Public Health and Safety

Super high, super dude, SUPERFLY Hostetler pledges something

Submitted: Mar 06, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 On Monday night at the Merced City Council meeting, it was --

Super high,

Super dude,

SUPERFLY

GREG HOSTETLER --

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Joe Public comments on the Merced County groundwater ordinance

Submitted: Mar 04, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 This morning we received this commentary on the Merced County groundwater ordinance from Joe Public. It says what needs to be said about this latest water plan-to-make-a-plan.

We would only add that Steve Sloan was the chairman of the county Planning Commission during the entire building boom. Sloan is a man who never saw development he didn't like. He is one of two landowners whose groundwater mining triggered the production of this list of exemptions wrapped in an ordinance. -- blj

 

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Bergman, skinned, stuffed and mounted

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

 

"Let me, and only me, bring the benefits of fresh vegetables to the poor and needy in my donated, beautifully painted truck without refrigeration," said Don Bergman in the sole-bid contract, ovbiously rigged for him with the help of friends in county government.

He was seen a few years earlier leading the goon squad of Black Hats from Out of Town bullying any opposition to John "Long Con" Condren's Riverside Motorsports Park, a popular cause among county supervisors and staff, some of whom may even have invested. 

In the County of Misfeasance, Malfeasance and Nonfeasance, however, Bergman is a person of note. In his years as executive director of the non-profit Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, he was a tireless booster for private enterprise and often belligerent foe of government. And Bergman knows firsthand the object of his contempt because in the past he'd been a Merced City councilman for part of a term and later was appointed to the county Workforce Investment Board.

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Drought dementia #5: "You can't fault them ..."

Submitted: Feb 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The new Farm Bill, nothing less than the final triumph of finance, insurance and real estate special interests over government in yet another real estate deal -- agriculture,  severs all connections between agriculture and actual husbandry. It's no accident that almond and pistachio orchards are being planted in record numbers. But this bubble won't burst until -- in the projected long drought -- the hedge funds, banksters and the vampire squid of finance, enabled by our local "stewards of the land unto the seventh generation,"  have sucked the Valley aquifer dry, taken their profits and all the money taxpayers provide for the new, risk-free, totally insured "agriculture," and left ... what, exactly? A desert? It was always a desert, but this one might end up containing more ghost towns than the gold and silver rushes left behind them in California and Nevada on poisoned ground. Agribusiness wouldn't care if every county seat down 99 turned into another Detroit, just as long as the big boys got out whole. -- blj

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The irrelevance of Hanson

Submitted: Feb 16, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

We found this recent column on the California drought by Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, an acclaimed  academic and Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, (1) and heir to a farm in Fresno County, to be unusually wide of the mark, even by his standards. Hanson is a writer that people interested in rural California read. We often agree with his facts yet end up mystified by the opinions he "derives" from them. Nevertheless, he is one of ours, so we remain interested.

The topic of Hanson's column is water, specifically how environmental "extremists" are stealing it from farmers. He assumes agriculture's rights to water are absolute and  neglects to mention that agriculture uses 80 percent of the developed water in California. Without that elementary nod to reality, reasonable people just throw up their hands and ask, "When is this enfant savant going to grow up?" 

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Drought Dementia #3: Fracking, regulatory corruption, aquifer contamination, Harvard and Hilmar Cheese

Submitted: Feb 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Successful polluters the world around agree: You just can't trust a government you don't own.

And that's why the smart people in the oil industry figure that whatever the regulatory laws might be, it's all in the enforcement, otherwise known as the "empty monitoring envelop syndrome."  The smart people at Harvard know they can drill all the water they want near Paso Robles. They just may not be smart enough to anticipate what might be in that water. But, they're all Harvard lawyers, so they can sue somebody. And Hilmar Cheese, after a successful run for years with a corrupt state water quality board, dug deep injection wells and accepted federal monitoring. We wonder how that's all going to work out in the drought. Do curds and whey clog drip-irrigation nozzles? -- blj

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Drought dementia 2

Submitted: Jan 30, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The drought has revealed that all the government and hydrological science available is not going to put California water policy back together again. It is like submitting Humpty Dumpty to exhaustive scientific studies of the tensile strength of egg shells and the heights of walls. As long as the king and his men keep growing, it will just get worse.

The total effect of groundwater regulation and associated increased expenses is going to be to put Valley agriculture 100-percent in the pockets of irrigation and water districts and federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over surface waters. The template has been in place for decades, but this will cause even more concentration of land ownership in the hands even fewer, richer growers. This neo-feudal system of agribusiness is so overwhelming that no new ideas or leadership can be generated from within it. Perhaps the bill by the two congressmen from north of the Bay Area at least won't add to the destruction. -- blj

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They're At It Again Department: The Rent-to-Own Scam

Submitted: Jan 28, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

The rent-to-own business appears to be a small, grubby niche of finance. People I spoke with said that the big players were not doing rent-to-own. -- Eisinger, ProPublica, January 28, 2015.

We would not have noticed this fine article from ProPublica had it not been for a situation on the street where we live that is harming the tenant of a rent-to-own house and all his neighbors. "Small and grubby" perfectly describes the owner group we call "the boys from LA" who own a gaggle of properties scattered throughout the town. But, fortunately for us, it doesn't describe our street, where neighbors are on perpetual alert for grubby doers. -- blj

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One more way to profit from misery on the US Mexican border

Submitted: Jan 26, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Some milestones in border history: 

Bracero Program ended, 1965

Maquiladora Program started, 1965

Massive loans at up to 25% interest, 1970's

Loan Defaults

Peso destabilized, steady rounds of devaluation

Plan de Ayala excised from Mexican Constitution. 1980's

Poorest rural villages redlined, 1980's

Rise of drug cartels, late 1980's

US dumping feed corn in Mexico, 1980's

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Washington DC: The American Necropolis

Submitted: Jan 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

1-22-15

TomDispatch.com

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Washington's Walking Dead
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