Prominent Westlands Grower Mark Borba resigns from board of Maddy Institute following racial slur of President Obama
Officials of the Maddy Institute said today (April 16, 2013) that prominent Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba resigned last Friday from the board of directors of the institute. The Institute, named after the late Kenneth Maddy, who served 28 years in the state legislature, was established in 1999. The mission of the Maddy Institute, according to its website (www.Maddyinstitute.org) is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.
Borba, who along with his brother, farms 8,600 acres in Westlands, was voted off the board of directors of Community Hospitals in early March but hospital officials would not explain the reason. On March 9, the Fresno Bee ran a front page story about an expletive-filled email that Borba sent to Westlands general manager Tom Birmingham, complaining about severe cutbacks in water allocations for Westlands. In that email, Borba derisively called President Obama "Blackie" and also argued that Sen. Dianne Feinstein should have marched into the White House and demanded more water for Westlands, which may receive only 25 percent of its allotment this year.
Earlier this week, Dr. Jeffrey Michael, of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific, said estimates by Westlands and Rep. Jim Costa about the economic impact because of the water cutbacks was significantly inflated.
Former Assemblyman Juan Arambula, now chairman of the Maddy Institute, said in a telephone interview that Borba's decision to resign from the Maddy Institute "was his decision and his decision alone." There was no board discussion of the matter.
Several individuals prominent in the food industry are on the Maddy Institute Board of Directors, including Westlands rancher/grower John Harris of Harris Farms, Melissa Poole of Paramount Farms (owned by Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick), Jim Coleman of E & J Gallo, as well as Rep. JIm Costa and former Republican assemblyman Mike Villines.