October, 2010

Badlands, SJRRC, POW, CVSEN and San Joaquin et al position on Measure C

Submitted: Oct 31, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Badlands editorial board, including members of the San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water (POW), Central Valley Safe Environment Network and San Joaquin et al,  have in the last five months discussed very thoroughly Measure C, the development—plebiscite initiative in Merced County. We have extensive experience reading land-use and environmental documents, laws, legal briefs and court decisions. Over decades of work collectively, we have studied numerous environmental impact reports, negative and mitigated negative declarations in our participation in the public processes of land-use decisions in cities and counties in the north San Joaquin Valley and beyond. We have studied extensively  the California Environmental Quality Act and have gone to court numerous times to defend the public environmental interest in clean water, clean air and wildlife habitat regarding local land-use decisions. We have also studied and sued on the Williamson Act and Agricultural Preserve laws.
We have studied a number of general plans. In fact, San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center sued Merced County to produce a general plan and when the courts decided against the county, Raptor participated in the development of the 1990 Merced County General Plan.

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Loose Cheeks: Anna Caballero's staff

Submitted: Oct 29, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Several years ago, a young man new to Merced but active in local politics at the time, asked a Badlands Journal reporter, “What is Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo saying? I can’t understand a word she says.” Pedrozo was the executive director of the county Farm Bureau and president of the California Women for Agriculture at the time.

The reporter replied that the poor fellow had two obstacles to overcome: experience in the interpretation of Pedrozo and the mendacious rhetoric of agribusiness.  The reporter explained that the key to “understanding” Pedrozo was to realize that at any given moment on any given topic  she had imperfectly memorized talking points rarely arranged in any logical order.  The reporter recommended that for further clarification, the young activist should listen closely to county Planning Commissioner Cindy Lashbrook for an even more recklessly illogical rendition of public affairs. The reporter also recommended, for the full course, that the young activist study the words of Diana's brother-in-law, Supervisor John Pedrozo. And for post-graduate studies, he should consult the oratory of Supervisor Hub Walsh who, when in full cry, can become a one-man mind-altering substance.

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Plutocracy rebranded by Wall Street

Submitted: Oct 28, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...by any other name

10-26-10

 CommonDreams.org
Wall Street Has Already Voted
by Holly Sklar
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/26-6
Before Wall Street drove our economy off a cliff, bullish Citigroup strategists dubbed the United States a "plutonomy." They said, "There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the 'non-rich,' the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie."

Inequality had increased so much since the 1980s, Citi strategists noted in 2005, that the richest 1 percent of households and the bottom 60 percent had "similar slices of the income pie!" Even better, they said, "the top 1 percent of households account for 40 percent of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95 percent of households put together." And the Bush "administration's attempts to change the estate tax code and make

permanent dividend tax cuts, plays directly into the hands of the plutonomy."

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Mortgages: big banks; little banks

Submitted: Oct 26, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


10-23-10
Global Research
Nation's Biggest Banks Each Hold over $20B in Foreclosures: Report 
Global Research, October 23, 2010
DSNews.com 
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21586
New data released this week shows that the nation’s largest banks are holding monstrous volumes of soured home loans. Not only has the housing crisis left major lenders knee-deep in an ocean of non-performers, but added exposure to early delinquencies means they could sink even deeper.
According to an analysis by Weiss Ratings, an independent ratings agency covering the financial sector, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo each reported more than $20 billion in single-family mortgages currently foreclosed or in the process of foreclosure as of midyear.
In addition, Weiss found that for each dollar these banks held of mortgages in foreclosure, there were an additional $2 in loans in the pipeline that were 30 days or more past due.
Among all U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase has the largest volume of mortgages in foreclosure or foreclosed with $21.7 billion. On top of that, the company has $43.4 billion more in mortgages past due.
Compared to JPMorgan, Bank of America has a somewhat smaller volume of foreclosures — $20.3 billion — but it has a larger pipeline of past-due mortgages at $54.6 billion.

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Lents defense

Submitted: Oct 25, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

If, as Balzac said, behind every great fortune there is a crime, what lies behind a plutocracy? The corruption of an entire political-economic system?

As some may notice, the foreclosure story is growing larger, not smaller, with time.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Private fraud, public force

Submitted: Oct 21, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

It's a win-win/public-private partnership.

