Milking Sacramento

 

$500m subsidy, market price guarantees sought for cow manure as ‘renewable’ energy

By Kevin Hall

SACRAMENTO – The California dairy industry has Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) by both teats and is pulling hard, and Hueso is clearly enjoying it.

Hueso scoffs
Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) laughing off objections to the dairy industry’s air pollution impacts and the projected increases under his bill, SB 1440, now working its way through the Assembly committee process.

The industry lobbyists supplying him and other legislators with misinformation are all too willing to keep state officeholders in the dark while they seek $500 million in state subsidies for dairy digesters plus guaranteed price supports for their concentrated animal feeding operations to be paid for by consumers through higher energy bills.

Leading this well-funded indoctrination effort are the San Joaquin Valley’s approximately 1,000 dairy owners. These wealthy farm families and corporations represent less than one-fourth of 1% of the region’s 4 million people, yet are responsible for more than 25% of all its ground-level air pollution, according to San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District figures.

Unregulated and politically powerful (half of the region’s six-member congressional delegation are from dairy families, most infamously House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia), the dairy bloc has hitched its overflowing manure lagoons to the municipal waste sites.

Read More

Male Privilege, Misogyny & White Fear on the Campaign Trail

By Kevin Hall

Three candidates are vying to become the next representative for District 7 on the Fresno City Council. The one woman, Veva Islas, and two men, Brian Whelan and Nelson Esparza, will have raised and spent more than $400,000 on the June primary election alone, an unusually high amount in local races. Clearly, there’s a lot riding on this, but for whom? Read More

Letter from Sacramento

May 27, 2018

STEP AWAY FROM THE INCINERATOR

Disasters—whether natural or human-caused—tend to spur action.

They also draw out the opportunists.

We saw this during the ten-year drought when mountains of stressed trees were overtaken by opportunistic bark beetles. Today, the U.S. Forest Service estimates there are up to 129 million dead trees in California’s forests.

Read More

Clint Olivier: Diesel Denial

By Kevin Hall

Lame duck Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier, now in his final year in office and approaching the end of his political career, is disingenuous when he acts as if public health concerns about diesel exhaust are a desperate, last minute attempt to stop a project’s approval, as in the recent Gap Inc vote.

Read More

20 Years of Documented Diesel Damage to Fresno Children Ignored by City

By Kevin Hall

Our kids are the canaries in Fresno’s coal-mine-like atmosphere of microscopic pieces of soot and gases.

The more deleterious impacts to their sensitive, developing systems play out over their shortened lifetimes. One in four suffer acute impacts from asthma, about which Mayor Lee Brand once asked if air pollution is so bad why don’t we all have asthma? He was voting in support of wrapping a commercial almond orchard around California Veterans Home at the time.

Read More

City Council allows Gap Inc. to dump diesel on Fresno students

By Kevin Hall

“The lower we go, the stronger our negotiating position becomes.”                        Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, April 4, 2018

With the latest in a string of negative declarations of environmental impacts for warehouse distribution centers, Fresno government’s institutionalized racist policies and practices have impacted people’s health once more. With its early April approval of the Gap Inc.’s expansion, it also approved potentially thousands of additional daily diesel truck trips by schools and neighborhoods.

Read More

Why I said ‘no’ to Nelson Esparza

GRAY EsparzaStudents1
Nelson Esparza took office as a Fresno County Board of Education trustee in December 2016. Four months later he announced his run for city council, later denying that was his plan all along. He hopes to leave the board and students behind after just two years into his four-year term, his first ever as an elected official. (Source: campaign website Nov. 2016)

By Kevin Hall

I was first introduced to Nelson Esparza while he was briefly employed at a local nonprofit, so I agreed to get together and talk politics when he called a few months later. Over a quart-sized ice tea at Irene’s in the Tower, I listened closely as he told me he was running for city council and asked me to join his kitchen cabinet, that close circle of advisers candidates rely on to keep them honest and who have some experience with politics. And I do. Which is why I said no. Read More

The Face of Racism

By Kevin Hall

Brandau mug

A pustule occasionally erupts on Fresno’s complacent face of institutionalized racism. At the Jan. 25 city council meeting it was council member Steve Brandau’s turn. Again. He apparently thought he was cast to play the role of council member Oliver Baines’s anger translator, a la Keegan-Michael Key’s Luther, but Brandau wasn’t joking when he used the pejorative “poverty pimps.”

Read More

Tectonic Forces Converge: Walls of Institutional Racism Sway at City Hall

By Kevin Hall

2. Residents of 'Reverse' Triangle
 Residents of the ‘Reverse Triangle’ in South-Central Fresno before filing their lawsuit challenging the city’s refusal to conduct environmental review of a proposed 2-million-square-foot warehouse complex.  (Photo by Augie G. Blancas, Fresno Building Healthy Communities.

FRESNO – A recent unanimous vote by the Fresno City Council threatens to knock the city’s developer-controlled politics right off their very old foundations. The legislative temblor struck in late January when the opposing plates of profit and public health converged, cracking open a deep fissure in the city’s current land use decision-making practices. At its core are environmentally racist practices at odds with state law and the city’s own policies.

Read More