Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

On Valley Edition: Leaving California; Kids on the Farm; California Reads

May 1, 2012

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the changing demographics of California, which is now a net exporter of people to other states. How did the California dream turn out to be a nightmare for so many? We talk to some residents who've left, and also to experts who are using the newly revised population estimates to plan the state's future. We also talk about the role of kids on family farms, and learn about the California Reads program taking place in Kern County.

Valley Edition for May 1, 2012:

Segment 1: Leaving California
For the first time in recent memory, more people are moving out of California than are moving in, and official population growth projections are being revised downward. Why are so many residents leaving for other states? We talk with four people who have recently moved out of California, and hear their reasons, from the economy and jobs to air quality, education and beyond. And while the exodus from California continues, the state continues to grow, thanks to internal population growth. What will California look like in 2050? And how will the Valley deal with a population that is expected to nearly double?

Professor Joel Kotkin from Chapman University, author of the book "The Next 100 Million: America in 2050" will join us to offer his thoughts about the future of California and why so many people are leaving the Golden State. We'll also hear Barbara Steck and Kathy Chung from the Fresno Council of Governments and hear their thoughts on how local cities are taking this new information into account as they plan for future growth.

Segment 2: Kids on the farm
On Monday April 30, the US Department of Labor backed away from a proposed rule that critics say would have limited youth under age 16 from working in some farm jobs. The proposed rule had generated considerable controversy, so now that it's gone, how do family farms move forward? In an era when 40 percent of farmers in the US are over age 55, is there still a future for kids in agriculture? Kerman family farmer Paul Betancourt, who is also an instructor at University of Phoenix joins us to offer his perspectives on this issue, as well as Kenny Watkins, Vice President of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Segment 3: California Reads
The Kern County Public Library is hosting a series of events this month as part of a statewide effort known as "California Reads." The series of events continues now through May 12 with events built around the theme of "Disaster and Democracy." The event culminates on May 10 with a talk by author Rebecca Solnit's, whose book "A Paradise Built in Hell" explores disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. She concludes that during disasters, people can work together to temporarily create a more perfect democracy.