Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
by AVA News Service, August 19, 2017
A READER WRITES:
More to the Ruffing story than meets the eye. I think she and Councilman Dave Turner, having realized their efforts to bolster the local economy had failed, turned to the grant getting machine she set up… She admitted (boasted?) of having garnered “tens of millions in grants, most of which went to setting up homeless services,” but “the city was not responsible for the homeless.” That was in 1/20/16, quoted in the Fort Bragg Advocate. Meanwhile, the Turner crew approved fast food chain eateries that competed with local biz, like a Taco Bell with all the Mexican cafes already competing, and a chain Discount Grocery as anchor store in a proposed mall. This store would certainly have hurt the locally owned small groceries, and malls are closing all over the country — not smart. The city retained 7% of each grant, CBDG grants only awarded to towns struggling economically. So there are many here who feel really economic prosperity for Fort Bragg was not their goal. Hiring Lizarraga instead of more qualified local hero Naulty, was to bolster the liberal Democratic thrust of the council, and protect their interest in profiting off the homeless services industry because Naulty was a traditional law enforcement officer, where Lizz worries a lot about being proactive might infringe on the civil rights of the transients. And Samantha Zutler, pricey SF lawyer, was hired instead of a local attorney because she too had a civil rights background, and was ready to defend Turner against a recall effort in Measure U, etc. I believe most of their supporters are liberal Dems easily swayed by Turner’s superior “moral compass.” The opinions and concerns of the majority of residents were ignored. The police changed from cops on the beat looking out for problems, to a force that only responded to citizens complaints, and then with a slap on the wrist. Turner's Flo Beds website even boasted that “helping the homeless was a cornerstone of his terms as mayor.” Prosperity was reserved for the Turners’ family, Ruffing, and their approved supporters. I know many who, needing a biz permit from the city, felt protesting any of this was out of the question...
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “If Trump had a dog he wouldn't be making all these mistakes. Now that Bannon is gone, I'm here to help.”
CONFLICTS & BROWN ACT VIOLATIONS IN POINT ARENA
To the City of Point Arena, In care of Richard Shoemaker, County Attorney, and City Council, Point Arena, CA 95468
Re: Point Arena city Council, conflict of interest and voting.
Dear politicians, elected officials and administrators (working on behalf of the city of point Arena):
Several weeks ago in June, City Council took a vote on alcohol consumption on Main Street during the annual parade. I believe one of your council members voted and commented in conflict of interest.
As well as "The Whale Bar," "215 Main" also serves alcoholic beverages and would thus be affected by this City Council vote. Councilwoman Burkey volunteered her comments regarding her preferential decision to vote, admitting that she manages a business also selling alcohol at 215 Main where she manages the business.
May I remind you all that it is your responsibility as elected public officials go sit in the audience, removing yourself from the vote by recusal, resisting all comment on the issue, when, for any reason, you stand to profit in any way from the business you own, operate or work for, and the vote you cast, impacting that business. In this case: an employee or paid manager.
If you can sway the vote in any way related to the income of your business, you must recuse yourself from comment and voting. Especially from commenting to the local public or press for print in the local newspaper which is how I found out about this particular vote.
I am sure your city manager could provide you with the exact wording of the code concerning this law as it relates to you.
In the past, City Hall provided an in-service training to newly elected officials which might be a good idea legally at this point. Jeanine Nadel lead a workshop on the Brown act for the City years ago before becoming a judge.
Thank you for informing yourselves on Brown Act as it relates to conflict of interest and voting accordingly.
Deborah Keipp, Point Arena
PS. Once again I write to you (the city) regarding conflicts of interest at City Hall: this time as related to Lloyd Cross.
Is it true that Lloyd Cross serves as the city's paid bookkeeper?
Is it true that Lloyd Cross is also Treasurer for the city of Point Arena, an elected city official position?
(In prior years it was determined to be a huge conflict of interest to have one individual serving both positions as elected Treasurer and Bookkeeper (employee). So why has that changed when in years prior, County Counsel has repeatedly advised the city of Point Arena against this conflict of interest?)
