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The circus

This week here in Merced we got into our drama about the proposed Riverside Motorsports Park. RMP chief, John Condren held informational meetings in Atwater and Merced and the Board of Supervisors voted to extend the comment period on the project draft environmental impact report, but not as long as opponents wanted it.

Higher education as if students mattered?

The study just released by the University of California, “Return on Investment: Educational choices and demographic change in California’s future,” (1) is a particularly specious bit of UC/corporate flak, reminiscent of the campaign for UC Merced. The study argues that if you have more college-educated people in your society, you will have less crime and more high-paying jobs. Many economists would suggest that job demand has something to do with the equation – but they didn’t get this grant.

Levee analysis: New Orleans and California

More Katrina aftershocks; Levee analysis delivers bad news for Californians

Ventura County-Star – 12/8/05

By John Krist, staff writer

When the levees protecting New Orleans failed catastrophically in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, flooding 85 percent of the city and killing about 1,000 people, the devastation also focused attention on the West Coast's own nightmare-in-waiting: the flood-prone Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, where a fragile network of earthen levees stands between California and disaster.

Sucker Punched

Letters from the River, 2

Gary McMillen

Enough Doppler radar. It was Saturday afternoon when I drove out to Lake Pontchartrain to gather my thoughts and make a decision. Sitting on the seawall, listening to the splash of waves on the concrete steps, I noticed there were no seagulls. That's when I decided to evacuate. If the birds didn't want to be in New Orleans, I sure as hell didn't want to stay, either.

On the road

Letters from the River, 1

by Gary McMillen

Last night we had our LSU Human Resources Christmas party in the lounge of the hotel.

Pure coincidence but the owner (and his wife) of the Best Western Richmond Suites chose last night to drop by and inspect the property. They opened the door to the lounge and stood in amazement.

Tamara walked up, introduced herself and gave them a plate of fried chicken, a bowl of gumbo and bought them a drink.

Unanswered questions on Merced growth

The Merced County League of Women Voters held a workshop at Merced City Hall last week on several general plan updates going on around the county.

The first speaker, Dr. Michael Teitz, is an emeritus professor at UC Berkeley who said he had consulted with UC Merced recently. He was introduced as a scholar who had studied the Valley for years.

Cheese baskets

It must have been a rough day of lobbying for the old man, because when I ran into him in the basement bar of the old Senator Hotel, across from the Capitol, he looked beat as he nursed a drink, thinking about driving back to Modesto in the tule fog and milking the cows the next morning.

If you stick around in one place long enough, what goes around comes around.

The Board

A limited partnership of politicians, developers, agribusiness corporations and the University of California, Merced, appear to have established a unified board of directors composed of three divisions: founding members of the UC Merced Foundation board of trustees, the Great Valley Center board of directors and staff, and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, recently appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Novel legal theory

Nakayama also forgot to mention that the Bush administration has rewritten the very rules used to prosecute those companies. The Bush version of the rules, which would let power companies off the hook, is being challenged in court by numerous state attorneys general, as well as environmental groups.

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