Month: December 2011

Water boards attempt to manage state-wide nitrate problem

By Rebecca Wolfson

It started in 2001, and mostly affected the very young and the very old. Peoples’ hair would fall out, their skin would break out in rashes and their eyes would turn red after showers.

“That was how people were hurt on the outside,” said Horacio Amezquita, manager of the San Jerardo Cooperative. “On the inside, we don’t know.”

Amezquita, a former farm worker, lives at the cooperative, which houses about 250 low-income people. Many of the residents work on nearby farms that use nitrogen-based fertilizers to help crops grow.

Brown unveils revenue update, automatic cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown delivered what passes for good news today: the automatic budget cuts built into this year’s budget as a hedge against a revenue shortfall will not be as bad as many feared. Brown said a recent surge in revenues helped trim the shortfall, and the automatic cuts that would be triggered by that shortfall. The big news: kindergarten-through-12th grade education was spared an anticipated $1 billion cut that would have almost certainly meant a reduction of at least a week at the end of the current school year. But higher education, local prosecutors’ offices, Medi-Cal and services for the disabled will all be cut. And this probably won’t be the end of it.

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