Public Works

Last Week: March 3-9, 2013.

Submitted: Mar 16, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

California High Speed Rail -- A boondoggle in search of a Pork Barrel 

 

There is a railroad boom going on right now in the San Joaquin Valley. At least there is a boom going on in the newspapers about railroads, fast and not so fast.

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What U say and what U do

Submitted: Feb 09, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board



College students, starting in small colleges in New England but in a movement quickly growing, are pressuring high education administrators and boards of trustees to divest investment in fossil fuel corporations.

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Water anxiety grips state press

Submitted: Jan 31, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

DESPAIR!!

Once again, as She does every year now, since its population hit 30 million, Mother Nature is betraying California by not providing enough rainfall to allay the anxieties of the finance, insurance and real estate special interests. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite is only 1150 percent of normal capacity for this time of year; Shasta Lake is only 111 percent of normal; and lesser reservoirs are above or at 100 percent capacity.

It's just awful. -- ed

1-30-13
Merced Sun-Star

Hopes for a wet year are drying out…San Jose Mercury News
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/01/30/v-print/2787530/hopes-for-a-wet-year-are-drying.html


When it comes to rain and snow in California, this winter began with great promise. But hopes for a bountiful year appear to be evaporating.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 93 percent of the historical average for the end of January, according to the state Department of Water Resources survey completed Tuesday afternoon.

That's not bad -- but a month ago, it was 140 percent.

What happened? Huge storms in early December dumped lots of snow across the Sierra, and rain filled reservoirs all over the state. But there has been almost no rain or snow in January.

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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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