Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
by AVA News Service, October 12, 2017
HERE’S THE NUMBER TO CALL (24/7) for Redwood Fire information: 707-467-6428. You can also check on the status of your home or ask about someone’s location on this line.
LATEST FIRE REPORTS FROM THE PD
Fires in fourth day threaten thousands of homes in Sonoma, Napa counties
Unpredictable wildfires prompted new evacuation orders and advisories Wednesday for thousands of residents in Sonoma and Napa counties as shifting winds frustrated firefighters attempting for a third day to get a handle on deadly blazes, which under windier conditions once again threatened more urban areas.
Flames encroached on the historic town of Sonoma, prompting crews to plow a protective barrier around the historic General Vallejo home and sending deputies with loudspeakers to the central plaza, shouting warnings to leave.
In Calistoga, police went door to door, ordering the town’s 5,000 residents to get out. The escape for some was along roads walled by flames. Late Wednesday, the city was the only community in the region entirely under a mandatory evacuation order.
Firefighters attacked trouble spots in eastern Santa Rosa — in Bennett Valley, Oakmont and Trione-Annadel State Park, which together generated a towering plume that could be seen late Wednesday across the Bay Area.
To the north, residents of Geyserville evacuated as firefighters braced for a tough battle into the night on a blaze burning in the Mayacamas Mountains.
Among the biggest fears was that one or more of the fires could merge amid overnight winds, creating a monster inferno.
“There are number of fires burning out of control right now,” said Todd Derum, division chief for Cal Fire’s Sonoma County division. “All of them have a potential to grow together.”
The exact paths of the 11 fires in Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Solano and Mendocino counties was uncertain. Together they burned nearly 140,000 acres and claimed at least 23 lives, 13 of which happened in the Tubbs fire that ripped into Santa Rosa from Calistoga early Monday, destroying thousands of homes and businesses. An active finger of the 31,000-acre Tubbs fire continued to burn east of Windsor, from Shiloh ridge to Chalk Hill Road and Knights Valley.
29,000 homes threatened
In that fire alone, more than 29,000 homes, most in Santa Rosa, remained under threat, according to Cal Fire. More than 570 structures have been destroyed.
“There are a ton of houses out there,” Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Mark Basque said. “This is an unprecedented event.”
The largest fire in the region was the Atlas fire, mostly in Napa County, which consumed more than 42,000 acres.
Containment for most remained at or near zero. Their causes remain undetermined.
Jittery residents from Rohnert Park to Ukiah hosed down rooftops and packed cars with suitcases in preparation for the worst. As they did, a northeast breeze kicked up, scattering dry leaves and shattering nerves. Gusts up to 50 mph were expected.
“I suspect tonight is going to be busy,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said. “The wind’s really scaring everyone.”
Firefighters responding to Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency declaration converged on the region from across the West, joined by police from around Northern California and National Guard troops.
Some watched over desolate, ash-covered neighborhoods as displaced occupants huddled in temporary shelters. Five people were arrested in Sonoma County on suspicion of looting, authorities said.
Shelters in Santa Rosa were at two-thirds capacity.
Four fires raged in the Sonoma Valley alone, threatening communities from multiple directions, taking out part of Glen Ellen and Kenwood and leveling some homes in Oakmont. Among those who lost their homes was Susan Gorin, the county supervisor representing Sonoma Valley and east Santa Rosa.
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Tubbs fire pushing north toward Lake County
Here is the latest news on the fires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Napa counties and the rest of the North Coast.
Mendocino County’s Redwood and Potter valleys fire has grown to 32,100 acres Thursday morning and containment is 5 percent.
The fire pushed Wednesday further into Potter Valley, forcing additional evacuations.
About 8,000 people have been evacuated in that fire and a 2,500-acre fire in Lake County. The number of homes lost remained at 250 overnight.
The Lake County fire, known as the Sulphur fire, was almost half contained.
At least six people died in the Redwood Valley fire but investigators are continuing to search for more fatalities.
Lake County, to date the least damaged region in the midst of ongoing multiple fires in surrounding counties, now is threatened by three fires, according to a Cal Fire division chief.
