Mendocino County Today: Sunday, July 10, 2016
by AVA News Service, July 9, 2016
UGLY ASSAULT Friday night in Navarro, post the AC/DC tribute band concert at the Navarro Store. A male employee of the Boonville Brewery assaulted a woman he not only works with, but is a neighbor to in central Navarro. After viciously punching the unsuspecting woman, the assailant dashed into his nearby home to get a gun, and ran off into the woods. The assailant was apparently bad mouthing the woman's husband. When she objected the assailant, a man in his forties, struck her with enough force to push her teeth through her lip, injuring the woman so severely she was carried by the Anderson Valley Ambulance to hospital in Ukiah.The names of the people involved have not been confirmed, but are known to all of us. There is much threatening talk among Navarro residents that the assailant "better not come back here."
HOSPITAL MEETING TUESDAY JULY 12 AT COTTON AUDITORIUM
A Reader Writes: Important meeting re Hospital keeping Maternity on Tuesday, July 12 at Cotton Auditorium, 6 pm. See the attached flyer. They tell us 100 babies were delivered locally last year. I would like to see all hundred mothers there with their baby carriages.
A READER WRITES:
The Fort Bragg City Council should study what has happened to municipal, tax-funded bike trails elsewhere before promoting a potential disaster and endless drain of public funding in the future. Please vote no.
MENDO PREPARES TO TAX POT
Board of Supervisors Agenda Item for July 12, 2016 meeting:
Title: Discussion and Possible Adoption of Resolution to Present to the Voters of the County a Measure Adding Chapter 6.23 of Title 6 to the Mendocino County Code Establishing Cannabis Business License Taxes and Ordering Consolidation of Said Election with the Consolidated General Election Called for November 8, 2016; and Introduction and Waive Reading of an Ordinance Adding Chapter 6.23 to the Mendocino County Code Imposing a Cannabis Business Tax on Commercial Cannabis Businesses
Adopt Resolution presenting to the voters of the County a measure adding Chapter 6.23 of Title 6 to the Mendocino County Code imposing a Cannabis Business License Tax and ordering consolidation of said election with the consolidated General Election called for November 8, 2016, and authorize Chair to sign same; and introduce and waive reading of an Ordinance adding Chapter 6.23 to Title 6 to the Mendocino County Code imposing a Cannabis Business Tax on commercial cannabis businesses.
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions:
On May 16, 2016, the Board of Supervisors received a presentation by Hdl Companies regarding a medical cannabis ballot initiative strategy which included various taxation options for Mendocino County. On June 20, 2016, the Board of Supervisors’ General Government Standing Committee received a presentation on timelines and requirements to place a cannabis tax measure on the 2016 General Election ballot in November. The Standing Committee directed staff to bring forward a cannabis tax ordinance to the Board on July 12, 2016, for consideration.
Summary of Request:
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor in 2015, creating a regulatory framework for medical cannabis in California. MMRSA allows for a County or City to pass tax measures around medical cannabis. A local tax on cannabis requires voter approval. Per Board direction, the Executive Office is bringing forward a proposed cannabis tax ordinance for the 2016 General Election ballot in November.
Humboldt and Sonoma County are currently in the process of developing a cannabis tax. Humboldt County will bring forward a tax ordinance on July 19, 2016, for Board consideration. Sonoma County is currently in the development phase and does not plan to bring forward a tax for the November 2016 election. In addition, other counties and municipalities throughout California have forwarded cannabis tax measures to the voters for consideration or are considering continuing to analyze a cannabis tax. A recent survey conducted by the California State Association of Counties indicated that 10 counties are currently planning to impose some type of tax on cannabis, however, no additional details were provided.
The proposed cannabis tax ordinance is a County general tax on commercial cannabis businesses in the unincorporated area of Mendocino County.
Cannabis businesses include: cultivation, nursery, dispensaries, manufacturing, testing, transporting, distribution and delivery. The ordinance contains payment and reporting requirements and enforcement provisions and authorizes the County Treasurer-Tax Collector to administer the tax. The tax is for general governmental purposes and will go into effect only if the tax is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the tax at an election. Additionally the tax would only become effective when the Board of Supervisors adopts a permanent cannabis regulatory ordinance. The proposed ordinance would tax cultivation by square footage and other cannabis businesses by gross receipts per fiscal year. The charts below outline the proposed tax rates.
