Public Health and Safety

The F in California water policy

Submitted: Feb 18, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...the first truth is that the liberty of democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way to sustain an acceptable standard of living. -- President Frankin Delano Roosevelt, "Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power" (April 29, 1938), in Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges, 2009, p.177.

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800# sociopaths

Submitted: Jan 12, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Everything about state Sen. Lois Wolk's career, from teaching high school, Davis City councilwoman and mayor, Yolo County supervisor, and assemblywoman before becoming senator expresses one overwhelming focu -- care; care for disadvantaged people, the sick, and the human and natural communities connected to the San Joaquin Delta. Even when under enormous, unfair and shameful attack from fellow politicians like our governor, the Hun, and state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Twerp-Sacramento, she has responded with measured critique and a completely classy defense -- not of herself, but the communities and natural resources she represents.

Cal Poly Professor Robert Rutherford and UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Michael Pollan are critics of agribusiness.

When Sen. Wolk discovered that a backroom deal between the Hun, Steinberg, Westlands Water District and Metropolitan had rewritten a bill to create a Delta Conservancy she had authored, she withdrew her name from it.

When Harris Ranch, one of Westlands largest landholders, discovered that Pollan would speak at Cal Poly and that Rutherford was teaching a course called "Issues in Animal Agriculture and -- even worse -- offended a Harris corporate suit by "unsolicited" comments that he thought water should be withdrawn from Westlands, Harris has threatened not to contribute $500 million to Cal Poly.

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Whey drinkers of Hilmar, rejoice!

Submitted: Dec 30, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Followers of the pollution caused by Hilmar Cheese, "the world's largest cheese plant" (WLCP), will recall that whenever the wastewater pollution achieves a level that state regulators can no longer comfortably ignore, the WLCP comes up with yet a new "black box" technology and requests an exemption from regulation to try it out for a few years. WLCP hires ace flak Michael Boccadoro, the Moutha Gold, to invite the public to marvel at WLCP's brilliant new black box, designed by the world's most ingenious engineers at enormous sums of money, which are always mentioned to show how hard the WLCP is trying.

The regulators ordinarily grant the exemption to test the new black box, it never works, the WLCP skates by environmental regulation for another year or two until the regulatory agency gets antsy again, whereupon the whole process repeats itself.

Nor is there any mention in this flakodoro "journalism" of the three most obvious facts in this case: Hilmar Cheese will not control its pollution of groundwater; it probably can't because it is the world's largest cheese plant; and it is already expanding its plant in Dalhart TX.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Environmental injustice in a nutshell

Submitted: Dec 27, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The essence of environmental injustice

Of 20 children known born in Kettleman City between September 2007 and November 2008, five had a cleft in their palate or lips, according to a health survey by activists. Three of those children have since died. Statewide, clefts of the lip or palate routinely occur in fewer than one in 800 births, according to California health statistics.
Besides these health problems, activists point to the high asthma and cancer rates in this largely Spanish-speaking farming community. -- Sacramento Bee, 12-22-09

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State air board caves to truckers

Submitted: Dec 21, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Special interests can't run a government that protects its citizens

The Fresno Bee on Monday praised the California Air Resources Board’s decision to roll back the new, tougher regulations on diesel emissions. California contains the two worst air-pollution basins in the United States, Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley.

Fresno, in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, has earned the title, "Asthma Capital of California. Nearly one in three children in Fresno, about 75,000 in 2005, had asthma, according to the Fresno Bee. 2005 was the height of the speculative housing building boom.

Trucking companies are losing business in a recession, states the editorial, therefore emission regulations were rightly rolled back by the air board, despite evidence many trucking companies have already converted to cleaner burning trucks. Inconveniently, there are also a number of CARB sponsored programs to provide financial assistance to truckers to achieve regulatory compliance, for example:

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Into the vortex

Submitted: Nov 22, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

As Merced goes into the holiday shopping season starting next Friday, all economic indicators are thumbs down.

