Merced County

Thinking about crime in Merced

Submitted: Jun 18, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Below is a series of articles about crime in Merced and Stanislaus counties in recent months. It is not an exhaustive list, not a police log, nor is it long enough to represent the variety of crime reported daily in this region. However, we do learn from the articles that Merced, Modesto, and two other Valley county seats rank among the top 10 cities in the nation for car theft. We learn that the recent "Operation Scrapbook," a multi-agency task force using advanced communications surveillance nabbed some top gang members accused of heavy charges including murder, meth dealing, and gun dealing.

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Neurotic aqua-utilitarian quantification

Submitted: Jun 13, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

If there is one thing that slip-slides away from easy quantification, it's water. None of its larger units of measurement, like the acre-foot, let alone a million gallons,  are easily imagined by the ordinary human being. Nor does it do much good to say that a family of four uses about an acre-foot of water a year, at least to people who remember when in the not too distant past the authorities said it took two acre-feet to achieve the same goal for the little family. And how big is a raindrop anyway?

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Climate in the Age of Resentment

Submitted: Jun 04, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is not easy to put President Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord in perspective, perhaps because it is the new perspective, the world as it now is; and that is hard to accept. The general contour of this new perspective is that while large majorities of the public support environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Air acts even though they do impose limits on the capitalist economic system, today special interests have such a strong grip on at least two of the three branches of government (the judicial branch is still in question) that the United States government will no longer lead or follow intelligent environmental policies unless the sane majority regains control of -- for a start -- both political parties.

Our bar for sanity is low: stay on your medication and avoid overindulging your resentments.

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Two ghosts in the room

Submitted: May 27, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Two major law-enforcement stories recently rocked Merced. Public security is universally the fundamental job of political authorities, and these two stories were certainly full of politics.

In the first, Operation Scrapbook, top law enforcement officials in the county, starting with DA Larry Morse II, performed a sweep of Mexican gang members, primarily Sureños. A state program called VIPER procured by local legislators provided surveillance information vital to the effort according to all involved, especially  Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. When the credit was passed out, state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, seemed to have been forgotten.

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Javier Valdez Cardenas, Presente!

Submitted: May 18, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

"The Sinaloa cartel has demonstrated in many instances that it can adapt. I think it's in a process of redefinition toward marijuana," says Javier Valdez, a respected journalist and author who writes books on the narcoculture in Sinaloa.

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Are the gang busters winning in Merced?

Submitted: May 17, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Depending on where you live in Merced County, you hear more or less gunfire. In some areas you hear a lot of it; in others maybe very little. But everyone knows it is out there and we appreciate law enforcement's efforts to reduce violence in the county. Chances are the latest crime-busting technique of listening in on kids' social media will not "put an end to this crisis," as state Assemblyman Adam Gray claims, but it might help prevent some crime.

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Towards a quieter dine-and-dope experience in central Merced

Submitted: Mar 27, 2017
By: 
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.

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"Do not take your CDBGs from our Valley..."

Submitted: Mar 17, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We are grateful to Congressman Jim Costa, 16th Congressional District of California, for this excellent rundown on the consequences of the Plutocrat's First Budget on the Valley, its poor people, small businesses, and even its wealthy farmers. -- blj

 

March 17, 2017

US Congressman Jim Costa

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Safe drinking water for children in Planada and Le Grand!

Submitted: Mar 16, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It's a sign of our fragmented times that children in these rural schools should need special clean water dispensers at the same time as the same communities plan for more growth. If you don't have enough clean water for the children of your community, how can you in good conscience plan for more growth? Planners, of course, will argue how much worse it would all be if the new growth weren't planned because planners are pawns in the real great game of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.1. 2 .3.

Conscience doesn't have a thing to do with it. It is about bureaucratic and corporate schedules fermenting away in their own separate silos. The people involved are just doing their jobs to support their families.

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