A variety of items were reviewed and analyzed to determine reasonable rates including other proposed regional models, the various permit types, the production and earning potential of each grow type and size, etc. The analysis resulted in a proposed tax rate structure that is envisioned to be reasonable in supporting the impacts on the cannabis industry on the local community without unduly burdening the business models.
Mixed light and indoor grows are proposed to be taxed at a higher rate due to the additional grow cycles allowed over an outdoor grow. While the current draft regulatory ordinance only allows up to 10,000 square foot grows (with the exception of nurseries), due to the complexity of addressing adjustments to a voter approved tax, it is recommended that a proposed rate is included at this time so it would be covered if the Board decided to permit larger grows in the future.
The deadline to provide items to the Registrar of Voters for placement on the November 2016 ballot is August 12, 2016. The proposed timeline to avoid the need for a special meeting requests the Board introduce and waive the first reading of the Ordinance on July 12, 2016, with the second reading on August 2, 2016.
HUMCO’S FIRST MJ PERMITS ALLOW LARGE-SCALE GROWS
by Daniel Mintz
The county’s first permit approvals under its commercial marijuana production ordinance will allow of six acres of new outdoor cultivation on a 600-acre site in the Honeydew area.
Six conditional use permits for medical marijuana cultivation were approved for the Ferndale-based Honeydew Farms LLC at the county Planning Commission’s July 7 meeting.
The approved permits will allow 271,000 square feet of new grows on the 600-acre site and bring existing cultivation on a separate 200-acre Timber Production Zone (TPZ) parcel into compliance under the county’s ordinance, which went into effect in late February.
The ordinance bans new grows on TPZ sites but allows existing ones to be permitted.
Located near the intersection of Mattole and Wilder Ridge roads in Honeydew, the permitted grow site’s existing cultivation includes nine greenhouses amounting to 25,720 square feet of grow area on the larger parcel and five greenhouses with 17,800 square feet of grow area on the smaller TPZ parcel.
The county’s ordinance sets grow size and permitting standards based on parcel sizes. On parcels of 320 acres or larger, one acre of grow area is allowed for every 100 acres of property.
Three of the Honeydew site’s seven cultivation permits are for areas that will be leased, as the ordinance sets a limit of four permits per single entity.
The ordinance also requires that grows be sited on prime agricultural areas to ensure that cultivation is occurring where farming is an exclusive use. Alex Moore, the owner of Honeydew Farms, said higher-elevation areas of the site that are not zoned for prime ag would be better for marijuana growing but using the prime areas is “not a hardship.”
Most commissioners enthusiastically supported approval of the permits.
Commissioner Ben Shepherd said he’s “pleased” with Moore’s work on complying with the county’s new permit requirements. “It’s a very complete package – I was surprised that our first (permit hearing) is for one at this scale but I can see that there’s a significant amount of work that went into this,” he continued.
Shepherd added that it’s “particularly heartening” that a variety of state agencies support Moore’s cultivation and site management plans.
But Commissioner Dave Edmunds noted that there was significant public comment during the ordinance’s development in support of smaller, high quality grows and in opposition to larger ones.
Moore said he doesn’t agree with the premise that larger grows are inappropriate. “Especially with legalization coming, six acres could be mom and pop here in the next 10 years,” he told commissioners.
He also said he disagrees with groups like the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, which sued the county over the ordinance, in equating large grows with lesser quality.
“We have multiple employees,” Moore said. “I feel like our quality, across the board, is as good as it can be.”
He added, “We’re going to need everybody, whether you’re a small farmer or a large farmer, to get Humboldt County’s brand on every shelf of every dispensary throughout California so we can establish ourselves as players in this market.”
Commissioner Alan Bongio said he visited Moore’s grow site that day with Supervisor Rex Bohn and Rob Wall, the county’s planning director.
“This guy has done it right – I’ve seen some grows and I’ve never seen one that was done as good as this,” he continued. “I was really impressed and I learned a lot about cultivation that I didn’t know.”
Commissioner Lee Ulansey pushed for allowing Moore to re-locate one of the grow areas to a non-prime ag location. But Wall said that would violate the ordinance, whose basic environmental review didn’t account for it.
