Central Valley

Obama urged to see water-starved Valley

On an outdoor basketball court in Mendota this morning, two Valley congressmen joined several local mayors to ask President Barack Obama to visit drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.

The California Latino Water Coalition organized the news conference, and the politicians who attended signed a letter addressed to Obama.

A drought and water-pumping restrictions have combined to create a water shortage for many growers in the area. The coalition has been trying to draw national attention to the issue.

"If this crisis happened in San Francisco, it would be declared a disaster," said Rep. George Radanovich, a Mariposa Republican "People in Sacramento and Washington would waiving environmental laws left and right."

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, also attended.

The news conference was held at the same time as a food give-away organized by the Community Food Bank. Hundreds of people lined up behind the news conference to get free food.