Thursday morning’s biggest concern was a push from a 32,000-acre Mendocino County fire threatening a northern section of Lake County near Lake Pillsbury, said Greg “Bert” Bertelli, division chief for Lake County.
Wednesday afternoon his biggest concern had been the Pocket fire burning in the steep hills above Geyserville that parallels The Geyser geothermal field leading east into Lake County. That fire still poses a threat. But also Thursday morning the massive Tubbs fire was pushing north out of Calistoga and spreading onto Mount St. Helena. As of 8 a.m. flames were just a few hundred feet from Highway 29 – a major entrance to Lake County.
It all comes down to wind direction.
“You feel like one of these small countries in Europe during World War II, surrounded by large enemies,” Bertelli said.
The Pocket fire, burning between Cloverdale and Geyserville, jumped to 8,130 acres overnight with zero containment, according to Cal Fire. The Redwood Valley fire burning in Mendocino County grew by more than 2,000 acres overnight to 32,100 acres and remains a 5 percent containment, according to Cal Fire reports.
Fires ravaging the region continued to grow overnight with virtually no containment:
Napa’s Atlas fire is at almost 44,000 acres. Containment: 3 percent.
Nuns and Norrbom fire, in Sonoma Valley, are at 14,698 acres with 3 percent containment. They merged during the night, officials said.
Partrick fire burning in Sonoma and Napa counties is now almost 11,000 acres and 2 percent contained.
Adobe fire in Sonoma Valley and Bennett Valley is almost 8,000 acres with 1 percent containment.
Pressley fire in Sonoma Valley is 473 acres and 1 percent containment.
There were 1,358 personnel working all the fires. Thursday’s effort was to include eight air tankers, 17 helicopters and 131 engines.
Numerous mandatory evacuations orders in these areas remain in place, including all of Glen Ellen, east of Bennett Valley Golf Course, Enterprise Road, Arnold Drive and 7th Street East and Old Winery Road in Sonoma to Castle Road and Old Winery Road.
Advisory evacuations in Sonoma County for these fires includes Lovall Valley, most of Boyes Hot Springs and the north side of the city of Sonoma.
(courtesy Press Democrat)
CALFIRE UPDATES (Oct. 11, 2017)
Additional mandatory evacuations are now in place for the following areas of the Redwood Fire:
Mandatory evacuation order for Potter Valley area:
ALL roads in the community of Potter Valley feeding onto Potter Valley Road south to Highway 20 and east to the Lake County line.
Evacuees from this area should head south to Highway 20. People leaving from Lake County and the Lake Pillsbury side should travel southeast on Elk Mountain Rd to Upper Lake.
* * *
What: Community Meeting
When: 11:00 AM, October 12, 2017
Where: Willits High School Auditorium, 299 N. Main St, Willits
What: Press Conference/Community Meeting
When: 2:00 PM, October 12, 2017
Where: Ukiah High School Cafetorium, 1000 Low Gap Rd., Ukiah
* * *
Fire Information Line: (Redwood) 707-467-6428
Fire Information Line (Sulphur) 707-967-4207
* * *
REDWOOD / POTTER FIRES (MENDOCINO LAKE COMPLEX) INCIDENT INFORMATION
Last Updated: October 12, 2017 8:31 am
Date/Time Started: October 08, 2017 10:36 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit
County: Mendocino County
Location: North of Hwy 20, west of Mendocino National Forest, south of Black Bart
Acres Burned - Containment: 32,100 acres - 5% contained
Evacuations: 10/12/17 at 8 AM - See the latest Incident Update for current evacuations and road closures. On Thursday Community Meeting and Press Conference for Redwood and Sulphur Fires
Injuries: 2 serious injuries and 1 fatality
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: Mendocino County; Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office; Lake County; Lake County Sheriff’s Office; CAL OES; California Highway Patrol; CALTRANS; California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation; American Red Cross; PG&E; United States Forest Service; California National Guard; National Weather Service; California Conservation Corps
Conditions: Today firefighters will continue to evaluate and implement structure defense as well as construct and improve containment lines. Damage Inspection teams will continue to assess areas affected by the fire. The fire continues to burn in multiple directions threatening numerous communities and infrastructure. Steep inaccessible terrain coupled with critical fuel moistures, and northwest winds will provide challenges for crews working on the fire. 32,100 acres have burned in the Redwood Fire, 5% contained. 2500 acres have burned in the Sulphur Fire, 45% contained. There have been 6 fatalities and approximately 8000 people have evacuated throughout the incident. We ask the public to exercise caution and remember to be prepared to evacuate when asked. To learn more about wildfire preparedness visit www.readyforwildfire.org. See the latest Incident Update for more information on this fire.
