How the Fight to Ban Fracking Turned Partisan

by Leslie Layton

It cost the oil-and-gas industry some pocket change (about $100 grand) to accomplish its mission in Butte County. If I had a leaked memo, the mission might have been described this way: Stop cold the county’s ordinance to ban fracking, reframe their debate.

On Feb. 10, the Board of Supervisors rejected a 13-page ordinance to ban fracking written by Butte County attorneys who had conducted research over a period of months. Chair Doug Teeter and supervisors Steve Lambert and Bill Connelly said they had changed their position on the issue — but not because of “threats” as had been suggested. read more

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Family Stories, not Census Forms, Explain Ethnic Identities

Gail_101_121

 by Gail Lemley Burnett

“Are you Hispanic?” isn’t supposed to be a tough question. Yet every time I meet it while completing a census form or medical history, my pencil hovers between “Yes” and “No” and my eyes search for the most accurate answer, which is never there: “Sort of.”

I’m one of the millions of Americans who occasionally change their ethnic designation. It’s complicated. My mother’s father emigrated with his family from Mazatlán, Mexico, when he was in his teens. He married my grandmother — not Hispanic — in Los Angeles in the late 1920s, and they had two daughters. My grandfather’s family was big, noisy, and still firmly tied to the Mexican state of Sinaloa. When my curly-haired Aunt Gloria was a little girl, the family took her there at festival time and dressed her as an adorable señorita. My mother and Gloria grew up in southern California in the 1940s and ’50s with a Spanish surname and were sometimes told, in those racist “good old days,” that they were “not like the other Mexican girls — you’re clean.” How could that history not be a part of our heritage? read more

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