In our attempt to keep focused on the real issue as the airwaves and the postlady's pouch are filled with distractions and irritations, the bad mortgage undertow is getting stronger with time. Will the elections matter on this issue? According to Open Secrets, the Republican candidate for the 18th congressional district also received a nice, fat check from the National Association of Realtors ($10,800).

Badlands Journal editorial board

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"It's called plutocracy"

Submitted: Oct 19, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Karl Rove visited UC Merced recently, at the invitation of the campus Republicans. It is hard enough to imagine a UC student as completely subsidized as these are by the faded ideals of a once proud, rich and generous state being so ignorant and stupid that they would make such an idiotic invitation. But, on the other hand, UC is no longer, strictly speaking, that great product of those great, faded ideals, which last saw the light of day when Jerry Brown's father was governor. Today, UC has been absorbed by corporations. Nevertheless, it doesn't take a junior rocket scientist to suck up to power.

The problem is the nature and direction of that power. Rove wants the US to return to the age of the robber barons, the trusts, control of Wall Street by one or two forces, and the administration of President William McKinley...a plutocracy it took most of the 20th century, including two world wars and the Great Depression to dismantle. Yet, 80 years into the century, the plutocracy began to be reassembled around the leadership of Ronald Reagan, California's other gift to the nation, who began his political career as governor of the state, soon after inauguration sending helicopters with tear gas against UC students demonstrating against the Vietnam War. 

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Pimlico Kid -- the realtors' own

Submitted: Oct 16, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

...at least the part not already owned by bankers, sugar-beet growers, dairy processors, etc.

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The mortgage-bond racket coming unraveled

Submitted: Oct 15, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-13-10
Reuters
Shedding no tiers» The enormous mortgage-bond scandal...Felix Salmon
http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/13/the-enormous-mortgage-bond-scandal/

You thought the foreclosure mess was bad? You’re right about that. But it gets so much worse once you start adding in a whole bunch of parallel messes in the world of mortgage bonds. For instance, as Tracy Alloway says, mortgage-bond documentation generally says that if more than a minuscule proportion of notes in a mortgage pool weren’t properly transferred, then the trustee for the bondholders can force the investment bank who put the deal together to repurchase the mortgages. And it’s looking very much as though none of the notes were properly transferred.

But that’s not even the biggest potential problem facing the investment banks who put these deals together. It also turns out that there’s a pretty strong case that they lied to the investors in many if not most of these deals.

I mentioned this back in September, and I’ve been doing a bit more digging since then.

And I’m increasingly convinced that the risk to investment banks isn’t only one of dodgy paperwork; there’s also a serious risk of massive lawsuits from the SEC or other prosecutors, as well as suits from individual mortgage investors.

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Capitalism without clear title to property?

Submitted: Oct 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
10-5-10
Roubini Global Economics
Foreclosure Fraud Reveals Structural and Legal Crisis

“The reason capitalism has triumphed in the West and sputtered in the rest of the world is because most of the assets in Western nations have been integrated into one formal representational system . . . By transforming people with real property interests into accountable individuals, formal property created individuals from masses. People no longer needed to rely on neighborhood relationships or make local arrangements to protect their rights to assets. They were thus freed to explore how to generate surplus value from their own assets.”

-Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contradictory!

Submitted: Oct 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-10-10
Bakersfield Californian
LOIS HENRY: Air board must be held accountable
http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x618251275/Air-board-must-be-held-accountable
Here's a topic for the next governor's debate: If elected, would you investigate the California Air Resources Board for fraud?
Oh, did I say the "f" word?
Absolutely.
This agency is out of control and, I believe, has perpetrated an outright fraud on the people of this state.
And, no, I'm not just talking about how the agency was recently forced to admit it was wrong about the amount of diesel emissions that heavy construction contributes to air pollution.
(They were off by 340 percent and had even "overestimated" how much diesel fuel was being used per year, saying the industry used 1 billion gallons a year when it was closer to 250,000 gallons a year. The correct information was readily available through the Franchise Tax Board, by the way.)
Nor the fact that, per its own report on Aug. 31, the number of people who supposedly die prematurely due to exposure to PM2.5, tiny particulate matter such as dust and soot, inexplicably dropped from 18,000 to 9,200.

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50 state attorneys general launch mortgage foreclosure investigation

Submitted: Oct 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

I read the news today oh, boy ...

