City of Merced

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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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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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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The $420-million Question? Part 2.

Submitted: Jun 12, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

Part 1 of the $420-million Question can be found on Badlands Journal on June 1. At that time, the City of Merced's new General Manager, Steve Carrigan, was likened to a Pit bull, drooling at the mouth to take a bite out of Merced County CEO, Jim Brown because the County was not rolling over for the combined wishes of UC Merced, landowners and the City to annex about 650 acres along the Bellevue Road approach to the UC campus.  Carrigan was only prevented from mauling Brown, so the urban narrative went, by the Chihuahua behind him, Assistant General Manager Mike Conway.

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Notes on the primary election in Merced County, June 7, 2016

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

 Merced primary 2016 notes, all 266 precincts reporting, June 8, 2016

Voter turnout: of the 92,660 eligible voters, 23,974 voted -- 25.87 percent.

For this June primary, there were 13,101 registered Democrats, 8,996 registered Republicans, and the next largest number, 1,090, identify themselves as No Party Preference voters.

In the Democratic Party presidential primary, 7,169 (56.53 percent) voted for Hillary Clinton; 5,190 (40.92 percent) voted for Bernie Sanders. The state tally was 55.8 percent for Clinton; 43.2 percent for Sanders.

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A curious item for consent

Submitted: Jun 06, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We were curious about this item on the Merced City Council's June 6 Consent Agenda. We are referring to Item H.10, File # 16-219 on the Merced City Council Agenda for June 6, 2016.  You can see it here, among its brethren consent-agenda items: 

https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=401572&GUID=C362BC74-808F-4FCA-9D60-716BF1AD2161&Options=info&Search=

What is the "First Amendment to Scope of Services?"

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$420-million Question? Part 1.

Submitted: Jun 01, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “The public peace—the sidewalks and street peace—of cities is not kept primarily by the police, necessary as the police are,” wrote Jane Jacobs in “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” “It is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves.”

Desmond, who follows the plight of eight families in impoverished neighborhoods in Milwaukee, registered the citywide devastation of constant evictions.

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"... a power over nature out of all proportion to their moral strength"

Submitted: May 29, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

PRINCETON  New Jersey, February 25, 1967: Six hundred people gather to commemorate the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the Atomic Bomb." George Kennan, veteran diplomat, ambassador and "father" of the postwar containment policy against the Soviet Union, said: "On no one did there ever rest with greater cruelty the dilemmas evoked by the recent conquest by human beings of a power over nature out of all proportion to their moral strength. No one ever saw more clearly the dangers arising for humanity from this mounting disparity. This anxiety never shook his faith in the value of the search for truth in all its forms, scientific and humane. But there was no one who more passionately desired to be useful in averting the catastrophes to which the development of the weapons of mass destruction threatened to lead. It was the interests of mankind that he had in mind here; but it was as an American, and through the medium of this national community to which he belonged, that he saw his greatest possibilities for pursuing these aspirations.

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Bellevue Road annexation: a report to John Q Public and Don Q Publico

Submitted: May 23, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


Every reporter who has covered local government knows of issues about which, for some reason, general incoherence prevails in public utterance and the media, delivered vehemently by both elected officials and department heads. Obsequious, cynical editors require the reporters to make up something plausible, which is then edited into new incoherence by paginators. If the editors perform adequately, later on they become local government communication directors and continue their careers crafting the obsequies of democracy.

And onward rolls the Great Wheel of Absurdity.

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