Former Los Ángeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans on running for governor of California in 2018--and has been touring the state, which despite its enormous wealth also has the highest poverty rate in the nation.
"Of the largest 300 cities in the nation that are impacted by high poverty rates, 77 are in California and 3 of the top 5 most poverty-stricken towns are in the Central Valley."
According to VIDA en el Valle--a HIspanic Weekly, serving California San Joaquin Valleuy, Villaraigosa has been on an intensive tour of the area.
Below is a condensed version of VIDA's article, from which M/e is quoting directly.
“I learned that the whole water issue is more complex than people in the big cities would have you believe. I also learned that there are a lot of hard working people who are not working anymore,” said Villaraigosa.
He compared the Central Valley and its people to the Midwest.
“They believe in family, God, have a strong work ethic and believe in this great country. But for some reason, they, and people from the Inland Empire all share this sense that their issues and their problems are not really important to some of our policymakers and that nobody listens to them.”
Part of his Central Valley tour included a stop in East Porterville, an unincorporated community in Tulare County that has been plagued by drinking water issues for years and claims about 12 percent of the state’s failed water wells. Dozens of government agencies and nonprofit organizations have stepped in to help the community, eventually drawing international media attention for its woes as California’s drought worsens.
“I learned that if you are lucky enough to be a homeowner in East Porterville, you get a 50 gallon tank of water; and if you are poor you have to shower in a truck,” said Villaraigosa.