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Immigration: mayors hope to lobby Ag Secretary / more from Kings Co

February 7,2018-

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 7.14.16 AMStung by an immigration enforcement battle that pits the state vs the Trump administration, Central Valley mayors hope to press the issue with US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue when he visits here. Perdue will be in Tulare next week for the farm show.

Ag leaders say farmers are caught in the middle by state demands for a “sanctuary state” and ICE enforcement action at area packing houses that is scaring away workers. The Fresno Bee reported this week that Bee Sweet citrus lost 40 workers as immigration officials demanded a new employee audit at the farm.

”Farmers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t” complains Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen.

What most leaders agree on is that they need the workforce who is here already- to stay here. ”Conservative legislation the requires everyone be sent home to Mexico will not work for us” says Nelsen.

”Citrus harvest work is almost all by-hand and ”we have 10,000 to 12,000 mostly immigrant residents picking our fruit right now.”

He adds that “these workers are residents and key to our economy.”

This week California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson agreed, arguing demands to use” E-Verify to check eligibility would disqualify more than half the agricultural workforce.”

”Now is not the time to ask agriculture to shrink its workforce.”

Fresno farm advocate Manuel Cunha of Nisei Farmers League says he is spearheading a drive to present a letter to Perdue from about 68 California mayors including many from the Valley to offer their vision of what immigration reform might look like. ”We will ask for a meeting with President Trump.”

Cunha laments “We have no water and we already have a labor shortage and now we won’t have any workers left.”

Bulging reservoirs but no snowpack

Sierra snowpack is just about nonexistent. Sierra snow water content by watershed on Jan 31 was: San Joaquin River Average 0%,Kings River 16%, Kaweah River 6% and Tule River 13%.

Lack of snow has again shut down the China Peak resort while it is not much better up north where the Shasta Snowpark recently closed as well. Day time temp at China Peak was 55 degrees this week, melting what little snow we had.

A report says if we do not get more snow in February, this will be the lowest total ever measured by the Central Sierra Snow Lab in the Tahoe area.

Meanwhile the state’s big reservoir are mostly above average for this time year including Shasta at 117% of average. San Luis Reservoir is 100% full and can not accept any more water without dumping some they have.But there is no place to put it.

There is a chance that we could finally see some changes in the high pressure pattern that block storms the last week of the month

Avenal: more cities turn to solar for their treatment plants

Avenal is applying for a $4.8 million grant from the state to put in a 0.76mw solar farm to cover their power needs a the city waste water treatment plant. AM Consulting engineer Alfonso Manrique says Avenal would be the latest of many Valley communities who’ve installed solar including Parlier many years ago.

After all, everyone flushes” observes Manrique, so the demand will always be there.

Manrique says he should know if Avenal will receive the funds by summer and work to build the system  should move forward after that. His company helps many Valley towns cut costs at their WWTP projects.

Corcoran deal could revisit cannabis

Real estate broker Mike Porte says he assisted with the sale of an 18-acre industrial property in Corcoran that includes an 80,000sf building on Orange Ave. The building is the former Seward luggage plant, vacant for years.

The buyer is an unnamed LA firm who Porte says still hopes to use the rail-served building to grow and harvest cannabis although the city recently turned down requests to allow it

If not, they will use the building for other projects, he says. For now the building has been leased to Walmart.Walmart already has a pharmaceutical distribution warehouse in Hanford.

 

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