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.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, the former Merced Shrimp Slayer, is making statements like:

"I don't have the veto power, I don't have absolute authority, but I will have a say in what comes to the floor ... It will allow me a place at the table."

Absolute authority? The mental condition of the former rear end of the Pomboza appears shaky as we go into a new session of Congress, without Rep. RichPAC Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy to lead assaults on the Endangered Species Act for the benefit of a handful of Pomboza contributors between Sacramento and Fresno. The Shrimp Slayer is suffering a severe case of Authority Deficit and he needs “to talk to someone” (other than the press).

Ol' Slippery John Pedrozo took over the chairmanship of the Merced County Board of Supervisors, a week after he voted for the Riverside Motorsparts Pork, while voting against it, by voting with the super-majority of supervisors, sitting without benefit of public announcement of the fact as the grantees of Foreign Trade Zone Merced #226, to override the Castle Airport Land Use Commission's decision that the noise and safety zone around the Castle airport ought to remain 10,000 feet rather than being shortened to 6,000 feet to allow the Riverside Motorsparts Pork and the Castle Farms development to go forth unimpeded by onerous airport safety provisions.

"We have a number of interest groups in our county with different points of view," Pedrozo said.

Slippery John, a leader of acumen.

Fortress Merced County administration announced it would have to lay off 65 mental health workers, perhaps being able to rehire 35 of them and assign them other departments. It is all the State of California's fault, of course, and none of it can be attributed to Fort Merced County at 2222 M Street.

This is a real hardship on people without the financial resources to seek private psychological counseling during a very hard time for poor people in Merced County, which shows no sign of getting anything but worse. You would think with all the growth and development going on in Merced County, Fortress Merced County could afford to help the truly needy.


This is a boon to the other departments that will receive the benefit of 35 trained mental health professionals. Those not appropriated immediately by CEO Tatum for his own team and to infiltrate the ranks of the supervisors' staff for control and espionage purposes will be dispersed to the most deserving and needy departments. The stress involved in militarizing Merced County without public awareness is terrible, so we imagine the CEO will reserve the best and brightest of the mental health professionals as legitimate spoils of war for his own office.

The planning department is the most in need of the professional services only trained mental health workers can provide. Since the arrival of UC Merced, the County planners have been systematically lied to, thugged around by arrogant academic administrators hell-bent on breaking federal and state environmental law, developers and elected officials from Cardoza on down, muscled and vilified by local business goons, and seen their cherished staff reports and recommendations become the objects of a number of lawsuits. Whatever values pertaining to the planning profession they may have rescued from college and its debt, have been sorely trashed. One of their bright young men, in line for a top management position in the department, departed to take a job as the planning director of Wasco. That gave us an idea of a certain underlying desperation at Fortress Merced Planning Department. The next clue was the hiring of a director for Las Vegas, an individual totally innocent of California environmental law. Innocence of the law, we thought, might not be a virtue in a planning department however necessary it is within the walls of Fortress Merced County.

The result of the various pressures on the planning department, now called something else (as if a name change could cure all ills), is that the mental condition of the staff appears to veer between poles of apoplexy and dementia. Mental health professionals trained in bipolar disorders might be helpful there.

The County Counsel office is a severe case. Making the worse argument the better in court is mentally stressful at the best of times. Fortress Merced County lawyers must defend arguments made largely by the CEO, the planning department and supervisors, a line of work better suited to criminal defense lawyers than to the occupants of the office.

It doesn’t matter much what arguments they make because they are indemnified by the public and private developers ripping up the county against any costs arising from lawsuits on projects described by the planning department and approved by the board of supervisors. Indemnification has meant that the county’s lawyers idea of a legal brief is to reach down, scoop up whatever is lying on the office floor, throw it at the courthouse door to see what sticks and covers up the legal violations.

The Public Works Department is a dismal operation, orphaned out on SR-59 by the fairgrounds. It is a dumping grounds for staff no longer in favor of the special interests devouring the county. Suicide prevention professionals might help.

Whatever that thing out at Castle is, from a public mental health viewpoint there is an epidemic of cognitive dissonance raging on the former Air Force base. Biochemistry should be included in any diagnosis to discover what aberrant mental conditions may have been induced by the local water. Noise from the coming racetrack should also negatively affect mental health at the office of Castle Aviation and Economic Development.

