Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Aug 11, 2016
by AVA News Service, August 10, 2016
CALFIRE DETERMINES CAUSE OF HUGE VALLEY FIRE IN LAKE COUNTY LAST YEAR
The below link contains a large collection of supporting documents and numerous investigation reports, none of which are in text form. But the upshot of all of it is: The huge Valley fire was caused by bad wiring when Lake County resident John Pinch clumsily and unsafely hooked up a hot tub heater at his Cobb residence without a permit — a year before the fire broke out. The wire later overheated and set nearby dry grass and leaves on fire. Calfire considers the faulty wiring job to be a crime and has referred the case to the Lake County DA, although Calfire and Lake County DA Donald Anderson said Wednesday that “it is far from clear” that charges will be filed. “Whether it’s civil, whether it’s criminal, those questions are all being asked,” Calfire Director Ken Pimlott said. The Valley fire burned more than 76,000 acres and was estimated to have caused the deaths of four people and did over $1.5 billion in estimated damages.
FORT BRAGG DOESN'T NEED IT OR WANT IT
Hare Creek EIR scoping meeting
Here is the announcement:
Dear community members,
Citizens for Appropriate Coastal Land Use (CACLU) want to inform you that the "scoping session" for the Hare Creek Shopping Center Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be September 19 from 6 to 8 pm at Town Hall in Fort Bragg. We hope that you will share your key environmental concerns and issues in regards to this mall. We need to identify potential & significant impacts and determine the extent of those.
Please put this date in your calendar, show up early ready to speak and ready to turn in a written statement. We can share our concerns with the EIR consultants Michael Baker International who were awarded the EIR contract on July 25, 2016.
The project entails three separate buildings totaling 29,500 sq. ft. and covers about 3.92 acres on the west side of Hwy 1 in Fort Bragg. The mall would be anchored by a Grocery Outlet, has 99 parking spaces and would be located at the gateway to Fort Bragg (corner of Hwy 1 and Hwy 20).
The owner and developer of this project is Bill Patton who owns two other malls in Fort Bragg (Boatyard Shopping Center & Franklin Street Shopping Center) where the DMV is located. There are at least 8 empty buildings in these structures and altogether the city has currently about 20 empty business spaces.
It is good urban planning to fill the core, not the outlying areas of Fort Bragg with business. This creates a more livable town that appeals to people who want to explore it by foot. The stores on Franklin Street started emptying when the Boatyard Shopping Center was built. Would the Hare Creek Center Shopping Center cause similar blight?
Please attend the "EIR scoping session" and let the consultants know that there are visual & aesthetic issues and/or issues with sufficient water storage & supply. Do you believe that the neighboring shallow wells or the local rivers carrying endangered & threatened salmon and steelhead trout could be impacted? Do you think we should reserve this land for open space, or a performing arts center, or for the development of Mendocino College? Do you think that we need a new Cultural Resources Evaluation Report, and/or a new waste water, traffic, air quality and/or noise study? Do you think we need yet another corporate franchise business in Fort Bragg? Should the Grocery Outlet be located in that parcel? Is there a reason why development did not happen at that site so far even though the owner/developer wanted to develop this site since 1991? Would you like to see the new Coastal Development Permit, the new Use Permit, the new Design Review, and the new Lot Line Adjustment? Would you like to see the minutes of the Hare Creek Ad Hoc Committee? Do you have any other concerns? Please share them with the EIR consultants on September 19.
There are only a few days left for candidates who want to file nomination papers in order to become city council members.
Please share these news on face book, among your friends and/or any other way you can.
Thanks, Citizens for Appropriate Coastal Land Use
WHY THE NEW COURTHOUSE IS DESPERATELY NEEDED
It is apparent that you do not realize that the new courthouse is needed as a source of patronage. How can the county government hire new county workers, or contract for more private security guards, without the excuse of a new courthouse?
Of course, a rational county government would have grabbed the Palace Hotel ruins via eminent domain, and built the new courthouse next door to the old one. Result: an eyesore eliminated, and a new courthouse convenient to the old one. However, we are in Mendo-schemeo!
