Mendocino County Today: December 10, 2013

by AVA News Service, December 9, 2013

OFFICIALLY, it was 25° in Boonville at daybreak Monday. That's where the National Weather Service placed us on the Cold Meter. Unofficially, by the Cold Meter at the house, it was 20°, so cold that even our precautionary bed time drip-drip froze in mid-drip, leaving us to wait for Monday's full noon sun to get our water flowing again. More worrisome is the ongoing absence of winter rains. Lake Mendocino, for instance, is down to 25% of capacity and dropping. Water managers were counting on a big rain year, and now they're fearing a drought year with all its many dire implications.

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“THEY ARE NOT BEATNIKS. That's for sure. When the Grant avenue scene was going full blast a decade or so ago, and Eric Nord and the Co-Existence Bagel Shop were magical shibboleths, I would guess 30% of the beatniks were bums. I mean bums: shiftless, dirty, uncommitted, unemployable. Guilty, insecure and dependent. The hippies who are making the Haight Ashbury the greatest tourist attraction in America next to the Grand Canyon are another cup of tea altogether. Based on a couple of hours peeking and peering the other day, I should put the percentage almost the other way 'round. A clear majority of these kids are anything but bums. Hippies wear pedantic garb, but they are clean. They go barefoot, but have a concern for their appearance that is theatrical. The beatnik was in full flight from life. The hippie is determined to create a vital subculture. Unless my eyes deceive me, they have gone a long way toward doing it.” (Charles McCabe, SF Chron, April 1967.)

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, at their December 10 meeting, will issue the usual insincere proclamation honoring the late Al Beltrami for his “years of dedicated service to the county and his community.” You'd think the guy was a volunteer all those years, 1965 to 1989, not the well-paid bureaucrat that he was. Then he was back again as interim CEO at big pay. Not to be too harsh about it, but Mendocino County has never been a Swiss watch of civic functioning. Beltrami's only lasting accomplishment was staying in the job as long as he did.

IN 2005, THE COUNTY went to a Chief Administrative Officer (CEO) arrangement on the theory that a CEO would be able to hold the appointed Department Heads accountable in a way that the Board of Supes could not. Exhibit A for the utter lack of accountability under the old CAO system is Ray Hall, who served 30 undistinguished years letting his in-box pile up as Director of Planning and Building Services. Except under Hall there was no planning. None. Which explains a lot about the way Mendocino County is today.

JOHN BALL WAS HIRED as the first CEO under the new system and quickly demonstrated that he took the power to hire and fire department heads seriously. For doing his job, the Supervisors fired him. Ball had a habit of firing people without first making sure he had the support of a majority of the Supes. But his fatal mistake was crossing the famously self-interested Fourth and Fifth District Supervisors, Kendall Smith and David Colfax who later distinguished themselves as being the only Supes to adamantly refuse to take even a one percent pay cut when they were eagerly imposing a ten percent pay cut on the rest of the County workforce. (For pure, grasping hypocrisy, Mendocino County's “liberals” are in a class by themselves; Colfax and Smith, any other place, would have been looking at jail time for stealing public money via their relentless chiseling on their travel reimbursements. Colfax got clean away with his thefts, and it took a serious threat from newly elected DA Eyster to convince Smith she'd better cough up at least a partial re-pay.)

SUPERVISOR SMITH, ALWAYS LOOKING TO AUGMENT her taxpayer funded travel budget, ordered CEO Ball to add another $100,000 to the Supes budget, half of it earmarked exclusively for additional travel. When Ball refused she immediately turned to Supervisor Colfax, urging him to use his power as Chair of the Board to straighten Ball out. Within the hour Colfax was on the phone to Ball, invoking his authority as Board chair to order Ball to “do what Kendall says.” Ball replied that he would be happy to as soon as he was directed by three votes of the Board in open session to do so. But Smith and Colfax wanted Ball to take the fall for doing their dirty work. When he refused, the writing was on the wall. But Ball had the foresight to write into his contract that as long as he survived one year in Mendocino County, he would be entitled to one year's severance pay. Because he had served just over a year before being canned, the County was forced to fork over another $130,000, courtesy of Smith and Colfax, clearly two of the most self-aggrandizing and dishonorable individuals ever to serve in public office in this county.

