Statewide Drought Putting Businesses out of Business

July 8, 2008 9:13:04 PM PDT
Business is so slow at this Mendota convenience store the owner stopped selling gas a month ago.Manager Elena Moreno says with the sales down 60-percent she's lucky if more than a dozen customers come in during her shift. Elena Moreno said: "I have people coming in saying they're only working three days out of seven. They're spending whatever money they do have on food and paying their mortgage."

Like the 16-hundred acres of cotton a grower abandoned in this field, business is drying up all over the Westside. Severe water shortages and the drought have put at least 700 farm workers out of a job.

Mendota's Mayor says with 40-percent of the city unemployed, he's never seen anything like. Mayor Robert Silva said: "This has got to be the worst. With farm workers out of jobs the city hurts, because the workers keep our community going."

With so much at stake Assemblyman Juan Arambula set up this public hearing so state leaders could the stories of those devastated by the water crisis. Among other things like Arambula is pushing legislation that would extend unemployment benefits for farm workers until the end of the year.

Assemblyman Arambula said: "It is a natural disaster, state legislators need to respond. We also need to work on a solution for the long term."
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