Merced County

Michelle in Merced

Submitted: May 28, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Here in Merced CA, where some of us have been doing environmental work for 30 years, we supported Obama for historical reasons, held out vague hopes for national and international improvement, and stayed focused on our local issues.

 

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The dogs bark but the caravan moves on

Submitted: May 18, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

As Badlands pointed out recently, there is a new young couple among the Valley's witless Democratic congressmen, the Costoza, replacing the Pomboza, which met a timely demise with the dis-election of former Rep. Richard Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy, in 2006. The swing man in both duos is Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Annapolis MD, who still claims to represent the 18th Congressional District of California, which includes three cities with some of the worst foreclosure rates in America, Merced, Modesto and Stockton and one county, Merced, with the second highest unemployment rate in the nation this month.

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Golden Bobcatbucks

Submitted: May 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Badlands Journal editorial board was concerned about how UC Merced would pay for Michelle Obama's visit this Saturday. We are great fans of Mrs. Obama and would not like to see the glory of her visit tarnished by any more unpaid debts owed by UC Merced.  

Asking around, we were told that the Oldest Living Valley Advanceman would know how such glorious events actually worked. We found him in a 6-bedroom McMansion recently repurchased on the courthouse steps and reopened as a Home for Old Hacks.  We asked Mr. Oldest how it was done Back in the Day When California was This Great Big Number One State of Ours and before it became the Basket State.

"First," he said, "realize that your national advance teams do not give a (bleep) about how you pay for anything. Second, on a deal like this from the White House, you exist to obey. Third, the people who will hound you to your grave are the patriotic bunting dealers. You can probably make a deal with most of the other vendors or providers, but do not cross the bunting people."

He shook a fist full of angry-looking letters in our face.

"And I been out of the game since early '75," he said.

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Your local "high-tech, bio-tech engine for growth" at work

Submitted: May 09, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Speak Memory: During the entire run-up to approval of UC Merced and construction of its first phase, including all the bogus environmental review documents and the illegal water and sewer hookups with the City of Merced, boosters from the Regents to UC presidents Roger Atkinson and Robert Dynes, UC Merced's first chancellor, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey ("the Cowgirl Chancellor"),  representatives Gary Condit and Dennis Cardoza and their talented staffs, former state Sen. Dick Monteith (who declared the campus a "done deal" before it was, actually, a done deal), every realtor, bank and local land owner and local elected official (if a distinction between these classes can be discerned), every planner, our own Sonny Star, the local gigolo press, and most of all, the Great Valley Center (now a UC Merced partner), declared that the campus would be a "high-tech, bio-tech engine for growth in the San Joaquin Valley." We were promised another Silicon Valley right on the banks of Bear Creek, bright young things full of bright young ideas would be starting companies right and left, so we had to build proper housing for them here, there, and everywhere.

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Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition

Submitted: May 03, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The now famous UC Merced Valentine campaign to invite First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at the May 16 commencement exercises featured the following legend, found at this link:

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/167/v-story_images/story/684187.html

Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition
UC Merced Commencment May 16, 2009

Since, as we say in the press, this message had pass through many sets of eyes, we wondered if "sprit" had an academic meaning that has escaped us all these years. However, the only definition we could find was:

sprit: a spar that crosses a fore-and-aft sail diagonally. (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)

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Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition

Submitted: May 03, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The now famous UC Merced Valentine campaign to invite First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at the May 16 commencement exercises featured the following legend, found at this link:

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/167/v-story_images/story/684187.html

Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition
UC Merced Commencment May 16, 2009

Since, as we say in the press, this message had pass through many sets of eyes, we wondered if "sprit" had an academic meaning that has escaped us all these years. However, the only definition we could find was:

sprit: a spar that crosses a fore-and-aft sail diagonally. (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)

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Something about 40 roosters

Submitted: Apr 25, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We were curious about an agenda item for the Merced County Planning Commission that appeared in late February: "To permit (legalize) the raising of up to 40 roosters as a hobby and occasional sales, on a 9.7 acre parcel."

When we read further, we realized we'd passed this rooster ranch in Stevinson not long before and had commented that someone must be raising fighting cocks on the site. There seemed no other explanation for a field full of little pens holding individual roosters that did not look like White Leghorns or Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas, Banties or any other typical barnyard variety of chicken. They looked like gamecocks. It was our general impression that cockfighting is supposed to be illegal in California, although it is a law widely disobeyed since its passage. We were also aware of something of a campaign against raising gamefowl in the county in recent years and a number of cockfight busts. So, we, the perpetually ignorant public, wondered what this agenda item could be doing in front of the planning commission rather than on the Sheriff's blotter. We asked someone at a county office about it, but she just rolled her eyes and said she didn't always read the documents she distributed.

Members of the public called the editorial board and suggested they watch the video of the planning commission meeting. They said it was one of the most mysterious moments they had ever witnessed in local government.

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Clarifications from the Sun-Star

Submitted: Apr 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Mike Tharp, executive editor of the Merced Sun-Star, sent in some clarifications regarding a recent Sun-Star editorial, posted and criticized on Badlands. The article on this site was called "The fish," March 15, 2009, http://www.badlandsjournal.com/taxonomy/term/24?page=1

Thanks for reprinting our editorial calling for big public/private projects that would both restore community spirit and help the local economy. A couple of clarifications, however: I returned from six weeks in Iraq for McClatchy last July (not "recently"); and the only time I spent in the Green Zone was to be taken there in an armored vehicle for interviews. Otherwise, I lived in the McClatchy bureau--well in the Red Zone--or was embedded with the 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk.

Red Zone and Green Zone are duly noted. But, we can't help also noting that they sound like the Red Team and the Green Team Cardoza, Condit and his children, and Gov. Gray Davis used to command and control environmental law and regulation and state and federal resource agencies for the last great public works project here, UC Merced.

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Timing is everything

Submitted: Apr 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...except history. Actually, UC has had a campus in the Central Valley for more than a century, at Davis. Nevertheless, when in 1988 UC announced plans for three new campuses, it was expected that the one most likely to be built would be in the San Joaquin Valley, probably in Fresno. But, Brown is right, it is a lovely piece of land. It is a terrible thing to realize that a prolonged economic depression is likely to be  a principle obstacle to UC and other developers completely ruining most of it. However, as late as early 1999, the UC Merced campus was not a "done deal." And, as one of the former speaker's oldest political cronies, John Burton, former president pro tem of the state Senate, aptly remarked at the time, the campus is a "boondoggle," of the win/win, public/private variety.

But, that's just history. This is just more politics.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

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Summer of our discontent

Submitted: Apr 05, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The following articles about declining freight shipments -- from coastal ports to railroads to trucking companies -- raises an important question. In previous boom-bust cycles of speculative residential real estate investment, in the bust phase, capital flows into commercial real estate development. This was certainly anticipated here. The idea of finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) was that you could create fraudulent mortgages, bundle and securitize them and sell them the whole world over...forever, in a constantly escalating real estate market that would provide and endless arena for speculation, because, as we all now know, the United States, having declared the end of history (political, economic, military, environmental), now created history any damned way it wanted to.


It didn't quite work out that way. What has happened is an economic depression, most keenly felt in areas like Merced, Modesto and Stockton, which for months have topped the national rollcall of shame for their astronomical foreclosure rates.

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