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Newsom Will Visit Tulare Lake Region on Tuesday: Source

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Politico reports that Gov. Gavin Newsom will tour re-emerging Tulare Lake and surrounding communities on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (AP File)
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Gov. Gavin Newsom will tour Tulare Lake Tuesday, a source told GV Wire on background.

Newsom plans to meet with farmers, tour the levee and meet with local elected leaders. He is expected to speak with the media in Corcoran in the afternoon.

Politico first reported the story Monday afternoon.

The lake re-emerged with the March rains. Melting snowpack is creating flooding concerns.

“Tulare Lake is now larger than at any time in recent memory, and its waters are lapping at the top of earthen levees last reinforced in the 1980s with help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If the levees breach, floodwaters could overwhelm the town of Corcoran, the nearby state prison, and surrounding communities,” states the item in Politico’s California Playbook PM.

Mathis Working to Fund Levee Repairs

Assemblymember Devon Mathis, R-Porterville, says it’s about time Newsom surveyed the scene.

“Our office has been working with federal, state and local partners. It’s about time the Governor step up, take responsibility and fund their obligations and insure the safety and repair of our communities. (It) would have been great to travel with him in my district so we can develop a plan for recovery. Thanks for the invite,” Mathis said — perhaps sarcastically — in a statement to GV Wire.

Mathis told the Politico that he has been working with public and private funders to pay for levee repairs.

“I think it’s wrong if the state thinks they’re off the hook,” Mathis said. “The state and the feds need to step up here and stop relying on private property owners to do this.”

Tensions have emerged between prominent farming company J.G. Boswell and other farmers, as well as South Valley residents, about Boswell’s efforts to keep its land in the old Tulare Lake bed dry for farming.

In addition, officials in Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties have criticized Newsom for not visiting the area, which suffered major flooding damage in March.

Now, with temperatures rising and the massive Sierra snowpack beginning to melt, residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley are worried that flooding with strike their communities again.

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