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by AVA News Service, August 2, 2014
DON’T BE SURPRISED if Fort Bragg’s police chief, Scott Mayberry, soon announces that he’s going to work for the DA as an investigator. And that right there is Rumor of the Week. Last week’s rumor was that Mayberry was retiring, having racked up the necessary twenty year tour as an active policeman. And while you’re not being surprised about Mayberry moving east over the Coast Range’s mini-mountains to the dry, blasted plains of the Ukiah Valley, Mayberry’s second in command, Lt. John Naulty, just might become Fort Bragg’s permanent police chief.
THE “LODGE LIGHTNING COMPLEX” FIRE in the Wilderness Lodge Area near Laytonville has jumped to 1800 acres and 10% contained. Drought conditions and poor accessibility enabled the fire to make significant runs and double in size yesterday. The California National Guard, California Conservation Corps, and Cal OES have joined the fight.
SUNDAY 8AM UPDATE: 2200 acres, 10% containment, with 17 structures now threatened. Involving 51 fire engines, 25 crews, 14 bulldozers, 14 water tenders, 11 helicopters, and 819 total personnel. Estimated cost $1.9 million.
SO FAR AS WE KNOW, the young woman we called Goldilocks, Jacqueline Audet, is no longer in Mendocino County. We’d rather not know where she is but, while she was here, Goldie’s prospects weren’t 24-carat. The last we heard she’d met Mr. Wonderful, another outdoor drinker, much older, and the two of them were headed east.
GOLDIE was repeatedly arrested for drunk in public, mostly in Fort Bragg. Blue Meanie types won’t be edified to know that the Fort Bragg Police Department always went to the extra trouble of making sure Goldie’s dogs were looked after while Goldie was sobering up in the County Jail.
SHE OWNED two huge beasts that she must have needed to keep her fellow gypsies off her. Romantics say that street people make up a “community,” that they take care of one another, as if totally screwed-up people can do that.
GOLDIE’S CASE seemed especially horrifying — a hundred pound, twenty-year-old girl living and drinking with a bunch of male bums on the banks of the Noyo? She managed, and she managed to get loaded every day, too, and she kept her dogs fed and healthy. Goldie was about 25% together.
YOU MIGHT SAY that Amber Morris is Goldilock’s lady-in-waiting, Goldie’s successor, as a hundred pound, twenty-year-old drop-fall street drunk, Mendocino Coast Division. Amber shows up regularly these days in the booking logs. In this photo she was not only in jail for being drunk, it seems that one of her gallant drinking partners had punched her in the eye. She looks undaunted, though, but this County’s booking photographer has a kind of genius for temporarily lifting the spirits of his subjects, and what Ms. Morris’s true mental state is we have no way of knowing, but it can’t be good.
USED TO BE it took some years of living to get to the drop-fall point of pure hopelessness. Anymore, you see young people who’ve gone straight from the junior prom to free range alcoholic. Any kind of reasonably decent society would not permit the growing numbers of Amber Morrises to commit public suicide.
I’D JUST READ a Chronicle story about how the public works people hose down certain downtown Frisco alleys every morning because these alleys are used as open air toilets. There was an accompanying picture of a guy covered head to toe in protective gear as he wielded his high-powered hose. I was thinking about how far civic standards in all areas of public life had sunk in this very rich city when out of the corner of my eye I caught a guy dropping his pants in the alley next door to the Indian Consul’s office near Geary and Arguello. We’re often told that “quality of life issues” are everyone’s responsibility. I suppose I could have rushed at the defecator with my backpack, yelling, “Hey! Wait! Use this!” But, hell, even good citizenship has its limits.
