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Voice: Some farmers only care about exploiting the populace

December 14, 2001

I love the Imperial Valley but there are two factors I have never cared for. One is the summer heat and the other is the stranglehold the farmers have held over this valley.

That isn't to say all farmers are bad. We can be grateful to Los Alamitos farms, who donated 200 acres to San Diego State University. They are unique and deserve praise.

But there is another farming group who are always attempting to exploit the populace of this valley for their own financial gain. They have the belief they are a special class of people and deserve special privileges. They don't care for the Hispanics and view the other non-farming whites as uncultured. They only socialize with each other and don't care for the community.

Approximately 15 years ago, a company wanted to build a cement factory outside of Seeley. It would have created 200 well-paying jobs. It was rumored the farmers put a stop to the idea. The farmers wanted this valley to remain an agriculture-based economy. For political reasons the farmers decided it would not be in their interest to allow the plant to be built.

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The excuse used was there was not enough water to supply the plant. The company built the plant elsewhere.

Now we can see the farmers chasing away 200 jobs at the Imperial Irrigation District. These jobs will be given to private contractors who are located outside the state of California. A $12 million contract was awarded to Irby and Asplundh for construction work. Eighty jobs that pay over $40,000 a year have been given to people from out of state.

If you are from the Valley you can no longer have these jobs. I remember seeing some teen-age girls campaigning for Lloyd Allen, the IID director. The girls are now in their early 20s and are probably searching for a good-paying job. But they can no longer hope to work for IID because Allen has decided that all new job openings will be given to people from out of state and if you are from the valley you need not apply. Thanks to Allen and the farmers, for the next five years there are no jobs at the IID for you.

If you are unemployed, this is your Christmas gift from the farmers. Aren't they great?

JOHN GARCIA

Imperial

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