SANTA ROSA DECLARES HOMELESSNESS EMERGENCY
REAL & GETTING REALER
To the Editor:
It sure looks to me like the county’s pension vessel is rotten and that no “patching” will keep it afloat. Our officials are attempting to bail out the outdated system with a shot glass while the system sinks even further in debt. In the July 24 Sunday edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal an article led with the statement, “huge irresponsible unfunded pension debt has been imposed on Mendocino County over 25 years.” The article makes the case that the county pension system is severely flawed, horribly managed and is currently underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. It further states that the county and retirement officials want credit for making recent changes. Have these changes made a difference? I wonder what percentage of our current county budget is being used to pay for the past mismanagement?
MS REPLIES: We agree that the pension system is in serious deficit and that the amounts being contributed by the County and the employees are not going to bring the pension system out of debt. (The actuarial but fantastical “balance” is achieved by assuming that the stock market will produce gains of over 6% per year which nobody really expects.) We also agree that it has taken some 25 years to reach this point. It may be also “severely flawed,” but we’d certainly like to see a list of the “flaws” and what can be done about them. The claim that the pension fund is “horribly managed” seems true given its condition. But a lot of the debt is simply stock market value losses that fall short of expectations. Again, we’d need to see what, if any, management reforms Mr. Mayfield suggests that are available to the retirement board or the County. The final question about what percentage of the County’s budget is attributable to past mismanagement is unanswerable because calculating the percentage requires a somewhat subjective assessment of what constitutes “mismanagement,” since the critics don’t define their terms. The recent changes have made a bit of a difference and the changers deserve some credit for them, belated as they may be. But simply pointing out the obvious — that the system is badly out balance — seems to be nothing more than a Republican-style argument for abandoning County pensions and pensioners.
SCOTT MENZIES will run for the Fort Bragg City Council. He is paid by the Hospitality House apparatus to teach the homeless Tai Chi, a grim fact that stretches the boundaries of the absurd even by Mendo standards.
Menzies started the "I love Fort Bragg" to support Mayor Turner during the narrowly defeated attempt to recall Turner in the wake of the disastrous Turner-led decision to allow Hospitality House to acquire the Old Coast Hotel in the center of Fort Bragg's business and tourist district. Menzies, a smarmy fellow complete with the Mendo-mandatory Groovy Guy ponytail, also began the "Go Fort Bragg" booster club to stop Measure U, which would have limited homeless operations in the city center.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Red Road." I can't remember seeing a movie anything like this one in its adult assumptions, a movie that doesn't spell out everything for you, a movie you figure out as you go. And it's really, really good. One reviewer said it "felt like a descent into hell." I thought it was more like slice of life, urban Scottish division. It's basically a slice of the life of a young-ish police woman whose job is to monitor the public surveillance cameras in the city of Glasgow, neighborhoods of which are as grim as any we have in this country with rough people to match. I try not to be an oinker, really I do, but until I saw the credits at the end of Red Road (the movie has nothing to do with commies), I assumed it was the work of a man. Why? Because it was so, so, so… hard. Tough. Unflinching. Characteristics I still associate with the male half of the species. The whole works is startling as hell and absolutely knock down brilliant. Andrea Arnold wrote and directed it. I've watched a bunch of movies produced by Scots in Scotland lately (My People! My People!) and they've all been good. Thank the goddess for subtitles, though. You won't understand a word without them.
RECOMMENDED READING: The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan, the truly amazing story of Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced “Mar”), Irish patriot exiled to the middle 18th century penal colony of Australia, escaped to America where he led Irish immigrant brigades as a Civil War general, probably murdered by anti-Catholic bigots who hated his appointment as the first governor of Montana. Unlike a lot of biographies these days — bogs of turgid academic prose — this one is wholly readable.
MORE RECOMMENDED READING, especially for the more violently estranged of you nostalgics: "American Heiress — The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst" by Jeffrey Toobin. And, if you'll keep on reading I promise a wild personal coincidence of zero interest to you but somehow significant to me. And I have witnesses — witnesses, I tell you!
