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Rothlins tangled with PG&E before

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POSTED April 16, 2010 2:23 a.m.
This is not the first time Arnold and Roseline Rothlin of Nile Garden Farms butted heads with the giant utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric.

“We dealt with them in Lathrop when they built the PG&E substation on Vieira Road,” recalled Arnold Rothlin Thursday with an ironic smile.

“They tried to screw me back then, that’s why I didn’t want them here. They’re doing the same garbage,” said the Manteca-born and -raised farmer who grew up on his parents’ dairy on South Airport Way.

Building the sub-station affected the irrigation of the swath of land that they are leasing from J.R. Simplot. Arnold Rothlin told PG&E they needed to install an irrigation pipe so as not to jeopardize the alfalfa crop in the fields west of McKinley Avenue. When he did not get any response from PG&E, “I went to Simplot and Simplot got mad,” said Rothlin.

Thanks to Simplot dealing with PG&E, Rothlin got the irrigation pipe that he needed installed by PG&E to the tune of $17,500.

The fields on the east and west sides of McKinley Avenue between West Yosemite and Louise avenues in Lathrop totaling 165 acres belong to Simplot.

The Simplot land was originally farmed by Rothlin’s uncle, John Mendes, who is now retired. After his retirement, the Rothlins took over the operation.

In addition to the 18 acres that they own on Nile Avenue just west of Nile Garden School, the Rothlins also farm nearly 600 acres in the area all together. The husband and wife work side by side in their farming operation. Roseline is often seen driving the tractor to plow the fields with their trusty pet canine in the passenger seat. During the harvest season, she gets on the wheels of an all-terrain vehicle making sure the bales of hay or alfalfa are in proper order for a smooth gathering with the baling machine.

In another incident, the Rothlins fought Lathrop City Hall. Again, they won. Arnold Rothlin does not recall all the details now, but it also involved something being constructed and the taking by the city of a good chunk of their alfalfa crop on the Simplot property. Rothlin said the city at first was not interested in compensating them for the lost crop. But they persisted. They attended all the council meetings when the issue was discussed, with the Rothlins even bringing along Arnold Rothlin Sr. for moral support.

When the city finally conceded and cut a check for nearly $5,000 to Nile Garden Farms, the Rothlins never got the check even after the city told them that the check is in the mail. The younger Arnold Rothlin finally went to City Hall, which was then located at the J.R. Simplot on Harlan Road, to get to the bottom of the check that never got to their mailbox.

He somehow managed to talk with a city employee who went looking for the cashed check. Arnold Rothlin asked to have a copy of the cashed check and came to find out that it was deposited to another business account even though the check was made out to Nile Garden Farms.
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