The Merced County Supervisors have signed an agreement with the Port of Los Angeles to create the Mid-California International Trade District at Castle Air Base. Mark Hendrickson community and economic development director has waved his magic wand to bring a foreign investor with $2.2 billion to create 8.2 million square feet of industrial space providing up to 9,000 jobs.
Raw material will enter the Port of Los Angeles and travel by rail to Castle. Finished products will travel from Castle to the Port then by container ships to foreign markets.
There is just one tiny, little problem. The investor is going to put the plant in a foreign country. He is not going to pay workers at Castle $10 per hour when he can pay foreign workers 50 cents an hour. The factory will be near the source of raw materials. It is cheaper to ship bulk material 300 miles than ship it 3,000 miles to Castle. It’s also cheaper to ship finished goods 300 miles than 3,000.
The new factory will be miles from OSHA, DEQ, fire codes, building codes, enterprise zones, foreign trade zones and Mark Hendrickson. County Supervisors will be shaking their heads, saying, “We don't understand this – we had a razor-sharp focus.”
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Robert Burgess, Merced