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Trains, misplaced priorities, and water


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  • Misplaced priorities at a public policy level is hurting agriculture and California as a whole


A recent meeting of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors seems to illustrate what I believe are misplaced priorities. Allow me to explain.

I don’t typically attend these meetings because there’s nothing there that requires my attendance for this publication. Unless, of course, it’s the county Ag commissioner’s annual announcement and report of crop values from the previous year; then I’m all ears.

I made it a point this year to report on the three top Ag counties in the United States – Kern, Tulare and Fresno – because of the size and scope of their agricultural output. I believe my attendance at these meetings benefits readers as I’m able to record and reflect not just the data these reports provide, but the comments and attitudes of those elected to represent local farmers.

It is standard practice for California Ag commissioners to present their reports to elected supervisors during a formal public meeting.

Fresno Ag Commissioner Les Wright’s report was listed on the board’s agenda for July 15. Just ahead of it was a lengthy public hearing on the merits of California’s proposed high speed rail (HSR) system. Fresno County supervisors were being asked to formally decide whether they would continue to support the HSR proposal that many say is wrought with problems and will cost exponentially more than first proposed.

Here’s the rub, and I’m not alone in this: I spoke with a local Ag leader who validated my thoughts on the subject.

Supervisors could have easily moved the Ag commissioner’s 10-minute presentation ahead of the three-hour public session on HSR. I say that not because Wright’s report was the only reason I attended the meeting, but it was.

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