Phone Numbers (707) 467-6428 (Fire Information Line )
NOTES & OPINIONS FROM THE CATASTROPHE
SHERIFF ALLMAN deserves high marks for keeping misinformation to a minimum as he coordinates the massive and complicated fire and rescue effort.
THE SHERIFF said as of Wednesday mid-day there were 13 choppers at work in the county.
THE WINDS began blowing in a northeasterly direction Wednesday, meaning they were now blowing in the opposite direction from Monday’s gale-force blasts.
PG&E Gas lines that were turned off will need to be safety checked house by house before connections can be re-lit after gas is turned back on.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE announced Wednesday afternoon that strong northerly winds gusting up to 50 mph over the North Bay mountains would begin Wednesday afternoon and continue overnight.
ANYONE with safety info about families of County Jail inmates, should call the Sheriff’s Office at 467-6428. Some of the inmates are very nervous.
SHERIFF ALLMAN called this: “The biggest disaster in Mendocino County history since Jonestown.” Jonestown, however, was much more a disaster for Oakland where many of its victims were from. The 1906 earthquake destroyed most of the brick buildings then standing in the county, but the county’s population was much smaller than it is now. The Lightning Fires of 2008 were dangerous but were stopped before they did much structure damage.
SIX CITIZENS of the county are dead, 60 houses are gone. The Sheriff said he expects those numbers to rise.
THE SHERIFF urged people to be extremely careful. “Practice Fire safety. Access is limited, resources are stretched thin. No outside fires or bbq, please!”
“INVESTIGATIONS are underway. All reports will be investigated, no matter how far-fetched.”
A “MEDIA OUTLET” reported a facebook rumor and created problems for responders,” said the Sheriff. “Please be careful with them. People might react badly.” We wondered which media outlet, but Facebook is synonymous with misinformation. Stick to MSP, the Ukiah Daily Journal’s Facebook page, the Sheriff’s own website and CalFire’s website for accurate information.
THE FAKE NEWS the Sheriff may have been referring to said Howard Hospital in Willits was being evacuated. It wasn’t. It is prepared to evacuate, it’s operating more or less normally, but the fires are unlikely to reach into Willits itself.
GOVERNOR BROWN said Tuesday that Global Warming is ushering in an age of catastrophes. Brown didn’t say that specific measures can make these events less catastrophic. Undergrounding power lines would prevent major fires. Strategically placed warning sirens, beefed up neighborhood watches and so on would help lessen loss of life.
DAVE SMITH, a resident of Redwood Valley, writes (Wednesday afternoon):
I'm on Bel Arbres just south west of all the Redwood Valley fires, next to the original Fetzer property. They stopped the fire that jumped the freeway down into Reeves Canyon. If the winds pick up too much and come out of the north and restart it, it could sweep through the Greenfield community and down towards us. We’ve had time to transfer some furniture, etc. to relatives in Ukiah, so we're just waiting it out...
THE MIGHTY AVA was unable to deliver papers to the Redwood Valley Market Wednesday. Deputies said the market was closed, and no one was being allowed to enter the community.
3PM WEDNESDAY. People in the northern region of Fitch Mountain overlooking Healdsburg are being told to be ready to evacuate. Calistoga is being evacuated. Geyserville is being evacuated.
DAVE EVANS of the Navarro Store said Wednesday that he's pumped more gas since Sunday night when the fires started than on any holiday weekend he's experienced in 20 years as owner of the store. He said that between displaced people and inland detours, and the very long lines and closed stations to the south, his two pumps have been busier than they've ever been.
