Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) sent the following open letter to President Barack Obama in anticipation of the president’s planned visit to the Central Valley on Friday:
February 11, 2014
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I want to thank you in advance for coming to visit the Fresno area this week and to offer my services as a local farmer and as a citizen-legislator to make your visit as productive as possible.
During your visit you will no doubt attend a number of scheduled, staged meetings and events, but I’d encourage you to also try to break away (as much as may be possible) from the political crowd and get out and meet some proud but hurting residents of the Central Valley who really need your help.
In west Fresno County, you’ll see thousands of fallow acres which will not be planted this year due to the drought and continued reductions of water allotment by both the federal and state bureaucracies. You’ll meet thousands of unemployed farmworkers and hundreds of small farmers barely holding on to their now unproductive farms. The west Fresno County area stretching between Interstate 5 and Highway 41 comprises many devastated communities such as Firebaugh, Mendota, Kerman, Tranquility, San Joaquin, Three Rocks, Five Points, Huron and others.
East of Fresno, you’ll meet hundreds of unemployed ranch hands and dozens of ranchers who have recently sold and shipped their livestock to Texas, Nebraska and other states because of the lack of water. You’ll come across orchards that will not produce fruit this year and see hundreds of unemployed, hardworking Californians who normally would be harvesting those orchards. The people in communities such as Orange Cove, Dinuba, Orosi, Cutler, Yettem, Seville, Ducor, Terra Bella, Lindsay and others are looking for a helping hand, not a handout.
The cries of help from real people and families in the Central Valley have been countered by the demands of radical environmentalists who would rather save a fish instead of families.
Remarkably, some of the representatives and bureaucrats in Washington and Sacramento side with the Delta Smelt rather than the men, women and children of the Central Valley.
Mr. President, away from the planned political events this week, you’ll also run across hard working, proud people who will never have the money to ride the proposed but ill-fated high speed rail system, but will be put out of a job or their home because they happen to live or work in the destructive path of this elitist-centric pipe dream.
You’ll meet people who for years have had to rely on bottled water because their tap water is unusable. They wonder why the powers that be who control Sacramento still haven’t gotten their act together to put a bond on the ballot that will create water storage, convey water to areas that need it and clean-up water in disadvantaged communities. They wonder why some of the powers that be in Washington favor spending hundreds of millions of dollars on “river restoration” for a ghost salmon that has been gone for more than 60 years instead of on communities facing the prospect of no water this year.
I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the stories and lives of the many people who will not be able to attend most of the meetings and events being planned for you this week.
Again, thank you for coming to the Central Valley this week. If I can be of assistance to you in any way, I stand ready to do so.
For a copy of the original letter, go here: http://vidak.cssrc.us/sites/vidak.cssrc.us/files/140211_VidakLetter.pdf
Two Audio Clips from Senator Vidak:
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