A conversation on economic development with District 4 Supervisor Max Rodriguez continues:
“Sometimes I get so disappointed with Madera because nothing seems to be happening here. All I hear is people saying, ‘Well, leave it the way it is.’ I had a lady come to the podium at a board meeting and she pointed a finger at me, and she said, ‘Max, you’re going to change my lifestyle with that high-speed rail.’ And I shouldn’t have said anything, but I did. I said, ‘Well, maybe your lifestyle should be changed.’ Sometimes I have to change things that I feel. We have a lot of people in this community who need improvement, who need jobs.
“It disappoints me that we have members of Congress from this Valley who do not favor spending this money locally. But we’re like Appalachia — we’re very poor here. But they make statements that the money should be spent elsewhere, but they don’t want to help the districts where they’re from. This is money that can come into this area and provide jobs — even temporary jobs..”
He said the possibility of having a heavy-maintenance yard would be good for the area.
“We’ve got a very good chance of getting that maintenance facility. High-class people are going to be working there. The skilled people will come here to work. And then, you will have a spin-off. Other companies will come here to supply the maintenance yard.
“But right now, unless you work for the government, it’s hard to get a good job here.”
He said the planned North Fork Casino, which would be built on Avenue 17 just off the State Route 99 freeway, also would be a source of future jobs.
“Gambling should not be a factor in determining Madera’s economic future, but 1,500 jobs — many of them entry-level — will provide employment that we need. They will need workers inside the casino, accountants and other expert people, but they’ll also need people to park cars. A husband and wife working there will be able to make a decent living.
Next: The conversation with Max Rodriguez continues.