MANY OF US have vivid memories of the lunatic Symbionese Liberation Army, one of your smaller armies at about a dozen people. They described themselves as revolutionaries with occasional references to the writings of much more grounded leftwing intellectuals whose ideas they either misunderstood or were too stupid to understand in the first place. They said that their violence would inspire "the masses" to rise up. Instead, the masses enjoyed the SLA's bloody antics on the 5 o'clock news. The only bona fide proletariat in the group, a dupe named Joe Remiro, is still held at Pelican Bay for the SLA's murder of a popular black Oakland school superintendent named Marcus Foster. Remiro was not involved in that wholly insane act, which alienated everyone black and white.
THEN THEY KIDNAPPED Ms. Bubblehead, your basic mental blank slate. She took a couple of weeks before deciding the SLA was right on and joined up. Of course she was only twenty, but still. Next thing you know, Patty is holding up a bank in the Sunset District of San Francisco. There has been no public theater of this quality like it since.
Hearst at the 2015 Westminister Kennel Club contest
CONTEMPORANEOUSLY, you had grouplets like Mike Sweeney's Stanford-based nuts calling themselves Venceremos planting bombs all around the Bay Area, one of many bomb cults active from the late sixties to the middle seventies. In between Patty Hearst chapters, the Evening News featured communiques from the Zodiac killer as Frisco's white people stayed indoors at night lest they be picked off by the black racists called the Zebra killers. And there were all kinds of free range but unaffilated psychos roaming Nor Cal as Bay Area hippies headed north with the Back to the Land Movement. But the kidnapping of Patty Hearst outdid everything in media attention.
Patty Hearst's prize-winning Shih-Tzu
TOOBIN'S book is a careful reconstruction of the entire event, from kidnapping to conversion to, I guess you could say, Patty's instant reversion. It took her about a week to claim she never really was a convert although she failed to walk away when she had every opportunity to do so. She's pictured in this book as a matronly 60 with an effete little dog named “Rocket.”
A couple of presidential pardons, a little jail time and Patty moved on.
THE IMPROBABLE PERSONAL ANECDOTE? I'm reading along and up pops 1847 Golden Gate, the address I lived at briefly about a decade prior to Patty's abduction. I'm sure it's the same address where she was held right down to the grungy Murphy bed. Maybe not the same apartment but certainly another one in that same grunge-o building. As I recall there were eight units and identical structures on either side, and very close to Divisidero. I lived at 1847 with my brother and my father, circa '62. The building, like all SF apartment buildings of the time, especially the ones we lived in, teemed with weirdos and mysterious comings and goings at all hours. If the SLA had been next door to us at the time, we'd have been none the wiser. Like everyone else in SF's demimonde, we minded our own business.
GREEN RUSH! Here is a List of the 846 Humboldters and More (So Far) Who are Looking to Go Legit
by Hank Sims
Legalization is happening very quickly.
In November, we will almost certainly vote to end marijuana prohibition in the state of California, adding ourselves to the ever-growing list of states and territories where consenting adults can freely toke up, for whatever reason they desire.
But even if Californians fail to approve Proposition 64 this fall, the whole industry built around the fig leaf of “medicinal marijuana” has, over the last year, been rapidly moving out of the shadows and into the light of day. Last October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that instituted a statewide regulatory regime for all facets of the business – growers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers. Humboldt County followed on this bill in January, passing zoning laws and and setting up a permitting process for a growers, who have been tending gardens in the Emerald Triangle backwoods – a convenient place to hide – for almost 50 years.
Many of those growers are not hiding any longer. As of last Friday, and as a key deadline approaches, a total of 846 existing or soon-to-be-existing grows have been registered with Humboldt County’s Planning and Building Department, the county agency that tracks and permits land use in the county – including, now, marijuana farms. Several more have filed for permits for new operations, sometimes for ancillary manufacturing facilities.
The Planning and Building Department compiles lists of these permit applicants and operation registrants, updates them every week and emails them out to a wide variety of interested parties. These lists show that lots and lots of people are looking to get in big on the Green Rush – and they’re not just the hippies in the hills and their heirs.
Looking over the lists, you find the names of plenty of well-known out-and-proud growers like Kevin Jodrey and limited liability companies whose names announce their purpose: “Humboldt Sungrown Collective,” “Humboldt Healing Collective,” “Humboldt High Country Farm,” etc.
