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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

By Mike Davis
Special to the OC Voice

2 May 2009

The hordes of US students on spring break returned from Cancun this year with an invisible but sinister souvenir.

Pawns of corporate power/Wikipedia.org

Pawns of corporate power/Wikipedia.org

The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the fecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever.

Initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection rate already travelling at higher velocity than the last official pandemic strain — the 1968 Hong Kong flu.

Stealing the limelight from our officially appointed assassin — the otherwise vigorously mutating H5N1, known as bird flu — this porcine virus is a threat of unknown magnitude.

It seems far less lethal than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003. As an influenza, however, it may be more durable than SARS.

Domesticated seasonal Type-A influenzas kill as many as 1 million people each year. Even a modest increment of virulence, especially if coupled with high incidence, could produce carnage equivalent to a major war. (more…)

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By Daniel C. Tsang
Special to the OC Voice

IN RECENT years Orange County has become widely known via television and other media portrayals as “The OC,” promoting perceptions of a largely homogeneous and wealthy “white” populace.

UCI Library continues the exhibit through early May in the lobby of the Main Library.

UCI continues the exhibit through late Aprl in the lobby of the Langson (main) Library.

In reality, the county has experienced dramatic demographic change in recent decades, largely due to the impact of immigrants from all over the world.

A new UC Irvine Libraries exhibit, which opened Nov. 18, depicts the lives of immigrants in southern California, with a focus on Orange County, from the late 19th century to the present. Topics include the legacy of an often turbulent past, the changing face of the population, the contemporary debate about immigration, and issues affecting immigrant workers. The exhibit also highlights immigrants’ own stories, the plight of the undocumented, public policy issues, and the role of gender in migration. Numerous books and papers written by UCI faculty authors are included.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s immigrant population increased fivefold between 1970 and 2006, from 1.8 million to 9.9 million, including those who were naturalized as U.S. citizens. Today one in four Californians is an immigrant, a higher proportion than in any other state. Most are from Latin America or Asia.

In researching materials from the UCI Libraries’ collections for the exhibit, which I am curating, I realized it was a need for foreign labor that led to the first wave of immigrants to the United States from China. Chinese farm workers were hired by German settlers in Anaheim who needed laborers to cultivate grapes on their vineyards in the mid-19th Century. Asian American Studies scholar Patricia Lin notes that the Chinese were not only “expert grape growers and pickers, but they were used extensively in the construction of irrigation ditches, wine cellars, and casks.” One hundred twenty-five Chinese would later work to extend the Southern Pacific Railroad line from Los Angeles to Anaheim in 1873 and to Santa Ana in 1877.

By the 1890s, after Orange County broke off from Los Angeles County (in 1888), anti-Chinese feelings were running high, and shacks belonging to Chinese celery workers were burned down, as was the building of the Earl Fruit Company. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice

(Part 1 of a series on desalination)

Poseidon Resources Inc. and the four Huntington Beach city council members who voted in 2006 to approve the company’s request to build a desalination plant in the city’s southeast section promised that the project would be paid for with private funds-at no cost to the city’s taxpayers.

L-R: Huntington Beach Councilmembers Don Hansen, (Mayor) Keith Bohr, Gil Coerper, Cathy Green.

L-R: Huntington Beach Councilmembers Don Hansen, (Mayor) Keith Bohr, Gil Coerper, Cathy Green.

But Poseidon, a multi-national equity investor and developer of privatized water systems, currently controlled by “zombie” bank, Citigroup (which is being bailed out by federal tax funds), could directly and indirectly benefit from $1 billion in public funds, about 70 percent of that courtesy of taxpayers in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and the rest paid for by taxpayers across America through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law recently by President Barack Obama.

The subsidies would also be directed at a nearly identical Poseidon desalination plant in the city of Carlsbad and would help ensure but not guarantee that both plants are cost effective for Poseidon to build and to operate. Under the city approved plan, Poseidon would build the desalination plant in Huntington Beach next to the AES power generating station at Beach and Newland streets. Poseidon’s plant would suck in 127 million gallons of seawater per day through existing AES cooling pipes to create 50 million gallons of per day or 56,000 acre feet of drinking water each year.

