Mike Tharp, executive editor of the Merced Sun-Star, sent in some clarifications regarding a recent Sun-Star editorial, posted and criticized on Badlands. The article on this site was called "The fish," March 15, 2009, http://www.badlandsjournal.com/taxonomy/term/24?page=1
Thanks for reprinting our editorial calling for big public/private projects that would both restore community spirit and help the local economy. A couple of clarifications, however: I returned from six weeks in Iraq for McClatchy last July (not "recently"); and the only time I spent in the Green Zone was to be taken there in an armored vehicle for interviews. Otherwise, I lived in the McClatchy bureau--well in the Red Zone--or was embedded with the 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk.
Red Zone and Green Zone are duly noted. But, we can't help also noting that they sound like the Red Team and the Green Team Cardoza, Condit and his children, and Gov. Gray Davis used to command and control environmental law and regulation and state and federal resource agencies for the last great public works project here, UC Merced.
We don't think UC Merced restored community spirit and the building boom it stimulated appears to have ruined our economy. We think the community is going to have to figure out on its own how to restore its spirit and its economy instead of just waiting to be defrauded again. The First Lady is not coming to Merced. She's coming to UC (Merced) to talk, no doubt, about higher educational opportunity, a noble but different topic from 20-percent unemployment, massive foreclosures, disappearing box stores, failed local banks, low milk and almond and pistachio prices, drought, the worst air pollution in the nation, contamination of groundwater, the rising poverty rate, or the state of Main Street. She's a wonderful person who is going to bring us a wonderful dream.