State Government

Climate in the Age of Resentment

Submitted: Jun 04, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is not easy to put President Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord in perspective, perhaps because it is the new perspective, the world as it now is; and that is hard to accept. The general contour of this new perspective is that while large majorities of the public support environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Air acts even though they do impose limits on the capitalist economic system, today special interests have such a strong grip on at least two of the three branches of government (the judicial branch is still in question) that the United States government will no longer lead or follow intelligent environmental policies unless the sane majority regains control of -- for a start -- both political parties.

Our bar for sanity is low: stay on your medication and avoid overindulging your resentments.

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Two ghosts in the room

Submitted: May 27, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Two major law-enforcement stories recently rocked Merced. Public security is universally the fundamental job of political authorities, and these two stories were certainly full of politics.

In the first, Operation Scrapbook, top law enforcement officials in the county, starting with DA Larry Morse II, performed a sweep of Mexican gang members, primarily Sureños. A state program called VIPER procured by local legislators provided surveillance information vital to the effort according to all involved, especially  Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. When the credit was passed out, state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, seemed to have been forgotten.

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A stronger California Public Records Act proposed

Submitted: May 25, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

More importantly, the bill would allow judges to fine public agencies $1,000 to $5,000 for blatantly violating the act, such as unreasonably withholding or delaying the release of records that clearly are public. Currently, there is no penalty. 


Like the California Brown Act, which governs public meetings, local governments like Merced County are constantly trying to encroach on the clear meaning of the public's right to know about the public's business, and so must be periodically strengthened. This can take the form of expensive losses in court like Merced County's absurd temper tantrum over violations of the Brown Act that resulted in two court decisions against it. Or, it can take the form proposed in AB 1479, adding  designated staff person to handle all PRA requests thoroughly and promtly or face a fine (if the public or newspaper is willing to take the government or agency to court).

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The rise of bee theft

Submitted: May 19, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Now bee colony collapse disorder is having an impact on the police logs of the region. How soon can it be until it becomes a TV series? What we will probably not do in time is address the combination of environmental factors agribusiness, particularly almond production in the San Joaquin Valley, has inflicted on bees to produce the crisis. 

-- blj

 

5-17-17

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Javier Valdez Cardenas, Presente!

Submitted: May 18, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

"The Sinaloa cartel has demonstrated in many instances that it can adapt. I think it's in a process of redefinition toward marijuana," says Javier Valdez, a respected journalist and author who writes books on the narcoculture in Sinaloa.

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Are the gang busters winning in Merced?

Submitted: May 17, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Depending on where you live in Merced County, you hear more or less gunfire. In some areas you hear a lot of it; in others maybe very little. But everyone knows it is out there and we appreciate law enforcement's efforts to reduce violence in the county. Chances are the latest crime-busting technique of listening in on kids' social media will not "put an end to this crisis," as state Assemblyman Adam Gray claims, but it might help prevent some crime.

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"God didn't design those slabs ..."

Submitted: May 12, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

In an interview Wednesday, Bea criticized the state report for its failure to identify the human factors that were at the root of the design and maintenance errors.

 

“They didn’t mention people,” Bea said. “Root causes involve people. God didn’t design those slabs.

 

5-10-17

Los Angeles Times

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The political economy of Delta-fish extinction, Part II

Submitted: May 08, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 What is lacking and fatal to endangered species in this kind of academic scientific approach to the problem of extinction is the full articulation of the political problem that can be faced and fought. Instead of this terribly learned hand-wringing, they should be urging political action against the pumps, against the twin tunnel project, and against the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Campaign against members of Congress in the pockets of the hydraulic brotherhood. Make Jerry Brown pay dearly for his environmentally ruinous tunnels. At least make the Brown administration explain clearly what real public benefit they would be? The political messaging for the project has been so compelling that it has driven the learned men below into a dark bar for a long night. -- blj

 

 

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Drinking water and class on the Delta

Submitted: May 02, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Restore the Delta, a community advocacy group that has fought the state water plan, estimated that there are around 40,000 people in the Delta that could be classified as environmental justice communities. Environmental justice laws require the equal treatment of all people with respect to environmental issues, such as access to clean water.

Specifically, the cities of Antioch and Stockton have larger environmental justice populations that would experience significant difficulty were water pollution levels or water rates to increase.

 

 

 

 

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