Public Works

Salt, salt, salt!

Submitted: Jan 24, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
This U.S. Court of Federal Claims decision ruled that the federal government had no contractual obligation to build a "San Joaquin Drain" to transport ag drainage full of salts and heavy metals from the west side of the Valley to the Delta. While not the end of the legal argument, eventually the issue will be moot because the west side, because of that irrigation it so highly prizes, is salting up. Field by field, it will eventually be abandoned as unfarmable wasteland.
 
Meanwhile, the black box crowd has been at work on the west side. One farmer, John Diener, is exploring mining his salt.
 
 

Prickly pear cactus, a salt-tolerant crop, naturally produces antioxidant rich fruit and adding selenium makes it even healthier. (Selenium is essential to good health in small amounts.) But even with mineral absorption from cacti and other salt-loving plants, eventually, it all gets super concentrated, and Diener ends up with a big pile of salt on his ranch, which is the case for many farms on the west side. Water supplied by the federal and state projects brings the equivalent of 40 railroad cars of salt into the area every day, about 4,000 tons of salt daily.

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The revolving door

Submitted: Jan 20, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This article represents a lapse of taste in a newspaper that is usually smarter than the ones that surround it in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

It's about the happy little, well, not quite so little, Cardoza family of Anapolis MD. Father Cardoza quit his seat as the region's representative in the House last summer. Gathered around the fire at Yuletide watcdhed CSPAN, Dr. Mama Cardoza asks the Great Man, "Aren't you glad you're not there?"

It's a touching little scene, just like they teach you in features class, I guess. 'Remember,' the instructor/editor says, 'tell me a story.'

OK. But how about it being the right story? Or at least not completely backwards?

Cardoza is still there. He quit last summer not to join the Los Angeles-based law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LL but the lobbying firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LL. If choosing the correct word and brevity still means anything at all in journalism he is not "a nonlawyer consultant for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which has a client base in health care, finance, technology, energy and transportation, among other fields."

He is a Washington lobbyist. The only photo that could tell this story would be the one of Cardoza the Shrimp Slayer/Pimlico Kid's ample posterior disappearing through a revolving door shere such animals go to graze behind closed doors after they've done their damage in the public's name.

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It's all one thing

Submitted: Jan 08, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

There is much to study in the weekend's financial news but we came away with one new insight about an old problem: as public debt grows, public services decline; as public services decline, less taxable revenues are circulating, which makes the problem worse and worse. Today we see Gov. Jerry Brown, who won his tax increase, deciding how to spend it -- on services or on buying California out of debt. Or what mixture of the two? A good question because the human debt in terms of lost quality of life, opportunity, education and health also grows albeit at a different rate on compound interest on public debt. Financial bankruptcy is not the only kind of bankruptcy.

When debt becomes the top profit center in an economy, we suspect that economy is approaching its demise. The debt just keeps growing, the concentration of finance, insurance and real estate special interests keeps increasing so that fewer and fewer are reaping the rewards from the Debt Boom (untouched by corrective legislation) and, where it particularly interests us, it all brings more direct pressure on the environment and laws, regulations and agencies charged with protecting it. A stark example is in California, where the governor refers to the California Environmental Quality Act as "the Thing," and is planning to weaken it, no doubt with the help of the Democratic Party super majority in the Legislature, in the coming legislative session. Meanwhile, indicator species like the Delta smelt spiral down to extinction.

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New tools for grave digging

Submitted: Dec 29, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

A few tools for digging our own graves
Submitted: Dec 29, 2012
By:
Badlands Journal editorial board

Cities with highest unemployment:

    El Centro, Calif. 27.2
    Yuma, Ariz. 23.7
    Merced, Calif. 16.9
    Yuba City, Calif. 16.8
    Fresno, Calif. 15.7
    Modesto, Calif. 15.5
    Stockton, Calif. 15.5
    Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 15
    Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 14.7
    Madera-Chowchilla, Calif. 14.3

Cities with the lowest unemployment rates were as follows:

    Bismarck, N.D. 2.8
    Fargo, N.D. 3.1
    Lincoln, Neb. 3.2
    Burlington-South Burlington, Vt. 3.7
    Sioux Falls, S.D. 3.8
    Iowa City, Iowa 3.8
    Ames, Iowa 3.8
    Logan, Utah 3.9
    Mankato-North Mankato, Minn. 4
    Midland, Texas 4.1

(www.californiacitynews.org, 1-4-12)

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A nouveau win-win public-private partnership for growth and despoilation of country

Submitted: Dec 05, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

In the Great Age of Electrical Deregulation that has brought such benefits to California since 2001 that the state treasury has been in debt billions ever since, the Committee of crisis Capitalists, speaking through their mouthpiece du jour, Junior Brown, age 75 but still a brat, has decreed that all solar projects proposed by plutocrats should be built regardless of the cost to local government because they are "green," the new "small is beautiful" in Jr's playbook.

In the case of Inyo County (high desert east of the Sierra) they have a pretty good idea how much it is costing; in Merced it is a little bit obscure because of various bribes paid the county by Tsakapoulos that will insure that the county will not push too hard for the Quinto Solar Project to complete its mitigation, 2:1 prime farmland in perpetual agricultural easements to placate the farm bureau, which would be unlikely to be fulfilled in any event for lack of available and willing landowners. (The gesture is about as symbolic as the local farm bureau president's hay bale house that she will be vacating this damp winter for sunny Costa Rica.)

But everyone has covered their embarrassing parts and LA gets more electricity. It's a genuine WIN-WIN/PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR GROWTH at the expense of the environment and endangered species.
AGAIN.

Badlands Journal editorial board

11-25-12
Los Angeles Times

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There shall be one economy only

Submitted: Nov 09, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Here is a cogent, succinct statement of the California Department of Water Resources and the Brown administration view of what must be done to render the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta "safe". It relies on the well known "expert" opinion on when the next great earthquakes are coming to destroy the Delta levees, endanger the drinking water supply for 25 million people and danage the state's "$2 trillion economy."

It fails to mention the complete sacrifice of the richest farmland in the state to build two tunnels channeling water from the Sacramento River to the Delta pumps, and thenceforth to the San Francisco Peninsula and Los Angeles. Because, without the power of river water going seaward, rising seawater will simply salt over the entire region, already salt damaged from backflow from the San Joaquin River, an agricultural drainage ditch for the Valley. But, the sacrifice of this richest region of farmland is insignificant next to guaranteeing even more fresh water for the Bay Area and Southern California real estate industry. No other economy but real estate shall be allowed to survive in California.

Badlands Journal editorial board
11-7-12

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Decay and squalor at Modesto Irrigation District

Submitted: Oct 20, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

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Worse than NAFTA now off the Pacifric coast

Submitted: Sep 15, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
All the corporations learned from NAFTA was how to make the next "regional" agreement worse. --BLJ
 
8-14-12
Food & Water Watch
If you thought NAFTA was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet
Mitch Jones

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/if-you-thought-nafta-was-bad-you-aint-seen-nothing-yet/#more-20955

 
 

Although no one in the media seems to be talking about it, a meeting is taking place in Virginia that could cement the same economic interests that lead us to the 2007 crisis. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated by 13 countries would lead to increased gas exports and increased imported foods, while undermining our domestic laws and increasing the financialization of nature.

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