Public Health and Safety

Your local "high-tech, bio-tech engine for growth" at work

Submitted: May 09, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Speak Memory: During the entire run-up to approval of UC Merced and construction of its first phase, including all the bogus environmental review documents and the illegal water and sewer hookups with the City of Merced, boosters from the Regents to UC presidents Roger Atkinson and Robert Dynes, UC Merced's first chancellor, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey ("the Cowgirl Chancellor"),  representatives Gary Condit and Dennis Cardoza and their talented staffs, former state Sen. Dick Monteith (who declared the campus a "done deal" before it was, actually, a done deal), every realtor, bank and local land owner and local elected official (if a distinction between these classes can be discerned), every planner, our own Sonny Star, the local gigolo press, and most of all, the Great Valley Center (now a UC Merced partner), declared that the campus would be a "high-tech, bio-tech engine for growth in the San Joaquin Valley." We were promised another Silicon Valley right on the banks of Bear Creek, bright young things full of bright young ideas would be starting companies right and left, so we had to build proper housing for them here, there, and everywhere.

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Something about 40 roosters

Submitted: Apr 25, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We were curious about an agenda item for the Merced County Planning Commission that appeared in late February: "To permit (legalize) the raising of up to 40 roosters as a hobby and occasional sales, on a 9.7 acre parcel."

When we read further, we realized we'd passed this rooster ranch in Stevinson not long before and had commented that someone must be raising fighting cocks on the site. There seemed no other explanation for a field full of little pens holding individual roosters that did not look like White Leghorns or Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas, Banties or any other typical barnyard variety of chicken. They looked like gamecocks. It was our general impression that cockfighting is supposed to be illegal in California, although it is a law widely disobeyed since its passage. We were also aware of something of a campaign against raising gamefowl in the county in recent years and a number of cockfight busts. So, we, the perpetually ignorant public, wondered what this agenda item could be doing in front of the planning commission rather than on the Sheriff's blotter. We asked someone at a county office about it, but she just rolled her eyes and said she didn't always read the documents she distributed.

Members of the public called the editorial board and suggested they watch the video of the planning commission meeting. They said it was one of the most mysterious moments they had ever witnessed in local government.

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Don't let Bush's ESA rules stand

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This item below courtesy of the Center for Biodiversity, brings us up-to-date on Bush's lame-duck anti-Endangered Species Act regulations, what Obama has done about them, what he hasn't don't about them, and what remains to be done to get rid of them in the next several weeks.

 

 

3-18-09

Center for Biological Diversity

(415) 632-5319 for more information

Secretary of Interior Should Rescind Bush Endangered Species Act Rules —

Congressional Authorization Expires in 53 Days

Shortly before leaving office, the Bush administration issued three regulations that (1) remove the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an independent, scientific watchdog over potentially damaging federal projects such as timber sales, mines, and dams; (2) exempt all greenhouse gas-emitting projects, including coal-fired power plants and federal fuel efficiency standards, from Endangered Species Act review; and (3) specifically ban federal agencies from protecting the imperiled polar bear from greenhouse gas emissions. These policies eviscerate the central Endangered Species Act process — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversight — that has protected endangered species for 35 years, and they exclude the greatest future threat to endangered species — global warming — from consideration under the Act.

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An unfortunate "community" column

Submitted: Nov 14, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Catching up on his newspaper reading, one member of the Badlands Journal editorial board noticed this advertisement for the UC/Great Valley Center couched innocuously in the "community columnists'" section of Modesto's McClatchy Chain outlet.


11-05-08
Modesto Bee

But Suppose for the sake of argument the anti-science rant about the causes of global warming is correct. Let's agree that the consumption of carbon-based fuels has nothing to do with the recent worldwide rise in temperatures.
And lest we think...Eric Caine

http://www.modbee.com/opinion/community/story/488013.html

Instant communication, jet-speed transportation and the global economy have shrunk the world in ways unimaginable only a few years ago. Nations are now connected the way counties and states used to be, and counties can no longer be thought of as fiefdoms where planning decisions have only short-range effects.

