City of Merced

Merced besmirched by High Speed Rail Authority

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

Down at the Whiners' and Beggars' Hall the other night, the boys on the Merced City Council tuned up and gave a highly harmonious howl and stamped their feet in a veritable clog dance of indignation.

 

What had happened was that after about a decade of brown nosing any and all representatives dispatched to them from the California High Speed Rail Authority so that the city would be sure to get one of the highly prized high speed rail stations smack dab in the middle of downtown Merced, the authority appears to have decided against it.

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Good time to plant more nuts

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

State water bureaucrats are keeping the screws tight on urban water use while a few agro-plutocrats on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley lock in a guaranteed water supply 30-percent larger than the total requirement for Los Angeles and go on planting more almond orchards as the price for the Holy Nut falls. --blj

1-27-16

Valley Public Radio

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Heretics for Trump and Cruz?

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

 

The doctrine these sects preach is Christian heresy. The Christian faith—as in the 1930s under Germany’s pro-Nazi Christian church—is being distorted to sanctify nationalism, unregulated capitalism and militarism. The mainstream church, which refuses to denounce these heretics as heretics, a decision made in the name of tolerance, tacitly gives these sects credibility and squanders the prophetic voice of the church... The retreat from radicalism—in essence the abandonment of the vulnerable to the predatory forces of corporate capitalism—created a spiritual void filled by protofascist movements that have usurped Christian symbols and provided a species of faith that is, at its core, a belief in magic. This Christian heresy is currently on public display at Donald Trump and Ted Cruz political rallies.

 -- Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Jan. 24, 2016

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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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