A COUPLE OF MILES to the east, San Francisco’s social strategy becomes obvious. Aberrant behavior is tolerated so long as it stays within the area called the Tenderloin, whose boundaries are O’Farrell on the north, Mission on the south, Powell on the east, Van Ness on the west. Criminal activity is discouraged every place else in the city, although 16th and Mission and 24th and Mission seem to be public crime set asides. The City’s “liberal” mayor and supervisors occasionally issue these grand proclamations that the free fire criminal neighborhoods are going to be cleaned up as soon as the Gizmo entrepreneurs really get rolling with the City’s big tax breaks. No sign on Market Street from Powell to Van Ness that anything is changing; it’s the same old gauntlet of grime, goons, drugs, drunks, and all-the-way gone mental casualties. Overall, and speaking as a person who has lived here off and on all my life, having sailed through the Golden Gate on a troop ship evacuating Honolulu in 1941, San Francisco is in its worse shape ever.
BUT FRISCO’S STILL the best show on earth on foot or on the bus. Took the 33 the other day to SF General to visit a patient who, by the way, was hard to find in that humming medical labyrinth because the hospital code-names patients, and I didn’t have the code. Turned out to be “Zebra” in this case, but I’m still wondering how I was supposed to know that. The idea, in these, The Last Days, is to hide people from street assassins, especially the young people caught up in the gang life.
PARENTHETICALLY, SF General is a truly great hospital. The person I was visiting is very difficult and would get short shrift lots of places — has gotten short shrift at the Adventist complex in Ukiah. But at SF General, staff, hustling from one catastrophe to the next, never seem to lose professional calm. They manage to stay on task and helpful and mannerly all at the same time, the very pictures of grace under pressure. This hospital is one thing that the City That Used To Know How still knows how to do.
ON THE TRIP from the Richmond up and over the hill to the Mission District, an old man apparently suffering from a kind of Tourette’s, rhythmically repeated the same question, “Where the goddam is he?” He shouted every tenth question (I counted them), startling the new passengers and prompting a crusty old lady to finally shout back, “He’s over there, for chrissakes.” The old guy trudged on into SF General for whatever kind of outpatient mission he was on.
THE NEXT DAY, on the normally sedate 1 California line, I got on an eastbound bus at Laurel Village where an elderly Chinese woman grabbed my arm just as I was about to sit down. Laughing, she and the old ladies sitting around her, pointed to a puddle of mystery liquid on the seat. I’d been spared! I asked the driver if she had a rag to mop it up. “Nope,” the driver said with a grimness out of all proportion to the question. All the way to Stockton Street where the mostly Asian riders get off, the old ladies took turns saving new riders from the puddled seat.
WESTBOUND on the 1 a few hours later, I was seated to the rear of the bus when a spectacular trio got on at Van Ness. Well, two of the three were startling. The guy merely sported a noteworthy retro 50s look. The two young women were shrink-wrapped in form-fitting red minis, their spectacular forms spilling provocatively out as they exaggeratedly sashayed down the aisle towards the back seats. A young man commented to his companion, “No underwear.” The companion exclaimed, “Wow!” The two girls laughed louder than they’d been laughing as they climbed aboard. The young man with them looked like an on-leave soldier, circa 1958. He was that straight-looking, from his haircut to his shiny wingtips.
MUNI passengers are not known for their jollity. Most of the people riding the 1 California are Chinese going to and from the Richmond District to Chinatown on shopping missions. Unless they’re traveling with people they know, the Chinese travel strictly alone, no signs of emotion. Excuse the ethnic stereotype, but no matter how weird it might get on the bus, the Chinese Zen it all out of existence.
ANOTHER rider-bloc on the 1 California (and the 2 Clement) are the babushkas, elderly Russians. When these two living tributes to The Loose Life lit up the bus, the Chinese looked straight ahead — no reaction — while the babushkas, there were four of them seated close together, ostentatiously condemning the two girls as they swiveled all the way around in their seats to make sure everyone on the bus was aware of their disapproval. (San Francisco is a high-stress venue for the disapproving.)
