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Grief should not be the determining factor in county races 

As a community, our hearts go out to the family of Andrew Holland, the young man who died a year and a half ago in the San Luis Obispo County Jail. Shortly after the details of Andrew's death became public, the Holland family voiced plans to promote changes in the way the mentally ill are treated in our county.

While we all agree on the need for better treatment for the mentally ill in our county jail, and mental health care instead of prosecution for those suffering a mental crisis, there are other issues facing this county, too.

As a small farming family in North County, we find water rights and access just as important. Several wealthy landowners have been working to create private water districts that could lead to wealthy water barons controlling our North County water rights. They ignore the fact that 74 percent of our residents showed opposition through their vote against a basin-wide water district formation in 2016.

Unfortunately, two county supervisor candidates, the two to whom the Holland family donated large sums of money, are in favor of giving voting rights to private water districts in North County.

Losing a family member is tragic, but we find it wrong that the Holland family is backing candidates based on how they converse with them about the loss of Andrew. There are many other issues—like our water—that are just as important to the residents of this county to consider when voting.

Claire Mamakos

Paso Robles

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