Official unemployment crept up a point from last month to 16.4 percent, with an increase expected for November. This means that actual unemployment is over 20 percent now and will rise toward 30 percent as the winter wears on.

In October 361 Merced homes received notices of default, down 33 from September; there were 459 trustee sales, up 61 from September; 273 homes went back to banks, 36 more than in September; and 50 homes were sold to third persons, up slightly from September and greatly from October 2008, when only nine homes were sold to third parties.

Citing unemployment as the driving force, the Los Angeles Times reported last week: "One in seven U.S. home loans was past due or in foreclosure as of Sept. 30, putting that quarterly delinquency measure at its highest level since 1972, when the Mortgage Bankers Assn. began reporting it. At the beginning of this year, 1 in 10 loans was past due or in foreclosure."

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Kate Hart accused of corruption at water board

Submitted: Nov 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Katherine Hart Johns, well known in Merced County for her unsuccessful defense the County's approval of the Riverside Motorsports Park environmental impact report, has been accused of corruption in her office as Vice Chair of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Shocking!

We sincerely hope that the alleged acts of malfeasance in office, if true, were caused by normal political-appointee exuberance at the public trough and not due to financial problems arising from Ms. Hart's involvement with the insolvent racetrack project.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

11-12-09

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
“An Advocate for Fisheries, Habitat and Water Quality”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information
Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director: 209-464-5067, Cell 209-938-9053,
deltakeep@aol.com
Richard McHenry, CSPA Dir. Of Compliance: 916-851-1500, Cell 916-801-1952

CSPA Files Complaint against Regional Board Vice Chair with Fair Political Practices Commission and Attorney General
Alleges violations of Political Reform Act, Water Code and Government Code

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Political pork, political disease

Submitted: Nov 11, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

11-07-09
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Congressman Dennis Cardoza
18th Congressional District of California
Congressman Cardoza supports health care reform legislation 
Commitments for UC Merced Medical School funding will ease Valley physician shortage 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Mike Jensen
(202) 225-6131 
 http://www.house.gov/list/press/ca18_cardoza/PRHEALTHVOTE.html

 WASHINGTON, DC –  This evening, I voted for H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This bill is a historic and positive national step forward and offers the greatest improvement to the quality of health care for all Americans since the creation of Medicare. It will provide health insurance to 96 percent of our citizens. It stops the obscene insurance industry practice of denying people health care coverage due to “pre-existing” medical conditions. In the 18th  Congressional District, an estimated 107,000 more residents will qualify for affordable health care insurance. 

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MARG and private citizens sue City of Merced and Wal-Mart

Submitted: Nov 03, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Merced Alliance for Responsible Growth (MARG), Tom Grave, Kyle Stockard and Joel Knox filed suit against the Merced City Council and  Real Parties of Interest Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 28, 2009 in Merced Superior Court, according to the court’s register of actions.

 

The case number is CV000593.

 

The case will be heard by President Judge of Merced Superior Court John D. Kirihara.

 

The law firm of Lippe Gaffney Wagner LLP represent plaintiffs MARG, Grave, Stockard and Knox.

 

 

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Scamramento

Submitted: Oct 29, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-29-09
Sacramento Bee
Sacramento let developers get jump-start before formal permits...Ryan Lillis
http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/2290221.html
For three years, the city of Sacramento has allowed developers to start work on their projects before receiving formal permits.
The practice, covered by the controversial Facilities Permit Program (FPP), is now part of an expanding city investigation into the operations of its Community Development Department.
That investigation was launched after city officials said the son of a city councilman improperly allowed new homes to be built in the Natomas flood zone – months before permits for those homes were issued.
Questions about the permit program surfaced this week after city officials determined that construction of a new Nestlé water bottling plant was permitted to start with a verbal approval and authorization letter – and not a formal building permit.
As a result, the FPP program was suspended Tuesday.
City Attorney Eileen Teichert said at Tuesday's City Council meeting that current work on the Nestlé plant began weeks before the building permit for the work is scheduled to be issued Nov. 10.

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