AFTER SACKING JOHN BALL, the Supes, led by Smith and Colfax, immediately changed the CEO ordinance to require that the CEO first had to check in with the Board before hiring or firing department heads. Which meant the CEO no longer had the power of a CEO. And which explains why Ray Hall, widely rumored to have been next on John Ball's hit list, was able to finish out his long tenure of unrelieved incompetence. After a few months wasting consultant level money on an temporary “interim” CEO, the Board then exhumed Al Beltrami to serve as the long-term interim CEO (CEO in name only), thereby assuring that the County would instantly return to its familiar, rudderless mediocrity.

TUESDAY’S BELTRAMI PROCLAMATION makes the inflated assertion that “Al [sic] served as a stabilizing presence, demonstrating leadership, accountability, and teamwork in restoring a sense of unity throughout an evolving organization as it endeavored to chart a new course.” Leadership? Accountability? Please. In 2006 and 2007, when Beltrami served as a caretaker CEO, the County was still in the pre-financial crash mindset of business as usual. The pension fund, hopelessly upside down, was being steadily milked for its imaginary “excess earnings”; the overdrawn Teeter Plan was tottering; the preposterous Slavin Study, pushed by supervisors Colfax and Smith, found that top-tier local management like — surprise! — Colfax and Smith, needed their pay doubled, although the raises were undermining the fiscal solvency of the County; and incompetent department heads were insulated from any and all accountability as the County stumbled towards the looming fiscal cliff.

BELTRAMI, out of his public job, was a co-founder and the first Executive Director of the Employer's Council of Mendocino County, which lobbies local government on behalf of the private interests of local moneybags. The rich irony of a guy who spent much of his life on a government payroll lobbying for outback tycoons probably has to be spelled out for the people now issuing Mandela-like superlatives in Beltrami's memory. But Beltrami finally did one good thing before being promoted upstairs when he established a nursing scholarship at Mendocino College.

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THE CONTROVERSIAL PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) PROGRAM, with Sonoma-County based Ygrene Energy Fund as the contract administrator, is also scheduled to move forward with a couple of enabling resolutions and approval of a Third Party Administration Agreement and a Contribution Agreement. The County will hand the program over to Ygrene, who stands to make a handsome profit by borrowing money at 3% from a shadowy group of investors and re-loaning it at 7% to participants in the Mendocino program to fund solar and alternative energy and water conservation projects. The program got voted down 3-2 (by Supervisors McCowen, Pinches and Brown) back in June and was resurrected via an ad hoc committee of Supervisors Hamburg and McCowen who recommended moving forward with the program with Ygrene as administrator when they reported back to the Board in November. The Board gave direction to staff (with Supervisor Gjerde voting with Hamburg and McCowen and Brown and Pinches still opposed) to negotiate the terms of the agreement and return to the Board. This one is fated to stay a 3-2 all the way.

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THE BOARD is also being asked to endorse a letter of appeal sent by the Department of Transportation (DOT) protesting a decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to take a six acre parcel into trust for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The parcel sits on the north side of the access road to the Tribe's Shodakai Casino right at the intersection with North State Street, directly opposite the abandoned foundation work which was underway when a previous casino expansion effort ended in bankruptcy. The Tribe's plans for the six acres known as the Pine Crest Fee-to-Trust application are much more modest, involving a gas station and minimart which are projected to generate 51% of the traffic of the former casino expansion project.

