Badlands Journal editorial board
Merced City Council members Jill McLeod and Michael Belluomini advocated for quieter trains at last week's council meeting. They targeted the BNSF tracks in the northern part of central Merced because Amtrak adds more trains to the already busy tracks. But when Ms. McLeod, known in some central Merced circles as "Strawberry Jujube," repeatedly said that the area has an "industrial" feeling, we wondered how long before the council would mandate the Strawberry Jujube Aesthetic for our neighborhoods. Would we all be required by ordinance to die our hair orange and wear a pigtail to escape the onus of looking "industrial," the way many working people employed by various industries do look.
We don't think McLeod and Belluomini are going after the worst aspect of the trains. The dirt, the dust, and the grime that both BNSF and Union Pacific trains kick up pose worse problems for health and housecleaning than their noise. And the hazardous materials constantly traveling through town on frieght trains pose potentially catastrophic dangers to public health. Read More »