Does this then also mean that Lloyd Cross calculates his own pay?
Is Lloyd being paid for both positions then?
Does he receive benefits in either position?
How have you justified this conflict of interest regarding Lloyd Cross as both an employee and elected official?
Voters await your response.
To the Editor:
Steve Scalmanini is a clever environmentalist who took a chance to encourage Costco to get onboard more fully against global climate change. And he got it.
Was the appeal risky? Maybe, maybe not.
The draft climate change report assembled and written by 13 federal agencies was released August 7, 2017. It concluded that Americans are being subjected to human derived climate change right now. Perhaps Steve had bothered to read the report. After all, without a doubt Steve is a wonk, a deeply committed policy wonk. This report comes out every four years, is congressionally mandated, and somehow the timing of its release was just prior to the deadline for an appeal.
In making the difficult decision to put in an appeal, perhaps Steve kept in mind Costco's reputation for being a very decent company. Steve did witness the process Costco went through to come to Ukiah. He saw how responsive Costco was to the environmental demands of the Water Board.
To conform to the Water Board's demands to protect a wetland south of the site, Costco did not launch a typical corporate protest — Cosco changed the original site plan in important ways.
Perhaps Steve read an obituary about Costco's founder, Jeff Brotman, who died so recently on August 2, 2017. Mr. Brotman's abiding motto was, "Do the right thing."
Many of us are grateful to Steve for his wit and his intelligence. He is slow to anger, but he is concerned that humans are putting our earth in grave danger, a problem that modifies his own daily activities. (Often times one has to ask to have Steve turn a light!)
Listen to Steve's radio show on KZYX where he reveals the depth of his intelligence — Corporations and Democracy, 1- 2pm, alternate Tuesdays.
Considering all of these issues, Steve obviously felt that he had to put his finger in the dike and that somehow he could get Costco to do the right thing.
I thank Costco. I thank Michael Okuma, Costco's Northern California very intelligent real estate person and a splendid fellow who the city and the public have gotten to know during this process.
And I thank Steve.
Pinky Kushner, Ukiah
ED NOTE: Scalmanini withdrew his appeal of the Costco Environmental Impact Report after receiving a letter from Mr. Okuma saying that Costco “uses large, rooftop (solar panel) systems in 91 warehouses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Japan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Spain and Utah. These systems are projected to generate 77 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.” So Costco has no more paperwork hurdles and is prepared to break ground at the site in September with anticipated store opening in the Spring of 2018.
NAMED AFTER CONFEDERATE GENERAL, FORT BRAGG CONTEMPLATES ITS NAMESAKE
Fort Bragg, California was named after a Confederate general, but it's not about to rename itself.
* * *
FROM FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCILMAN LINDY PETERS:
I was interviewed by CBS reporter Wilson Walker regarding changing the city of Fort Bragg's name. Mind you I abhor the idea of white supremacy, and fully denounce the Gestapo tactics that the KKK and their ilk committed in Charlottesville recently. California was a free state. We were named in 1857. There was no confederacy. There was no Civil War. The famous Lincoln-Douglas debates over slavery were a full year away. There was no plantation slavery here. We welcome everyone. We don't care if you are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, part of the LBGT community, Christian, Muslim, Jew, whatever. We just passed a resolution stating these very facts in January. Before you pressure us to change our name, come visit. Enjoy the Skunk Train. Go deep sea fishing. Go hike the new Coastal Trails. Come enjoy some good local hospitality and some long and rich history. We preserved it for everyone, locals and visitors alike, to enjoy.
WILLITS TARGETED WITH THREE MORE DISABILITIES LAWSUITS
Attorney files three new ADA related claims against City
COAST LISTSERVE EXCHANGE
ELLEN ROSSER wrote:
Dear Marco McClean,
It seems obvious that you don't know enough about religions to make distinctions among them...
Arrgh, Ellen! I want you to read the comic books I like, and interpret and appreciate them the way I do.
