February 2007

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.

The anxieties of Leroy 2007

Hardway Hardesty was removing sleeping cats from his kitchen sink when he noticed his neighbor Leroy walking down the road from Way Up the Crik, kicking rocks. From Hardway’s angle, it looked like Leroy had a cloud over his head. But it could have just been flies, the Crik’s premier scientist figured, because Leroy didn’t wash much and worked with stinky camels.

Leroy knocked on the door.

“Leroy,” Hardway said, “you look like a man of a thousand sorrows this morning. Can I offer you a brownie and a beer?”

A client for Cruz?

Build the rooftops and the lobbyist may come.

Build a mile-long, illegal 42-inch pipeline to your sewer plant on County land without a County permit, maybe you need the former state Assembly Speaker and Lt. Governor as your lobbyist.

Old Pesticide rides again

Former Merced County Supervisor Mike Bogna, while in office, once demonstrated his solidarity with agribusiness by quaffing a glass of guthion. Although organophosphate pesticides have been banned or highly restricted for a number of years, the good old boys evidently keep a small supply around and Bogna got into it again, before writing this letter.

Must make sense in Tracy

The Tracy City Council voted on Tuesday to oppose the UC/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory proposal to build a level-4 biowarfare laboratory at Site 300, a nearby bomb-testing site owned by the Department of Energy and managed by UC/Lawrence Livermore.

At the same meeting, the council voted to support trebling the amount of explosives that can be used on Site 300.

Both votes were 3-1.

Site 300 is outside the Tracy city limits.

Presumably, the two votes make sense in Tracy.

Bill Hatch

Gathering the data for success

Once there was a town where apples were grown in great abundance. Yuppies moved in years ago and now there are few orchards left in the area, but the story related here took place back when agriculture in that part of California seemed quite viable and farmers could plan for a future.

An unsettling weekend

I was struck by a sense of danger this weekend. I haven't had this sense as strongly for decades. In me, this feeling belongs to the period of the Vietnam War when, suddenly a certain combination of news stories would bring me back from work and daily life to consciousness of deepening crisis.

GE corn and alfalfa

"First you killed your own Indians and now you want to kill us!" the farmer shouted angrily ... Now the Zapatistas are freezing their seed corn to preserve pure Mayan germ plasma so that there will never be a world without it. -- John Ross, CounterPunch, Feb. 14, 2007

Headless Chicken Set ponders Valley air pollution

Greed makes for a debased ideology. I know we Americans pride ourselves on being pragmatic and above ideology, but the last six years should have shown us the limitations of that pretense. It isn't that we don't need ideology, but greed is the wrong basis. Self-interest, reflectively considered, is better. None of us planning to live our lives in the Valley have any reflective self-interest in the current, cynical state of air pollution politics.

UC Merced environmental permit update

"It (UC Merced) is not a good neighbor with environmental sensitivities, and it has continued to show us they have no regard for the process ... They have relied on political clout to circumvent environmental rules, and they can only bend the laws so far before the regulatory agencies say no." -- Lydia Miller, president San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center.

The old ways are the only ways

The theme of the "old regime" is much discussed on the blogs this week. For the best article on the subject, we refer you to the Tomdispatch.com, Feb. 22, 2007, Was 2006 a Turning-Point Election? On the Road to 2008, by Steve Fraser:

Why Does the Ancien Régime Die?

Too bad they aren't fish

Bringing back the population of the Bald Eagle from 400 to 7,000 breeding pairs in 40 years is a magnificent national achievement that justifies the early environmental struggle to save them. Now, developer attorneys say that without looking into the avian mind, clearly an impossibility according to mouthpieces for growth, builders and wildlife officials will be unable to tell if construction a gated community on the banks of the Potomac will "disturb" nearby nesting Bald eagles or not.