Farm Workers Prepare for Sacramento Water Rally

August 13, 2008 12:17:24 AM PDT
More than one thousand valley farm workers are preparing for a water rally in Sacramento.They gathered to discuss their mission, to get a bond on the November ballot that will deliver more water to drought stricken valley farms.

25 busses will be pulling out of the valley early Wednesday morning. 13 hundred farm workers and managers are hoping to get even more lawmakers to support the measure before a Saturday deadline.

These are the leaders who will join farm workers during a water rally in Sacramento.

Tuesday night they loaded up with supplies ... From signs to snacks and water to make sure the trip north will be hassle free and productive.

Piedad Ayala, Rally Organizer: "This rally that we are going to do is going to be educated, is gonna be good because our purpose is not to get in trouble, get anybody in trouble, our purpose is to go and get our water back in our valley."

Some valley packing houses will be shutting down for the day so workers can take Wednesday off without pay to attend the event.

Although many cannot afford the missed day, some say they cannot afford not to go because without water many of their jobs will dry up permanently.

Ismael Reyes, Irrigation Manager: "All of my life this is what I've done. I don't know what else to other than be a farm worker. So it's very important for us to go to Sacramento and demonstrate in a peaceful way. We need to exist on the west side."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger supports the bond. On Tuesday Senator Dianne Feinstein pushed hard to get more state lawmakers on board.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: "I've run 4 times now. This is the state of my birth. I have never seen it in this condition, with the dryness, the fires the way they are, the explosiveness of it, the deteriorating snowpack, the reservoirs low, and it's every overt danger signal. The water infrastructure is inadequate."

The proposed nine billion dollar water bond includes money for new dams, and money to restore and protect the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta.

Farm laborers say they are banking on the bonds long term impact on their livelihood and the future generations to come.

Enrique Jimenez, Farm Worker: "They are families that really need their jobs and they are losing their jobs and we want to stop this. Everybody likes to have a job."

Saturday's deadline is critical for lawmakers. If the bill is not passed by then, it will likely not make it to voters on the November ballot.

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