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Local opinion columnists

Be sure to water your trees

By From page A8 | August 25, 2014

I hope that’s not too controversial. So, let’s talk about water and the lack of it.

People are letting their lawns die. This may show their concern for saving water, or it could reflect the lingering effects of the economic recession. Either way, the problem comes when we look at the trees there. Almost all of our street trees come originally from the eastern part of the United States where it rains maybe once a week, so the trees get lots of water during their summer growing season. But here in California, water comes in the winter when most trees are dormant. So, we have to water them in the summer.

If you let your lawn die, then you have to think about the effect on the trees in your yard. As I drive around Fairfield, I see a lot of trees dying along with the lawn. Danger sign: Are leaves dropping? Are you grumbling like, “Dang trees – always shedding leaves.” It could be that your tree is slowly dying.

So, I say again: Water your trees. Run the sprinklers for several hours several times in the summer. Or dribble water from your hose for several hours in four or five spots near the “drip line” of the tree several times in the summer. Of course, if your tree has reached groundwater, this isn’t necessary, but few trees in Fairfield have access to groundwater.

Trees give both streets and cities a certain character. Sacramento has thousands of trees planted consciously to look like an “urban forest.” Sacramento streets are invariably attractive to me. Fairfield’s original housing development (I think), the presidents streets, hide their ancient plain architecture of flat-topped roofs by having large street trees and shaded streets.

It’s a nice effect.

You won’t find the city government telling you to cut back water. No, Fairfield is known as a city with excellent water and lots and lots of it. Under the direction of our former water manager, Rick Wood, the city reached an agreement with the state Department of Water Resources that assured us our legal right to “waters of origin.” When the state water project began in the early 1950s, users in Northern California were assured that they had original claim to the water and would not be harmed by cutbacks in order to supply Southern California.

As the south drank more and more, however, we began to get nervous, hence the challenge.

Then more recently, when the state began cutbacks, we joined other Northern California cities in a suit to recognize our senior rights to Lake Oroville water. We got more water there, too. We have all the water we need for “full buildout.”

Fairfield touts its water as an attraction to lure businesses to our area. We have a “food and beverage group” as a result. You know – Anheuser-Busch, Jelly Belly, Nippon Industries, Frank-Lin Distillers Products, Calbee Harvest Snaps and more. (Have you purchased a snack treat from Calbee? They are totally unique. Get one at local supermarkets. The founder of Calbee is a Hiroshima survivor.)

The city demonstrates its water asset by never saying that we should cut back usage; that illustrates the size of our supply as nothing else would. Of course, if you want to do your bit to fight drought, go ahead. The state has asked people to stop wasting water in several ways. Read about it on our city’s website.

Fairfield has a drought but it doesn’t have a water shortage. So, water your trees.

Let’s talk more about water in a future column.

Jack Batson is a former member of the Fairfield City Council. Reach him at [email protected]

Jack Batson


Discussion | 23 comments

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  • mike kirchubelAugust 25, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Another commie plot to spread the water around. Sure, take water from trees that have a lot to trees that don't have enough. Pure socialism.

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  • Larry WAugust 25, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    Mike. Did you have something to add or do you feel the need to make a comment where none is needed?

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  • Voter IDAugust 25, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    Larry If you do not know it by now Mike likes to read his name in the paper even though he has nothing to say. Remember to demand that every on shows proper ID when they vote (End Voter Fraud)

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  • rlw895August 25, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    ID: And you like to imitate a broken record. You still have no reply to "what about vote-by-mail?" You're a fraud.

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  • and you rlw are the real thing....August 25, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    rlw..... you are as tacky as a used pop-sickle stick dropped in some gum stuck to a hot August sidewalk....Have A Nice Day!

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  • Voter IDAugust 25, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    rlw: Ok i would be ok with doing away with voting by mail with the exception of our military when they are deployed or stationed in a state that they are not residents also if you want to vote you have to show a valid ID to prove who you are when you vote and you have to pay for your own id card you know like go to the dmv and get an id card like most people do when they need an id card. so now the ball is in your court. so what do you have to say about that. and by the way you are the fraud if you still do not demand that you show a valid id card to vote.

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  • The SugarJarAugust 25, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Vote by mail is important for folks with mobility issues, whether age or other related. I am not okay with making voting more difficult for these folks. My personal take is those who are super concerned with voter ID are also super concerned with losing (or sharing) their privileges/rights. They imagine, or pretend, that voter fraud is a wide-spread reality. In reality, behind much of the voter ID movement is a desire to disenfranchise voters deemed as "inferior".

