Saturday, June 20, 2009

Governor's Mendota Press Conference

Just watched the Governor's press conference in Mendota on his website.

I agree with the main action he took in the press conference, sending food and other aid to the people in suffering Valley communities.

The other major action was to ask the President to declare an emergency. It will be interesting to see where that goes. If he doesn't grant the emergency declaration, he will be made into a villian who "values fish over people." If he does grant the declaration, he will have to deal with a long line of "what about me" requests from areas, starting with fishing communities.

A few thoughts:

When he discusses says "self inflicted wounds," it seems to refer to the Government, but is it fair to say that the farmers themselves can be blamed for at least some of these self-inflicted wounds. Didn't they invest in permanent crops on land with interruptible, junior water rights? Has someone been forcing them to overdraft groundwater all these years even when surface water supplies were good?

He also makes a comment in the Q&A that suggests that Mendota unemployment would be 11.5% like the rest of the state if they only had water. That's terribly wrong on the facts, and I challenge him to point out any time in which unemployment in this farm town has even been close to that level.

[Update: I looked up the last time Mendota unemployment was below 11.5%, it is the 1960s, right before the Central Valley Project started delivering irrigation water to Westlands.]

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