A more thorough environmental review will be done when the ordinance is re-worked and use of non-prime ag areas could be considered under a new version, Wall said.
The permits were approved by a 4 to 1 vote, with Edmonds dissenting. Commissioners Noah Levy and Kevin McKenny were absent.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 9, 2016
Bagley, Bradshaw, Chavez
CHRISTOPHER BAGLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
RYAN BRADSHAW, Willits. Failure to appear.
FABIAN CHAVEZ, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
Figueroa, Holliday, Lawson
EDDIE FIGUEROA, West Covina/Ukiah. Domestic assault, pot possession for sale.
ALAN HOLLIDAY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ZACKARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Vehicle theft.
Miles, Pike, Rogers
JACOB MILES, San Francisco/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
DARRELL PIKE JR., Hopland. Paraphernalia, resisting, parole violation.
SHAWN ROGERS, Willits. False ID, unlawful display of registration, failure to appear, probation revocation.
Saucedo, Williams, Wright
JUAN SAUCEDO, Philo. Under influence, controlled substance, probation revocation.
BRADLEY WILLIAMS, Lake Alford, Florida/Ukiah. DUI, resisting.
XOCHE WRIGHT, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
A READER ASKS: Do you remember the column in the 24 October 2012 "On wasting your vote" by I.M. Piety?
May I suggest that it be run again?
Also, I am wondering about ad rates for decent sized ads. I am disgusted by the probable presidential candidates and wish to express that while recommending a vote for Jill Stein. One must vote, after all. With the editor's help, perhaps, with the copy, knowing that he/you share at least the end result of my point of view; like a good capitalistic swine, I hope for a low rate. "Vote for our guy, Benito; he is much better than their guy, Adolph" "Protect the Supreme Court, don't let the conservatives appoint yet another judge like Earl Warren"
* * *
We do remember. Here it is:
ON WASTING YOUR VOTE
The Predictable Consequence of Lesser Evilism
by M.G. Piety
A disturbing number of Americans are going to end up wasting their votes in this next election. They’re unhappy with the status quo, but instead of changing it, they’re only going to reinforce it. I’m not talking about democrats who are so unhappy with Obama that they’re planning to vote third-party. I’m talking about democrats who are unhappy with Obama, but who are so afraid of Romney that they’re going to vote for Obama anyway and justify that vote by invoking “the lesser of the two evils” argument. It’s about time someone pointed out that it’s the invocation of that argument to defend otherwise indefensible political choices that has driven us relentlessly into our current position between a rock and a hard place.
Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that the greatest invention in human history was compound interest. I beg to differ. I think it’s the “lesser of two evils” argument. It’s brilliant. Give people two options, neither of which they find appealing, convince them that a third option, a genuinely attractive one, is just not practicable and that they must thus choose between the bad and the worse, and you’ll be able to get them to choose something they would never otherwise choose.
You can get people to do anything that way. You start by offering them a choice between something that is just marginally unpleasant and something that is really repellent. Once you’ve gotten them to choose the marginally unpleasant, you raise the bar (just a little mind you, you don’t want them to catch on to what you’re doing). Now you offer them a choice between something to which they have really strong objections and something that is deeply offensive. Most people, of course, will choose the former, if they think it’s either that or the latter. Now you offer people who’ve become inured to living under objectionable conditions a choice between even worse conditions and something that is truly unthinkable. It’s not mystery what they will choose.
There’s been a lot of angry posturing from Americans who think of themselves as progressive about how the purported political center in this country has been moving inexorably to the right, yet it’s these very people who are directly responsible for the shift. If you vote for a candidate whose farther right than you would prefer, well, then you’re shifting the political “center” to the right. Republicans aren’t responsible for the increasingly conservative face of the democratic party. Democrats are responsible for it. Democrats keep racing to the polls like lemmings being chased by the boogeyman.
“This is not the election to vote for real change” runs the democratic refrain. We’re in a crisis! We must do whatever it takes to ensure that the republicans don’t get in office even if that means voting for a democrat whose policies we don’t really like and which are only marginally distinguishable from those of the republican candidate. That “margin” is important, we’re reminded again and again. That little difference is going to make all the difference.
