My name is Lydia Miller. I live in
With the sounds of families splitting up in our ears, late-model cars disappearing to the repo man, empty houses standing all over town, and an unemployment rate correlated to one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, people in Merced are not inclined to weep for the plutocrat growers of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. We have all the water we need for agriculture on both sides of our county (they are provided by different sources) and our unemployment rate is worse than all the counties just listed.Read More »
Bill McEwen, Fresno Bee columnist, is starting a talk show on KYNO. His guest on Monday will be Lloyd G. Carter, San Joaquin Valley water activist.
Time: Noon, Monday, June 29, 2009
Location: Radio KYNO, 1300 AM, Fresno, or hear it live on the Internet at: http://1300kyno.com.
Topic: Water and the environment
They will come at the topic of the effects of drought and environmental law on the south Valley from different perspectives. McEwen's June 25 column on the alleged hypocrisy of environmentalists on the Hetch-Hetchy/Tuolumne River issue. If environmentalists sued on behalf of salmon on the San Joaquin River and in the Delta, why not on the Tuolumne and Hetch-Hetchy, whines McEwen. Closer to the issue as framed by Westlands, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Valley representatives Jim Costa, Devin Nunes and Dennis Cardoza, and others, is the issue of "drought-related unemployment in the south Valley. The California office of the Endangered Species Coalition prepared a brief fact sheet of comparative figures on the problem, circulated to a number of environmental activists, including Carter to defend the Endangered Species Act against the Westlands/Peripheral Canal propaganda machine at Salazar's Sunday town-hall meeting. The meeting will probably be livelier than a court hearing.
McEwen's column of June 25, 2009:
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Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director: 209-464-5067, Cell 209-938-9053, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Ganahl, Environmental Law Foundation, 510-208-4555, Cell 510-898-8620 email@example.com
Michael Lozeau, Lozeau/Drury LLP, 510-749-9102-2#, Cell 415-596-5318, firstname.lastname@example.org
Permit authorizes massive increase in pollutants discharged to degraded Delta
Stockton, CA – Thursday, June 18, 2009 -- Today, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) filed a lawsuit against the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) for issuing a permit to the City of Tracy allowing increased discharges of polluted wastewater to the seriously degraded Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Complaint, filed in Sacramento Superior Court, alleges the Regional Board failed to comply with fundamental state and federal antidegradation requirements in issuing the Tracy wastewater discharge permit.
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“The Tracy permit is a poster-child of the state’s failure to comply with laws designed to protect the water quality and fisheries of the Delta,” said CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings.
Badlands has been consistent in writing that Merced is the largest almond-producing county in the state, nation, world and universe. Badlands is in error. According to the state Almond Board's statistics, Kern, Fresno and Stanislaus exceed Merced in almond production. Kern remains the largest producer, steady at 20 percent after 20 years. Merced and Stanislaus have diminished their slice of the pie by a few points in the last decade, while Butte has ceded place to Madera in the high single-digit category and San Joaquin County has dropped into the "all others" category since the late 1980s. The greatest increase has been in Fresno, lumped in with "all others" in 1988-1989 statistics, but last year accounting for 18 percent of the state's production.
Farm prices (per pound) in the last five years surged to a high of $2.81 in 2004-2005, but fell back to the $1.55 range, where they were in 2003-2004.
At the end of last year, total bearing almond acreage in the state stood at 615,000, non-bearing at 125,000. New plantings surged to 49,281 acres in 2005-2006, the highest number of acres recorded, and dropped back to 14,381 in 2007-2008, the lowest new-planting figure since 1992-1993. The two low figures might be related to drought.