OF COURSE the blonde sat down next to me. “Hi,” she began, “how are you today?” I’m fine, I said, as my prostate moaned. I’m old, wayyyyy past these kinds of provocations. “And your name, sir?” she asked. Sir. Gawd. All I wanted to do is get home from the ballpark, not fight off some kind of hustle. “I’m John Coate,” I said, and she came right back with, “What do you do, John?” The straight guy and the other flooze, seated opposite us, were laughing. I felt like the straight man in a joke that had no comic potential. “I manage a radio station in Mendocino County called KZYX. Next time you’re up that way please stop in,” I said. That seemed to give Blondie pause. “So you’re in show biz, too, huh?” she said. They ignored me from then on, talking about going on out to Baker Beach. I was tempted to stay on the bus to watch them get past the babushkas and off the bus to see if they got off as flamboyantly as they’d gotten on.
REDUCING PHONE CHARGES HELPS INMATES CONNECT WITH FAMILIES
by Ross Mirkarimi
It’s expensive being poor. Families of inmates often live on the edge of insolvency.
I know a mother of two, married to a man doing time in the San Francisco jail, who is trapped between the domino effect of poverty and the desire to maintain her children’s relationship with their father. The trouble began when her credit rating dropped due to late bill payments, which triggered the repossession of her car, which put her job at risk because public transit couldn’t get her to work on-time.
Now she relies on loan centers that charge high interest rates or paying the rent on her dilapidated apartment late, all while trying to stave off eviction. She says she contemplates leaving San Francisco on a daily basis. To do so would improve her financial situation, but would reduce her children’s already limited access to their father.
Depending if they can afford the time it takes to take transit to County Jail 5 in San Bruno for a weekly visit, or the unreasonable cost of a phone call, this family must literally choose between putting food on the table or connecting with their loved one.
Research shows that inmates who preserve ties with their families, especially their spouses and children, have a much better chance of staying out of jail once released. Keeping in touch is almost an impossible reality considering the jolting cost of making a $1 per minute in-state, long-distance or pre-paid collect call.
Until a cap on interstate calling rates was introduced earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission, the telephone companies providing inmate phone services were largely unregulated. As a result, correctional facilities allowed inmate phone service providers to charge jacked-up calling rates in exchange for a cut of the revenue, paid to the facility in the form of a phone commission. Because these commissions are used to fund services for inmates, this decades-old practice created a paradoxical relationship between inmates, inmate phone service companies, prisons, and county jails.
In the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s most recent contract with its phone service provider, Global Tel*Link (GTL), we broke this counterproductive cycle and changed the way we do business. We’ve dramatically reduced calling rates and surcharges for inmate phone calls, including a 70% reduction for a 15-minute collect or pre-paid collect, in-state, long-distance call, from $13.35 to $4.05, and a 32% reduction for a 15-minute debit, in-state, long-distance call, from $5.98 to $4.05.
Given the city’s longtime dependence on phone commissions to fund rehabilitative programs, like Resolve to Stop the Violence and the One Family visitation program, reducing inmate calling rates endangers program stability while spotlighting an addiction that’s shared by almost every prison and jail in the country: balancing incarceration budgets on the backs of people who can afford it least. According to the US Department of Justice, 80% of families who have a member incarcerated live at or below poverty levels.
Fortunately, our department recently won a settlement against GTL’s predecessor, enabling us to fund programs for several years without taking a hit. But, in the long run, City Hall must realize that gouging poor people doesn’t improve public safety. It punishes innocent children by limiting their communication with their family, subordinates the healing value of family reunification to profit, and strengthens the inter-generational resentment that is laced between impoverished communities and the justice system that is supposed to protect them.
Gratified with the unanimous support of our phone rate reform by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is proud to be one of the first county jail systems in the nation to dramatically reduce its telecom rates.
Our next policy reform will be the unregulated, exorbitant cost of inmate commissary fees and commissions.
(Ross Mirkarimi is elected Sheriff of San Francisco.)
AUGUST NOTEBOOK: A DEATH
River Bicycle Peony
I woke up thinking abouy my brothr’s body.
That was my first bit of early morning typing
So the first dignity, it turns out, is to get the spelling right.