Even if that were true, which it ought to be clear by now it is not (see Bart Gruzalski’s “Jill Stein and the 99 Percent”), it would still offer a very poor justification for voting for a candidate one doesn’t really like. Why? Because it is an expression of short-term thinking. Thomas Hobbes argued that privileging short-term over long-term goals was irrational, and yet that’s what we’ve been doing in this country for as long as I can remember. Americans are notoriously short-term oriented. As Luc Sante noted in a piece in the New York Review of Books, America is “the country of the perpetual present tense.” Perhaps that’s part of the anti-intellectualism that Richard Hofstadter wrote about. “Just keep the republicans out of office for this election!” we’re always commanded. “We can worry about real change later!”
Of course anyone who stopped to think about it ought to realize that that mythical “later” is never going to come. Our choices are getting worse not better, and if we keep invoking the “lesser of the two evils” to justify them, we are in effect, digging our own graves.
God is not going to deliver to us from the clouds the candidate of our dreams, the candidate who despite his (or perhaps her) wildly populist views somehow manages to win over the corporate powers we have allowed, through our own incorrigible stupidity, to control the political process in this country. If we are ever going to see real political change of the sort progressives purport to want, then we are going to have to be brave enough to risk losing an election. Which shouldn’t require all that much bravery when one thinks about it, because real progressives have been losing elections for as long as anyone can remember in that the democrats haven’t been genuinely progressive for as long as anyone can remember.
If you vote for a democrat because you think of yourself as progressive you are wasting your vote because what you are actually saying is that you are willing to support a candidate who is not really progressive, that the democrats can continue their relentless march to the right and that you will back them all the way. That is, if you vote for a democrat because you say you are progressive, you are saying one thing and doing another. But actions, as everyone knows, speak louder than words. You can go on posturing about how progressive you are, but if you vote for a democrat that posturing is empty.
If we are ever going to see real progressive political change in this country we have to brave enough to openly risk defeat, and we have to have faith that our fellow progressives will be similarly brave. William James makes this point very eloquently in his essay “The Will to Believe.” “A social organism,” he wrote, of any sort whatever, large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs. Wherever a desired result is achieved by the co-operation of many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those immediately concerned. A government, an army, a commercial system, a ship, a college, an athletic team, all exist on this condition, without which not only is nothing achieved, but nothing is even attempted. A whole train of passengers (individually brave enough) will be looted by a few highwaymen, simply because the latter can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up. If we believed that the whole car-full would rise at once with us, we should each severally rise, and train-robbing would never even be attempted. There are, then, cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming.
Progressive political change will never be a fact unless we have faith in its coming, unless we have faith that others will back us up when we refuse to be forced to vote yet again for a candidate we do not like.
I, for one, abhor cowardice. I’m not going to be intimidated into voting for a candidate I don’t like by threats of the “greater evil.” I do not expect that my candidate will win the election. I expect, however, that my vote will count for something and not merely in the sense that it will allow me to preserve my self respect. I’m not afraid of being condemned as naively optimistic. Without such optimism we’d never have had democracy in the first place. Democracy, one of the crowning achievements of human history, is precisely the product of the courage to act on one’s conscience and that faith that others will do so as well. If we’ve lost those things, then we will get the president we deserve.
(M.G. Piety teaches philosophy at Drexel University. She is the editor and translator of Soren Kierkegaard’s Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs. Her latest book is: Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard’s Pluralist Epistemology. She can be reached at: email@example.com.)
“Notty” writing on MCN: No, this is not a political rant, as so many of late. But a rant nonetheless against then damn vultures!! Would NOT have believed this if I didn't see it happen right in front of me: A gang of vultures (no, seriously, a gang. I don't care what the "official" designator might be, these ruffians were indeed a gang! They — about seven (they were in near-constant motion, and I was never very astute with those which cup is the pea under games, anyway) descended upon my compost bin. I had a large piece of concrete on top to deter the deer. Two of these vultures landed on top and together pushed the concrete off the top, and the rest sort of swarmed the container, jumping up and down on it, and to my surprise, collapsed the bloody thing and released my hard-fought efforts at composting! Had to shoo them off at a run, then grab a shovel, and an hour later, had it back in some semblance of order, this time with more stuff securing the bin together and to the ground. Lot of good any gang-prevention task force is gonna do me. I need a beer. Or three. Maybe a slingshot, too.