KZYX has been quite good at regularly updating the moving disaster. As print-oriented people, we go to print, but we've been told many times today that KZYX is on the case!
A READER EXPLAINS: "When I drove south to Healdsburg at 10:30 this morning, there was no sign of fires to the east of Highway 101 at Geyserville. Driving north at 2:30pm looking east from exactly the same spot, this is what it looked like."
LAZ REPORTS FROM WILLITS:
With the exception of the South East, Willits is currently doing pretty well. Unfortunately many friends live in that area, also known as Pine Mountain. The bombers have been barraging the area all day but north to south winds may have hampered that somewhat; we’ve been absent of large aircraft noise for a while. The reports were no homes have been lost on Pine Mountain, but at a meeting yesterday that was corrected by a person who claimed to be housing victims of the fire.
As I mentioned this morning, during the blackout phones were local only, no cell service, internet was dead, and no Nat. Gas. PG&E is in town dealing with thousands of customers…it likely will be a few days to get service restored.
Howard Memorial Hospital is open, there is an evacuation warning, personally I doubt evacs will happen, that said if the winds reverse direction who knows. Schools are closed until further notice.
Mom and pops eateries are mostly closed due to no Nat. Gas, but gasoline seems plentiful and the markets have food. Currently all roads are open with exception of the Pine Mountain area.
Sheriff Allman said this morning that this event without a doubt is the worst the Mendo has seen in decades, if not longer…Fatalities so far are limited to the Redwood Valley region.
Socially, there is an eery vibe in town, many folks have left, some headed to the coast and some went north. Being cut off from the regular stuff for a couple of days was interesting. On Monday a woman I know mentioned how noisy Safeway seemed, “People are talking to each other, they’re not staring at their cell phones…”
* * *
WILLITS, Mendocino County — The number of people killed in a fire burning through southern Mendocino County rose to three on Tuesday, as nearby communities struggling with dead cell phones and web connections waited to see where the flames would move next.
The Redwood Complex Fire burned through Redwood Valley on Sunday night and early Monday, claiming three victims and sending 28 other people to hospitals, including four who suffered serious burns. The names of those killed have not been released.
The fire had burned 21,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon, with zero percent containment, forcing the evacuation of Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Pine Mountain, Cave Creek and the Wente Scout Reservation. Fifty homes were destroyed, along with 20 other buildings.
Although the winds that originally fanned the blaze had died Tuesday, residents of other towns strung along Highway 101 wondered about the safety of their own homes. And with problems plaguing cell phones, land lines and cable television service, they had a hard time finding answers.
About 600 people packed into the Willits public library for a late-afternoon meeting with county Sheriff Tom Allman and state fire officials. Some of those evacuated in a rush demanded to know when they would be allowed to return to their homes.
Allman said his department hoped to lead some of the 2,000 residents of Redwood Valley back for brief, supervised visits to collect belongings, perhaps starting Wednesday. Deputies arrested one alleged looter at a house that escaped the flames.
“I can assure you no one is sitting on their can, waiting to figure out what to do,” Allman told the crowd. “Everyone is working at this.”
The library has become Willits’ main link to the rest of civilization.
The string of fires that erupted across the North Bay late Sunday knocked out 77 cell phone towers throughout the region, state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said Tuesday after meeting with utility executives and emergency officials. Thirty-five of those were running Tuesday morning, but in Willits, the library proved to be the only place where residents could get a wireless phone or Internet connection.
They milled about outside the small brick building, tapping messages on their phones and laptops.
Landline phones weren’t much help. Allman said the telephone cable that connected Willits to other communities wasn’t working — perhaps the fault of a road crew digging into it, he said, or perhaps due to copper thieves. Residents of this town of 5,000 could call each other, but no one in the outside world. The damaged cable also meant that businesses couldn’t process credit or debit cards.
Not that many businesses were open. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., fearing damage to its natural gas distribution network, shut down gas service from Willits to Calpella.
“It’s cash-only,” said Linda Matz, 65, at her gift store, the Cat’s Meow.
“No one’s come in here,” added her friend Patty Rede, 57. “There’s absolutely no business. It’s dead.”
