departments have substandard stations and equipment, including engines and trucks.” In Stanislaus, the disparity is between the urban areas (largely incorporated) and rural areas (largely unincorporated).51 In Tulare, the Fire Department has an agreement with the County to deal with some of the fires in unincorporated areas. However, responses to these calls take much longer than in the incorporated parts of the county.52 In terms of ambulance services, Board of Supervisors Chairman Allen Ishida of Lindsay, Tulare County “said his concern is the unincorporated county territory and smaller cities that don't have on-the-spot (on-site emergency) ambulance service” and the community wants to get services to some areas that don’t have any currently.53
In a conclusion to this section, it is critical to underscore the importance of developing a strategy to assess and document current conditions has surfaced as key objective for any new advocacy strategy to improve the basic infrastructure of Communities of Interest in the San Joaquin Valley. As noted earlier, good data and research about social and economic disparities facing different racial and ethnic groups in the San Joaquin Valley; however this data is rarely organized to illustrate the spatial/geographic dimensions of poverty. Fifty-nine of the 83 Communities of Interest we identified through this research have considerable higher rates of poverty than the counties in which they sit. Meanwhile, the rate of poverty in 30 of the Communities of Interest are 150% and 10 are 200% higher than overall poverty rates in their respective counties.
We believe that our advocacy efforts would benefit greatly from meta-analysis research that would combine relevant findings in existing research with a place based assessment of the relationship between higher levels of poverty and the infrastructure deficits in Communities of Interest as a whole. The perspectives shared by the Community Advisory Committee through this project could prove to be an invaluable in first step in an effort to more systematically describe the state of infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley’s colonias. The strategy used in counties like Imperial that are able to tap Federal grant dollars designated for Colonias could be used to develop a baseline picture of needs. In 2002 Imperial County used a State of California Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant to develop a Colonia Master Plan54 that includes a description of needs, estimated costs and timetables for recommended improvements related to infrastructure, services and supportive community issues. Imperial County drew on quantitative (GIS and Census) and qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews with residents and staff of key agencies) to inform the plan. The Colonia Master Plan addressed the following specific areas for each colonia: water, sewer, refuse/solid waste, electrical service, natural gas, street lighting, telephone, cable, streets/roads/bridges, safety services, schools, parks, housing, retail/commercial, and social services.