District 4 Supervisor Max Rodriguez explores economic development priorities.
“The purse strings are loosening up a little ... but the money has to be used correctly. What could we do to improve the educational system here? It has to be parent participation. I’d like to see leaders like judges out talking to young people, communicating with them so they could be role models. Can you imagine the kids looking at a judge, who talks to the kids? We need role models. One time I was talking to the police chief, and asked why don’t you have the patrol car stop by and have the police get out of the car and talk with the kids. Heck, have the kids get into the car and take them around the block with the siren on. That sounds kind of foolish, but maybe the kids would feel something for the police, and they could build a relationship. He told me, well, you know what, those officers are very busy. But I know innovative cities do that.”
On the high-speed rail heavy-maintenance facility — has the city or the county pursued this?
“Oh, yes. We talk to our sources ... I can tell you we talk to them every other day. We badger them all the time. They listen to us. We try all the time. We develop friendships with them. We bring them here as often as we can.
“We go to meetings of county supervisors all we can. Other supervisors are still mad at the high-speed rail, and they ask us how we can spend so much time talking to the rail guys. But if you don’t want to talk to them and give them your input, they aren’t going to want to talk to you.
“High-speed rail will impact people’s property, but it’s not going to be as bad as people think it will be. I think they will be able to solve a lot of problems if they show concern.”
“Another concern I have is water. But we see thousands and thousands of acres being planted in almonds, and we keep sticking straws in that ground and sucking the water up, and it’s disappearing. It isn’t just that crop, of course. But the water table is dropping.
“And you go out and try to regulate water — well, that is a fire storm. That’s where agriculture has to get together ... The land in some places is subsiding because so much water is being taken out.”
He said the next crisis will be water, and that farmers and all valley residents should get together to push for the water bonds. “We’re going to need surface water ... We need to talk about water and start a dialogue.”
Next: Conversation with Mayor Rob Poythress.