The reason religions great and small share many precepts is that they're all invented by human beings. And religions all start, develop a following, and end at the same level of childish superstition. Their stories are as alike one another as the different comic-book franchises are. There are many tropes common to all of them. And just as with religion, there's a great deal to absorb about all the different comic book superheroes' origin stories, weaknesses, personal codes of honor, contended reboots, allies and nemises (say NEM-uh-seez), deaths and returns from death, and so on. Or, to use another metaphor, this is how I see it: We're all having a nice outing at the beach, and you want everyone else to pay attention only to the special pebbles you collected. That's okay, they're nice pebbles, and that one does look uncannily like a cowboy hat, true, but so what? There are lots of other pebbles, including ones that look like a dragon's egg or a rocketship or a spark plug (if at Glass Beach) and there are lots of other things to do at the sea.
Just speaking of the Bible, and of violence, your Jesus said and did plenty of violence, and didn't he also say that the law -- the Old Testament -- was the Law? So if you follow his advice it's still an abomination unto Sky God to cut your hair or shave or use money or paint a picture, or eat bacon or shellfish or kangaroo, or go into any line of work other than your father's, just as it's perfectly okay to own slaves (as long as you captured them from another tribe, ya knucklehead; no snatching up into bondage one of your own people; that's bad for business), and put people to death for, oh, dozens of arbitrary offenses, including sassing back. Also, rigorous scholars agree it's extremely unlikely that Jesus ever existed as the person you conceive him to be, or that he said any of the things you've read that he said; all the stories in the New Testament were written at least 100 years after that particular fictional superhero's fanciful death. The character's name was not even Jesus until relatively recently, and he's gone through plenty of costume redesigns, some with capes, which are both a choking and flight hazard.
Colin Kaepernick is being treated unfairly for not keeping his mouth shut about a terrible societal wrong. The multimillionaire bosses and particularly troglodytic sports fans are like: Shut up and play football. Like when a formerly not recognized as political musician speaks out on an important topic and the bosses (and a critical number of fans) go, Shut up and play yer guitar. No-one wants to hear your opinion on the Vietnam war. (Or whatever war.)
I don't care about sports or religion, but I don't like it when someone in the real world has something valuable to say and it's only allowed where no-one can hear.
I guess you think humans are intelligent enough to invent the idea that humans should not kill other humans. Show me where the idea originated if not in the religions. Since humans are not intelligent enough to follow that idea--even though it is now international law--I don't believe they were intelligent enough to originate it either. Do you? Peace and blessings, Ellen
Ellen, that's the wrong question. The sort of question you typically end your emails with is always the wrong question, arising from a propaganda technique that you adopted because it works on you.
Plenty of animals much less intelligent than humans, including our close relatives the bonobos, don't kill humans or each other or anything at all. Capybaras, though cute, are idiots compared to a four-year-old human child. They couldn't figure out a doorknob to save their life. Maybe they kill and eat an insect, or something like that, but instinct doesn't always have a great deal to do with intelligence. And over time complex order -- octopi, penguins, a hawk's eye, and so on -- can arise from entirely stupid, mechanical natural processes, given enough time and a surplus of energy from outside the system, as it did on Earth because of our star, and because of all the elements that came from exploding stars before it.
Everyone has the opportunity and the tools at hand to commit murder. Most people have what anyone would consider to be a plausible motive at this time or that. And yet, from long before monolithic religions arose and through the present day, and even in war only a very tiny minority of people actually kill someone. I punched someone in the stomach once in third grade, and then in high school I got in a fight and punched someone in the nose. That's pretty much the extent of the human-on-human violence that came from me. I wonder how many of the devoutest so-called Christian pacifists would stand the test of being given a button they could press to eliminate their opponent in business or love or other competition or distress or grievance if they knew no-one would ever find out.
And a single ancient historian is nothing to hang all of your made-up religious history on. Look at how many disagreements arise among historians about even events that occurred in the past hundred years. In the past ten years. Last week.