THE COUNTY TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT IS APPEALING because the original driveway into the Coyote Valley reservation was only designed to accommodate 30-40 single family homes, not a full blown tribal center, casino and gas station and minimart. The DOT letter dismissing the Tribe's “Environmental Assessment” is peppered with such phrases as: “completely inadequate; lacking any substantive basis; unscientific.” DOT complains that the tribe has failed to complete traffic safety improvements that were agreed upon back in 2006. But Tribal Sovereignty being what it is, the Tribe will probably get its way as the Great Father in Washington seems predisposed to take land into trust status for any purpose. In fact, land is often accepted into trust status on the condition that no casino will be built, only to have the Tribe and the BIA renege on the promise years later, once financing for the planned casino project is in place. But in this case, the worst that will happen is another schlock gas station and minimart alongside 101 north of Ukiah.

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Loomis

Loomis

CRIME OF THE WEEK: On November 21st at about 10:50 AM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 400 block of Eastlick Street for a burglary in progress. Officers contacted 35 year old Ryan Glen Loomis who was waiting outside the residence, and who told officers he’d fled the house because he believed people had entered while he was inside. Officers checked the interior of the residence and found no indications of a burglary or forced entry. Officers spoke further with Loomis who explained he’d been watching his parents’ house while they were away, and he’d been having various visitors to the house using methamphetamine. Loomis said he had been inside when he thought he heard some of the visitors enter the house and talk about burglarizing the residence. Loomis locked himself in the bedroom, then fled the house and called police. Loomis was found to have used methamphetamine and was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and for violating his probation. (Ukiah Police Department.)

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HOLY SH*T! I’M AN EMERALD CUP HASH JUDGE

by Emily Hobelmann

It’s true. I am on the front lines of marijuana as a concentrates judge for the 2013 Emerald Cup. That’s right, I am taking one for team LostCoastOutpost (LoCO). Actually, if we’re talking in terms of hits, I’m not just taking one for team LoCO. I’m taking many.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the hash-zone.

The Emerald Cup is the world’s longest running outdoor organic cannabis competition. This year is the Cup’s tenth anniversary. Winners of the Cup’s various contests will be announced at the main event on Dec. 14-15th at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

Everyone who is West Coast weed will be there.

Entries for the Cup’s hash and flower competitions were accepted throughout the month of November at various drop off points throughout a broad swath of the state.

Emerald Cup organizers received 257 flower entries and 57 hash entries for their 2013 event.

I am the sole woman-in-cannabis and sole marijuana reporter on the hash judges’ panel and one of only two Humboldt residents. The other Humboldt rep is Mr. Joey Burger, SoHum superstar and owner of Trim Scene Solutions in Redway. The remaining fellows are connoisseurs from Santa Cruz, industry pros from Sonoma and one seriously “old school” hash-maker from Mendo.

Our team of seven judges got together last Wednesday at Area 101 in northern Mendo to check out the entries. And as a team, we did a preliminary evaluation of all 54 hash samples. (Note: Three of the concentrate entries are being evaluated separately for CBD content.)

At the meeting, we sat around a table and passed jars and tubs of hash around, looking, smelling, feeling and even tasting some of the more stunning samples right then and there.

From sparkly fairy hash and bee pollen-ish crumbles to twisty ropes of old school hash and dab-like wonders of caramel goop; from coppery piles of kief to pumice stone-esque army green hash cookies; from hockey pucks to peace pellets; from tootsie rolls to cocoa crispies… We evaluated hash.

And I am still evaluating hash… Oh sweet cannabis, we are taking about a week to evaluate the hash samples on our own time. The judging criteria are look/color, smell, taste, residual level (what gets left behind in your smoking device) and effects. We assign a numerical score to each criterion after studying each sample.

The quality of the hash depends on the quality of the material that the hash is made from. Did the hash-maker use bud to make the hash, or did they use trim? Did the hash-maker use a well-refined technique? Is their method gentle enough to preserve the trichomes yet rigorous enough to separate the trichomes from the plant material? Is the hash tasty and are its effects both powerful and pleasant?

But the initial judges’ meeting last week was a blast. I learned so much at this gathering of pros. Tim Blake was in the house, mesmerized by the fervor of our judge’s panel. Kellie Dodd from Trim Scene Solutions/707 Cannabis College was there too. She kept everybody in check with her encyclopedic knowledge of all things cannabis.

