Saturday, February 22, 2020
In 2015, the film McFarland, USA with Kevin Costner brought the spotlight small California farm town, McFarndand. The film told the heartwarming story of a coach who molded a group of farmworker youth into a cross country chapmpionship team.
McFarland is again in news that even made the New York Times. Facing outcry from the local farmworker community, McFarland city planners earlier this week failed to approve a private prison company's bid to convert two prison facilities in the city into federal immigration detention centers. The next morning, McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr. announced his resignation, explaining that his vision for the city's growth was at odds with the community's desire to rebuff the GEO Group.
After four hours of public comment in both English and Spanish, the Planning Commission voted 2-2 on the GEO Group’s proposal to turn its two 700-bed facilities — Central Valley and Golden State modified community correctional facilities — into annexes for its 400-bed immigration detention facility in Bakersfield, the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center. With a deadlocked vote, the motion failed.
The commission's vote stands unless the issue is appealed to the City Council within 15 days.