Merced County

Whey drinkers of Hilmar, rejoice!

Submitted: Dec 30, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Followers of the pollution caused by Hilmar Cheese, "the world's largest cheese plant" (WLCP), will recall that whenever the wastewater pollution achieves a level that state regulators can no longer comfortably ignore, the WLCP comes up with yet a new "black box" technology and requests an exemption from regulation to try it out for a few years. WLCP hires ace flak Michael Boccadoro, the Moutha Gold, to invite the public to marvel at WLCP's brilliant new black box, designed by the world's most ingenious engineers at enormous sums of money, which are always mentioned to show how hard the WLCP is trying.

The regulators ordinarily grant the exemption to test the new black box, it never works, the WLCP skates by environmental regulation for another year or two until the regulatory agency gets antsy again, whereupon the whole process repeats itself.

Nor is there any mention in this flakodoro "journalism" of the three most obvious facts in this case: Hilmar Cheese will not control its pollution of groundwater; it probably can't because it is the world's largest cheese plant; and it is already expanding its plant in Dalhart TX.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Deja vu at the Sam Pipes Room, Merced City Hall

Submitted: Dec 14, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The California High Speed Rail Authority held a technical advisory council meeting on Monday, Dec. 7, at a public meeting hall called the Sam Pipes Room, in the Merced City Hall. Two members of the Merced public, representing the San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water (POW), wished to attend. The regional director of the San Joaquin Valley unit of the rail authority had told the members of the public that a meeting would take place on Monday at a different location. The members of the public wrote to the regional director twice last week inquiring if they would be permitted to attend the meeting and asked her by phone. She replied that she had received the request and would talk to rail authority legal counsel. The members of the public requested that if they were not permitted to attend, that rail authority counsel provide written legal justification, considering that the authority was consulting with special interests like water districts, the farm bureau, insurance companies, etc. Not hearing back from the regional director at the end of last week or Monday morning, the members of the public called the rail authority headquarters in Sacramento and were informed of the time and different location of the meeting and that there should be no problem with public attendance of the meeting.

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Into the vortex

Submitted: Nov 22, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

As Merced goes into the holiday shopping season starting next Friday, all economic indicators are thumbs down.

Official unemployment crept up a point from last month to 16.4 percent, with an increase expected for November. This means that actual unemployment is over 20 percent now and will rise toward 30 percent as the winter wears on.

In October 361 Merced homes received notices of default, down 33 from September; there were 459 trustee sales, up 61 from September; 273 homes went back to banks, 36 more than in September; and 50 homes were sold to third persons, up slightly from September and greatly from October 2008, when only nine homes were sold to third parties.

Citing unemployment as the driving force, the Los Angeles Times reported last week: "One in seven U.S. home loans was past due or in foreclosure as of Sept. 30, putting that quarterly delinquency measure at its highest level since 1972, when the Mortgage Bankers Assn. began reporting it. At the beginning of this year, 1 in 10 loans was past due or in foreclosure."

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Kate Hart accused of corruption at water board

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

Katherine Hart Johns, well known in Merced County for her unsuccessful defense the County's approval of the Riverside Motorsports Park environmental impact report, has been accused of corruption in her office as Vice Chair of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Shocking!

We sincerely hope that the alleged acts of malfeasance in office, if true, were caused by normal political-appointee exuberance at the public trough and not due to financial problems arising from Ms. Hart's involvement with the insolvent racetrack project.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

11-12-09

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
“An Advocate for Fisheries, Habitat and Water Quality”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information
Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director: 209-464-5067, Cell 209-938-9053,
deltakeep@aol.com
Richard McHenry, CSPA Dir. Of Compliance: 916-851-1500, Cell 916-801-1952

CSPA Files Complaint against Regional Board Vice Chair with Fair Political Practices Commission and Attorney General
Alleges violations of Political Reform Act, Water Code and Government Code

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Political pork, political disease

Submitted: Nov 11, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

11-07-09
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Congressman Dennis Cardoza
18th Congressional District of California
Congressman Cardoza supports health care reform legislation 
Commitments for UC Merced Medical School funding will ease Valley physician shortage 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Mike Jensen
(202) 225-6131 
 http://www.house.gov/list/press/ca18_cardoza/PRHEALTHVOTE.html

 WASHINGTON, DC –  This evening, I voted for H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This bill is a historic and positive national step forward and offers the greatest improvement to the quality of health care for all Americans since the creation of Medicare. It will provide health insurance to 96 percent of our citizens. It stops the obscene insurance industry practice of denying people health care coverage due to “pre-existing” medical conditions. In the 18th  Congressional District, an estimated 107,000 more residents will qualify for affordable health care insurance. 

