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Groups Urge Passage Of Water Bond Measure

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A popular comedian was among those asking voters to approve California's comprehensive water bond package at a forum Wednesday in Balboa Park.

A popular comedian was among those asking voters to approve California's comprehensive water bond package at a forum Wednesday in Balboa Park.

Comedian Paul Rodriguez joined other speakers in urging passage of the $11 billion water bond measure on the November ballot.

"Water isn't a commodity that we can do without," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said Latino farmworkers are often the first to lose jobs when water supplies are reduced. Water is also important for San Diego County farmers.

Eric Larson is the executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

"Farming adds $5 billion to the local economy each year. Probably about 10 to 12,000 jobs and that's on the farm jobs," said Larson. "And each farm job creates another three jobs upstream or downstream from that farm production. So it is significant in our community."

Larson said San Diego County has the 16th largest farm economy of all counties in the United States.

He said the county is number one in nursery production, avocados, small farms and organic farms.

Larson said all of those farms are possible because of imported water. He also said if the imported water supply is threatened or more local supplies are not developed, those farms would go away.

The water bond measure includes more than $200 million dollars for the San Diego region. The money would pay for local storage and other water management programs.

The forum did not include opponents of the bond measure. Some groups oppose the measure because it pays for new dams.

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