The Valley seems frozen at the moment, although its credit is leaking from subprime loan foreclosures and the milk price is up so people are buying replacement heifers. Perhaps, the leaders have been shaken somewhat by the consequences of their rapacious land-use decisions, by which local lenders, developers, realtors and landowners gained enormously to the detriment of larger financial institutions that bought so much locally generated bad debt. And to the detriment of so many others, closer by, hung out to dry by the big swindle.
There is no doubt that our Valley is rich in shrewd business people. However, other than making money for themselves, these shrewd business people seem totally useless to their communities.
The recent decisions by the Valley air board are ridiculous abrogations of political responsibility. By extending the deadline to clean up the air and lying about its poor quality, they appear to be betting that Bush-appointed judges will eventually make their problem go away before they will have to do anything about it.
Meanwhile, Valley congressmen voted for a Farm Bill just like the one before it, raising the question of how many more years of this kind of farm policy national agriculture can stand. Costa and Cardoza also cast votes -- we're not sure if they considered these votes "independent," "moderate" or "conservative" -- in favor of keeping the doors of the School of the Americas open. This demonstrates that these two and their 38 fellow real macho Democrats have a Latin American policy frozen in the time. "Launch the dirty wars again! The Arabs whupped us by By God we can still kick ass down South and git their oil!" You bet.
But the Valley isn't actually frozen. Dissent is brewing and every day confidence in government is weakening because the public has found that these local, state and federal officials are dishonest and face their constituents with brazen arrogance, daring the public to get organized to vote them out. Merced County supervisors, fully indemnified against legal costs, passed the Riverside Motorsparts Pork project in December. Fully indemnified, the Merced City Council will likely pass the WalMart distribution center project about a year later -- both in complete contempt for public health and safety, natural resources and agriculture. These are the jobs they promised us for UC Merced? Not one voice among them spoke out loud enough for the public to carry over the din of the flak from UC, and finance, insurance and real estate special interests, endlessly bleated by Sonny Star, the local gigolo press.
The same air board set up a public meeting last week about Site 300 in Tracy but did not properly notice it, so promised another one mid-July, to hear public comment against the UC/Bechtel/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plan to increase detonation of depleted uranium and other radioactivity there by eightfold. Meanwhile, the rumor is that Site 300 has already made a short list of four finalists to put a biodanger level-4 biowarfare lab on the site. But the Lab has made no public announcement, no doubt for "national security" reasons. Congressman McNerney, in whose district Site 300 is located, has not been able to bring himself to say a word against this atrocity of pollution and danger to people within a 60-mile radius, however has been busy in complex intra-Party dialectics involving his alleged integrity and the purity of the campaign funds he will accept from whose hands.
Government in the Valley is in the hands of a bunch of merciless hypocrites. However, judgment belongs to the Lord, who said to Jonah:
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" Jonah 4:11.
California Progress Report
California Air Board Chastised Over Weak Approach on Clean Air by Schwarzenegger and Garamendi; Mixed Reviews on Implementing Global Warming Requirements of AB 32
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
...I was deeply disappointed, however, that the California Air Resources Board voted last week to seek an 11-year delay in enforcement of federal air quality standards in the San Joaquin Valley. Regardless of whether the US EPA's failure to grant California the authority to implement aggressive emissions standards is partly to blame for our inability to meet federal standards, the Air Board let the federal government off the hook by seeking delay.
There are few environmental issues facing Californians that are more important to our children's health, our quality of life, and our economic security than air quality. When one out of six residents in the San Joaquin Valley has been diagnosed with asthma and one in five children carry an inhaler to school, it is a call to action.