But you also find names of people you know from other contexts, and likely don’t immediately associate with the demon weed. For instance: Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Ben Shepherd, Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner Larry Doss and the Mercer Fraser Company.
Reached at his home Tuesday, Shepherd, a famously conservative voice in McKinleyville politics, told the Outpost that the operation registered to his longtime Dows Prairie home – nearly 15,000 square feet of indoor and mixed-light cultivation – actually belong to a man named Cody Stross. He said Stross was in the process of purchasing his land as he filed his cultivation paperwork with the county, and so Shepherd gave Stross his permission to use his name on the application.
The land, which he had lived on since 1972, has since sold, Shepherd said – and for “an excellent price.”
Mercer Fraser, the Eureka-based construction giant, has applied to build a marijuana processing facility on Glendale Drive, just off Highway 299 between Blue Lake and Arcata. Their application asks for a new 5,000-square-foot building that would be used for “food-based and solvent-based cannabis manufacturing, including but not limited to CO2 and butane extraction.”
Some of the grow ops registered to the county are already fairly famous in their own right. Among them are the storage units at 100 Airport Road in Fortuna. The facility, located just down the street from Rohnerville Airport, has been the subject of numerous raids by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force over the last few years.
But the owner, Neal McKenny – brother and former business partner of Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Kevin McKenny – tells the Planning and Building Department that weed continues to grow in those sheds, and that he is doing some of the growing, and that he wants to go legit. He writes:
Over the past 3 years there have been numerous SB420 Co-Op collective 215 card growing operations at this location. I took over an 80’x50’ from one such Farmer in November 2015 and I have actively worked on this operation since. We want to run a legal medical cannabis indoor grow.
That’s just a selection and an overview, though. You can find links to the full lists below. There are four of them, and they contain fascinating details about the size and scope of the above-board operations that people are planning for the county, along with the names of the people and/or business entities who are planning them. There are a lot of them.
There are four documents here. They list, in order: The operations that have already been permitted by the county, the applications for permits that the county has received, the people that have requested assistance from the county in preparing their applications, and the Humboldt grow ops (or proposed grow ops, in some cases) that have registered their operations with county government. The latter is a step that preexisting operations must take in order to get themselves on the road to legalization, and there’s a deadline for that approaching: August 23. See details here.
NOTE: We have redacted the specific addresses and parcel numbers of the grow ops on these lists because … well, we’re not sure why we’re doing this, exactly. I suppose just because publishing 850-odd street addresses of active grow operations still feels too much like weird taboo juju. The fear of ripoffs is still strong. There is the odd chance that the cannabis cultivators themselves didn’t realize that they were signing up for this when they plonked their names and details down on the counter at the Planning Department, despite the disclaimer to that effect in the registration form itself.
But you should take note, my grow bros and gals: This reality is that this information is already out there, and not difficult to find. The planning department is emailing out full, unexpurgated versions of these lists not only to media but to state regulatory agencies, industry people and, as we saw yesterday, to law enforcement. We know all y’all are sensitive about this kind of information being public – not without reason – but we’re not sure how long we can justify redacting information that is already in widespread circulation. This is what legalization looks like!
CLARIFICATION: Though the main purpose of the “registration list,” below, is — as detailed in the registration form — to show that the registrant’s preexisting grow is “good standing” with the county of Humboldt, it appears that some people went ahead and “registered” potential grows, rather than actual ones.
DOCUMENTS (at LostCoastOutpost.com)
- Approved commercial cannabis permits (8 total).
- Commercial cannabis permit applications filed (145 total).
- Application assistance meetings held with planning staff (234 total).
- Registered (existing or proposed) commercial cannabis operations (846 total).
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 10, 2016
Araiza, Betts, Buckingham
MARCOS ARAIZA, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
JEANNINE BETTS, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOSEPH BUCKINGHAM, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
Cisneros, Cole, Lopez-Venture
HENRY CISNEROS, Willits. Domestic battery, destruction of communications equipment to prevent call for help, child endangerment, county parole and probation revocation.
SETH COLE, Fort Bragg/Mendocino. Burglary tools, hashish, dirk-dagger, probation revocation.
IVAN LOPEZ-VENTURE, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, receiving stolen property.