MENDOCINO COUNTY TO MOVE FORWARD with the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for contracted dispatch services & an RFP for the Inland County EMS Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) contract after Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.
HOSPITALITY HOUSE/CENTER’S Sacramento attorney responds to Fort Bragg notice of violation.
BOONVILLE AIRPORT OPEN HOUSE A GREAT SUCCESS. AGAIN.
Kirk and Cindy Wilder thank all those who assisted in providing another spectacular community event at the Boonville Airport on Saturday, August 12. Wonderful entertainment was provided by “The Ukeholics and The Tiny Orchestra of Boonville.” 116 people were provided free airplane rides around the Anderson Valley by eleven volunteer pilots in a wide variety of airplanes. The evening was highlighted by a delicious pot-luck dinner. Thanks to one and all and hope to see you all again next year!
AIR QUALITY ADVISORY For Mendocino County
Friday, August 18, 2017
The hazy sky conditions for most of Mendocino County are attributed to wildfires to our north. Satellite imagery from the U.S. Forest Service confirms smoke from the Orleans Complex, Ruth Complex, Eclipse Complex and Salmon August Complex fires are impacting the visibility and the air quality in the county. The Eclipse Complex fire alone has burned over 17,000 acres and is only 13% contained. Until the fires are contained, changes in wind direction and temperatures could increase the impact to inland areas of Mendocino County.
Currently, smoke concentrations are averaging in the 'Good' to 'Moderate' AQI range for most of Mendocino County. The forecast suggests no relief from the smoke impact from the north for the next couple of days. If high pressure persists and winds remain calm, smoke impacted areas may reach the “Unhealthy” range.
Smoke in heavy concentrations can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. All others should limit prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke.
Persons experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact a health care provider: Headache; Repeated Coughing; Chest Tightness Or Pain; Difficulty In Breathing; or Nausea.
Information regarding the most current air quality readings and related information can be found on the District web site at www.mendoair.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 18, 2017
Carmichael, Chiles, Dunn, Guzman-Marin
GREG CARMICHAEL, Vallejo/Ukiah. Honey oil extraction.
CHRISTOL CHILES, Fort Bragg. Burglary, brandishing, criminal threats, trespassing, contempt of court, probation revocation.
KEVIN DUNN, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ERIBERTO GUZMAN-MARIN, Auburn/Ukiah. Speeding, suspended license, failure to appear.
Lugo, Sanchez, Torres, Walker
JENISE LUGO, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, witness intimidation.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Petty theft, disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)
THOMAS TORRES, Clearlake/Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ALI WALKER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
by James Kunstler
First they came for the statues….
What do you know, long about Wednesday, August 16, 2017, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) discovered that the United States Capitol building was infested with statues of Confederate dignitaries. Thirty years walking those marbled halls and she just noticed? Her startled announcement perked up Senator Cory Booker (D- NJ) who has been navigating those same halls only a few years. He quickly introduced a bill to blackball the offending statues. And, of course, the congressional black caucus also enjoyed a mass epiphany on the bronze and stone delegation of white devils.
I’d like to hear an argument as to why the Washington Monument should remain dedicated to that vicious slave-driver and rebellious soldier, and indeed the name of the city that is the federal seat of government. Or the District of Columbia (after Columbus, who initiated the genocide of Native Americans). Or America, cribbed out of Amerigo Vespucci, the wicked Florentine cartographer who ascertained that the place called Brazil today was not the east coast of Asia but actually a New World — and so all our troubles began!
Well, there has been a lot of idle chatter the past half-century about the root causes of this-and-that, and it seems that we have located one at last. I expect that scientific studies out of our best universities will soon confirm that occult transmissions from the statue of Jefferson Davis (a double-devil named after an earlier devil) are responsible for the murder rate in Chicago.
Just as empires tend to build their most grandiose monuments prior to collapse, our tottering empire is concocting the most monumentally ludicrous delusions before it slides down the laundry chute of history. It’s as if the Marx Brothers colluded with Alfred Hitchcock to dream up a melodramatic climax to the American Century that would be the most ridiculous and embarrassing to our posterity.