I woke up thinking about my brother’s body.
Apparently it’s at the medical examiner’s morgue.
I found myself wondering whether he was naked
Yet and whose job it was to take clothes off
And when they did it. It seemed unnecessary
To undress his body until they performed the exam
And that is going to happen later this morning
And so I found myself hoping that he was dressed
Still, though smell may be an issue, or hygiene.
When the police do a forced entry for the purpose
Of a welfare check and the deceased person is alone,
The body goes to the medical examiner’s morgue
In the section for those deaths in which no evidence
Of foul play is involved so the examination
For cause of death is fairly routine. Two policemen,
For some reason I imagine they were young,
Found my brother. His body was in the bed
Which was a mattress on the floor. He was lying
On his back, according to Angela, my brother’s friend,
Who lives in the building and is schizophrenic
And always introduced herself as my brother’s
Personal assistant, and he seemed peaceful.
There would have been nothing in the room
But the mattress and a microwave, an ashtray,
I suppose, cartons and food wrappers he hadn’t
Thrown away and the little plastic prescription
Bottles that he referred to as his scrips.
They must have called the ambulance
And that was probably a team of three.
When I woke, I visualized this narrative
And thought it would be shorter. I thought
That what would represent my feelings
Would be the absence of metaphor.
But then, at the third line, I discovered
The three-line stanza and that it was
Going to be the second dignity. So
I imagine he is in one of those aluminium
Cubicles I’ve seen in the movies,
Dressed or not. I also imagine that,
If they undressed him, and perhaps washed
His body or gave it an alcohol rub
To disinfect it, that that was the job
Of some emigrant from a hot, poor country.
Anyway, he is dressed in this stanza,
Which mimics the terza rima of Dante’s comedy
And is a form that Wallace Stevens liked
To use, and also my dear friend Robert.
And “seemed peaceful” is a kind of metaphor.
— Robert Haas
STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES
The performance on Thursday and Friday of The GOP in the House of Representatives leads one to the conclusion: Stupid Is As Stupid Does. They seem determined to give the Latino vote to the Democrats. When coupled with the Jim Crow laws passed in Red States directed at African American, Latino and young voters plus their war against women (keep them barefoot and pregnant) leaves them with the Tea Party racists, bigots and their voodoo economics. It is the large states like California and New York not a Red State like Nebraska with 3 electoral votes that decides Presidential elections. They have given the Democrats lots of ammunition for the fall election.
In peace, James G. Updegraff, Sacramento
WE HAVE INHERITED an incredibly beautiful and complex garden, but the trouble is that we have been appallingly bad gardeners. We have not bothered to acquaint ourselves with the simplest principles of gardening. By neglecting our garden, we are storing up for ourselves, in the not very distant future, a world catastrophe as bad as any atomic war, and we are doing it with all the bland complacency of an idiot child chopping up a Rembrandt with a pair of scissors. We go on, year after year, all over the world, creating dust bowls and erosion, cutting down forests and overgrazing our grasslands, polluting one of our most vital commodities — water — with industrial filth and all the time we are breeding with the ferocity of the Brown Rat, and wondering why there is not enough food to go round. We now stand so aloof from nature that we think we are God. This has always been a dangerous supposition.
— Gerald Durrell, ‘Two in the Bush’
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 2, 2014
ANTHONY HIDALGO, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent Flyer)
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent Flyer)
LEON GIBSON, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent Flyer)
VERNON KNAPP, Willits. Drunk in public, Hit&Run, Probation revocation.
CHARITEE VAZQUEZ, Willits. DUI, child endangerment.