* * *
David Jensen responds:
Everybody's got to eat.
It's the law.
Eat or die.
Did we not learn from my favorite female drummer - Karen Carpenter?
I'm just saying . . .
THE LEFT & GMOS
From the Washington Monthly
(Liberals and the Science of GMOs):
…There is near-universal consensus among the world’s scientists that man-made pollutants are trapping heat in the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on the environment. Yet when pollsters ask voters whether they believe temperatures are climbing because of human activities, most Democrats say yes and most Republicans say no.
Democrats may wag their fingers contemptuously at this, but the pot would be calling the kettle black, because many of them are just as stubbornly skeptical on the issue of genetically improved foods, even though the scientific consensus about their virtues is no less universal. That consensus was further cemented last month by an all-star committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which issued a 400-page report concluding that genetically modified (GM) crops are safe to eat and do not harm the environment.
Either way, such denials of scientific consensus read like newly discovered scenes from a 17th century play. Why is this still happening?...
Rob Anderson (Courtesy, District5Diary)
THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF TOM ANDERSON
Adapted from Redleg Boogie Blues (for Donald Trump)
by Jeff Costello
Tom Anderson had been something of a big-shot on the Sausalito waterfront in the late 60's. He ran a boat yard and marine railway. Fishermen and tugboat captains hauled out their boats at Anderson's. It was Real Man stuff, and Tom Anderson did it all proudly, in a Real Man way. Before leaving for parts unknown, he made a movie. It was called "The E-Wreck-Ta-Cator," about a man who builds a machine whose sole purpose is to self-destruct.
In 1973 word came around that Tom Anderson was coming back. Everyone was talking about it. The amount of hubbub surrounding this rumor puzzled me. What was the big deal? I found out when he roared into Gate Six is his overpowered tugboat, throwing up a wake that nearly capsized half the houseboats. Tom Anderson was an egomaniac, so full of himself that his face was red and shiny, the skin drawn tight like an over-inflated balloon.
Joe Tate, the undocumented alpha male of Gate Six, felt it necessary to go out in his boat to "greet" Anderson. The encounter was tense and blustery, like two dogs snarling and snapping at each other. What everyone besides me knew was that Anderson would try and seat himself as top dog no matter what it took.
The first move Anderson made was to buy the Oakland, an old grounded potato barge that served as a workshop, community shower and practice room for the band, as well as a family occupying the other end. He evicted everyone, built a fence around the deck, and played ponderous Wagnerian opera records at peak volume while standing on his deck like a Laird of the Manor. He wondered why nobody liked him.
Steve Webber, a new arrival who was acting as the band's equipment manager and sound engineer, made a heroic attempt to deal with Anderson. First, he tried to goad him into a fistfight by tearing down part of the fence. Anderson responded very calmly by calling the police, who arrested Webber and took him downtown. While Steve was in jail, graffiti appeared around Gate 6: "Free Steve Webber." This, combined with his sharp eye for a bargain earned him the name "Free Steve."
When Free Steve was released, he wasn't through with Tom. Anderson had made the mistake of publicly admitting that he had a "thing" about fecal matter; he couldn't even tolerate changing his own child's diaper. Armed with this information, Free Steve took it upon himself to pack Anderson's sewer outlet pipe with concrete. When his toilet backed up, Anderson said nothing, held his breath and managed to fix the pipe.
"What's the matter with you people?" he asked me one day. What he meant, but didn't say, was Why aren't you all bowing and scraping at my feet? Don't you realize you're in the presence of royalty?
I tried to explain that we were a cooperative community, interdependent, and had achieved a certain symbiosis, a harmony of existence. There was no room for a king.
"What it comes down to, Tom, in street language, is this: Everything is everything. But you think you are all of everything, and everyone else around here knows you are not." He said, "I can't accept that."
Less than a week later, Tom Anderson shot and killed himself with a .32 caliber pistol.
TAYLOR SWIFT'S HAM SANDWICH.