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Reaping riches in a wretched region -- Lloyd Carter

Submitted: Nov 01, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Now, even with new legislation that will determine the future viability of Westlands’ critical import irrigation infrastructure, it seems inevitable that the political clout of the nation’s most powerful irrigation district will somehow prevail to perpetuate this culture of social, economic and natural inequity. – Carter, p. 40.

 

“Reaping riches in a wretched region:  Subsidized industrial farming and its link to perpetual poverty,” by Lloyd Carter, Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal, Symposium Edition, Fall 2009

http://www.ggu.edu/lawlibrary/environmental_law_journal/eljvol3/attachment/Carter.pdf

 

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Where the manure don't stink

Submitted: Oct 10, 2009
By: 
Bill Hatch

Too big to fail -- lenders to the CA dairy industry
 
If Washington had had any real concern for the dairy industry, in California or anywhere in the US, it would have dealt with the artificially low milk prices that have plunged the entire national dairy deal into unprecedented debt.
 
Perhaps, Western United Dairymens's Mike Marsh (WUD is a California dairy lobbying group) was correct that the USDA should have started buying the overstocks of bulk cheese months ago. The crisis, in the wake of the huge ethanol speculations of 2008 that pushed up feed prices, was known, seen, acknowledged. There was no mystery about what was happening and there were remedies -- in pricing and in badly needed programs like simply supplying food banks with commodity cheese, as Marsh suggested.
 
But, instead, the situation was allowed to simmer, the Washington opinion was "over-production" was causing the problem when, in fact, as almost always in agricultural commodities, the problem is distribution, as in providing food to hungry Americans for whom, if they live in places like Merced and Tulare counties in California -- the two largest dairy counties in the nation -- the economy sure looks more like depression than recession. The foreclosure rate in Merced increased to nearly 20 percent last month and is showing no signs of abating. Tulare County's August unemployment rate was 15.2 percent. Merced's was 16.7 percent. And that's "official."
 

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Response to a Sun-Star editorial

Submitted: Sep 30, 2009
By: 
Bill Hatch

 

Merced Sun-Star Executive Editor Mike Tharp flew part of the Westside in a private plane with a realtor/Westside rancher named Gail McCullough and came back with revelations. It reminded him of Iraq, where he seems to need to go, whenever the reality of Merced and the San Joaquin Valley overwhelm him, to find refreshment in the Pentagon propaganda mill. You can sugar-coat failure with belief but it is still failure, out there on the imperial frontier or here at home.

 

He begins by announcing, “We live in a desert,” then extends the sentence to include everyone in California. But, I didn’t imagine dry-farming orchards on the coast for a decade. Tharp must be writing about Los Angeles.

 

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What is Cardoza afraid of?

Submitted: Sep 21, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

As things stand, the CPC -- not the unreliable and unfocused Blue Dogs and certainly not the Democratic Leadership Council-aligned "New Democrats," who come with more corporate strings attached than many Republicans -- are the best strategic and practical allies that the president has. By adopting the CPC line with regard to the public option, Obama could energize the base that elected him and turn this into a real fight, bringing savvy inside-outside political operations like that of Progressive Democrats of America into the thick of the struggle and activating the crowds that turned out in cities across the country last week for the "Mad As Hell Doctors" tour on behalf of "Medicare for All." --

John Nichols, The Nation, 9-21-09

 

 

 

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William Trombley, a great journalist – 1929-2009

Submitted: Sep 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We met William Trombley when the University of California, local politicians, landowners and other real estate interests, were in the process wholesale corruption of local, state and federal environmental law and regulation and the laws and regulations of public process. Trombley was always fair, his questions were informed, he followed research leads to accurate conclusions, reflected below in three articles he did on the siting and budget approvals of UC Merced.

He was the acknowledged national dean of education journalists, a reporter who had covered the University of California from the time of Mario Savio and Clark Kerr to UC Merced.

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