AUGUST LOCAL FOOD CALENDAR
Aug 4-7 — Farm Camp at Windy Hollow — (see info below)
Every Mon — Farm & Garden Show — KZYX 90.7 FM — 1-2 pm
Tue Aug 5 — Holistic Health Perspectives — KZYX 90.7 FM — 1-2 pm
Tue Aug 5 — AV Foodshed Steering Committee — call 895-2949 for more info
Every Tue — Agriculture & Ecology Hour — KZYX 90.7 FM — 7:00 pm
Sat Aug 9 — Boonville Farmers’ Market — Boonville Hotel — 10-12:30 am
Sun Aug 10 — AV Grange Pancake Breakfast — Philo Grange — 8:30-11:00 am (see info below)
Aug 11-14 — Preschool Farm Camp at Windy Hollow — (see info below)
Mon Aug 11 — Mendocino County Fair Board Meeting — FG Conference Room — 7 pm
Tues Aug 12 — Mendocino Coast Farmers Guild — (see info below)
Sat Aug 16 — Boonville Farmers’ Market — Boonville Hotel — 10-12:30 am
Sun Aug 17 — AV Foodshed Third Sunday Potluck — AV Grange — time TBA
Tue Aug 19 — AV Food Bank — Boonville Methodist Church (see info below)
Tue Aug 19 — Holistic Health Perspectives — KZYX 90.7 FM — 1-2 pm
Tue Aug 19 — AV Solar Grange #669 Meeting — Philo Grange — 7 pm potluck
Aug 22-24 — “Seed to Salve” Herbal Weekend Retreat — Point Arena (see info below)
Sat Aug 23 — Boonville Farmers’ Market — Boonville Hotel — 10-12:30 am
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Eating Locally This Month in Anderson Valley
A foodshed is like a watershed. A watershed is where we get our water. A foodshed is where we get our food. The Anderson Valley foodshed is where those of us in AV can get our most local food. Here are some suggestions for maximizing your local food experience.
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The Boonville Farmers’ Market continues to offer local seasonal produce, olive oil, preserves, meat, bike repair, gardening advice, music and more. Apple Pressing will be starting soon. Join the fun on Saturday mornings, 10-12:30, at the Boonville Hotel.
If you are would like to help out with the AV Foodshed Apple Pressing booth at the market or have questions about pressing your own apples into juice, please reply by email or call Cindy at 895-2949. We will only be able to provide this service to the community if we have volunteers to help oversee the process.
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Here are some of our other local food sources:
AV Community Farm, on Lambert Lane (Lambert Ranch Road) in Boonville, sells at the Boonville Farmers’ Market and has CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture memberships) available.
Blue Meadow Farm has astand at the corner of Hwy128 and Holmes Ranch Road.
Brock Farms sells at the Boonville Farmers’ Market and has a stand at the corner of Hwy128 and Peachland Rd — follow the signs.
Emerald Earth offers pastured poultry eggs, $6/dozen, in the fridge in the hallway of the Ferrer building, behind Farmhouse Mercantile.
Filigreen Farm, on Anderson Valley Way, has a new farm stand.
Petit Teton Farm, on Hwy128 between Boonville and Yorkville, has a variety of produce and eggs available at it’s farm stand. (See info below.)
The AV Senior/Community Center has a vegetable garden that is providing some of the produce for the meals there. All community members are encouraged to take advantage of this local food opportunity. For meal schedule and more information go to avseniorcenter.blogspot.com or call Gina at 895-3609.
Eateries in Anderson Valley that support our farmers by using locally grown produce are Aquarelle Cafe, Boont Berry Farm, Boonville General Store, Boonville Hotel, Coq au Vin, Lauren’s Café, Paysanne and Mosswood Market. (Lauren’sidentifies local ingredients in many of the offerings on it’s menu.)
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For more information about local food sources, please go to http://www.mendocinolocalfood.org
Also, if you have a local food product to sell or trade, let us know. If you are interested in being a vendor in any of the Mendocino County Farmers’ Markets, visit www.mcfarm.org
We would like to have you share how you eat locally — what you grow and what you do with it, where you purchase locally produced products, etc. If you feel inspired to, please reply and we will include it in our next update.
* * *
The fifth annual Not-So-Simple Living Fair, despite 100-plus temperatures both days, was well received by participants, both local and from locales far and wide. If you were among the crowd and have found yourself missing something, please reply to see if we have what you are without. Our Lost and Found is overflowing.