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  • Voter IDAugust 25, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    Sugar Jar: where do you stand on requiring every one that votes to show proper id? The problem i have is when you have people like Jessy Jackson and Al Sharpton and a host of others like rlw895 clamming that if you have to pay for an ID Card out of your own pocket you are being discriminated against and or disenfranchised and that the government should provide you with an ID for free. As an american citizen you have the right to vote and you should show a proper ID to prove you are the person you are clamming to be.

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  • The SugarJarAugust 25, 2014 - 7:13 pm

    Mr. Chalk and Voter ID, where would I get a free ID? An ID is an extra step for a problem that is not a real problem. To have an ID that is worth anything (as far as proving you to be who you say you are) it is not going to be simple, and if free to the person, likely to be government paid for--which means paid for by the taxpayers. Not for eliminating vote-by-mail--would eliminate my mother, for one, now as she is not mobile anymore. I know we aren't going to agree on this one--either voter id requirements or the concepts (reality) of privelege and intersectionality.

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  • HeeHawAugust 25, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    TSJ: One of the states, Georgia maybe, even offered to provide the service of going to applicant's home to provide free ID. Democrats, as expected, raised the same feeble argument they always do. It still makes no sense to require ID for almost every human action EXCEPT voting. There is no valid argument against requiring a voter to prove they are who they say they are.

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  • The SugarJarAugust 25, 2014 - 9:16 pm

    Heehaw, does Georgia have vote by mail? she feebly asks.

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  • Tom ChalkAugust 25, 2014 - 8:14 pm

    TSJ: California ID cards are free for persons 62 years of age and older, and $8 for verified low-income persons at the DMV. My bad. Didn't realize the requirements were so burdensome. Again I ask you--as a citizen in our society, can you get along without an ID card--assuming you are not bedridden or totally handicapped in some way? Whether or not you intend to vote?

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  • LilAugust 25, 2014 - 9:27 pm

    My aunt died last year at the age of 83. She had no form of id. She never learned how to drive so never needed a drivers license. She lived outside a small town where she was known by store clerks. When she went to the big town to do any shopping, the town was still small enough that they took checks without id. She was a fully functional member of society, raised children, participated in her local community and knew enough about the country to vote. So, just because you can't imagine functioning without id, doesn't mean that other can not.

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  • Tom ChalkAugust 26, 2014 - 6:14 am

    Good for her. I gather she didn't ever need to get on an airplane, buy allergy pills at a pharmacy, cash an out of town check, drive a car (legally), visit a Kaiser doctor, etc. Fine. Most of us do not live in her world, though. But I bet if her state had adopted a voter ID requirement, she would have obtained an ID and got on with her life as a voting citizen.

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  • Tom ChalkAugust 25, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    "In reality, behind much of the voter ID movement is a desire to disenfranchise voters deemed as inferior," says TSJ. I say, "Hogwash," TSJ. Must you see everything through the prism of "priveleged" people versus "the downtrodden?" Sometimes its not that complicated. It takes almost no effort to acquire a free, official ID of some sort, and I can't imagine a functioning member of our society going through life without one. Could you? Voting is one of the most important things we as functional citizens do, and the right should be protected and valued. I would hope that those who do vote are at least functional on the minimal level required to obtain an ID. We humans don't tend to value things obtained without some level of effort. That also holds true for those to whom we grant citizenship, even when they come here illegally. But that's another story.

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  • The SugarJarAugust 25, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    Thanks Mr. Batson, watering my poor tree now.

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  • rlw895August 25, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    VID: I say this column HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR OBSESSION. Take it somewhere else.

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  • http://www.stopsprayingcalifornia.com/Contaminated_Soil_&_Chemtrails.phpAugust 25, 2014 - 12:47 pm

    Google...effect of chemtrails on soil acidity...See Contaminated Soil & Chemtrails - Chemtrails Spraying in California Put this here not letting me post where I was before

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  • Book suggestionAugust 25, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    Hiroshima diary by Michihiko Hachiya

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  • GoogleAugust 25, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    eustace mullins hiroshima

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  • JimboAugust 25, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    Grass goes DORMANT when the weather is dry. This is not grass dying and is why it comes back when the rains come and weather cools. And there are a LOT of bad choices in trees planted by people who apparently thought water will always be abundant in Solano. Trees that do not belong here and need to go. Not have water wasted on some former homeowners bad decision.

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  • Rick WoodAugust 26, 2014 - 9:48 am

    Some grasses go dormant, others just die. What comes back are weeds. People should not non drought tolerant trees unless they will be irrigated, but if they're already there, usually they're worth keeping watered.

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  • Rick WoodAugust 26, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    *not plant

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