In the meantime, many citizens await Monday’s spectacle of a total solar eclipse in parts of the country. They apparently don’t realize that another eclipse has been underway for months: the total eclipse of reality across the entire landscape of the USA. Now that has been an event to behold, not just some twenty-minute freak of astronomy. What’s being blacked out is the perilously fragile condition of the financial system — a great groaning Rube Goldberg contraption of accounting fraud, grift, statistical deceit, and racketeering that pretends to support the day-to-day activities of our national life.
For months, the recognition of this oncoming financial monster has been blocked by the hallucination of gremlins from the Kremlin infiltrating the recent presidential election. But just as that mirage was dissolving, along comes the treacherous invasion of the Confederate statues. It begins to look like the final piece of the puzzle in the Deep State’s quest to eject Donald Trump from the oval office. His response to the deadly statue situation (“…why not Washington and Jefferson…?”) was deemed so obtuse and unfeeling that even the rodents of his own nominal Republican Party want to jump his ship of state.
So, the set-up could not be more perfect! The country will now get down to the business of a months-long 25th Amendment circle-jerk at the very moment that the financial system flies apart. The damage from the financial clusterfuck will be much more real, and much worse, than anything that might be spun out of the anti-statue crusade hogging the headlines today. It will be interesting to see whether the old legacy media even reports on it as it happens, or whether they will cook up new and more bizarre entertainments to distract the public from what might be the ultimate swindling of a lifetime.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’ve learned some important stuff over the past 6 weeks or so. I had triple hernia surgery, which wasn’t so bad, but at my age, any surgery under general anesthesia could possibly become dicey. Also, I had to have a catheter inserted (very unpleasant) for 5 days. It gave me visions of what life would be like incontinent. I’m pretty healthy for my age – I think – but I can feel my body beginning to break down. I hope it takes another 25 years, but who knows?
Then my daughter just had surgery. Luckily, the operation was a complete success. With me being down, then her, I had time to lie back and do some thinking. I put everything in perspective, and realized getting worked up over things I had no control over – like the asshole nazis.
I’m just going to laugh at these poor suckers from now on. Laughter is important, and I’ll use them for entertainment value, and go on with my “cosmic” life. Such people bring others down, not uplifts them, so please just be careful. Carrying around the werewolf can be quite a burden.
THIS SUNDAY: A TALKBACK WITH THE ACTORS OF THE OPEN HOUSE!
This Sunday's matinée performance of The Open House, Will Eno's award-winning comedy of dysfunctional family dynamics, includes a talkback with actors Bob Cohen, Sandra Hawthorne, Dan Kozloff, Nicole Traber, and Raven Deerwater immediately following the show. Our talkbacks are casual Q & A's that give the audience a chance to find out more about the making of a production and the process of creating a character, as well as a chance to get some insight into the play itself. You may even find out how the actors learn ALL those lines!
PLEASE JOIN US! Tickets are just $25, or $12 for youth under 22. Order your tickets online at mendocinotheatre.org, or call 707-937-4477.
White Breasted Nuthatch (Photo by Ben Anderson)
A MONTH WITHOUT LEADERSHIP? WHAT WILL PA DO?
August 2017 City Council Meeting CANCELED
Point Arena City Council Mayor Scott Ignacio ~ Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey ~ Richey Wasserman ~ Jonathan Torrez ~ Anna Dobbins
August Meeting Canceled
The August 2017 meeting of the Point Arena City Council has been canceled. The next scheduled meeting of the City Council is on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at City Hall.
THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO CHARLOTTESVILLE
Charlie Daniels: Removing Confederate Statues Is Like ISIS Wrecking History — Country legend Charlie Daniels backed Trump's handling of the Charlottesville crisis praising him for standing up to political correctness.
by Tom Sykes
The country music legend Charlie Daniels has come to the public defense of president Trump, and weighed in on the highly charged debate about the Confederate-era statues and monuments which dot America’s public spaces.
