Good news to start off the New Year's here in California: the hub of California's agricultural economy in the Central Valley is being compared to Zimbabwe. From IBD:
Fresno, Calif., stands as the de facto capital of California's mighty Central Valley, the breadbasket of America. So why is that city preoccupied with winning a $1 million prize to stave off hunger?
Local newspapers and Fresno County officials are trying to rally Facebook users to vote for Fresno in a corporate contest sponsored by Wal-Mart for $1 million in charity food donations for the hungry. Fresno, a city of 505,000, has taken the national lead because 24.1% of Fresno's families are going hungry.
Civic spirit is good, but something big is wrong here. Fresno is the agricultural capital of America. More food per acre in more variety can be grown in the fertile Central Valley surrounding this community than on any other land in America — perhaps in the world.
Yet far from being a paradise, Fresno is starting to resemble Zimbabwe or 1930s Ukraine, a victim of a famine machine that is entirely man-made, not by red communists this time, but by greens.
State and federal officials, driven by the agenda of environmental extremists, have made it extremely difficult for the valley's farms, introducing costly environmental regulations and cutting off critical water supplies to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish. It's all driving the economy to collapse.
In the southwest part of the Central Valley, water allotments as low as 10% of normal have created a visible dust bowl. The knock-on effect can be seen in cities like Fresno, where November's unemployment among the packers, cannery workers and professional fields that make agriculture productive stands at 16.9%.
Other Central Valley cities such as Hanford-Corcoran, Merced, Modesto, Stockton and Visalia-Porterville have similar jobless numbers, the highest in the country. The Wal-Mart Foundation notes that "24.1% of families in this community (Fresno) cannot afford regular meals compared to a national average of 9.2%."
That's right — a community that supplies a quarter of America's fruit and vegetables is begging for food. City officials and the media seem oblivious to this irony. "Even if Fresno doesn't finish first (in WalMart's Facebook contest) the fight against hunger will still come out a winner," the Fresno Bee crowed, citing publicity.
Fresno was ranked dead last at 102 as the worst city in America to do business, according to a 2010 MarketWatch survey. Four other Central Valley cities made the national bottom 10 — Bakersfield, Sacramento, Modesto and Stockton.
Then again, what would you expect from a state that will be adopting strict new diesel emissions standards from a report authored by someone who lied about one of his Ph.Ds
and obtained another from an on-line university?
And you always know it's going to be good news when someone calling himself "The Business Relocation Coach" is assembling "top ten lists" for your state. Here's Joe Vranich:
Only in California!
H/T: Temple of Mut