John Walker Photo [ Fresno Bee]
After a busy Saturday, in the nation's capitol, Sarah Palin was off to the California's San Joaquin Valley, where she helped open the brand new West Hills Community College Eagle Arena, a $24 million showpiece. Sarah started her visit by going for a run with servicemen and women from nearby Lemoore Naval Air Station.
Protesters vowed a "peaceful rally" but in the end, were nowhere to be found. Instead, Sarah was met by an enthusiastic crowd.
As our readers know, the San Joaquin Valley has been destroyed not by weather, not by an " act of God", but an act by man. Specifically, " The Man."
You see, the state and federal governments, bowing to the machinations of environmental extremists, have turned off the life giving water to the farmers of the Valley. Millions of acres of land, some of the most fertile farmland on earth, has been turned into a modern day dust bowl over the Delta Smelt, a three inch fish that isn't even native to the water ways. As this is a farming region, one that literally used to feed the world, water must be pumped to the farms and waterways for irrigation. The extremists are upset that these bait fish get caught up in the pumps.
Thanks to the eco-terrorists, and their government enablers, billions of dollars have been lost in productivity, farms owned by families for generations are bankrupt, and the Valley's unemployment rate is over 40 percent. Farmers who used to feed the world, are now forced to stand in line for hours at food panties just to survive. People who have worked hard all of their lives, and want nothing more than to continue working hard, are forced to take handouts of food that is grown and often packaged in other nations.
Only a few farmers have been able to hold on with water in such short supply.
If what has been done to the good people of the Central Valley isn't the perfect example of why an out of control government is so dangerous, then nothing is.
As one would imagine, Sarah spent some time on this subject.
From KMPH Fox 26's Anna Laurel and Juan Flores:
Sarah Palin came out to an adoring crowd and she adored them right back.
"I hope you don't take it for granted what you have here in California. It seems like really beautiful pieces of a puzzle come together here in California where you have the man power the work ethic that's here. You have the technology and you have the God-given natural resources here. So the only thing standing in the way is a government that doesn't understand that they need to back off and allow you to do what you do best," Sarah Palin said.
And for Central Valley farmers like Ron Pereira from Los Banos, Palin spoke words he understood.
"She's right on. Our water issue here in California, especially with a wet year like this year, and we have only 80 percent. I mean it's ridiculous. Why don't we have 100 percent?" he said.
Palin hit the water issue hard calling the Central Valley's water issue a government-imposed drought that needs to be reversed.
"This is the epitome of the place for potential and this is the epitome of the place for government to have realized, ‘We screwed up. We're taking away people's livelihoods by shutting off their water. Lets undo some of the mistakes that we have done in this community and let's allow these people to have their jobs, their livelihoods, to have what it is that their work ethic from prior generations,'" said Palin.
Former governor Palin also spoke of oil and gas prices. Another issue affecting everyone here.
"The oil prices. Our fertilizers are double what they were in the past. It's just really hard for us to survive," said Pereira.
Palin gave the audience something to chew on.
"In the future, people are going to be looking here at the Central Valley and trying to find out ‘what's it gonna take for the people to rise up and have your voice heard,'" Palin said.
Sarah understands what it's like to earn your money by working hard. She and Todd lived off of commercial fishing for years, and as anyone who watched her TLC series knows, that's not easy work. Neither is farming. You work from can to can't every single day. You don't get sick days or paid vacations. You don't work, you don't eat. It's that simple.
What is so maddening is these people in California would love nothing more than to go back to working as hard as humanly possible! At a time we have skyrocketing energy prices and skyrocketing food prices, what the government has done is immoral. The San Joaquin Valley was once the world's pantry. A place that fed the nation and the world. A place that sustained thousands of families with jobs and a sense of worth. It's all been destroyed by government for the sake of saving a three inch fish.
Tracy Correa at the Fresno Bee offers her take:
LEMOORE -- Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin touched on everything from the nation's mounting debt to Valley water issues during a 35-minute speech and fundraiser Sunday at West Hills College.
Dressed in a dark-blue suit and speaking against the backdrop of a large American flag, Palin was rewarded with roaring applause and several standing ovations. At one point, a woman in the crowd yelled: "We love you, Sarah!"
There were no signs of protesters at the event. A West Hills student said last week that a peaceful protest was planned an hour before Palin's scheduled 5 p.m. speech.
Palin, who was in Lemoore to help celebrate the opening of the school's $24 million Golden Eagle Arena, criticized the government for a national debt that she said is out of control.