Speaking to host Rita Cosby on Newsmax TV, Daniels compared tearing down the confederate statues across America to the actions of ISIS in destroying ancient iconography, saying both were an attempt to edit out parts of history “you don’t agree with” adding, “If you don't like it, don't look at it."
The “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” singer also said that he agreed with Trump that there were violent people on “both sides” at Charlottesville.
Daniels said that he condemned “any group made for the sole purpose of hating people of any creed or color,” but added, “I condemn anybody that was hitting people with sticks, but apart from the barrier I couldn’t tell one side from the other.” In the interview, he also praised Trump for standing up to “political correctness,” saying, “The guy’s a human being, he’s not a politician.”
Daniels, who was promoting his autobiography Don’t Look At The Empty Seats, also praised Trump’s method of interacting with North Korea, saying, of the rogue nation’s abandoned threats to bomb Guam, “That’s the first time I’ve seen Kim Jong Un, or any of these Jongs... ever back down from anybody.”
While there are of course many recorded occasions on which the North Koreans have threatened to bomb other countries without following through, it is the actor and songwriter’s comments on the statue controversy that are likely to provoke the most debate. He praised Robert E. Lee as “one of the most honorable people in our history,” and said that everyone in America has to encounter imagery every day that they may not like.
He cited the example of sexualized movie posters, and said that people who don’t like them are not entitled to start “tearing them down.”
ROMNEY TO TRUMP: APOLOGIZE FOR CAUSING ‘RACISTS TO REJOICE’
'Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,' Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said in a lengthy Facebook post.
MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS RETRO SUNDAY - $1 ADMISSION
Flash back to the early 1960s and the origins of Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens with $1 admission for everyone THIS SUNDAY, August 20, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Retro Sunday is Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens day of giving back to the community that has supported us for more than 55 years!
For those who have not visited in a while, come see whatâ€™s new and blooming this summer. Tour the expanded organic demonstration Vegetable Garden. Delight in dahlias, roses, begonias, and so much more. Introduce a friend to the Gardens and spend the day wandering the 47 acres. Find inspiration for your home garden, have a family picnic, walk the dog, or find a quiet spot to melt the day away... just a few ideas to get you started. See you Sunday!
(From the NY Times:)
New York may be a city forever changing, but Mr. [Jeremiah] Moss argues that this time something nefarious is afoot. He describes a global phenomenon he calls “hyper-gentrification,” in which political forces join hands with corporate interests to drive up prices and drive out poor people and the places they go. “The kind of change that we’re experiencing, that kind of change is really different from change as usual,” he said. “It’s change as unusual.” At Housing Works, an audience member near the door called out: “So what are we going to do?” A man behind him grumbled, “There’s nothing we can do.” Is this a call to action or a wake? Maybe a little of both…
FRIDAY’S MEMO OF THE AIR
Something kept tugging at my memory as I watched animation after animation of the coming Monday eclipse track, and I finally realized what it was. The Xindi prototype weapon that slashes a boiling trench across Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, killing millions and millions of people, including Trip's sister, in March of 2153, in Star Trek: Enterprise.
Here's the best eclipse-related video I've seen so far. Eclipses can be considered from other points of view, and they should be:
Also, for those who already know what an eclipse is and how one works and so are tired of being shown diagrams and being explained to about eclipses, or who just like to memorize arbitrary terms, here is all of it in one image:
In other news, tonight (Friday) I'll be doing my radio show by live remote from Juanita's apartment, not from the KNYO storefront in Fort Bragg, so if you want to come in and play your musical instrument(s) or talk about your project, or whatever, make that Friday next week (August 25) when I'll be there.
It's 325 N. Franklin (next to the Tip Top bar). Just waltz in any time after 9pm (Friday, next week), head for the lighted room at the back and get my attention.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio.
Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, including midnight to 3am 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org or http://TuneIn.com
Again, last week's show from Franklin Street was mostly sabotaged from being on either the air or the web by technical and/or malice-based problems beyond anyone at the station's control. Jerry has replaced all the pertinent passwords and significantly robustified the system's security, so that particular [sweary swearword swearword] [noun-swearword] can't occur again, though a new one might, and that's the beauty of living in the world, having experiences, caring about these abritrary things to care about. The recording of the only-partially-aired Friday August 11 show, which I continued doing, nonetheless, is still available for download at my weblog, in case that interests you. It's pretty good, as will be the all-new one I do tonight, which you'll be able to get the recording of tomorrow (Saturday) night, whether the STL technology behaves like a loving mother in an after-school special, which it usually does, or a demented slumlord in a Marvel comic book, like Wilson Fisk in Daredevil.
FITCH RATINGS CONCLUDES DELTA TUNNELS PROJECT WOULD FURTHER INCREASE WATER RATES
by Dan Bacher
On August 16, Fitch Ratings confirmed what Delta Tunnels opponents have been saying for years — the proposed California WaterFix project being currently fast-tracked by the Trump and Brown administrations would likely drive a significant increase in monthly water rates.
This increase in water rates would have a particularly egregious impact upon people in low income and environmental justice communities in Southern California that are right now struggling to pay their water bills. The increase in water rates driven by the construction of Jerry Brown’s “legacy project," the Delta Tunnels, would only make things worse for families having a hard time getting by in these difficult times.
The ultimate fate of the California Water Fix, the controversial plan to divert water through two 35 mile long tunnels under the Sacramento San-Joaquin River Delta, is “nearing resolution as agencies that would benefit from, and pay for such water, take a position on the outcome,” according to an analysis from Fitch Ratings.
The Trump and Brown administrations and project proponents claim the tunnels would fulfill the “coequal goals” of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration, but opponents point out that project would create no new water while hastening the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species.
The project would also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers that have played a central role in the culture, religion and livelihood of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes for thousands of years.
“The estimated $16.3 billion in project costs would be borne by the utilities' rate payers, including State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) members,” Fitch Ratings noted. However, economists have estimated the real cost of the project could go as high as $68 billion, including payment of debt on the bonds issued.
Fitch Ratings said the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), a SWP wholesaler to 26 member agencies serving about 19 million residents, expects to bear about one-quarter of the total cost.
MWD estimates the monthly household bill within its service territory would increase by only about $2-$3, but both Fitch Ratings and Delta Tunnels opponents say this low ball estimate could go much higher.
“The MWD estimate is based on a cost split for the Fix of 55% SWP and 45% CVP,” Fitch Ratings explained. “However, this assumes that all other SWP and CVP contractors sign on to the Fix. The cost to MWD and its ratepayers could be higher if some contractors decline to participate.”
Fitch Ratings noted that the timing and ultimate cost of the project “are important to California's water and sewer utilities, as this cost ultimately will be passed on to end users.”
“Many California utilities implemented substantial rate increases or alternative rate structures in recent years to mitigate significant declines in financial margins in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 due to conservation-related demand declines resulting from the state's five-year drought. The cost related to the Fix would be an added charge,” the analysis stated
“Ratepayers have thus far shown a willingness and ability to absorb higher rates and most California utilities have ratepayer bases able to bear the estimated increase to fund the Fix. However, some agencies have water bills that already exceed Fitch's affordability threshold (combined water and sewer utility bill equal to, or higher than, 2% of median household income) and could become more pressured,” Fitch Ratings concluded.
The Fitch Ratings analysis follows the release of a white paper by MWD staff concluding that the WaterFix is the "most cost effective” alternative to ensuring affordable and reliable water supplies: www.mwdh2o.com/...
“If we keep our existing imported water supply, made more reliable with California WaterFix, it would cost approximately $2-3/mo. per average household in the Metropolitan service area,” the report stated. “If we tried to develop new local supplies to replace the imported water supply we would lose without California WaterFix, it would cost two or more times as much per average household in the Metropolitan service area.”
Restore the Delta (RTD) submitted a response to MWD’s third and final Delta Tunnels white paper exposing what the group described as “the gaping holes” in MWD’s financial analysis on various California WaterFix costs.
