Actor, Comedian, and farmer Paul Rodriguez, once a strong proponent of Democrats, has switched sides. Not over health care, or immigration reform, or even Iraq. He switched sides because of a fish, specifically Hypomesus transpacificus – the Delta Smelt. This tiny fish will cause the ruination of Southern California’s Central Valley area, some of the most fertile land on Earth. It will render thousands of farmers and farm hands unemployed. This fish is in a fight with the farmers, all over water.
The pumps which supply the valley with water from Northern California have been switched off after a judge ruled in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and their report claiming that the pumps are hazardous to this minnow sized fish. Last week, Lester Snow and other California water regulators urged the federal government to reconsider it’s protections for the endangered Smelt. In previous years, the water pumped in has been restricted, this year it has been cut off completely. And without water, there is no farming. What is especially damaging is that farmers have already planted, so without their crops they will be ruined.
Rodriguez helped create the California Latino Water Coalition, has led marches of several thousand people, and spoke to many of the Democrats he helped get elected – so far nothing has worked. On the Mark Levin Show on May 13th, Rodriguez said,
When I called [them] I was told to ‘stick to the jokes’…So now I realize that it was really the Republicans who had my best interests at heart all along.
Unemployment, already high in California, is skyrocketing in the valley. For example, Mendota, a small town in Fresno County, has seen its unemployment rate jump to 35%, high even for a community with a large population of seasonal farm workers. Greater Fresno is above 13.2%. And the impact to California’s $20 Billion agriculture industry is incalculable. Todd Diedrich, and almond grower, has been forced to let two thirds of his 1,500 acre farm go fallow.
What is clear is that environmentalists, along with California lawmakers and the FWS, have teamed up to kill off farming in the 400 mile long valley. When asked about the policy and it’s effects on the farmers and workers Lloyd Carter (a Gerry Brown appointee and environmental activist) said,
They’re not even American citizens for starters, right? Do you think that we should employ illegal aliens? What parent raises their child to become a farm worker? These kids they are the least educated people in America, or in the southwest corner of this valley, they turn to lives of crime, they go on to go on welfare, they get into drug trafficking and they join gangs.
To environmentalists, the farmers are irrelevant. The food supply is irrelevant, the health of California’s agriculture industry is irrelevant. Saving a tiny fish from harm is all that matters, and no compromise will be allowed. It is possible that another solution can be worked out, but in the meantime trees, plants, and animals go thirsty while the workers go hungry.
It is absolutely insane.