Energy

Drilling: oil, water ... and natural gas

Submitted: Dec 06, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The story below is about the collision of agriculture and oil industries in Kern County on land that a few decades ago was mostly reserved for oil wells in sagebrush, habitat for roadrunners and coyotes. Irrigation development has brought orchards and row crops to a lot of it now, leading to a confrontation between the two industries.

We imagine that as natural gas drilling increases in the San Joaquin Valley that similar issues will arise between groundwater and the chemicals injected in the gas-drilling process.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

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Plutocracy rebranded by Wall Street

Submitted: Oct 28, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...by any other name

10-26-10

 CommonDreams.org
Wall Street Has Already Voted
by Holly Sklar
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/26-6
Before Wall Street drove our economy off a cliff, bullish Citigroup strategists dubbed the United States a "plutonomy." They said, "There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the 'non-rich,' the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie."

Inequality had increased so much since the 1980s, Citi strategists noted in 2005, that the richest 1 percent of households and the bottom 60 percent had "similar slices of the income pie!" Even better, they said, "the top 1 percent of households account for 40 percent of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95 percent of households put together." And the Bush "administration's attempts to change the estate tax code and make

permanent dividend tax cuts, plays directly into the hands of the plutonomy."

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contradictory!

Submitted: Oct 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-10-10
Bakersfield Californian
LOIS HENRY: Air board must be held accountable
http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x618251275/Air-board-must-be-held-accountable
Here's a topic for the next governor's debate: If elected, would you investigate the California Air Resources Board for fraud?
Oh, did I say the "f" word?
Absolutely.
This agency is out of control and, I believe, has perpetrated an outright fraud on the people of this state.
And, no, I'm not just talking about how the agency was recently forced to admit it was wrong about the amount of diesel emissions that heavy construction contributes to air pollution.
(They were off by 340 percent and had even "overestimated" how much diesel fuel was being used per year, saying the industry used 1 billion gallons a year when it was closer to 250,000 gallons a year. The correct information was readily available through the Franchise Tax Board, by the way.)
Nor the fact that, per its own report on Aug. 31, the number of people who supposedly die prematurely due to exposure to PM2.5, tiny particulate matter such as dust and soot, inexplicably dropped from 18,000 to 9,200.

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Future, coalition, development, growth, land-use planning, transportion -- but some of the words rendered meaningless

Submitted: Oct 10, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

As foreclosure and unemployment gnaw away at the social fabric in the crumbling tract housing of the Valley, like highly trained, professional rats babbling our language, the usual suspects of Valley leadership met and scampered through their consensual maze inside a mausoleum of commercial real estate hubris in Modesto, a city that has been ruining its promised land for 40 years with no end in sight for its wanderings in darkness. -- Badlands

10-10-10
Modesto Bee

Building a Future: Planning experts share wisdom at summit
By Garth Stapley - gstapley@modbee.com  Buzz up!
 
Standing alone may have served a romantic image of the great American West in years past. But for today's San Joaquin Valley, isolationism is death.

That's what planning experts said over and over when asked how the historically undervalued valley can expect to climb out of California's center rut and into a bright, vibrant future.

"The most important thing is coalition building," lobbyist Mark MacDonald said last week at a summit in Modesto, where planning specialists from near and far gathered to ponder valley strategy for hitting up money powerbrokers. "All your battles (must be) internal, before you get up to Sacramento."

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High speed rail anyone?

Submitted: Sep 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

California High Speed Rail Authority

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/library.asp?p=5890

 

Investor Relations

 

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Who was Robert A. "Bobby" Lewis?

Submitted: Sep 07, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Merced County Director of Planning and Development Services, Robert A. “Bobby” Lewis, reportedly tendered his resignation on Friday. Numerous calls to different county offices to confirm the report met a stone wall.

Nevertheless, other sources convinced members of the Badlands Journal editorial board that the report was true.

 

The board issued a statement along with an article written when Lewis arrived nearly four years ago.