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The Anderson Valley Solar Grange is having its regular second Sunday Local Organic Pancake and Egg Breakfast on August 10 from 8:30-11 at the Grange in Philo at 9800 Hwy 128. Breakfast ranges from $5-10 for kids through hungry folks sizes, with Ukiah-grown Mendocino Grain Project wheat and local bacon and eggs.
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The Anderson Valley Food Bank distributes on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. We distribute at the Boonville Methodist Church. We are now buying and giving out fresh produce from Burt at Boont Berry Farm and are seeking further improvements of a local nature!
Denisse Mattei is the Food Bank director. You can reach her at 895-3763.
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The Mendocino Coast Farmers Guild meets Tuesday August 12th at 6:30pm in the Caspar Community Center, 15051 Caspar Rd. Caspar, CA For more information on what the Farm Guild is all about, go to http://www.farmersguild.org
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For information about “Seed to Salve” Herbal Retreat or Windy Hollow Farm Camp, go to http://windyhollowfarmca.com or call 707-353-0143. Windy Hollow Farm is in Point Arena.
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Petit Teton Farm at 18601 Hwy 128 is open most of the time during the week and Saturday after 2pm and most Sunday afternoons. Stop by or email email@example.com or call 684.4146 to find out if we’re open and what’s available or just drop in. We look forward to seeing you.
WILL OBAMA ADMINISTRATION INACTION LEAD TO ANOTHER KLAMATH RIVER FISH KILL?
Hoopa Valley Tribe: Interior Secretary turns back on Klamath salmon
by Dan Bacher
In September 2002, Dan Carter, fishing guide, called to tell me that a massive fish kill was taking place on the lower Klamath River. He soon turned the phone over to Walt Lara, Yurok Tribal Elder, who emphasized the scope of the disaster unfolding at the time.
“The fish kill is a lot worse than everybody thinks,” said Lara, then the Requa representative to the Yurok Tribal Council. “It’s a lot larger than anything I’ve seen reported on the TV news or in the newspapers.”
“The whole chinook run will be impacted, probably by 85 to 95 percent. And the fish are dying as we speak. They’re swimming around in circles. They bump up against your legs when you’re standing in the water. These are beautiful, chrome-bright fish that are dying, not fish that are already spawned out,” the shaken Lara told me.
An estimated 68,000 fish perished in the largest kill of adult salmon in U.S. history, spurred by low, warm water conditions resulting from Vice-President Dick Cheney’s intervention in the development of a 10-year water plan for the Klamath. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/07/16/cheney-and-the-klamath/)
Twelve years later, the potential for another fish kill looms over the Klamath River – this time under the Obama administration.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Wednesday, July 30 rejected pleas by Indian Tribes, scientists and river communities in the Klamath Basin to release water to protect migrating adult salmon from a potential major fish kill in the low, warm conditions caused by a historic drought.
Bureau of Reclamation officials said they would release extra water into the Trinity and Klamath rivers only once salmon start dying from disease, but not before.
“Just a week after California officials reported salmon deaths in the Klamath basin, Bureau of Reclamation officials announced that Secretary Jewell has decided to roll the dice,” the Hoopa Valley Tribe said in a statement. “She will continue to divert water to irrigation uses and set aside the senior rights to water under federal and state law for Trinity and Klamath River salmon.”
In a recent fish survey on the Salmon River, a major tributary of the Klamath, volunteers counted 55 dead adult spring Chinooks and 300 to 400 dead juveniles. A total of 690 live adult spring Chinooks were counted in 90 miles of river, mostly in cold pools fed by springs or at the mouths of colder tributaries.
The fish deaths resulted from high water temperatures and low water conditions. Water temperatures on the main stem of the Salmon River are now 76 to 78 degrees, according to Sara Borok, California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist.