There was talk of terpenes and flavonoids, of Diesels and OGs, Trainwreck and Cookies. There was talk of freezing whole plants, of trim machine hash and of washing machine hash, of wooden spoons and bubble bags. There was talk of water — dry ice, cold water, water quality and of the sheer amount of water required for certain hash-making methods.

And, of course, there was talk of the merits of solvent-free hash versus those of butane hash oil (BHO) aka “dabs.” The Emerald Cup is not hosting a super-concentrates (solvent-derived concentrates) competition this year. However, there will be a panel discussion called “DABS: Why the controversy?” at the main event.

While solvent-free hash may not be as glamorous or as shiny as dabs (shatter, BHO), some of these samples really do stand out. I’m personally loving all of this earthy hash, especially sample #6. It’s a spacey spongey hash cookie that’s light and fluffy, yet tacky and malleable. It sparkles. There was much discussion at the table about how this sample was made.

Samples #20 and #21 stand out too. Both are quite similar, probably made by the same person. They are chocolatey brown, goopy specimens, settled snuggly in their squat, wide-mouthed mason jars. The surfaces of the samples are frothy, whipped and merengue-like. The consistency of the hash makes it easy to work with. And the effects of #20… That shit is good.

Just in terms of appearance and texture, the variety of hash is mind-boggling. The shades range from hulk and army greens, to mustard, blonde, fawn and mocha. There are matte, shiny, crumbly and sticky entries. There is powder and there is goop. There are nibs and there are pattys. Sample #57 is sparkly and bedazzling.

The smells and flavors vary greatly too, from piney to citrusy, from sweet to dirty, from sour to musky. I’m catching hints of grape, lemon, vanilla, laurel, sage, grapefruit and lavender. It’s all about the flavonoids and terpenoids, man. The smells and flavors of hash are no less complex than those of California wines. Cannabis is amazing.

For my home testing, I am using a Launch Box Vaporizer from Magic-Flight. The vape is incredibly handy for evaluating taste and residual levels. I work for Magic-Flight, and they were kind enough to hook me up for my hash judging duties with a walnut kit with Metatron’s Cube laser etched in the lid, plus a power adapter and concentrate trays. I am set up for success.

I’m also testing with a scientific oil rig with a honeycomb percolator from Trim Scene Solutions. Burger leant it to me because he’s cool like that. I heat the quartz nail on the rig with a propane torch, and in this way I can sample the hash with water filtration. Such rigs are the standard for smoking dabs. They work just fine for solvent-free hash too. Thanks, Burger.

Look for post-Emerald Cup Coverage next week. I’ll be sure to let you know who wins the hash contest. KMUD is streaming live from the event too. (Check their website: kmud.org.)

It’s gonna be a medicinally good time. See you there!

EmilyHobelmann(Ms. Hobelmann — mrhumboldt2013@gmail.com — “exercising my rights, looking presidential. The rig in my hand is a copper recycler by Snic Barnes with a quartz nail by Aaron Vigil. Vigil will be at the cup. Photo by Joey Burger.)

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WINNEMEM WINTU REJECT BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN

Denounce it as a death sentence for salmon and a violation of indigenous rights

Chief Caleen Sisk will speak at rallies in Sacramento today and Friday and re-affirm the Winnemem Wintu opposition’s against the construction of the peripheral water export tunnels and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), as Governor Jerry Brown’s administration releases the preliminary Environmental Impact Report and the BDCP plan to the public today.

As California’s State Water Project currently operates, far too much water is sucked from the San Francisco/Sacramento Delta, the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, and sent to the state’s water brokers, who support unsustainable industrial agriculture, destructive hydraulic fracking for oil extraction and municipal developments in the desert.

The proposed peripheral tunnels, with a conservatively estimated price tag of $54 billion, will undoubtedly kill the sensitive Delta, a delicate mix of salt and freshwater, that is vital to the life cycle of California salmon as well as thousands of other fish and species.