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More bad news from MID

Submitted: Aug 01, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This would have been a far more useful story if the reporter had bothered to ask and record the answers to these simple questions: did the California Environmental Protection Agency investigate the allegations against Merced Irrigation District? What did it find? What enforcement action was or might be taken? A quote "cannot comment because of an ongoing investigation" from CEPA would have added a nice symetry to the story.

As it is, what we have is a brief report of a legal brief filed on behalf of an aggrieved employee of MID and a whole lot of reporter dodging by an agency that finds it extremely difficult to comply with a California Public Records Act request.

MID's latest managing director is a member of the family of an MID board member who doesn't pay her bills. Director Suzy Hulgren parlayed a few public rants against Riverside Motorsports Park promoter, John Condren, lies and financial double-dealing into a seat on the board, with the help of the Merced County Farm Bureau and California Women for Agriculture. She was, however, unsuccessful as the frontwoman for the farm bureau and CWA in the attempt to bankrupt her partners in the RMP lawsuit, San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water, or to financially damage two law firms, Don E. Mooney and Associates and Sproul and Troost, who represented the petitioners against the race track project.

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And where is American democracy?

Submitted: Jul 15, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Reading Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, is an eery experience and so we are grateful for this lengthy review of the book, written by Chalmers Johnson, author of the Blowback Trilogy. It is an eery book in part because it was published in the last year of the reign of George II, and it conjures up that period in every paragraph. Wolin's knowledge of the history of American politics is so thorough that, in the course of holding up the Bush regime to the light of deep trends and themes in our political history, he redeems American political science in one book. Democracy Inc. justifies our curiosity, craving and desperation of knowledge of our own political system in a period in which it is even hard to see the mirrors for all the smoke. He reminds us of the courageous intellectual history and democratic tradition of American society until 30 years ago, and the inseparable bond of intellectual and political life as vital to democracy as democracy is to it.

We got interested in Wolin's book as a result of reading about it in columns by Chris Hedges, who interviewed Wolin for his latest book, Empire of Illusion.

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Not a boondoggle!

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Boondoggle -- a trivial, useless or wasteful expenditure, usually of public funds.

In the current economic climate, critics have suggested that high-speed rail is a boondoggle. They couldn't be more wrong. The lack of funding may slow down the project, but it will eventually become a reality.
Projects of this magnitude must not be stopped by economic cycles. Our economy will rebound and one day high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix.

At first we were reassured by these wise, confident words from the McClatchy Co.'s Fresno outlet. We also dismissed the cynical comment that Fresno won't call this project a boondoggle right up to the time some other Valley city is chosen for the site of the heavy maintenance yard. Virtually every city along the proposed routes are bidding for that yard because it would appear to be the most tangible benefit in the whole project.

Why, in fact, "high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix." Who or what power would ordain it to come into existence? Who is it that even wants it? Isn't it the same small group of leaders that believed to fervently against reality that the speculative housing boom would never bust? Isn't it the same group of brainwashed leaders who always say the same thing at the same time and hope to hoodwink the citizens into believing unison means truth?

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The Hun's electric train

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Our Hun, a man of action tragically restrained by mere government throughout his political career, has decided to build a "demonstration"

high speed rail link between LA and San Diego.

"...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't want to wait that long to give the state a taste of the European-style system..."

Baloney. Our Hun just wants to put his hand on the transformer and run a great big electric train somewhere in California before he retires.

Boosters for a high speed railroad from Los Angeles to San Francisco have been hustling federal funds for this train, claiming that it will be the longest, fastest high speed railroad in the nation and will produce hundreds of thousands of new jobs all along its route. We aren't quite clear on how permanent these jobs will be, but if this boon to employment were to arrive, it would no doubt draw even more people into the state and probably go some way to reinflating the speculative real estate bubble. In part the high speed rail would be a great benefit for commuters to the Bay Area from the Valley, which is why it has such ardent supporters among Valley cities with abundant empty homes for sale, cheap, and official unemployment rates around 20 percent.

There is contention over parts of the route and as usual with recent schemes like new University of California campuses and railroad boondoggles, Merced, which already has two major track systems running through it, is at the center of it.

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