University of California

Gateway to a ghost (down)town and other city council foibles

Submitted: Aug 10, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There is nothing quite as revolting as watching a land-use planning authority rejoice in the anticipation of spending millions in the taxes they're going to get from some commercial development project they just approved on a piece of dirt in the outskirts of their town. It's a wet dream.

In the case of the City of Merced, we have a city manager, Steve Carrigan,  former director of economic development for bankrupt Stockton, who has more need for public-management redemption than most of the others, although Frank Quintero and Mike Conway, two of Carrigan's ethically challenged assistants, could use a little new luster, too.

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Elite fundamentalists to the baracades!

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

 The northern San Joaquin Valley public, at least, doesn't have to look any farther than the "boondoggle/land deal" called UC Merced, anchor tenant for the most severe housing construction boom/bust in its history, to see right through the campaign of scientists rallying to run for public office. All one has to remember is how scientists in the UC system and in the state and federal resource agencies charged with enforcing environmental law and regulation, not to mention public meeting legislation, bowed to political pressure and corrupted their own research to appease the UC and the finance, insurance and real estate special interests behind the Merced project.

 

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Regulation and its absence

Submitted: Jul 05, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The dismal dialectic between government and business may be approaching the trough, even if it has not bottomed out yet. From this vantage point, the velocity of bribery having slowed from the sheer volume of the current bribes, something almost like a calm prevails. And in this calm it is possible to see why government regulates on behalf of the people and why business reacts and works to undermine and destroy every governmental regulation. Out of the latter motive comes such idiotic slogans as "The business of America is business," (Pres. Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929), and all subsequent slogans in this vein, like the immortal chamber of commerce chesnut, "Government should be run like a business."

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A sensible lawsuit to reform the state Legislature

Submitted: Jul 03, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 A federal lawsuit claims that our rights to representation are being violated because the size of the Legislature — 40 senators and 80 Assembly members — hasn’t changed since 1862 (and was made permanent by the 1879 Constitution ) even though the state’s population has grown from about 420,000 to nearly 40 million.

That means the number of Californians represented by each Assembly member has jumped from about 5,200 to nearly 500,000. And that dilutes the power of each vote and makes it nearly impossible for legislators to represent competing interests, according to the lawsuit.

 

 

 

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Millennials and Merced Law

Submitted: Jun 26, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Millennials are money conscious and financially driven—one researcher found that 93 percent believed salary range was critical in choosing a law enforcement agency and almost 92 percent believed retirement benefits were important.6 Additionally, millennials desire a comfortable, relaxed work environment in which they have the opportunity for rapid upward mobility... Researchers also identified two additional cultural changes that have depleted the number of qualified applicants: increased financial indebtedness and increased levels of obesity, both changes that create challenges for a field that is not viewed as lucrative and requires physical fitness. -- Ben Langham, Police Chief Magazine, May 24, 2017

 

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Seyed "The Mendacious" Sadredin goes national

Submitted: Jun 06, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “[Sadredin] is a state officer,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator in California until last year. “He swears an oath to uphold the Clean Air Act, and yet he is actively working to undermine this important environmental law.”

 

 

4-22-17

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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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