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Life out here by Bret Kofford:

May 01, 2002

Attack of the Gray Weasel

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and everyone but a few in the Imperial Valley gets screwed again, this time by the weasels and snakes.

For 100 years, every time the Imperial Valley has seemed to get to its feet in an attempt to catch the rest of California, it has gotten kicked in the crotch, via weather, pestilence, plain bad fortune and soon, if we let the weasels and snakes get away with it, greed and political opportunity.

Our esteemed and always-running-for-re-election governor, Gray Weasel, has decided he can sacrifice the fewer than 50,000 votes in the Imperial Valley to try to cash in on the millions of votes in the coastal areas of California by telling those people he "got a big water transfer done."

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Gray Weasel and his band of well-trained snakes told Imperial Irrigation District representatives in Sacramento last week that the Valley is going to have to fallow farmland in order for it to get water to San Diego and not dry up the Salton Sea. Gray Weasel and his well-trained snakes are kinda-sorta denying that now, but then again, they are weasels and snakes, two types of vermin you can never trust.

The fact that such a plan will murder the Imperial Valley's economy seems of little concern to Gray Weasel and his snake pack and federal officials who talked to the IID folks in the state capital. Our relatively small population and isolation mean we have absolutely no political weight in Sacramento, particularly compared to those who need more water to fuel San Diego's growth and those environmentalists with deep pockets who would sue over Salton Sea habitat being corrupted by a transfer — and whose votes would abandon Davis, a Democrat, if the environmentalists thought he was betraying their ideals.

Most of us who have invested in property or businesses here in the Imperial Valley, and all of us who have invested our lives here, will suffer deeply if this is forced upon us. Hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands, of jobs will disappear, according to studies, and the remedies proposed for how those jobs losses would be mitigated seem vague at best and half-hearted at most. Yes, jobs will disappear, stores will close, home values will plummet.

Don't believe for a second those who tell you a fallowing plan will mean more money coming into the community. Much of that money won't circulate here because much of our farmland is owned by absentee landlords who simply will pocket the stacks of cash to set their farmland aside.

There are farmers here who love farming and this Valley and will use the money to reinvest in their farms and try to make their good land more productive. Then again, there will be those farmers lining up lickity-split for the fallowing money. And watch the fights ensue over who gets it first and who gets the most. Just watch. In the sad times to follow if we are forced to fallow, at least that will be amusing.

There are many people we could blame for this if we let it go through. We could start with some farmers who never gave up on the mid-1990s money-for-nothin' scheme, no matter what any agreement stated nor the sentiments of 99 percent of the Valley's population. But those heartless, ungrateful cads have been pilloried enough. They just want free money, and who doesn't? They wouldn't have had a chance to go on water welfare (they might argue water Supplemental Security Income) if not for politicians selling out the Valley and its people.

Topping that list from several years ago would be the IID board that bum-rushed us into a water swap with San Diego. Most of those private servants have since left or had their scheming rear ends booted off the public IID board, but they set the groundwork for a deal that has left the Valley in a no-win situation. These people sold us down the river, literally, and exactly what they got in return I hope we someday discover.

When one of those men was voted off the board a few years ago by a fed-up public, the new board voted to name a building after him for his years of "service." If the economy here goes down the toilet, thanks to us being forced into fallowing, I will be the first in line to urinate on the plaque from that building after a mob rips it off the wall.

Then there is Gray Weasel. Gray Weasel has been in office almost four years now and has yet to dignify Imperial County with a Gray Weasel visit.

I dare him to come now. Gray Weasel has proven once again that he is a soulless "politician" in the worst sense of the word, sprinting to where the votes and money are and trampling those poor people who happen to be underfoot. Anyone in Imperial County who would vote for Gray Weasel has to be self-destructive. And I say this as a staunch fellow Democrat.

Gray Weasel and his tamed snakes have no right to force us to fallow our land. We all have already said no to this time and time again, because we know the damage it could do to all of us.

It is not easy to deal with weasels and snakes when they come into your back yard. The best remedy is to go after ‘em with a shovel.

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