Martinez-Santiago, Mello, Miles
ALBERTO MARTINEZ-SANTIAGO, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
JASON MELLO, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
DAKOTA MILES, Louisville, Tennessee/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Palacios, Ray, Slaughter, Wood
LEONEL PALACIOS, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
CASEY RAY, Covelo. Recklessly causing a fire of an inhabited structure, suspended license.
JOSHUA SLAUGHTER, Willits. Battery, elder abuse, child endangerment.
DUSTIN WOOD, Ukiah. Shoplifting, possession of meth.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Saturday night my son and daughter-in-law took us all out to dinner in West LA. Afterwards they stopped at Ralph's to pick up some ice cream. I said, “Hey, while you’re in there can you grab me a small pack of Temptations for the cats?” ($1.89).
We got home and they forgot the Temptations. I said, “No problem. I’ll just stop on my way home in the morning.”
But then my daughter-in-law walked into the living room with her iPhone in hand and said, “Don’t worry about it mom. I just ordered you two big boxes of Temptations on Amazon cause I had a free delivery blah, blah, blah.”
“I know”, I said. “But I kind of need them when I get home tomorrow.”
“Oh, they’ll be delivered for sure by tomorrow!”
“Oh, yeah! Guaranteed!”
And sure enough I was sitting in my house yesterday and I hear a chirpy voice, “Federal Express!” outside my door.
There in a lovely brown paper bag with cute graphics were my two big canisters of Temptations.
And this is how the Millennials roll.
HERE THEY COME, DORIS (FISHER)
TRUMP, CRUZ, OSWALD, HILLARY & JFK
From Citizens for Truth About the Kennedy Assassination:
Many of the serious people in the JFK community wish that the Kennedy assassination would figure more prominently in our political elections. Especially those for president. For example, back in 1992, both Bill Clinton and Vice-Presidential candidate Al Gore said they felt there were unanswered questions about the JFK assassination and the public had the right to know what was in the declassified files. In 2008, Hillary Clinton said she would open declassified files on the JFK case.
Unexpectedly, the JFK case has been injected into the presidential race this year. Although not the way most of us would like to have seen it done. The subject has not surfaced in relation to the final 2017 release date on the JFK Act. That would have been most welcome. Instead the controversy is about something that no one could have imagined in advance. The question being posed by Republican candidate Donald Trump is about the father of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz. On May 3rd, Trump was on the TV interview show "Fox and Friends." He said this about candidate Cruz:
His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot! I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What—what is this right, prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean they don’t even talk about that, that was reported and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible. I think its absolutely horrible, that a man can go and do that….I mean what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the death—before the shooting? It’s horrible.
Ted Cruz called these accusations “nuts,” “kooky,” and characterized the source material as “tabloid trash." He then went on to call Trump a “pathological liar,” a “narcissist." a “bully” and “amoral." It's not often that this publication agrees with Ted Cruz on anything. But we do on this one.
Cruz got one thing wrong about the sourcing. Although the National Enquirer did carry an article on the Cruz/Trump controversy, the original story did not actually begin there. It actually started with Wayne Madsen. Madsen published a story in the April 7th issue of his online journal called the Wayne Madsen Report. In that report, Madsen showed a famous photo of Lee Oswald passing out pro-Cuba handbills outside of Clay Shaw’s International Trade Mart in New Orleans.
This incident occurred on August 16, 1963. There are some fascinating facts about this incident. But Madsen ignored those to center on a sensational, unsubstantiated accusation. He centered on a Latin looking man standing to Oswald’s left with a tie on, and what appears to be a white, short sleeved shirt. Although he is not the only man who is unidentified, Madsen used him to make a wild claim. He wrote that this was the father of Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz.
(Rob Anderson, Courtesy, District5Diary)
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS could have picked Carly Fiorina, the only Republican woman in the race, who, like Donald Trump, argued that we need a businessperson, not a politician, to run the government. Under her leadership as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, 30,000 American employees lost their jobs, the company vastly increased its debt and had no net income gains, and its stock price fell by 50%. She was fired. She then ran unsuccessfully for senator in California, most notably producing the “demon sheep” television advertisement, still popular on YouTube as one of the most bizarre political ads of all time.
