Two big fights – one for water and the other in the ring – will be in the spotlight Friday afternoon in Fresno during a media day featuring valley boxer Jose Ramirez and a news conference in which Central California’s rapidly worsening water crisis will be the focus of California Latino Water Coalition leaders and several valley elected officials during a news conference.
The Latino Water Coalition is co-sponsoring the May 17 bout featuring U.S. Olympian Ramirez at Fresno’s Selland Arena as “Fight for Water II,” to help call national attention to the total lack of water supplies now threatening large portions of the San Joaquin Valley’s East Side and West Side. Ramirez is a Coalition member.
The news conference and Fight for Water media event will take place:
Friday, May 2 at 2 p.m.
Thrive Gym — 5161 North Blackstone Avenue
ON BLACKSTONE BETWEEN SHAW AND BARSTOW AVENUES.
“This news conference will include statements by some of our local elected officials whose constituents are most at risk from economic and social disaster this summer because of the zero water allocations still in place over millions of acres along the valley’s West Side and East Side,” said Mario Santoyo, Latino Water Coalition Executive Director. “Don’t be surprised if what these county supervisors and mayors have to say to the federal and state governments is strong. Aside from some drought relief and eased regulations, there really hasn’t been much movement toward getting growers at least some supply to keep permanent plantings alive. The bottom line is we still have no water, trees and vines are about to start dying and valley people – particularly Latinos – will be hurting.”
Among the confirmed speakers are Fresno County Supervisors Phil Larson and Judy Case McNairy. They represent portions of western Fresno County and along the county’s East Side that would be hardest hit by a zero allocation.
Mayor Gabriel Jiminez of Orange Cove, an East Side community in the heart of an incredibly productive citrus region that has very little groundwater to cushion the total lack of Central Valley Project surface water supplies, will discuss his community’s worsening dilemma.
The City of Orange Cove itself relies totally on Friant-Kern Canal deliveries for municipal supplies and is going to have make do with a much reduced emergency supply of health and safety water arranged by the Bureau of Reclamation and Fresno Irrigation District.
While the prospect of massive economic losses and social problems caused by a lack of water is confronting Orange Cove and the East Side, such difficulties are much too familiar to Mendota Mayor Robert Silva.
He will speak on how Mendota is grimly preparing for another year of extreme water curtailments in the CVP’s nearby San Luis Unit, including the Westlands Water District. Unemployment is growing rapidly, fields are being fallowed and businesses and residents are struggling financially.
Also speaking will be Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal (who chairs the Council of Fresno County Governments), Clovis Councilman Jose Flores and other local leaders.
Cannon Michael, who farms east of Los Banos, will represent the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. A representative of California Citrus Mutual will explain the problems being faced by citrus growers along the East Side.