January 2007

Move your environment!

Merced County and our elected supervisors care deeply about the lack of entertainment and job opportunities in their jurisdiction. For this reason they have paved the way for a genuine NASCAR-level racetrack and the wise leaders of the City of Merced will undoubtedly approve a WalMart distribution center in the coming year.

We will have entertainment and jobs galore right here in Merced.

The only problem will be measurably worse air quality caused by:

A boon for Fortress Merced County!

County Executive Officer Dee Tatum said the county hopes to rehire the 35 affected (mental health department) employees to open positions in other departments. -- Merced Sun-Star, Jan. 10, 2007

We congratulate Fortress Merced County for recognizing the need for mental health workers in its midst while noting the Merced public might be better off firing a whole bunch of sick puppies and build up a staff from the remnant of decent public servants who manage to survive under the radar.

Merced residents sue County and Riverside Motorsports Park

Merced County sued over approval of Riverside Motorsports Park

MERCED (Jan. 18) – Three local groups on Thursday filed a petition in Merced Superior Court against Merced County and the Riverside Motorsports Park (RMP).

San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water and Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources filed the petition under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against the County’s approval of the final environmental impact report for the RMP project.

Ol' Slippery John and the lawsuits

Members of the Board of Supervisors said they weren't surprised by news of the pending lawsuit.

"You can't be surprised that this is what we're seeing," said board Chairman John Pedrozo. "That's why it was so important to get the indemnification, and that's why I voted against the certification (of the environmental reviews)."

Merced County sued for approval of Black Diamond Aggregates mining project

Merced (January 19, 2007) – Two local environmental groups filed suit Thursday in Merced County Superior Court against the Black Diamond Aggregates project under provisions in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water challenged the Merced County Board of Supervisors’ approval on Dec. 19 of a mitigated negative for Black Diamond Aggregates, Inc., a mine close to the Merced River near Snelling owned by Reed Family Vineyards, LLC, and The Reed Leasing Group, LLC of Modesto.

A defining moment

Four lawsuits were filed against Merced County last week: two against its approval of the environmental impact report for the Riverside Motorsports Park; one against its approval of a mitigated negative declaration for the Black Diamond Aggregates mine near Snelling; and one against its approval of the Fox Hills development despite irregularities in handling of a Williamson Act contract. Petitioners against Merced County include: the Merced County Farm Bureau, Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources,
San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water.

"This Magic Moment": Open Letter #1 to UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang

Dear Dr. Kang,

Welcome to Merced, once a Valley town and gateway to Yosemite, now a "crossroads" in the middle of the greatest real estate speculation crash in its history, thanks to the arrival of UC Merced.

What a "magic moment," as Great Valley Center (GVC) President, Carol Whitesides tells it. But you would already know that because UC Merced has absorbed the Center in yet another of the public/private, win-win partnerships for which our Valley is famous.

Rituals of crooks

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Pedrozo said the meetings help build relationships between leaders who are often busy with conflicting schedules.

"Unless you have these, you can't talk to anyone," he said. "There's never a dull moment." -- Merced Sun-Star, Jan. 24, 2007

Merced County Farm Bureau lawsuit against County and RMP

On January 18, the Merced County Farm Bureau filed a petition in Merced County Superior Court against the County of Merced and Riverside Motorsports Park. The petition asks the court to set aside the county Board of Supervisors decision to approve the race track, suspend all activity approved under the first environmental impact report while actions are taken to bring the final programmatic EIR into compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, and prepare, circulate and consider a new EIR.

McClatchy-Merced launches investigation of RMP chief John Condren

McClatchy-Merced is digging up dirt on John Condren, CEO of the Riverside Motorsports Park, whose massive auto-racing project was approved last month by the Merced County Board of Supervisors.

Before going into what meager details the investigation has so far revealed, a little perspective on McClatchy's recent "news" offerings is required.

Where's the juice?

"The big question is how we're going to do our new initiatives while still maintaining existing programs," Cardoza said, adding that budget-balancing rules will further complicate the challenge.

A key Cardoza staffer and Turlock resident, attorney Dee Dee Moosekian, began working more than a year ago on crafting the House's specialty crop alternatives with groups including Environmental Defense, Western Growers Association and American Farmland Trust.