"We have scratched the surface and it's made a funny smell. It’s something to investigate." –Jonathan Williams
The recording of last night's (2016-07-08) 107.7fm KNYO (and 105.1 KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and listen to via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Show by remote from Juanita's house this time. There was one three-minute dropout in the broadcast, when Juanita got back from work at 10pm and her cell phone's wi-fi needs began chopping up my connection to the KNYO transmitter, but after that, smooth sailing. The recording you get is made in the computer doing the streaming, the one I'm sitting at, wherever I'm doing the show from, so it's seamless as usual. Anyway, there are avenues to fix the internet reliability problem, and I'll be starting down one of them the instant I press send on this.
Meanwhile, in the world of people with /real/ problems, the Battle of the Somme, a hundred years ago, commemorated July 1, lasted months, so it'll still be the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme through Thanksgiving. (Last week I forgot to mention that the Somme figures prominently in the Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys, as ingeniously realistic a description of inner experience as any of his films. You've seen Brazil, and Time Bandits, and Baron Munchausen, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus –they're all wonderful– but I recommend you see his Tideland. Read the plot in Wikipedia.)
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a plethora of links to not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile things to see and do and learn about, such as:
How religion and superstition work. Even when someone plainly shows you how you’re being tricked you still see something that isn’t there. Faith is just laziness, especially faith in what seems obvious. http://illusionoftheyear.com/
Or you don’t see something that /is/ there, and suffer because of your faith in confident authority. Pay attention to the reaction of the young lady volunteer. What shocks her, beyond the physical injury, is what I call the /wonder of betrayal/. It’s a mixture of pain and bafflement and wishing to go back to the way it was before, when you didn't know what you know now, and you still don't know whether it was on purpose, because both /how could it have been on purpose?/ and /how could it not have been?/ And the man who did it to her is trying to help her, /or is he?/ because isn't he still there, still doing it? But there's still the appeal of trust in authority. It's a loop. (Not the video, the mental trap.)
“The myth of the loose-woman’s vagina is a myth.” Comparing your dry, stingy ham sandwich to Taylor Swift’s generous, juicy ham sandwich.
And “Dammit, Camus! You ruin everything that's good!” http://existentialcomics.com/comic/140
— Marco McClean
HOWARD K. SMITH at the Democratic Convention in 1968: "Mr. Vidal do you feel more philosophical here than in Miami at the Republican Convention?"
Gore Vidal: "Philosophically? I wonder if that word will ever be used again while we’re here in Chicago. This place is a shambles. It’s a police state. One is aware of the horrors of the world here, the smell of old blood, the shrieking of the pigs as they are slaughtered in the morning. All this reminds one of life and death. So in a sense I do feel more at home here in a way — but not happy."
PIDDLE, TWIDDLE & RESOLVE
I do believe you've laid a curse on North America
A curse that we now here rehearse in Philadelphia
A second flood, a simple famine
Plagues of locusts everywhere
Or a cataclysmic earthquake
I'd accept with some despair
But, no, you sent us Congress.
Good God, sir, was that fair?
I say it with humility in Philadelphia
We're your responsibility in Philadephia
If you don't want to see us hanging
From some far-off British hill
If you don't want the voice of independency
Then God, sir, get thee to it
For Congress never will
You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Nothing's ever solved in
Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy
They may sit here for years and years in Philadelphia.
These indecisive grenadiers of Philadelphia.
They can't agree on what is right and wrong
Or what is good or bad; I'm convinced
The only purpose this Congress ever had
Was to gather here specifically
To drive John Adams mad!
You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Nothing's ever solved in
Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy
Congress: For God's sake, John, sit down.
— Sherman Edwards, ‘1776’
THIS WEEK AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY: RETRO CRAFTING, MOVIES, & CAPOEIRA
ANOTHER WATER AGENCY TAXES PROPERTY OWNERS FOR DELTA TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
Ever since California voters overwhelmingly rejected the peripheral canal in November 1982, the state and federal governments and regional water agencies have concocted a number of schemes to fund this unpopular water diversion plan without a vote of the taxpayers.
In the latest scheme, documents released under the California Public Records Act reveal that the Zone 7 Water Agency of Alameda County has been using property taxes to pay for Delta Tunnels (BDCP/CA WaterFix) planning costs “before even one shovel of dirt has been turned,” according to a statement from Restore the Delta.
