Serving the community since 1922

2 families still at farm labor camp

Just when the city thought it was able to begin opening up and repair the declining economy, covid-19 placed Kern County back on the state’s restricted list.

“The city offices are still closed to the public,” City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez said at the recent meeting of the City Council. “If anyone wants to make an appointment with staff, they need to call the city’s number (758-5411).” He added that the animal shelter is still closed.

Much of the council’s action centered around the effects of the pandemic. The City Council agreed to extend the security contract for the former farm labor camp on H Street, where two families have not yet relocated, through the end of August. “The original agreement was to be canceled at the end of this month,” Mayor Tilo Cortez said. “Extending it an extra month gives the current residents more time to look for different housing.”

“Both families should be gone no later than the middle of August,” Cortez added. “We’ve been working hard on finding them a place; however, it’s difficult due to the economy and lack of availability.”

Ortiz-Hernandez said the city has been limited in what it could do regarding renters not paying rent or not leaving the camp. “Our hands have been tied because of the governor’s ‘no-eviction’ rule since the pandemic began in March,” he said.

Since the local library has become a testing site for the virus, the librarian told the council members that several people have called in to make a testing appointment only to not show up. She said this disrupts the testing schedule, but that the library works around it.

“Where Wasco didn’t have any testing sites for covid-19 in the beginning, there are now more sites where people can get tested,” Ortiz-Hernandez said. “Residents can get tested at Rite Aid, Vanguard and the library.”

In other business, the council unanimously approved that the city manager write a letter to the House and Senate in support of Congressman TJ Cox’s proposal to increase covid-19 relief funds.

Local resident Orquiea Ocampo called in to the meeting to congratulate Council Member Alex Garcia on his recent appointment by Supervisor Leticia Perez to the board of Kern Family Healthcare.


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