“There is no precedent for the killing of an estuary of this size, so how could any study be trusted to protect the Delta for salmon and other fish? How can they even know what the effects will be?” said Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk. “The end of salmon would also mean the end of Winnemem, so the BDCP is a threat to our very existence as indigenous people.”

As one of the many traditional salmon tribes in California, the Winnemem rely on access to salmon to maintain our cultural and religious practices. The peripheral tunnels if ever constructed would therefore be in violation of our indigenous rights to maintain our cultural practices with salmon, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Recently at a public meeting in Redding, Governor Brown’s Deputy Director of the Natural Resources Agency Jerry Meral, disclosed that the peripheral tunnels are connected to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s plan to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, a project that would destroy or submerge nearly 40 sacred sites and destroy potential salmon spawning areas. We are currently working on plans to re-introduce our salmon above the dam into the McCloud River.

The planned Delta tunnels will require more water be taken from the Trinity River and the Shasta Dam, which is fed by the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers. This will add even more stress to the struggling ecology of these rivers.

This plan is not meant to benefit the public of California, native and non-native, but purely to line the coffers of the lobbyists who have been buying off Gov. Brown all along, such as Beverly Hills Big Ag billionaire Stewart Resnick and his wife Lynda who contributed $99,000 to his 2010 campaign. The Western States Petroleum Association has spent more than $4.5 million in lobbying the state government in 2013 alone.

The peripheral tunnels are a violation of the public’s trust in Gov. Brown, and not the answer to dealing with the state’s forthcoming water shortages. There are better solutions.

The Winnemem are proud to announce that we will be standing with our allies during a press conference today and a rally Friday, Dec. 13 at the West Steps of the Capitol. Chief Sisk will speak.

These events are sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

Monday, December 9, 2013

—Press Conference and Rally at the Capitol

—Location: Starting in Room 112, moving to West Steps if needed

—Starting Time: Noon with 12:30 p.m. press conference – arrive as early as 10:30 for possible walk to California Resources Agency.

Friday, December 13, 2013

—Friday the 13th Rally to begin the 120 Day BDCP Response Countdown

—Location: West Steps of the Capitol

—Starting Time: 11:30 a.m.

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

To stop this boondoggle please write letters to Governor Brown expressing your opposition to the peripheral tunnels plan! Letters should be addressed to:

Governor Jerry Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

For more information, go to: http://www.winnememwintu.us

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CONFIRMATION of Dan Bacher's great reporting, an AP story reiterates: " California Water officials on Monday released a draft of a $24.7 billion plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, in part by building two 30-mile underground tunnels to ensure stable water delivery to millions of Californians.

The joint federal and state Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or BDCP, and environmental impact analysis comes after seven years of study, and includes plans for building the tunnels and completing significant habitat restoration work to improve the delivery of mountain snowmelt to Central Valley farms and cities throughout the state.

At the heart of the 50-year plan are the twin tunnels with a 9,000-cubic-feet-per-second capacity that would replace the delta's current pumping system that endangers fish and other wildlife.

Currently, the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pump water from the delta to 25 million people and three million acres of farmland.

But that supply has been interrupted in recent years, as salmon and smelt numbers declined in delta rivers, and federal regulators limited the amount of water that could be pumped from the delta.

Water officials believe that replacing the pumps with the tunnels and restoring more than 100,000 acres of new habitat above ground will help the fish rebound and keep the water flowing to customers.

The plan also outlines how officials would conduct research and implement monitoring during and after construction of the tunnels to study the project's effect on dozens of plant and animal species.

State water officials also say the ambitious project would generate billions of dollars in jobs, especially in construction, in the delta region.

The release kicks off 120 days of public comment on the plan and environmental analysis.

"By meeting the state's dual goals ... of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability, we will stabilize and secure against catastrophe the water deliveries that sustain our homes, jobs, and farms, and do so in a way that not only protects but enhances the environment," said John Laird, California's natural resources secretary.