The Delta Tunnels plan, developed under the Delta Vision and Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) processes and now under the California Water Fix, is the latest incarnation of the peripheral canal backed by Governor Jerry Brown in his first two administrations.
If there's one thing that Jerry Brown and Delta Tunnels advocates DON'T like, it's openness and transparency in government, as we can see from these documents. That's why Livermore area property owners have been paying for Delta Tunnels planning efforts without their consent - and without their knowledge.
Fees for the tunnels, designed to ship northern California water to Southern California water agencies and corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, were supposed to come from water ratepayers, not property taxes.
“California Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Zone 7 officials have said for years in public that the tunnels would cost just $5 a month for urban water users,” the group said. “Yet these taxes were buried deep in agency records in at least two water districts.”
“The public is unaware that their property taxes are being used to pay for the planning of a project that will have negative impacts on the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “Property taxpayers in Zone 7 never had a vote on the matter, and the district has not discussed this funding in any broad manner to facilitate public understanding.”
This June, a PRA request exposed a similar Delta Tunnels funding scheme by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, resulting in public outcry over funding the Delta Tunnels with property taxes, Barrigan-Parrilla said.
“We are seeing a similar shell game being used to fund Delta Tunnels planning in water districts across the state,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.
In letters to both Zone 7 and Santa Clara Valley Water District in March 2016, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said urban water districts could face lawsuits over these property taxes for the project because the Delta Tunnels were not part of the 1960 act that launched the State Water Project.
“To be legal, any new fees for the Delta Tunnels must be approved by a two-thirds vote of taxpayers under Proposition 13,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.
However, she said Zone 7 collected these property taxes to pay for their share of the State Water Project. About 1/12th of what has been paid to the State Water Project from 2008 to 2013 has been used to pay for Delta Tunnels planning for a total $2,473,768. An estimated additional $259,751 was paid in 2014.
“If Zone 7 could not undertake Delta tunnels planning without tapping into property taxes, how will it pay for its share of a $15 billion project (before cost overruns) relying only on a $5 month increase to water bills?” asked Barrigan-Parrilla.
The giant Delta Tunnels – each 35-miles long and 40-feet in diameter – would divert water from the Sacramento River before it could flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species. The California WaterFix, the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history, would also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, populations that have been an integral part of the cultures and livelihoods of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes for thousands of years.
The tunnels will indebt California taxpayers for decades to come. The total cost of the Delta Tunnels, once completed, could be as high as $68 million when interest on borrowed money is added to construction and planning costs.
The Delta Tunnels project is a parallel venture to the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that creates faux “marine protected areas” on the California coast. The process, completed by the Brown administration in December 2012, developed alleged “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore drilling, oil spills, pollution, energy projects, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
The Delta Tunnels plan and MLPA Initiative are intimately linked by leadership, funding, conflicts of interest, greenwashing goals, racism and denial of tribal rights, and terminally flawed science. For more information, go to:https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/15/18787581.php
Analysis of the Zone 7 PRA Documents:
The original PRA request for the Zone 7 Water Agency was intended to investigate the sources of funds Zone 7 is using to pay the DWR for its BDCP Program. According to the DWR Statement of Charges, from 2008 through 2013, Zone 7 paid $2,473,768 to the DWR for BDCP usage. The breakdown of charges expressed in the Statement of Charges (SOC), is as follows:
Year Charges ($)
A footnote to this table in the original attachment in the statement of charges states that for years 2012 and forward “total BDCP-DHCCP charges are included as a line item in a letter from DWR and invoiced 1/12 per month as part of the Minimum Transportation Charge.” According to the State of Charges for funds due in 2014, the annual transportation charge will be $3,117,017. 1/12 of the total value of this comes to $259,751 (see Attachment A1), and this should be treated as the 2014 BDCP contribution value.
According to Zone 7’s Budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2015-2016, all funds sent to the DWR for State Water Project charges come from Fund 110 (State Water Facilities). Fund 110 is primarily paid for by property taxes – see page 3-6 of the 2015-2016 budget. Approximately 84.5% of this fund is paid for in property taxes.
It is clear that Zone 7 uses property taxes, water sales and “other revenue” to pay for its BDCP contributions to the DWR.
For more information, go to: http://restorethedelta.org/blog/