I am writing this letter wondering something I would like to share with others and perhaps get some answers. Driving home from work today, I saw the familiar sight of farmworkers harvesting vegetable crops on the street on which I live. It was quarter to 1 p.m. on a hot, cloudless day. I wondered why crops are not harvested at night.
The technology to light the work at night I believe has arrived. Pesticide trucks already focus their lights on the local fields at night. Powerful new LED lights on wheels could alleviate the heat stress farmworkers suffer on hot days all over California.
Why are California farmers using medieval harvest methods if modern, better methods exist? Why should we ever ask people to work under the hot noon-hour sun if they can work when it is cooler?
Judging by April 15’s Tribune article picked up from The New York Times titled, “Economy splits state into coast and everything east,” you might think the line of RVs parked along Prado Road in San Luis were some kind of desert mirage. After all, the article by Jennifer Medina says we’ve largely recovered and are now going full speed ahead. That is unless you happen to call a Prado RV home.
For the more serious Tribune reader, I offer the following: I recently took a trip to Arizona, where the economy is every bit as bad as it is here. However, Arizona seems to be a lot more tolerant of its residents than our liberal Golden State. In Arizona, nearly every small town has its line of RVs parked along the roadside. However, the people there aren’t being harassed and ticketed as they are in SLO. Not only are they allowed to stay parked there week after week, but there are all kinds of signs outside the RVs advertising goods and services. One said, “Haircuts $7.” Another read “Homemade jewelry. Come inside.” Yet another, “Fresh tamales, $1 each.”
It seems to me that Arizona is allowing its residents the freedom to try and recover from this economy by their own determination. SLO should take notice. Highway 1 from Oceano to San Simeon is full of turnouts and parking lots. They could easily hold hundreds of RVs.