She believes that concern about climate change is like worrying about the weather. At one point, she was leading Hillary Clinton in the polls, but she may have been damaged by her repeated insistence that she had seen a film where members of Planned Parenthood discuss selling fetal organs: “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” Regrettably, not even the most virulent anti-abortion groups could produce a copy of this tape. Trump, in a characteristic moment, said of her: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Ted Cruz, having already lost the nomination, inexplicably named her as his vice-presidential running mate.
— Eliot Weinberger
GROUPS DELIVER 350,000 PETITION SIGNATURES CALLING FOR HALT TO IRRIGATING CROPS WITH OIL WASTEWATER
by Dan Bacher
As evidentiary hearings continued before the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento over state and federal permits required to build Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels, activists on August 9 pushed a wheelbarrow stacked with boxes filled with 350,000 signatures up to Governor Brown’s office in the State Capitol.
The signatures urged Governor Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to stop the “potentially dangerous” practice of using wastewater from oil drilling to irrigate California’s crops. The group of over 30 people held a brief rally in front of the capitol before going into the building.
The wastewater, sold by Chevron and California Resources Corporation, is now being used to irrigate over 90,000 acres in the Cawelo Irrigation District and the North Kern Water Management District. “It is slated to expand in the near future to other districts,” according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups.
“We have a potential health crisis on our hands and nobody can say definitely how terrible it is,” David Braun of Californians Against Fracking told me. “Our children are not lab rats in an oil and gas industry experiment. Our elected leaders have to respond to put the health of Californians over the financial interests of the oil and gas industry.”
Speakers at the rally included Assemblymember Mike Gatto, UCSF nurse practitioner Lisa Hartmayer, Center for Biological Diversity scientist John Fleming, and Sue Chiang from Oakland.
The groups gathering the 350,000 signatures calling a halt to the controversial practice included CREDO, Care2, Food & Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity, RootsKeeper, Center for Environmental Health, Breast Cancer Action, Center for Food Safety, Courage Campaign, and the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.
“Californians want to know what is in the water and the soil that is used to grow their food. This should not be a problem, especially if there is nothing to hide,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles).
“California produces almost half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables that feed the United States, and more than 100 farms in the Central Valley use oil wastewater for irrigation. Some of the United States’ most popular brands grow food in the Cawelo and North Kern water districts, including Trinchero Family Estates (makers of Sutter Home wines), Stewart and Lynda Resnicks' Halos Mandarins (formerly known as Cuties) and The Wine Group (makers of Cupcake and Fish Eye wines),” according to the groups.
“At the same time, there hasn’t been a comprehensive, independent study to determine if the wastewater is safe for crop irrigation. The limited analysis done used outdated methods; regulators don’t screen for all the chemicals used in oil extraction, many of which are carcinogens. The Los Angeles Times reported that a test of the wastewater sold by Chevron to the Cawelo Irrigation District contained acetone and benzene,” the groups stated.
“Some of the chemicals used in oil operations are linked to cancer, kidney failure, reproductive issues and liver damage. No comprehensive and independent analysis has been conducted to assess the safety of the wastewater. Oil-industry wastewater can contain high levels of benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals. State oil officials’ own study detected benzene levels in oil wastewater at thousands of times the federal limits for drinking water,” the groups said.
“As a nurse, one of the simplest yet most important recommendations I can give a patient is to eat more fruits and vegetables,” said UCSF nurse practitioner Lisa Hartmayer . “How can our governor and water regulators sleep at night knowing that the fresh foods that millions of people eat to stay healthy may actually be threatening their health? We don’t know if our tangerines, almonds and grapes are contaminated with water that could be carcinogenic.”
In addition to the dangers posed to consumers, the speakers noted that farmworkers, who are already exposed regularly to toxic pesticides, are exposed daily to the oil and gas wastewater with no protection for their health and safety.
“Oil wastewater doesn’t belong on California’s crops. It’s irresponsible to take this kind of risk with our food supply,” said John Fleming, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We should take a precautionary approach to mixing oil with food and wait until there are studies proving this practice is safe before we even consider it.”