Mentally retarded people make a useful distinction between themselves and the mentally ill that will give us the necessary direction for analysis of the board of supervisors. We feel that psychological therapy would be wasted on the elected frontpeople of Fortress Merced County. Corruption on the scale experienced there daily does not sicken the elected mind, it stupefies it. Perhaps some remedial instruction of foreign languages and basic math to tune up the old IQ would be of some limited use. But, basically, dumb is dumb.

Their stupidity began as plausible deniability. They conned themselves into believing they are only “playing dumb” (but are actually real smart people with all kinds of inside information and business opportunities that the public never gets). Degeneration followed swiftly.

When the special interests observe irreversible stupidity is far enough advanced, they may choose to fund an individual politician’s campaign for higher office.

People who make a living suppressing public documents and bamboozling the public that elected them experience psychological stress. Therapy is the solution!

Badlands editorial staff


Merced Sun-Star
Cardoza picks up influential post in new Congress...Michael Doyle, Sun-Star Washington Bureau

Merced Democrat Dennis Cardoza is back on the inside, winning appointment Tuesday to a leadership panel that shapes every bill moving through the House of Representatives. Cardoza won a slot on the quietly powerful House Rules Committee. "It gives you increased influence," Cardoza said. "I don't have the veto power, I don't have absolute authority, but I will have a say in what comes to the floor." "It will allow me a place at the table," Cardoza said. In a twist insisted upon by Cardoza, Pelosi also granted a waiver so he can continue serving with his existing seniority on the House Agriculture Committee. That will enable Cardoza to help write this year's farm bill. Normally, Rules Committee members only serve on the one panel. Because the members are appointed by House leaders, moreover, they are essentially bound to support the leadership when it comes time to vote in the committee. Cardoza noted, however, that behind-the-scenes negotiations can precede the public votes. As a member of the centrist House Blue Dog coalition, he has periodically collaborated with Republicans on issues like the Endangered Species Act. "My role will be to try to bring moderate views to the Rules Committee, and act as a conciliator," Cardoza said.

Pedrozo takes helm as board chairman...Corinne Reilly
Pedrozo, who represents the county's first district, replaces outgoing Chairman Mike Nelson. "As the incoming chairman, I don't expect 2007 will be any easier than last year," Pedrozo said in a short address. "We'll take on a number of critical issues that will challenge us to make good decisions. I'm confident in this board's ability to do just that." "We have a number of interest groups in our county with different points of view," Pedrozo said. Pedrozo outlined his hopes for the coming year, which include adding a more policy-driven approach to the board's operations, improving the county's customer service and encouraging greater discussion and debate. "I want this board to take a leadership role in bringing these groups together to work out solutions that are better for everyone."

County gives go-ahead to job cuts
Any layoffs won't come now; time given to find funding
Supervisor Mike Nelson's plea to Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani for assistance (PDF document, 1 page)
Galgiani's response. (PDF document, 2 pages) ... By Corinne Reilly

The Merced County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved drastic cuts to the county's mental health department Tuesday, including the elimination of more than $3 million in spending and 61 jobs...
"If there's some way our (state legislators) can help, we need to give them the opportunity to try," O'Banion said.
Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani has been working this week to help speed up reimbursement from the state to the county for more than $3 million in mental health funding.
County officials say the state's failure to make the payments over the past two years has forced the county into making the cuts -- measures that will leave the department unable to serve some of the 5,000 patients who rely on it each year …

Letter to the Editor: Yellow flag RMP project
Last Updated: January 10, 2007, 01:52:29 AM PST
Editor: I totally agree with the Sun Star "Our View" comments about yellow flagging Riverside Motorsports Park and proceeding with caution. Yes, we do need to keep them accountable just like the medical community is doing with the tobacco industry, in particular the R.J. Reynolds Company and the highly toxic cigarette issues. The state and county need to take every penny of profits from RMP to go toward environmental research and cleaning up our Valley air.
All that money should be funneled right to UC Merced for medical and environmental research regarding air and noise pollution. If RMP, Merced County, the state of California, and the medical community do not take immediate and decisive steps toward this end, I believe that all Central Californians need to prepare for a major class action suit against Riverside CEO John Condren and his ilk regarding an extremely serious environmental issue that will inevitably have deadly medical ramifications regarding respiratory issues and claims by hundreds of thousands of Merced County and Central Valley residents. It seems that right now our little county Board of Supervisors can't seem to see the pollution problems for the smoke.