Voice: Ricker's attacks on farmers and his historical recall are ludicrous

April 12, 2002

It seems to me Mr. Ricker doesn't have the ability to write a letter to the editor without condemning the farmers of the Imperial Valley. In his most recent letter he states the farmers did not build this Valley and that the Mexican workers did. He also states that without them, who would have harvested our crops?

Well, I don't know how long Mr. Ricker has lived here, but I have lived here all my life (65 years). I know for a fact that the first ethnic labor in this Valley were the Indians from the Colorado River. When my father came here in 1906, Mexicali consisted of four mud huts occupied by Indians from the Colorado River tribes. Until the 1920s they were the only supplemental labor in this Valley.

When the Great Depression came in 1932, the big influx of workers came from the Dust Bowl of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, which mostly consisted of Caucasian and black people. They are the ones who picked cotton, tilled the land and did the menial jobs in this Valley.


The Mexican guest workers that Mr. Ricker refers to never made an appearance in great numbers until World War II, when most young American citizens were either drafted or volunteered to go overseas and fight for their country.

Now, if Mr. Ricker is so adamant about protecting the Mexican worker and his plight in this country, why doesn't he take his fortune that he professes to have, i.e., previous letter when you state that you have plenty of money when someone offered you a bus ticket out of here, and go south of the border where people are doing the same jobs they do here for a total of $3-$5 for a 12-hour day instead of the $7 or $8 an hour we pay them here? It seems to me Mr. Ricker would be better disposed to go down there and help these poor people in their plight there.

If Mr. Ricker ever thinks the farmer did not build this valley, he should study the history of the Imperial Valley and those who turned it green and golden without the aid of the guest worker he refers to.

A lesson in economics to Mr. Ricker; the average farm worker you so wish to protect who earns $7 or $8 per hour American money and lives in Mexicali or south of the border has a better lifestyle than the American citizen who makes $15 per hour and lives on this side of the border.

So in closing, Mr. Ricker should do his homework and realize agriculture still pays the final bill here in Imperial County, and one more thing; he asked if many farmers had ever done stoop labor in their life? One of my personal experiences was one night at midnight while I was irrigating, the water broke out of my field into the river bottom and I knew if I didn't stop it I would lose 2 acres of land. Therefore I lay down in the break and had my wife and two of my children shovel dirt behind me to create a dam while the temperature was in the 30s.

I'm wondering if that is stoop enough for Mr. Ricker?



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