"Impatient money"Read More »
It's good to remember heroes when times look dark -- BLJ
University of California Riverside
Ernesto Galarza Applied Research Center
Activism and Intellectual Struggle in the Life of Ernesto Galarza (1905-1984) with an Accompanying Bibliography by Richard Chabran first published in: Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 1985, Vol 7 No. 2, 135-152
Ernesto Galarza was a man of stature. He was a man of conviction and action. He was recognized both within the Chicano community and, as witnessed by his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, internationally. He knew his mission in life and pursued it with a rare precision and determination. Yet Don Ernesto was also a humble man of letters. This small tribute in no way pretends to be comprehensive; our intention is to provide an outline of his life and work and provide a glimpse of the person behind these actions.Read More »
Review of Dairy Industrialization in the First Place: Urbanization, Immigration and Political Economy in Los Angeles, by Jess Gilbert and Kevin Wehr, Rural Sociology, 2003
Thanks to the century-long special relationship between the University of California and California agribusiness, Californians are basically as innocent of knowledge of American rural sociology as they are of Uighar oral poetry. Although Wehr was born in Oakland, he had to travel to the University of Wisconsin, where Gilbert teaches, to study rural sociology and only got his PhD the year this article was published. So, from the beginning, there is a political aspect to this study: it could be and was done out of University of Wisconsin, in the second largest dairy state in the nation; Californiaovertook Wisconsin for the crown in 1994.
"Diary Industrialization in the First Place" is an historical account of the first time and place this form of agribusiness occurred, among Dutch dairymen in Los Angeles County. The authors assert their independence from previous academic works on the subject dairy industrialization by their emphasis on time and place, no doubt unconsciously emulating the "espacio-temporal" theory employed successfully by El colegio de la frontera norte in its research into the history and development of Tijuana and other Mexican border towns beginning in the late 1970s.Read More »
Politics in this part of
In April he proposed permitting federally recognized tribes to automatically cancel a Williamson Act contract on land that they acquire.
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*Sauve qui peut -- French: "Save who can," a disorderly retreat.
A very fancy corporate consulting firm announced recently that Merced would lead the way out of recession in the north San Joaquin Valley because of UC Merced. As intrepid Modesto Bee business reporter J.N. Sbranti noted, the fancy new economic model unveiled by the consultants from outer space failed to include the foreclosure rate. This blip failed to live up to the big shot firm’s slogan: “Bringing you the power of perspective.”
There is another problem hovering beyond the dreams of developers, for whom UC Merced is the anchor tenant. Merced is the second largest milk-producing county in the nation. Stanislaus is ranked third. Milk prices have been in drastic decline for six months. The anecdotal figures one hears range from losses of $30,000 to $100,000 per dairy per month, depending on size. There is a report that feed suppliers cut off feed for 60 dairies in recent weeks.
Unlike most of the nation, California -- ranked #1 in milk production, producing about a third of the total national supply -- has its own milk marketing order and sets its own prices. Three components of the California milk-price formula are related to the same indices used by the feds: the prices of block cheddar, bulk butter and non-fat dry milk on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The fourth and highest-value component to the price is the fluid milk pool.Read More »
As the inveterate, hairy-chested managing editor of the Sun-Star heads off to embeddedment in Iraq again (because a female reporter went twice!), Tom Frazier asks real questions about a local issue: Who is paying for the Michelle Obama event? While the Imperial Tharp is Inshalla-ing to a fair-the-well about his upcoming war junket, Frazier is calling out the imaginary “feral dogs” of the press to find out what happened. Yo, Frazier, there are no feral dogs of the local press. They all been bought by UC Merced so long ago few still remember the UC inserts that once a month paid the bills back in the late 1990s. And the tame dogs of the local press are all bouncing their heads off the pavement and crying “Inshalla.” We would believe in Tharp’s conversion to Islam if he were going to what Genl. Petraeus even calls “the graveyard of empires,” Afghanistan.
But who cares where Tharp goes at all? Presumably McClatchy and the University of California – just as long as the Sun-Star doesn’t provide the answers to the embarrassing questions Frazier is asking.
The article below from the LA Times, datelined Merced, observes that the Republican legislative delegation from the San Joaquin Valley, one of the poorest places in the nation, is going to once again do the "right" thing despite their desire to be compassionate and vote to lower taxes and cut health and human services in the next state budget.
