Public Works

Dead lawns and itchy people

Submitted: Sep 26, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is late September and we were talking over coffee this morning about the San Joaquin Valley water situation the way valley residents will do when fire fighters on the King Fire above Placerville are worried about flash floods and all we see is vague overcast composed of many substances as well as some water vapor. Mothers wearing winterish jackets are taking their children, also in jackets, to school.

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Some environmental comments from Mark Twain

Submitted: Sep 21, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 As the drought crisis grows and the flood of scientific-technological fixes flow through the media, we thought to consult Mark Twain on the nature of a relationship between humanity and water, which is the opposite of the one we Far Westerners are experiencing at the moment.

Mark Twain returned to the Mississippi River where he had been a steamboat pilot after a 21-year absence. We meet him on the packet Gold Dust a few miles upstream from Memphis about to listen to an oration about the river and the Army Corps of Engineers projects on it after the Civil War. Uncle Mumford is second officer on the Gold Dust. -- blj

 Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain,(1874)  pp. 234-238

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As the Wolf arrives, Merced Agriculture gibbers on

Submitted: Aug 27, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There have been way too many groundwater management plans to make plans in Merced County and they have now come back to bite agriculture's habitual liars you know where. The wolf is here at last and the ag rhetoric is exhausted. 

Representatives of the Merced County Farm Bureau and California Women for Agriculture have been animated by what has come to be called "the Sloan Sale" (26,000 acre feet of groundwater sold to a Stanislaus County water district over two years at a minimum of $500/acre foot). On August 26, they were before the Board of Supervisors again demanding county action on the groundwater situation.

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Merced City Council, Aug. 4, 2014: change orders and contingencies

Submitted: Aug 25, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The city council, like most legislative bodies, includes a number of items early in its agenda that are voted on together. It is called the "consent calendar" and items may be removed from it for individual attention. Councilman Mike Murphy asked that Item 8, a staff recommendation that the council accept a bid from a Fresno construction company to build a new laboratory building at  the city wastewater treatment facility, be removed for council discussion. After noting that "it is great that we have one of the bidders coming in 10 percent lower than the other two," Councilman Murphy objected specifically to the contract allowing a 25-percent increase for change orders on the authority of the city manager alone without council deliberation. Murphy thought 10 percent was good enough, noting that a $450,000 contingency fund was also included in the contract.

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Introducing... The Fabulous Klugoza

Submitted: Aug 16, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

      

“With Dennis and Scott — a bipartisan team of former congressmen — at the helm … Foley will offer our business clients the comprehensive strategic and legal counsel needed on the myriad of complex public policy and regulatory issues that they face,” said David T. Ralston, Jr., chair of Foley's government and public policy practice, in a statement.-- Megan Wilson, thehill.com, Feb. 6, 2014

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Naomi Klein draws a bead on TNC

Submitted: Aug 05, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The Nature Conservancy “has just lost its moral compass,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, a group that works extensively on endangered species. “The very idea of oil drilling inside a reserve is utterly wrong, and it’s especially disturbing in this case because the Attwater’s prairie chicken is one of the most endangered species in the entire country. It could very well be the next species to go extinct in the United States.” -- Justin Gillis, New York Times, Aug. 3, 2014

 

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Porgans/Planetary Solutionaries' public comments on latest Delta plan

Submitted: Aug 01, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Badlands Journal has been fortunate to receive the public comments of Patrick Porgans & Associates on behalf of Planetary Solutionaires on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan          and Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement, July 31, 2014. --blj

 

BDCP Doomsday Plan Ends Public Comment Period

 

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT  31 July 2014

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Ah shucks, is that land sinking again?

Submitted: Jul 31, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "We have a groundwater crisis in California, and if we're not coming up with ways to reduce its use in wet years to allow it to rebound, we are going to be in trouble," said Andrew Fahlund, deputy director of the California Water Foundation, which studies water management issues and supports regulation. "And groundwater storage is exactly the kind of project we need to see more of." -- Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, July 26, 2014

 

What do growers on the west side of the San Joaquin River, reporters, state legislators and congressmen and their staffs share? I mean the things we can mention in a family website.

 

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OIRA, mother of political slush funds?

Submitted: Jul 31, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We have noticed that one of the darker, more cunning tools of American politicians is regulation. Regulation can be a beautiful thing for a politician. Say, for example, a US senator writes a resolute and righteous environmental regulation suited exactly to the specifications laid out by expert scientists in the field covered by this particular draft regulation. Let us suppose that the draft is enthusiastically supported in a rare show of unity by all the environmental groups of any possible danger to our politician. Let us say that business opponents of the draft skip load tons of cash on the front lawn of one of her vacation homes in hopes of dissuading her from sponsoring this dreadful abuse of democracy and the American Way of Life.  Yet, after all the public processes are duly followed and completed, suppose the new regulation, like a little salmon smolt in the Delta, is sucked up into a huge pump and disappears.

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Costly luxury crops

Submitted: Jul 20, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The large crop results in part from a rise in almond acreage -- about 860,000 acres this year, compared with 840,000 last year and 570,000 a decade ago. This year's average yield per acre is projected at 2,440 pounds, second only to the 2,540 in 2011. The number of trees per acre also has risen. -- John Holland, Fresno Bee, July 11, 2014.

We believe this figure is much too low, just based on what we see around us. Thousands of acres of seasonal pasture are being converted to almonds with a lesser amount to grapes, and hudnreds of not thousands of acres of stone fruit are still being converted to almonds, with some grapes. Considering that the local land-use authorities in California, the counties, regard conversion of pasture or stone-fruit orchards to almonds an "ag-to-ag" conversion requiring no land-use-authority review, how could the USDA accurately count the number of newly planted acres?

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