"We are printing up and buying our own notes at an unprecedented rate ... adding to our $14 trillion debt," she said, questioning whether the U.S. can afford to be engaged in another war in Libya.
[ .... ]
Palin made points tailored to her Valley audience. For example, she talked about the plight of farmers in an area that supplies food to most of the nation.
She said Valley farmers are facing a federally imposed drought because the government is protecting a 3-inch fish. Protections for the delta smelt have cut off water that otherwise would be used for crops -- affecting farmland, farmers and workers, she said.
"Where I come from, a 3-inch fish ... we call that bait. There's no reason to destroy people's lives for bait," Palin said. The remark drew widespread applause.
Palin drew a huge response when she talked about the dedication of military men and women in a city that is home to Lemoore Naval Air Station.
She thanked military veterans and asked them to stand up and be recognized as the audience erupted in applause. "God bless the United States military," she said.
She also credited West Hills College President Don Warkentin for having the guts to feature her as keynote speaker, considering the kind of controversy she often generates. "He's a bold man," Palin said.
Event organizers said they sold 1,661 tickets for the speech in an arena that could accommodate 2,500 people. Ticket prices ranged from $25 to $250.
However, a VIP dinner following the speech -- 27 tables for eight at $5,000 each -- sold out several weeks ago, said event organizers.
Those who attended the event said they couldn't pass up the opportunity to see and hear Palin.
Marlene Evers of Fresno called her a great role model for women. "I would love to see her run for president," she said as she waited in line with her husband Carl to enter the arena.
Evers had a copy of Palin's book, "Going Rogue," stuffed into her purse, hoping to get it signed.
"I like her attitude, she speaks in simple terms," said Bob Francque of Clovis, who stood out in an American flag-themed shirt while waiting in line. "And, I find her an attractive, conservative woman," he added.
Peggy Lara said that as a mother with two children, she can relate to Palin. Lara was attending the speech and the VIP dinner with her parents, two sisters and brother-in-law.
Susie Apkarian, who traveled from Paso Robles to hear Palin, summed up her thoughts afterward with one simple phrase: "I thought she was fabulous."
The event was sponsored by the West Hills College Foundation, which paid $115,000 for Palin's appearance.
Event organizers said they won't know for several days how much money was raised. Proceeds will go to scholarships, programs and facilities at the college.
It's interesting how even solid reports like this always focus on how much Sarah Palin is paid to speak at these events. The L.A. Times spent half of their report on her speech talking about it and rehashing an event she spoke at last year, where she raised almost three times the amount of her fee for the university. A record amount for an event there.
Obviously, the media is trying to create the narrative that Sarah is nothing more than a money grubbing "celebrity" cashing in. Never mind many colleges and universities hire speakers all of the time, often paying huge fees, and don't manage to break even, let alone make money.
It speaks to her star power that she can draw crowds anywhere she goes, and make money for the promoters of these events. No one else in the GOP could pull this off, except for maybe President Bush. Certainly none of the presidential wannabees.
The sales of the $5000 tables alone brought in $20,000 more than it cost to have Sarah speak.
Sorry to rant, but this made up "controversy" the media tries to create every time Sarah Palin gives a speech, gets old! To be fair though, this reporter did lay out the facts about the event, as well as the dollars, which is better than most.
Also appearing in the Fresno Bee was this from the Associated Press:
LEMOORE, Calif. -- Sarah Palin returned to Central California's agricultural region Sunday and lambasted the federal government for limiting the amount of water the state's farmers can get for their crops.
The former Alaska governor told more than 1,400 people at West Hills College in Lemoore that endangered species regulations protecting the Delta smelt and limiting pumping are "destroying" the lives of those in the Central Valley.
"A faceless government is taking away their lifeline, water, all because of a 3-inch fish," Palin said. "Where I come from, a 3-inch fish, we call that bait. There is no need to destroy people's lives over bait."
Palin also spoke about high gas prices, dependence on foreign oil, the need for domestic drilling and limiting currency inflation.
"The government should get out of our way and let us get this economy moving again," she said. "Instead of drilling ourselves and circulating the money here, we're relying on foreign regimes."
"It was awesome, she was right on," said Doug Freitas, a Lemoore farmer, after the speech. "About water, there are farmers who can't grow their crops, these hardworking people can't pay their bills. And the deficit, it's so scary and it seems like the general public doesn't realize it."
Palin is the first of several high profile figures the university will host as part of its new distinguished speaker series. Former first lady Laura Bush is scheduled to speak at the sports arena in September. Next February, Princeton scholar Cornell West will visit.
H/T: Cubachi [video capture]