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the administration supports a multistate investigation. But he reiterated that the administration is wary that a freeze could cause "broader harm done to the housing market and to the housing recovery."
That view is in contrast to other Democrats who have called for a national moratorium on foreclosures. -- Washington Post, October 13, 2010

OpenSecrets.org
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=n00009638

Among Obama's top contributors:
Goldman Sachs  $994,795
Citigroup Inc  $701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co  $695,132
UBS AG  $543,219
Morgan Stanley  $514,881
Total ...$3,450,317

And that's just what was reported.

In late summer 2010, Modesto and Merced were ranked third for foreclosure rate and Stockton was ranked fifth. Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Pimlico Kid-Merced, represents parts or all of all three cities.

When the cities in the Kid's district rocketed to the top of the charts as the worst foreclosure disaster zones in the nation and then stayed there month after month for more than two years and are still in the top five, what did he do?

He moved his family to Annapolis MD, bought race horses, and whined.

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Foreclosure and the Blue Dog Brat

Submitted: Oct 11, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

At the bottom of this series of articles on the ongoing foreclosure crisis,  we see Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Pimplico Kid-Annapolis MD, trying to rack up a few badly needed points off the suffering of foreclosed homeowners while his lead over his Republican challenger, Bill Berryhill, shrinks by the day. We may say with a great degree of confidence that the Kid's "HOME Act" will be as dead on arrival this time as it was the last time he introduced it. The Kid is a one-tune pony whose melody is legislation guaranteed to sound good in his district and at the same to guaranteed to lose so that it doesn't offend his contributors, of which two of the top five are banker PACs. Because this is shaping up as a close election, we are also confident that the Kid will receive a great deal more banker money than is now reported.

Does anybody remember Pimlico's three attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act for the benefit of a handful of developers in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties? These developers and politicians, with Pimlico in the lead, guaranteed that these counties would sustain the highest foreclosure rates per capita in the nation for months. The Kid collected a lot of campaign loot on those bills, too.

Has the Blue Dog Brat's boss, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Plutocrat-San Francisco, done so much for us that we need to return His Insolence to Washington again?

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Future, coalition, development, growth, land-use planning, transportion -- but some of the words rendered meaningless

Submitted: Oct 10, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

As foreclosure and unemployment gnaw away at the social fabric in the crumbling tract housing of the Valley, like highly trained, professional rats babbling our language, the usual suspects of Valley leadership met and scampered through their consensual maze inside a mausoleum of commercial real estate hubris in Modesto, a city that has been ruining its promised land for 40 years with no end in sight for its wanderings in darkness. -- Badlands

10-10-10
Modesto Bee

Building a Future: Planning experts share wisdom at summit
By Garth Stapley - gstapley@modbee.com  Buzz up!
 
Standing alone may have served a romantic image of the great American West in years past. But for today's San Joaquin Valley, isolationism is death.

That's what planning experts said over and over when asked how the historically undervalued valley can expect to climb out of California's center rut and into a bright, vibrant future.

"The most important thing is coalition building," lobbyist Mark MacDonald said last week at a summit in Modesto, where planning specialists from near and far gathered to ponder valley strategy for hitting up money powerbrokers. "All your battles (must be) internal, before you get up to Sacramento."

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The Hun punches out Davis school marm, again

Submitted: Oct 08, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
10-8-10
Stockton Record
Kill Bill, starring Arnold...Michael Fitzgerald
I am at a loss to explain Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s baffling veto of Sen.
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Marriage made in a Dark Place: Westlands Water District and Julie MacDonald

Submitted: Oct 08, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
10-8-10
Fresno Bee
Ex-Bush official: Obama got it right on Calif fish...MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A former Bush administration official on Thursday praised the Obama administration's decision to deny endangered species protection for a central California fish.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled earlier this week that the Sacramento splittail fish does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The decision affirms a 2003 decision by the Bush administration to remove the splittail from the threatened species list.
Julie MacDonald, a former Bush-era Interior official who was closely involved in the 2003 case, said the latest decision confirmed what the science indicated all along.
"Well I think it was the right decision, and it was right the first time," MacDonald said Thursday.
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Boutris Willfogel on state water board's upcoming selenium punt

Submitted: Oct 01, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

9-30-10

LloydGCarter: Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood

October Surprise from the Selenium Slackers at the State Water Board?

<!---->

Don't count on the Board doing the right thing

By Boutris Wittfogel

http://www.lloydgcarter.com/

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