Sue Chiang from Oakland, said, “I’m here for my kids. It concerns me that Governor Brown would allow this practice without thorough testing. This is the food that I feed my kids every day. The thought that they could get sick from tainted food really worries me.”
In their comments on the petition, people pointed out the contradiction between Governor Brown’s attempt to portray himself as a “climate leader” and “green governor” and his failure to take action on the oil wastewater issue to date.
For example, Rev. and Mrs. Don Baldwin from Nevada City wrote in their comments: "Dear Gov. Brown - If you are to truly go down in history as our 'environmental' governor, you MUST see this as one of the most significant actions you need to take."
A growing number of Californians are raising concerns about the use of wastewater for crop irrigation and organized Protect California Food, an affiliate of Californians Against Fracking, which is calling on Governor Brown and state water regulators to immediately ban the practice.Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of about 200 environmental business, health, agriculture, labor, political and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques in California. Follow @CAagainstFrack on Twitter.
Visit www.protectcafood.org and www.californiansagainstfracking.org for more information.
Unfortunately, both the mainstream media and many “alternative” media outlets have failed to explore the reason WHY it has been possible for the oil industry to sell its wastewater to irrigate California farms — Big Oil’s capture of the regulatory apparatus in the state under the administration of Governor Jerry Brown.
In spite of California’s “green” image, Big Oil is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in the state. The Western States Petroleum Association, the trade association for the oil companies in the western states, is the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento. No bill opposed by Big Oil and WSPA was able to make it out of the Legislature to the Governor’s Desk last year because of the enormous money and power the oil industry wields.
Consumer Watchdog releases report exposing millions in oil, gas & energy donations to Jerry Brown
Today, Consumer Watchdog released a groundbreaking report, “Brown’s Dirty Hands,” exposing the millions Jerry Brown’ rakes in from oil, gas and utility companies: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...
The group found that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor.
“Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors. The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million,” the group said.
“An exhaustive review of campaign records, publicly-released emails and other documents at PUCPapers.org, court filings, and media reports, shows that Brown personally intervened in regulatory decisions favoring the energy industry, and points to Brown and his operatives having used the Democratic Party as a political slush fund to receive contributions from unpopular energy companies in amounts greater than permitted to his candidate committee. Between 2011 and 2014, the energy companies tracked by Brown’s Dirty Hands donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown’s re-election,” according to Consumer Watchdog.
In spite of the mostly fawning media coverage of Jerry Brown’s appearances at climate conferences across the globe, Brown is a big supporter of the expansion of fracking in California and environmentally unjust carbon trading and REDD policies. You can read more about the real environmental record of Governor Brown at: www.dailykos.com…
The oil industry, including WSPA, Chevron, Phillips 66, AERA Energy, Exxon and Shell, have spent more than $25 million so far in the 2015-16 legislative session. WSPA has spent $12.8 million so far in the session, making them, as usual, the top California lobbying spenders of the session. (www.oaklandmagazine.com/...)
In a huge conflict of interest that the mainstream media refuses to discuss, WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd chaired the South Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue) Ribbon Task Force that created the so-called “marine protected areas” that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1, 2012. She also served on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create alleged “marine protected areas” on the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast. (www.dfg.ca.gov/...)
The “marine protected areas” created under her leadership fail to protect the ocean from fracking, acidizing, other offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
While Reheis-Boyd served on the task forces to "protect" the ocean, the same oil industry that the "marine guardian" represents was conducting environmentally destructive fracking operations off the Southern California coast. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and media investigations by Associated Press and truthout.org in 2013 reveal that the ocean has been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years, including the period from 2004 to 2012 that Reheis-Boyd served as a "marine guardian.”
Besides exerting enormous influence over state regulators, WSPA and Big Oil also wield enormous power over federal regulators. Claiming that fracking poses “no significant impact” to the environment, Obama administration officials on May 27 finalized their plans to allow oil companies to resume offshore fracking and acidizing in California’s Santa Barbara Channel after a moratorium on fracking was temporarily imposed as the result of a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit. (theecoreport.com/...)
WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in five major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media. For my in-depth investigation on the five ways WSPA and Big Oil have captured California politics, go to: www.dailykos.com/...