"Herald chalks it up to core GOP ideology, a yearning to shrink government," the Times reports. 'In fairness to them,' he said, 'much of it is simply philosophical.'"
Because it's "philosophical," it is forgiven? Anyone who would dignify the plutocratic greed behind the rightwing ideology of our thoroughly bought-and-sold legislative delegation does a grave disservice to philosophy by avoiding facing the economic absurdity, the social dangers and the immorality of this ideology. This is the same, so-called "fiscal conservatism" which, as practiced in the "free" wholesale market for politicians, precipitated the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, is causing other nations like Brazil, Russia, India and China to act in self-defense to organize alternatives to the USD reserve-currency status, and has "bailed out" banks to the tune of trillions to reinflate the real estate bubble, as foreclosures keep on going on and banks keep on "banking" the public funds.Read More »
Although “oligarchy” may not be a word that springs to the lips of every dairymen, we bet that the top commentary in the collection below, “The Dairy Oligarchy,” will ring a lot truer to them than the three versions of the same McClatchy editorial calling for a “free market” for the dairy industry, presumably to solve the “over-production” problem.
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The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
For immediate release:
6 June 2009
Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director, 209-464-5067, 209-938-9053 (cell)
Michael Jackson, CSPA Attorney, 530-283-0712, 530-927-7387 (cell)
NMFS Biological Opinion for Salmon Step in the Right Direction but Not Sufficient to Restore Fisheries
(Stockton, CA) Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released its long awaited Biological Opinion (BO), pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act, on minimal actions necessary to protect Central Valley salmonid species, green sturgeon and killer whales from extinction. The 800-plus page BO found that operation of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) was likely to jeopardize the existence of listed species unless substantial alternatives to present operations were implemented. The BO requires numerous changes in the operation of the water projects, including 5-7% reduction in exports from the Delta.
Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), observed that, “the BO is a long overdue but welcome initial step in protecting species hovering on the brink of extinction. However, it is only a first step. It is not a recovery plan that will restore seriously degraded fisheries; much more will be required.”Read More »
Dean Baker has always been good at explaining in terms of common sense why the speculative housing boom was extremely dangerous and completely unsustainable. By "common sense," we mean that Baker has covered this story for years using his training as a professional economist, using facts instead of advertising or blind academic free-market dogma, and bringing to his stories a humane perspective grounded in what all this means to ordinary working people.
Badlands Journal editorial board
June 3, 2009
Cheerleading the Recovery
Reporters With Pom-Poms
By DEAN BAKER
Last week we got a whole series of bad reports on the state of the economy. New and existing home sales both remain near their lowest level for the downturn, as house prices continue to drop at the rate of 2.0 percent a month. New orders for capital goods, a key measure of investment demand, fell by 2.0 percent in April. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, new orders were still down by 1.5 percent.
On Friday, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index fell by more than 5 percentage points from its April level, approaching its low for the downturn. The employment component of the index did hit a new low.Read More »
Congressman Dennis Cardoza. D-18th CA, was able to suppress for two weeks the story of his "personal and professional reasons" for not attending Michelle Obama's commencement at UC Merced, a new campus he did a great deal to bring to his district.
May 29-31, 2009
A Short Chapter in the History of Foreclosures
The Mechanic's Tale
By BILL HATCH
In the late 1990s, an entrepreneurial mechanic with a wife and one child bought a house for $65,000 with a down payment of $1,500?and took a fixed-rate FHA mortgage. His wife, a beautician, got a job as a clerk at a discount store. In the midst of the speculative real estate boom in Merced six years later, now with three children and a warehouse job, he took out an equity loan for $126,000, did some remodeling on the exterior (new stucco, paint, new lawn turf, foam sculpture), bought furniture, a big-screen TV and a nearly new Escalade. It is estimated that about $35,000 went for the home improvements and goods. Where did the other $91,000 go? It didn’t go into the property. Why wasn’t the equity loan monitored for home improvements?Read More »