“With its latest financing paper, MWD pedals a wish and a prayer to its board that a $17 billion Tunnels project will only cost its 6.2 million residential customers $2 to $3 per month,” said Tim Stroshane, RTD policy analyst. “MWD’s rosy picture omits the cost of their customers’ Tunnels water use. This is analytical malpractice of the highest order.”
Likewise, Kyle Jones, policy advocate for Sierra Club California, said, “Metropolitan Water District continues to paint the Tunnels in the best light, using the lowest cost estimates possible. This proposed fantasy ignores costs of mitigation for their environmental harm, and assumes that all contractors are willing to pay for this $68 billion boondoggle.”
Jones said Metropolitan also “cherry picks” alternative options for the Tunnels that look at only the most expensive options.
“Any true alternatives analysis, including conservation, efficiency, and groundwater cleanup, would show that there’s a better path forward for Metropolitan customers to develop a climate-resilient water system that isn’t conditioned on destroying the San Francisco Bay Delta," said Jones.
“MWD's failure to analyze water costs in dry and drought years and water use by consumers so as to determine the real cost per household for WaterFix make this analysis invalid,” concurred Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD Executive Director. “MWD staff clearly wants to build this project so that water can be sold for maximum profit.”
Dr. Jeff Michael, University of the Pacific economist, and Doug Obegi, NRDC senior attorney, wrote similar analyses of the MWD white paper.
On August 14, MWD held a public workshop on plans to fund the Delta Tunnels. Ratepayer group representatives at the meeting charged that the tunnels will burden them with higher bills for water to be used primarily by corporate agribusiness interests, now irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. To read the LA Times story on the workshop, go here: www.latimes.com/…
“Metropolitan Water District’s finance plan for the Delta Tunnels, estimated to cost at least $17 billion, confirms that the project would burden Southern Californians with higher water bills to pay for tunnels that won’t deliver them any new water,” said Brenna Norton, senior organizer for Food & Water Watch. “Metropolitan’s cost assumptions are misleadingly low as they do not include interest repayment, and are based on the dubious assumption that agricultural districts will pay for 45 percent of the project.”
Norton said a “more realistic estimate” of the project’s costs to Los Angeles households would be from $7 to $16 per month for more than 40 years, amounting to over $3300 per household, according to one independent study.
She also said the tunnels would impose an “unfair, useless tax” when money is desperately needed to fix Southern California’s aging pipes and to build storm water infrastructure to increase the local supply. Norton urged cities and water agencies that make up Metropolitan’s board, including Los Angeles and the Central Basin Water Agency, to “protect their taxpayers and reject this wasteful project.”
Over the past few weeks, the Brown administration has incurred the wrath of environmental justice advocates, conservationists and increasing numbers of Californians by ramrodding Big Oil’s environmentally unjust cap-and-trade bill, AB 398, through the legislature; approving the reopening of the dangerous SoCalGas natural gas storage facility at Porter Ranch; green lighting the flawed EIS/EIR documents permitting the construction of the California WaterFix; and issuing a “take” permit to kill endangered salmon and Delta smelt in the Delta Tunnels.
Governor Brown also showed his authoritarian bent by accusing AB 398 critics of practicing “forms of political terrorism that are conspiring to undermine the American system of governance” in an interview with David Greene of NPR (National Public Radio) on July 25: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/7/27/1684343/-California-Governor-accuses-opponents-of-Big-Oil-s-cap-and-trade-bill-of-political-terrorism
When Fitch Ratings, environmental leaders, and a greatly respected economist all agree that the Delta Tunnels will further increase water rates substantially more than the Metropolitan Water District estimates, then you know it’s time for MWD and other agencies to reject Governor Brown’s environmentally destructive and enormously expensive project once and for all!
To read the Fitch Ratings Analysis, go here: www.fitchratings.com/…
To read Restore the Delta’s response, click here.
To read Obegi’s blog, click here.
To read Michael’s blog, click here.