Poseidon would sell 3.2 million gallons of converted seawater per day to the city, a small fraction of its total daily water usage from other source, at five percent less than it pays the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) for water. The other 47.8 million gallons per day would go to MWDOC’s member districts at government subsidized prices. Jobs would be created by the building and operation of the plant and the city’s tax base would go up, according to predictions made by Poseidon and city staff. (more…)

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Ernst Gastreiger (Libertarian), Dana Rohrabacher (Rep.), Tom Lash (Green) and Debbie Cook (Dem.) debated Oct. 21 at Orange Coast College. Photo by John Earl

The four candidates in the 46th Congressional District race debated each other on Oct. 21 at Orange Coast College to an audience of several hundred people. The candidates are Debbie Cook (Democrat), Ernst Gasteiger (Libertarian), Tom Lash (Green Party) and the incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher (Republican). You can hear the candidates’ opening statements and answers to 7 questions. Answers to part of the 7th question and the entire 8th question as well as closing statements are not included because the recorder ran out of disk space. Audio recordings for each question are listed in order below. (more…)

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By John Earl and Lisa Wells
OC Voice

“The last thing George said to me, ‘Rock,’ he said, ‘Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.'” Ronald Reagan speaking in the 1940 movie “Knute Rockne, All American.”

Ronald Reagan as the Gipper

Ronald Reagan as the Gipper

In 1971, California Gov. Ronald Reagan dedicated 3,000-acres of land belonging to the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton as a nature preserve known now as San Onofre State Park. Speaking like a Native American, Reagan referred to the intrinsic value of the land. “One of the greatest legacies we can leave to future generations is the heritage of our land,” he said, “But unless we can preserve and protect the unspoiled areas which God has given us, we will have nothing to leave them.”

What Reagan left us is now the 5th most visited park within the the state’s 278-park system. Besides boasting the cleanest watershed in the region, it also houses endangered species like the Pacific pocket mouse, the arroyo toad, the southern steelhead trout, the California gnatcatcher, the tidewater goby and the least Bell’s vireo as well as the archaeological site, Panhe, a 4,000-year-old Juaneño Indian village. Popular campgrounds and world-renowned surfing spots such as Trestles are also part of San Onofre’s appeal.

But like the “Crying Indian” in the 1971 television commercial asking the public to stop pollution, Reagan might also shed a tear if he knew what was happening at his cherished park. (more…)

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By Scott Sink
OC Voice Staff Writer

Motorists passing through Huntington Beach may see local Native Americans and concerned residents picketing in front of the Brightwater housing development, built by Hearthside Homes, on Bolsa Chica and Warner.

The protesters are denouncing the building of houses upon an 8,500 year old village site, which includes at least 174 human burials.

“We’re trying to make people aware about what’s going on here,” said Paul Moreno, an organizer of the event from the Micmac Nation. “What has been done here isn’t right. Developers have destroyed 90 percent of Orange County’s sacred sites.”

Although the Coastal Commission approved the building permit in April of 2005, a broad-based coalition of indigenous peoples and environmentalists contend that Hearthside did not comply with the laws protecting sacred sites and archaeological remains. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

What some people call a mere Huntington Beach bean field is actually one of California’s last remaining wetland areas, according to environmentalists and scientists for the California Coastal Commission. In either case, all the beans and much of the wetlands habitat will vanish soon due to a 5-2 city council vote on June 16 that advanced a 6-year-old proposal to build up to 170 homes on the site.

The housing tract will be located on part of a 50-acre section of land on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, on an historical flood plain adjacent to a county flood control levee, south of Warner Avenue and along the west side of Graham Avenue.

Since 1971 city officials have dreamed of building homes on the site. The project is related to a larger, 30-year-old battle for 1,700-acres of threatened Bolsa Chica wetlands and habitat connected areas, 1,100 of which have been preserved but would have been replaced by now with a 5,700 home marina and other urban sprawl were it not for the efforts of local and state wetlands preservationists.

Councilmember Cathy Green, for one, has been content for years believing that the project would replace only beans, not wetlands, and that the city should keep with its past intentions. “I have always thought of it [the site] as a bean field and always thought that it was going to be developed residential,” she recalled before voting. (more…)

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