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Voice: Farmers use the IID like the Mafia uses casinos

October 11, 2001

I attended the Oct. 3 Imperial Irrigation District meeting. It was obvious those pushing for elimination of IID employees were farmers.

It's well known the IID power side has financially supported the water side. The water division operates with a constant deficit, covered by the electric side, allowing the farmer to have the cheapest water in California.

Most farmers outside of the Valley pay $200 to $400 an acre-foot. Here they pay less than $25.

Because of the cheapness of the water, Valley farmers are raising alfalfa, a crop that requires an abundance of water.

The public is effectively subsidizing the farmers' operation. Without the cheap water, the local farmers couldn't afford to raise alfalfa. The IID provides the farmer with free drainage pumps and electricity to operate the pumps.

You would expect the farmers to be grateful toward the public for our generosity.

That isn't the case. Just recently we had some farmers who were trying to sell the water to outside interests. They didn't care if it resulted in the Valley drying up and becoming a desert. The well-being of the Valley didn't matter to them. Greed had become their God, and damn the community. Their fantasy was to move permanently into their San Diego houses and live the life of the rich.

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Now the public is stuck with the millions of dollars in legal fees, keeping our electric bills higher. The same greedy farmers selected the group to investigate IID.

Some farmers view IID in the same manner as the Mafia views casinos, a business to skim money from to maintain their expensive lifestyles.

Farming is like any other business. You have to search for new crops that will make your business profitable. Farmers have college degrees. Put their education to work instead of shaking down the IID for more money. IID isn't the welfare office.

The layoffs are targeted at people from the electric side. Generally, the people affected will be Hispanics and women. Most money saved will go toward lowering the farmers water bill, money taken from the public and pocketed by the farmer.

The farmers don't value our generosity. Raise their water rates. They no longer deserve our support.

Let's protect the IID from the farmers. IID isn't owned by the farmers. IID belongs to us.

JOHN GARCIA

Imperial

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