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At first glance, 66 million dead trees may seem like a very large number, but it is important to remember that there are 33 million acres of forest in California, so the total effect of the recent pulse of tree mortality has been to add an average of only two snags per acre. To put that number in perspective, forest animals that live in snags generally need at least four to eight snags per acre to provide sufficient habitat and some species require even more snags. For example, California spotted owls use forests with eight to twelve snags to nest and rest and they prefer even higher levels of snags in the areas where they gather their food. And black-backed woodpeckers depend on snag forests with at least several dozen dead trees per acre. These points and many others were addressed in a letter from scientists to California Gov. Brown in February. -- Douglas Bevington, EcoWatch.com, Aug.
A cabal of Merced City Council members, city staff and developers ripped off the citizens of Merced for a bundle two weeks ago. Just in case we couldn't put a face on the usual suspects, developer and almond grower Greg Hostetler showed up at Monday's council meeting to berate retiring Mayor Stan Thurston for speaking truth to the city's development staff.
The issue was whether Merced would quit paying fees it collects from developers to pay for mitigation of the traffic impacts caused by their business. The city council decided to quit paying the fees for two years. This puts the public in the position of either suffering the results in traffic congestion or being forced to pay for it themselves.Read More »
This report on the effects of oversupply in the US milk market and other milk markets reminds us of a joke we once heard in Hilmar, a local dairy center. The dairyman watched the price of milk slide and slide until finally the milk price was zero.
"Good time to buy cows," he said.Read More »
We were impressed by this note by Michael Moore in a section in the July 18 issue of The Nation called "We still need a future to believe in." Perhaps it was because it accords with our own gloomy view. Despite a real Murderers Row of Democratic Party orators on the opening night of the party's convention -- Sen. Cory Booker, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- and a speech for the history books by Sen. Bernie Sanders, our fears of political chaos in the Democratic Party are not allayed.
In the Democratic Party of 2016, everybody's special; ordinary Americans need not apply, and just might not, much. These successful aspirants -- Booker, the Obamas, Warren, Bill and Hill -- who found their social ladders to climb in academia and politics -- are no inspiration for ordinary people who lack these particular gifts and historical opportunity. And, of course, there is no reward for any child who lacks the ambition to out-compete his schoolmates.Read More »
The Mercury News
State Supreme Court sides with Southern California in sale of delta islands
Matt StevensRead More »
Surface sinking, bottom rising
This article ought to be read together with the previous posting, "Harken to the harmony ...," to form a clearer picture of the politics and economics of the Colorado River Plateau in its 15th year of drought. Perhaps one could hum the tune to "How deep is the ocean" for a fuller reading experience.
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We are accustomed to reading and listening to water policy from the perspectives of agribusiness, local, state and federal government, and of environmental concerns. It is a great discord of competing and conflicting public and private interests that is typically a win/lose situation for the weakest, least organized constituency -- the public.
Today, we are just peaking at the opening page of another chapter: water from the Wall Street perspective. Granted, Wall Street has always been there in one guise or another and we often don't notice the influence of the evermore powerful force of monopoly finance capitalism.Read More »
- Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), a member of the committee that considered the bill, now at Foley & Lardner ("Many of my clients are people who in the past I was very involved in their issues"). -- Isaac Arnsdorf, POLITICO Influence, July 5, 2016
Delta interests get another delay on islands saleRead More »
Most notably, Kenny said the plan fails “to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems” in the Delta other than presuming the tunnels project is built. Kenny also found that the plan failed to “include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with achieving reduced Delta reliance” for the state’s water supply. -- Ryan Sabalow, Sacramento Bee, June 24, 2016
6-24-16Read More »