coal, glass, with one strategy: accumulate wealth and preserve it. It worked. Today they have a net worth of $12 billion.

But this “old-money” family, the Mellons, are “only” 19th on the wealth list. The first prize goes to – no surprise – the Walton family. If the Mellons’ $12 billion seems like a lot (what do I mean – “seems?”), the Walton family’s wealth of $152 billion could swallow half the known world. The Waltons’ wealth does not go back to the Civil War, just to 1962, the year after I graduated from high school.

Ah, the time I wasted getting a college degree when I could have founded a fast food empire, or something.

In second place on the Forbes billionaire list is a name that’s not. They use it in their ads and rallies, and you can bet the name will come up at this party’s political convention. I’m talking about the Koch brothers, the owners of the oil-refining company that has become America’s second-largest family owned company. The family has accumulated industries with a net worth of about $90 billion.

Take a guess: Is it a surprise that oil refining was a quicker route to vast wealth than candy? We’re talking about Mars, which is the actual family name, and happens to fit easily on the candy bars, Uncle Ben’s Rice and Whiskas pet food. The Mars company was founded in 1911, and has grown to a $60 billion food empire. Wait – should we call M&M’s a “food”?

What definitely is not a food is the product that made the Gallo brothers billionaires 10 times over. You remember Ernest and Julio, of course, who founded their eponymous company in Modesto in 1933. At this point, I have to throw in an almost meaningless anecdote: I would guess it was 10 or 12 years ago when my wife Clare and I attended a fundraising dinner for Rep. Frank Riggs. Who should be sitting – unaccompanied – to Clare’s right, but Ernest Gallo? He was very friendly, and Clare flirted with – I mean talked to – him throughout the dinner. I have no doubt that until he died, Mr. Gallo talked about the “sparkling” couple he sat next to that night.

But wait; there’s more. It was maybe 15 years ago that Clare and I were dining at a modest restaurant in Lucerne, Switzerland, and who was sitting at a long table right next to us? It was the Busch family or at least part of it – today No. 17 on the billionaire’s list. Can you guess what kind of beer they were drinking?

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at Bsteven254@aol.com.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • BaseballmomJuly 13, 2014 - 7:04 am

    Oooooohhhhhh! Those eeeeeeeevil Koch brothers! They must repent and give ALL their money away! ;-).

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MikeJuly 13, 2014 - 3:59 pm

    Glad you stuck to your guns about the use of the picture.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 12 Comments | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Police investigate Fairfield shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

 
Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 14 Comments

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 18 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9