More than 20 years ago a few valley citizens, including Modesto's own Carol Whiteside, began realizing the valley is a region. They acknowledged our eminence in agriculture and also began to recognize the value of our grasslands, rivers, wetlands and riparian forests. Together, they began promoting a vision of the valley that planned for growth while preserving the world's best farmland and protecting our rivers and delta.

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Now let us hope and get down to work

Submitted: Nov 08, 2008
By: 
Bill Hatch

Here in Merced, the Obama campaign was as invisible to the general public as the on-going immigration raids. Obama-Biden lawn signs were greatly outnumbered by For Sale and For Rent signs in this national foreclosure-rate capital. Our local Democratic Party is dominated by a Blue Dog congressman and his plutocrat paymasters and has no community
credibility. We did however notice frequent email invitations to local phone-bank events, where people here would call to help get the vote out in the battleground states.

In any event, Obama wasn’t paying much attention to Merced. California is a very blue state, it performed as expected, and Obama was taking care of business where he needed to be to win his campaign.

Yet his campaign achieved something unimaginable: it elected an African-American to the presidency of the United States of America. Its coalition of youth, people of color, progressives, the anti-war movement, low-income Americans and others, won  the election. It was able to take advantage of the economic disaster. It found another political center, in fact it had to find and empower that new center to win.

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Army's new "dwell-time" mission

Submitted: Sep 20, 2008
By: 
Administrator


http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army
By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 8, 2008 6:15:06 EDT


The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

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Usual pork menu for proposed final Bush regime endangered species barbecue

Submitted: Sep 06, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The attempted change should be seen for what it is: a final Bush administration gift to those who benefit when environmental laws are weakened.-– Concord Monitor

Below, we've included the Associated Press story by Dina Cappiello on Aug. 22 about more than 100 conservation groups throughout the nation (including three from Merced) that opposed the Bush administration's latest attempt to gut the Endangered Species Act. Three groups came from the Merced: San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, San Joaquin Valley Conservancy and San Joaquin Et Al. The story was widely distributed throughout the nation and even in the UK -- a partial list is also included. Finally, there is some information about a number of local business and political leaders, large Republican fundraisers, who stand to benefit from this last-minute attempt by the Bush administration to reward its contributors.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Associated Press
Groups: Bush rushing to rewrite species rules...(AP) DINA CAPPIELLO...8-22-08
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkF1lWZoKQaqIgrv4XHs4RAorcQgD92NHQMG6
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration is providing insufficient time for public comment as it seeks to loosen rules protecting endangered species, representatives of more than 100 conservation groups charged Friday.

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Sacramento's "tortured middle way"

Submitted: Aug 19, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Thanks to Sacramento’s man on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Anthony Kennedy, who created the meaningless “significant nexis” to determine the connectivity of waters to navigable streams, federal resource agencies have been up a creek as far as knowing their jurisdiction to enforce the Clean Water Act. The EPA has done nothing about more than 400 CWA enforcement cases since the Supreme Court ruling called the “Rapanos Decision.” Kennedy’s middle ground stood between four conservative justices who wanted CWA enforcement only on permanent streams and four liberals who voted for intermittent streams as well, including wetlands and vernal pools.

 

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Special Places for Special People

Submitted: Aug 13, 2008

Jim Marshall, city manager of the City of Merced, intoned theologically in the UK Financial Times on Tuesday that there “should be a special place in hell for” speculators, mainly from the Bay Area, who bought McMansions in Merced, took out subprime loans and tried to flip them before the first balloon payments hit.

In fact, Marshall knew well there was no local market for the subdivisions of McMansions the city was approving weekly during the speculative real estate boom, the collapse of which has made Merced nationally famous for its foreclosure rate, and now internationally famous, or infamous, along with Modesto and Stockton.

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