The irony of this front page is that the photos of farm worker conditions could be taken in 2001, 40 years after the above. Farm worker conditions have improved some over these years due to United Farm Workers Union; however our society still adamantly resists giving these people who do our most essential work the respect, honor and pay they deserve.

The “Mr. President...” story cuts to the essence of the ongoing struggles over irrigation water. Kennedy’s particular issue was whether he would enforce a law which limited the amount of federally subsidized water (welfare) any one farmer could receive. The limit was 160 acres worth of water. It was never really enforced so that the welfare water was being given mainly the large, rich corporations including Southern Pacific Railroad, Standard Oil and the owners of the LA Times. That law had been strengthened in 1958 through intense guerrilla lobbying by a small band of Young Democrats including Elfie. We had ambushed the Biggies. But in 1961, Kennedy gave it all back to them. JFK followed a long bipartisan tradition of giving the Biggies whatever welfare water they sought.

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