April 2007

Blaming the victims

"I hope the voters will understand when we put a tax measure on the ballot again we are spending every cent we have right now and it's not even scratching the surface," Spriggs said. -- Merced Sun-Star, 4-9-07

The barn-door problem

News that the national foreclosure rate is higher than at any time since the Great Depression is obviously not good. But, it has one positive side. It reveals the driving force of the whole finance, insurance and real estate sector of the economy, the "lending industry," as the Fresno Bee put it in the editorial below.

Appellate Court overturns Merced Superior Court CEQA decision: Jaxon Mine must do new EIR

MERCED (April 11, 2007) – The Court of Appeal for the State of California, Fifth District, ruled Tuesday in favor of a petition brought by San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water and Le Grand Community Association against the Merced County Board of Supervisors and Jaxon Enterprises. In 2004, the County supervisors approved a badly flawed environmental impact report and conditional use permit for Jaxon Enterprises Mine near Le Grand to expand its mining operations.

April 12, 2007: Day in the life of the north San Joaquin Valley

A strong, chilly wind is blowing in the north San Joaquin Valley today, stirring up an enormous amount of dust coming in part from graded but unfinished subdivisions, as the financial, insurance and real estate industry hunkers down for an explosion of mortgage default.

But, poetry aside, the news of the day is as gritty as the sight of tons of topsoil blowing away from the county.

The other news

During the Easter weekend, the US and UK media were consumed with issues of “free speech.” If English is your language, you were bombarded with the Imus story in the US and the somewhat more complicated story in the UK about the 15 British naval personnel released from Iranian captivity. Both stories compelled high moral drama. Imus had insulted the race and gender of a women’s collegiate basketball team.

Awash in the wakes of great valley leaders

Carol Whiteside, the former Modesto mayor who has guided the Great Valley Center since its inception 10 years ago, will step down as president of the Modesto-based think tank, she said Tuesday. Under her leadership, the Great Valley Center became the only organization muscling to boost the historically underachieving valley along its entire length, from Redding to Bakersfield..."The valley has changed and we've had quite a role in that change. I just feel like we've set in motion many of the things we wanted to start.

FBI raids Placer congressman's Washington residence

More evidence of chaos in the financial, insurance and real estate financial cabal (FIRE) is news, however late, the the Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, was raided last Friday by the FBI. Investigators were looking for evidence of the congressman and his wife's connections with Jack Abramoff. They didn't have to look too far. According to The Hill, Kevin Ring, Doolittle's former chief of staff, left his office to work for Abramoff, who subsequently hired Doolittle's wife, Julie's consulting firm.

Clods at the wheel

The California Transportation Commission distributed $975 million of the fund, created when voters approved Proposition 1B in November. San Joaquin County received $282.4 million...San Joaquin County's share is the biggest. Among regions through which Highway 99 runs, only Merced County landed nearly as much, with $248.3 million. -- Stockton Record, 3-16-07

They haven't even learned yet how to project in public anything but blind greed by fleecing the people. It is their only tune.

"The court felt that this decision has precedential value," she said.

There are 58 counties in California. Each is the land-use authority for all the unincorporated land within its boundaries. Some do not share the development pressure the UC Merced campus brought to Merced County. Others are richer and more clever than Merced County. If the California Environmental Quality Act is conceived as a well marked public path through a pasture, Merced local government can be seen to frequently stray from that path and step in something. Its tracks have "precedential value."
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