August, 2016

Where are they now?

Submitted: Aug 31, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Once they were dynamic young leaders of Merced County agriculture. Peter Koch was president of the county Farm Bureau, and he and his wife, Rochelle, founded and funded the Valley Land Alliance to "save farmland." VLA's main purpose these days is the constant promotion in its newsletter of a small number of farmer members. All references to the Koch family, however, have been expunged from its website since they sold their palatial residence, orchards and cow pens and left for the bucolic Willamette Valley in Oregon.

As we admire their latest agricultural venture, we can only say: "Skal, Dudes!"

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Oh, the Horror!

Submitted: Aug 30, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

California agriculture is a stroke of Gov. Jerry Brown's pen away from having to pay farmworkers overtime after 40 hours a week! Ag bigshots throughout the state are claiming that farmworkers will be the actual victims of this law because farmers will cut back on labor and cycle people out after 40 hours.

From the other side of their mouths, however, they have set up a terrific perpetual whine that there is a labor shortage in the fields due to immigration policies.

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UCM Chancellor reports to local leaders on $1.3-billion expansion

Submitted: Aug 28, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "Proximity is destiny," Carol Tomlinson Keasey, first chancellor of UC Merced, often said. It was one of her slogans and like almost everything she said, it was nonsense. While we were still pondering Keasey's koan and looking for evidence that Merced was somehow becoming smarter because there was a UC campus on its outskirts, Keasey left, Chancellor Steve Yang came and went, and now we have Chancellor Dorothy Leland, voted one of four "power women" in the state of Georgia in 2009.

Leland, a minimal scholar of Simone de Beauvoir, 1. professor and university administrator, 2. reported to "the community" (Merced City Council, Merced County Board of Supervisors) last week on the UC Regents' decision in July to approve the $1.3-billion expansion of the UC Merced campus.

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Merced City Council Meeting, 8-1-16

Submitted: Aug 25, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Merced City Council Meeting, 8-1-16

 

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act study session

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Road taxes, fracking and the Adam-Condit-Gray mob

Submitted: Aug 22, 2016

Prop. 13 is a gift that keeps on taking from the California public. The real estate special interests, including the financial and insurance industries, advertise throughout the world the advantages of California famous Proposition 13, which sharply limit the annual increase of property taxes and, as George Skelton reminds us, required a two-third vote of the state Legislature to raise any taxes.

The two-thirds requirement is generally an insurmountable obstacle to the 120-member state Legislature. The state Secretary of State's office doesn't post (or in any convenient place) the number of registered lobbyists doing business in the state Capitol. However, starting at the beginning of the alphabetical list, we reached 120 at William Barnaby III, a ruggedly handsome young fellow with a law degree and fashionable stubble who is a hereditary member of the lobbying firm Barnaby and Barnaby. 

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How quickly can you forget this story?

Submitted: Aug 20, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The problem with the "mistakes" developers make in the heat of a construction boom is the decision the homeowner has to make once the "mistake," life-threatening or not, is discovered.

 To disclose or not to disclose, that is the question.

If I don't disclose, no one can help me.

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Worse news than the election campaigns

Submitted: Aug 20, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 8-15-16

Common Dreams

The Earth Just Experienced the Hottest Month on the Books. Period.

Plus, scientists say there's a "99 percent chance of a new annual record in 2016"

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Western and west side-water madhouse

Submitted: Aug 17, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In the meantime, the Resnicks have been going hog wild with all that water. Based on current estimates, their Central Valley crops receive more yearly water than the amount used by every single home in Los Angeles combined. Their citrus crops alone use up more water than the city of San Francisco. -- Elijah Chiland, la.curbed.com, Aug. 10, 2016

It is our duty as journalists, in fact it is our precise duty as writers, to try to find plain words to describe what is happening in our world. But when it comes to the irrigated agribusiness of the West and the feudal social structures erected upon it, it is easy to become speechless or simply to document the ecological atrocity as if you were a fax machine spewing out pages to an empty newsroom.

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Merced City Council 8-1-16

Submitted: Aug 15, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Streets, roads, marijuana, and recreation-department salaries highlighted the August 1st meeting of the Merced City Council. 


Streets

The amount of $876,000 in CalTrans funds has been made available to the city through the Merced County Association of Governments. MCAG, as you might remember, is the only local agency authorized by CalTrans to either forward local jurisdiction requests for US Highway Administration funds, and is the only agency authorized to distribute those funds.

At the last meeting, the city council voted to stop payment of certain funds to MCAG that may end the city's eligibility to either propose projects or dispose of highway funds.

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Jeeves willikers, the country shore has changed!

Submitted: Aug 11, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Bernardus Lodge debuts new lodgings

The Villas & Suites at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley has opened with 14 new guest lodgings.

The new lodgings debuted on Aug. 2 and have rates from $950 to $2,500.

The new accommodations transport guests to a private sanctuary paired with butler services, free Mercedes-Benz convertibles, alfresco rain showers and a three-to-one staff ratio focused on exceeding guests' expectations.

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Father of the USSC Citizens Alliance decision

Submitted: Aug 10, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

With his appointment of Anthony Kennedy to the US Supreme Court, Ronald Reagan foisted on the nation a hereditary Sacramento lobbyist decorated with lipstick in a very special shade called "Well-educated, straight-laced, sober jurist and distinguished professor of law." -- blj

 

 


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State to add protections for Spotted owl

Submitted: Aug 10, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 At first glance, 66 million dead trees may seem like a very large number, but it is important to remember that there are 33 million acres of forest in California, so the total effect of the recent pulse of tree mortality has been to add an average of only two snags per acre. To put that number in perspective, forest animals that live in snags generally need at least four to eight snags per acre to provide sufficient habitat and some species require even more snags. For example, California spotted owls use forests with eight to twelve snags to nest and rest and they prefer even higher levels of snags in the areas where they gather their food. And black-backed woodpeckers depend on snag forests with at least several dozen dead trees per acre. These points and many others were addressed in a letter from scientists to California Gov. Brown in February. -- Douglas Bevington, EcoWatch.com, Aug.

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The Big Grift?

Submitted: Aug 08, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


 

The pollsters and statisticians are predicting that Trump will lose the election to Hillary Clinton. But of course, this hinges on how one defines “lose.” Donald Trump will likely find a way to financially profit from his political adventure, his supporters are giving him millions of dollars, his narcissism has been further expanded and fueled, and if this was all just an elaborate hustle, Trump has, in many ways, lost nothing and gained much. -- Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet, Aug. 5, 2016

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Merced Development Rodeo: Jobs, jobs, jobs?

Submitted: Aug 04, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Since the Merced County public is again being assaulted by the claims that housing and commercial construction are the one and only way of reducing unemployment in our economy, dominated by government subsidized agribusiness, we thought we would compare some unemployment statistics from past years.

These numbers are for Merced County as a whole, but since construction is ramping up on both sides of the county, they seem indicative.

All figures are for June of the year.1.

6/2016: 10.6 percent

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Merced Development Rodeo: Merced taxpayers, beware of your city council

Submitted: Aug 03, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

A cabal of Merced City Council members, city staff and developers ripped off the citizens of Merced for a bundle two weeks ago. Just in case we couldn't put a face on the usual suspects, developer and almond grower Greg Hostetler showed up at Monday's council meeting to berate retiring Mayor Stan Thurston for speaking truth to the city's development staff.

The issue was whether Merced would quit paying fees it collects from developers to pay for mitigation of the traffic impacts caused by their business. The city council decided to quit paying the fees for two years. This puts the public in the position of either suffering the results in traffic congestion or being forced to pay for it themselves.

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