In light of the warm and low water conditions, tribal officials are very concerned about another fish kill like the one that occurred in September 2012 taking place if the water is not released. The Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes have fisheries on the Klamath River and its largest tributary, the Trinity River. Those rights are protected by federal law and held in trust for the tribes by the United States.
“The Secretary is betting that if fish start dying she can make an emergency release of water to provide relief,” said Mike Orcutt, Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Director. “But our scientists say that water wouldn’t reach the fish for 4.5 days and once disease appeared in 2002, up to 70,000 adult salmon were dead within days.”
In prior years, including 2012 and 2013, the Secretary released water to create water conditions for safe migration of salmon. In 2013 Central Valley Project contractors, led by the Westlands Water District, filed suit to block flow releases. “The court rejected their claims, water flowed, and there was no fish kill,” the Tribe said.
However, this year the Secretary abandoned this science-based, field-tested flow release fish protection measure that is widely recognized as “prudent and necessary,” according to the Tribe.
“It is as if the Secretary of Transportation said let’s forget about automobile seat belts, airbags and antilock brakes and spend the savings on ambulances,” said Hoopa Valley Tribe Chair Danielle Vigil Masten. “The problem is that the ambulance may or may not get to a crash scene in time, and when it does arrive, the crew will have to deal with far more serious injuries.”
Council Member Ryan Jackson stated, “We have made numerous trips to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento visiting with Congressmen, Senators, Interior Department officials, White House representatives and countless staff. We are extremely disappointed in the wide gulf between the Administration’s statements professing commitment to Indian trust responsibility and respect for Indian Tribes, and the federal actions that are taking our trust resources to the brink of destruction. That is no way for a trustee to act.”
“The law of the Trinity River has been set aside by the Secretary’s decision; in its place she has put the risk of catastrophe entirely on us and Trinity Basin communities, in order to cater to politically favored interests,” said Masten.
These politically favored interests include the Westlands Water District, which represents corporate agribusiness operations irrigating toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, and Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms in Kern County, the largest grower of orchard fruit in the world.
Matt Maucieri, acting public affairs officer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, responded to the Tribe’s statement by saying, “This is a difficult decision that has been brought on by extremely dry conditions in these river basins this year.”
“We will work closely with the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and other tribes in the basin, as well as with the Fish Health Center that is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Maucieri said. “While we have made the decision to not release preventive flows, we will work with all parties to monitor fish health and we are prepared to make emergency releases in the event that certain criteria are met.”
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) issued a statement criticizing the Bureau’s decision to withhold water releases on the Trinity River needed to prevent a repeat of the 2002 Klamath fish kill:
“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s decision today to withhold water releases needed to prevent a repeat of the 2002 fish kill in the Lower Klamath River is the latest example of how the federal government fails to plan for drought to the detriment of tribes, fishermen, and the environment.
Even now, Reclamation continues to divert Trinity River water to the mismanaged Sacramento River system and has drained Trinity Reservoir so there is virtually no available water to protect salmon in the Trinity or Klamath rivers. By state law, Trinity River salmon – which begin their upstream migration in the Klamath River – must be protected before water is used to bail out the Central Valley Project. When you find yourself in a hole, you’re supposed to stop digging, but Reclamation has dug itself a hole it cannot get out of, and tribes and fishermen may once again pay the price.”
Interior Secretary Jewell’s decision to not release water for salmon occurs as the Brown and Obama administrations continue to fast-track the biggest, most expensive and most environmentally destructive project in California history, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels. The completion of the $67 billion tunnel plan will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers.
Restore the Delta (RTD) and an array of anti-tunnel groups held a news conference and big rally at the State Capitol on Tuesday, July 29, to submit tens of thousands of public comments opposing the massive project and call for a new Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The BDCP opponents charged that the EIR/EIS process has been fatally flawed due to its lack of public outreach to non-English speakers, failure to present a funding plan, exclusion of any non-tunnels alternative, and scientists’ identification of numerous “red flags.” For more information about the campaign to stop the twin tunnels, go to http://restorethedelta.org