Letter to the Editor

Last year, talking with journalist Michael Dunbar I was stopped in my tracks as he described his articles (3 or 4 articles) on the recent tumultuous events within Los Banos City. Amongst other items, $1,800,000 paid to a reemployed City Manager was brought to light.

Almost exactly he said, “Greg, a City Council can take action which is OUTRAGEOUS, maybe CORRUPT, but that does not mean it is Criminal. THAT MUST BE PROVED.

Well, after laboring in local government for 55 years, those words stuck, a reminder we all can take a deep breath and draw some distance before forming judgements on others.

If nothing else these words confirmed my arrangements with the City Council/Mayor/City Attorney that I was directed to stick to work-related projects, and get them finished without getting distracted by political drama.

Now this may seem selfish in that some highly competent and loyal city employees may be harmed while waiting for peace and predictability to return to the City. But limited to 7 months or so at 12-15 hours per day there literally was no time for other things.

An example might be the closure of Los Banos Memorial Hospital; community members had asked me to take a look at options, given my previous experience in Merced County, but there was simply no time.

Being able TOGETHER to improve Salaries and Benefits for Public Safety personnel helped to stem the flow of a treasured group of employees to other jurisdictions. Not a perfect solution, but a start.

We TOGETHER made history in bringing in open public session, Execs. from Central California Irrigation District (Jarrett Martin), Grasslands Water Conservation District (Ric Ortega) and Federal Water Contractors Chief (Chris White) to share ideas how the public and agencies alike would benefit from water projects bringing folks together rather than operating as competitors.

Water issues, so vital to everyone nationally, but our very lifeblood in the Valley, simply must not receive only perfunctory attention.


Other words have stuck with me over time. Over 50 years ago, serving as a Probation Officer in South Dos Palos, a distraught Grandmother called about her grandson, 12 or 13 years old, not coming home and feared as a “runaway.“ At her advanced age she was his only “parent. “

Thanks to the help of County Sheriff’s and Dos Palos PD TOGETHER we were able to deliver him home safely.

As I was offering my sympathies and preparing to leave she grabbed my arm and said “Mr. Wellman, if you bear no cross, you’ll wear no crown.”

JUST WORDS?  No, not in her case. I would put money on the fact that she is at rest and enjoying her reward.

— Greg Wellman

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