City of Merced

Book review of Right out of California

Submitted: Nov 24, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
 This is an interesting review of a book, Right out of California, which argues that conflict between growers and migrant farm labor produced the peculiarly authoritarian right-wing element in "modern conservatism" (aka ideology of the wingnuts). For those who are still open enough to behold the core of California agribusiness -- exploitation of migrant labor, often foreign and with as little legal rights as possible -- without which the agro-plutocracy could not rule and its bottomlessly greedy babble about more water for themselves and all the rest of their favorite topics, paranoias, protestations of love for the Mexican people, and acts of threat and political corruption would appear to be what they are: mountains of the well known substance.

Be careful of whose stocking you consider stuffing this book into. It is recommended only for people with a greater ability to reflect than to be ditto heads because it puts into question every sacred cow that has ever ambled beneath Modesto's famous arch: Water Wealth Contentment Health -- to which there can be only reply: "Not! Not now!

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Our friendly local Netherlands-based bank in the news

Submitted: Nov 11, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Rabobank, a Netherlands-based bank with offices throughout the San Joaquin Valley which presents itself as primarily and agricultural bank, has been involved in recent years in two major financial scandals in which for once the dairy industry doesn't figure at all. They are Mexican drug-cartel money laundering on the US/Mexico border and participation in rigging the London interbank interest-rate offer. The latter, explained below, has been a catastrophe for smaller banks.

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Federal subsidy for the Last Tango of the Dinosaurs

Submitted: Nov 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “If it wasn’t for having crop insurance right now, I would have lost everything three generations of Messonniers have created. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.” ... “This was the first year ever we didn’t do any rice,” (Tom Roduner) said. “Sometimes we have a little bit. It’s so bleak this year, between the water allocation and how dry things were, it just wasn’t feasible to do any.”

-- Calix, Merced Sun-Star, Oct. 28, 2015

 

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Merced City Council converts to district elections

Submitted: Oct 12, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The proposed "Palma" map for City-Council district elections,  pushed by a number of speakers at last week's Merced City Council meeting, was rejected by the council. Council members inquired why South Merced residents would want a district map that included two South Merced districts, each of which bulged across the highway and railroad tracks into Downtown Merced.

Mayor Stan Thurston pointed out that it could defeat the alleged purpose of the district maps to distribute council seats equally among different parts of the city and that South Merced could end up being represented by two council members from downtown or central Merced.

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The first rain

Submitted: Oct 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 After the rain today in Merced it was as if the city had had a cataract operation, replacing the sepia tinted lens of drought. ---blj

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A public outreach plan to make a public outreach plan

Submitted: Sep 10, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

After a few months of relative order, the Merced City Council went off the rails again Tuesday night. The rhetoric of desperate sleaze prevailed as councilmen tried to explain to us that now that a closed door, ad hoc committee not subject to the state rules of public meetings had chosen a consultant to plan the new high speed railroad station downtown, to the tune of $664,150  in public funds, now great plans will be made for public outreach and education.

The $664,150 comes from a $600,000 planning grant from the High Speed Rail Authority and $200,000 in matching funds from the City of Merced's general fund.

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Are local bigshots hiding things again?

Submitted: Aug 23, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There are a couple of simple quetions omitted from this story that might have made the resident of Merced interested or even concerned about the future of the proposed high speed railroad station that will gut the downtown area a little better informed.

1. Doesn't the reason for the ad hoc committee have less to do with "expertise," which was alleged subject of the discussion at the last Merced City Council meeting,. than with its lack of transparency?  So they spend several hundred thousand of some other governmental agency's money on consultants. So what? For years CH2MHill made more than a million dollars recycling essentially the same report of the state of our sewer system, mired in water-quality board cease and desist orders, for years. Did it stop the city from approving construction projects, even if they never got built?

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Groundwater, considered all by itself

Submitted: Jul 21, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Local support is required for each type of boundary change. Mr. Springhorn explained the tiered system with an increasing level of local support depending on the severity of the requested revision. “We’ve been messaging that for boundary revision in the state, there needs to be broad local agreement for these revisions because these revisions have impacts on the implementation of groundwater management and also sustainable groundwater management in the high and medium basins so that’s been a key theme throughout all of our stakeholder engagement and outreach.”

http://mavensnotebook.com/2015/07/20/sustainable-groundwater-management-act-implementation-an-overview-of-the-basin-boundary-regulation/

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The whole enchilada on our front porch

Submitted: Jul 02, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 An editor of Badlands Journal was once studying agricultural economics at a great UC campus established firmly on the back of California agriculture. One night, shortly before leaving these studies, the future Badlands editor looked up from his equations, gazed out into a hot summer night, and formulated the one scientific thought he had ever had: The San Joaquin Valley of California is the greatest laboratory in the world to demonstrate all that is wrong with agribusiness.

As usual, his thought was puny compared to the onrushing reality. -- blj

 

 

 

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Merced by the numbers last week

Submitted: Jun 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Like most Mercedians, our attention was grabbed by Friday's frontpage stories in the Sun-Star. Above the fold, we saw the headline: "Area manufacturing growth fastest in U.S." Below the fold, we read "Gang probe yields guns, drugs."

The top headline was such a typical bit of the cognitive dissonance we expect from the Sun-Star that we moved to the cops-and-robbers story on the theory, reached entirely unconsciously over the first cup of coffee, that the second story might be more realistic.

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