Prominent Westlands Water District Grower Mark Borba calls President Obama "Blackie" and also slams Sen. Dianne Feinstein

 The Fresno Bee reported today (April 9, 2013) that prominent Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba was removed as chairman of the board of directors of Community Medical Centers because of his use of a racial slur about President Barack Obama in an email exchange with Westlands general manager Thomas Birmingham.  The Bee reported Borba called President Obama "Blackie" in an obscenity-laced email (The Bee called it a "rant") about Westlands' water supply problems.  The Bee story can be read at

 Borba, who declined to be interviewed by the Bee, recently sent an email to the original email recipients and hospital board members and officers, expressing regrets for his slur of President Obama and his use of obscenities. Birmingham was not quoted in the Bee article.

"The language I used was hurtful to many people and it embarrassed my friends and colleagues. My language was inexcusable and I am greatly embarrassed by it myself," Borba wrote in the email, according to the Bee.  However, hospital officials concluded he could not stay on the board.

  Borba and his brother Ross Borba, operate an 8,600-acre farming operation on the San Joaquin Valley's west side, growing lettuce, cotton, tomatoes and garlic. According to the Environmental Working Group website, the Borba family, as individuals and trusts, has received millions of dollars of crop subsidies in the past decade.

  Mark Borba's email tirade began on March 1, after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that due to a dry winter and fishery concerns Westlands would only receive 25 percent of its annual allotment of 1.15 million acre-feet (an acre-foot is 325,851 gallons).  (In late March, Reclamation announced a further cut reducing Westlands' supply this year to only 20 percent of its allocation.  The way the federal water contracts are structured, Westlands rarely gets its requested amount of 1.15 million acre-feet. Senior water rights holders get their full amount or nearly full amount first and Westlands, at the end of the bucket line, gets what is left after the Bureau meets contractual needs of older Central Valley Project water district and fish and wildlife needs."

   The first email obtained by the Bee was sent by Borba at 2:29 p.m. on March 1 to Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who represents the Westlands area.  Borba thanked Costa for writing a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation seeking more water for Westlands.  But Borba asked in the Costa email "Where the hell is Feinstein and the Administration?" and claimed the water cutbacks would mean the Valley westside farming region would take a $1.5 billion hit, including idling 190,000 acres in Westlands alone.  "The Senator's Silence is deafening," Borba wrote. Copied on the Costa email were Tom Birmingham and two aides to Sen. Feinstein, Shelly Abajian and John Watts.

   Seven minutes after Borba sent his email to Costa, Birmingham responded as follows:

    "Mark, you should know that I have been working very closely with Senator Feinstein's staff.  Earlier this week I concurred with her staff's assessment that it would be better not to sign on to Jim's [Costa] letter because it would bring NGOs [non-government organizations or environmental groups] out of the woodwork. Senator Feinstein and her staff have been pushing [the Department of] Interior and Reclamation behind the scenes." Birmingham CC'ed Rep. Costa and the two Feinstein aides.

   Six minutes later, Borba fired back a fiery email denouncing Sen. Feinstein and demanding more action.  CCed on this email were prominent Westlands growers including John Harris of Harris Ranch, Sarah Woolf, whose family farms 26,000 acres in the district, and some Westlands board of directors members.  None of them were quoted in the Bee article.

   Borba's email read as follows:


     "She's the [expletive deleted] Chair of the National Security Team, for Christ's sake! She should call OBAMA on the carpet and insist that he direct Interior to get real!  If "Blackie" won't return her call, she should schedule a press conference on the steps of the Capitol or in front of Michelle's house...and tell the media the truth:  THE AREA IS BEING DEVISTATED [sic] BY ADMINISTRATIVE INACTION!

  "Either she represents the state of California...or not, TOM! 

   "Sorry, but giving her a pass out of fear the NGO's might do something is [expletive].

    "I'm tired of these [expletive] politicians waltzing through here....telling us how tough things are....picking our pockets for $$$$...and they [sic] returning  to DC and doing nothing!  Put their [expletive] careers on the line...or step down. 


P.S.  You owe me a new keyboard. I just broke this one......and my fingers are bleeding!"

   The Borbas began farming in the San Joaquin Valley in 1919, when Mark Borba's grandfather, A.J. Borba started a dairy in Riverdale with 40 cows on 120 acres.  Borba Farms has been lauded in the agriculture community for their adoption of GPS technology to determine pesticide and fertilizer applications.












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