But critics of the plan say it would actually harm fish and agriculture by siphoning off more water from the estuary.

Dozens of conservation groups including the Sierra Club have been steadfast in their opposition, saying the project would ship more water from the delta south and create more environmental problems.

Conservationists say modern developments in water conservation and recycling can be used to reduce demand from southern California, and would be far more environmentally friendly than the tunnel project.

"We need a better plan for restoring the delta environment and making sure Californians all over the state get the water they need," Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, said in a statement."

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ON THE ROAD WITH CRAIG STEHR

Happy Holidays from New Orleans. Warmest holiday greetings, It is true that the Mardi Gras floats are already being constructed one block from where I am staying in the historic Algiers neighborhood, which was established in 1719. But with the Saints NFL football team winning, and the Christmas season beginning, the French Quarter is not in any lull at all. I walked around Bourbon Street after going to view the St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday (since my Catholic heritage is the reason that my middle name is Louis, after the king of France and leader/financier of the 7th crusade), and Bourbon Street was already filled with revelers, anticipating the night game of Saints versus Panthers. Although I do not drink much, don't indulge in any drugs, and am eschewing tobacco in preference of the magical foggy air which gives the Vieux Carre its voodoo quality, it is still tittilating to have the Hustler honeys encouraging a visit to the club. She says, "Relax...it's only sex!" Meanwhile, the effort to establish the Neutral Ground social centre in the westbank neighborhood continues. I have been helpful to my nearly crippled anarchist friend, who had her spine smashed and teeth knocked out by the local police, when she attempted to prevent the unnecessary demolition of otherwise perfectly good public housing built in the 40s, after Hurrican Katrine. The poor were loaded onto buses and shipped to other states, demolitions ensued (which would guarantee that the poor would not have housing to return to), and the bulldozers efficiently finished the job. That's racism in Louisiana for ya. I am presently assisting my friend Jamie Loughner, who really needs 1.successful spinal surgery, 2.teeth implants, 3.an insurance company which is realistic, 4.a social service caseworker who is realistic, and 5.a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Ku Klux Klan cops who beat the fuck out of her, because she attempted to physically prevent the demolition of the public housing units. I do not know how much longer I will be in the NOLA area; I am uncertain what more I can offer of help, beyond what I have already contributed. However, I am making the best of a very unusual situation. Of course, if I win LOTTO, I will make good on my intention to relocate to Washington D.C., even if the liberals don't like me. I can always associate with political radicals, who are more interesting anyway, plus a few conservatives who do occasionally surprise me with holding similar views to mine. If nothing intelligent happens, I might return to the San Francisco bay area where I am generally appreciated; of course I'll be homeless, but who cares? Hey, I'll be in San Francisco, which is always cool. I seriously wish everybody a happy holiday, and encourage you to stay in touch with me. As my mother used to frequently say, "Good friends are hard to come by." To contact Jamie Loughner, please email her at jamieandjoe@hotmail.com, telephone (504)302-9951. To send a message to the emerging Neutral Ground social center, email NGsocialcentre@cox.net, and to inform me that you have sent money for my use, email me at craigstehr@hushmail.com. Tell Santa, if you see him, that I've been good this year. ;-)

Craig Louis Stehr, New Orleans

One Response to Mendocino County Today: December 10, 2013

  1. Harvey Reading Reply

    December 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Some democracy we ecksepshunals live in. In 1982, the Peripheral Canal was defeated by voters. That didn’t stop the wealthy, including wealthy welfare farmers, and now, under the flake, and democrap, Jerry Brown, they appear to be getting their way. The PR effort, called CalFed, was a major step in that direction, excluding enviros and anyone else who disagreed, and flooding the Delta with biologists to give the impression that environmental concerns would be addressed. Only trouble was, those biologists were prohibited by the agreement that formed CalFed from studying anything to do with water flow, which, incidentally, is what fish need to survive. What a bunch of morons Californians have become.

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