Matz and her husband, Ed Morris, live outside of Willits. Worried that they might not get advance notice in case of an evacuation, they loaded up their mobile home Monday night and headed toward the coast. They couldn’t get cell phone service until they reached Fort Bragg.
“It’s an adjustment,” said Morris, 65. “You get used to things, and then you can’t connect.”
At the community meeting, many of the questions focused on how people would get information, or what they should do if the fire approaches. Fire officials said they did not expect that more evacuations would be needed.
“If someone in my house has a medical emergency tonight, what do I do?” Deirdre Santaniello, 69, asked officials. Their answer: Bring that person to the fire station.
By day’s end, the communications blackout was starting to ease. AT&T brought in two portable cell phone towers. People with dish television still had service, although it didn’t always work.
“It’s like the old days, only worse,” Rede said. “Because then, we at least had landline service. This is very weird.”
(Michael Cabanatuan, SF Chronicle)
HOLDING UP HOPE FOR THE SHEPHERDS
When the Shepherd family told us at 1am that they were fleeing their Potter Valley mountain due to fire, we never imagined the tragedy to which they would fall victim on October 9, 2017.
We may never know all the details, and ultimately, right now, they don’t matter. Only the lives of our loved ones matter now.
We know they tried to escape down the driveway in a car. We know the car caught on fire and they left on foot.
Our sweet boy...our brave, strong, talented boy...Kai Logan Shepherd, 14 years old, had already succumbed to the fire when he was found on the driveway. We are utterly devastated.
Sara and Kressa were found on the driveway badly burned and disoriented and brought to safety. We don’t know how Jon got to the hospital or how he was found.
Sara and Kressa both sustained burns on 60% of their bodies. Jon sustained burns on 45% of his body. All are in different burn units surrounded by exceptional and compassionate staff and family members. Their conditions are changing every minute. No one is out of the woods yet and the path to recovery will be long.
The home they built is gone.
The life they knew is gone.
Kai Logan is gone.
Our hearts are broken.
More than anything though, Kressa, Sara, and Jon will need every ounce of our communal strength and hope.
Medical needs will be substantial.
We will need help with memorial service costs for Kai Logan.
Retrofitting Mom and Dad’s house (Thank goodness its standing) to accommodate convalescence and rehabilitation will be necessary.
Travel and accomodation costs for the family may also be substantial.
And ultimately, our main focus will be helping the Shepherds rebuild a life.
Right now, we will reach out with specific needs as necessary. We’re still reeling and trying to handle the logistics of such a multi-faceted tragedy.
Please also understand at this time, we do not know how much Kressa, Sara, and Jon remember. We do not know if they know about Kai. In any case, their healing and emotional health is of paramount importance. They are not yet strong enough to receive this information, let alone communicate. Please respect this sensitive information.
To donate go to:
JIM SHIELDS WRITES:
I’m sending this to both Observer and Water District contacts to let you know that telephone, cellular, and internet services have been restored (some on a sketchy basis) to the Laytonville area. We lost communications networks due to the wildfires just south of us. For those of you I owe responses to, I’ll getting back as soon as possible, but my priority now is getting the Observer out. So please be patient.
Editor & Publisher
The Mendocino County Observer
ONLY ONE LOOTER ARRESTED DURING FIRE
Donald Raymond Lasinski, 41, of Redwood Valley is the only looter arrested so far during the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire, according to the sheriff.
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman confirmed that only one looter has been arrested as of Tuesday afternoon, negating false reports that many thefts have been committed during the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire.
The man accused of attempting to steal from someone’s evacuated property Monday is identified as Donald Raymond Lasinski, 41, of Redwood Valley. He was booked at county jail Monday on suspicion of trespassing, held under $15,000 bail.
COOPERATION IS NEEDED AS WE ALL WORK THROUGH THIS...
For those NOT willing to cooperate and help in this time of need, the DA thought it might be helpful to outline and provide a reminder that there are legal consequences for ignoring a mandatory evacuation in California.
Mandatory evacuations are forced, or directed evacuations. While it's up to the local law enforcement to decide whether or not to use resources to enforce mandatory evacuations during an emergency, there is still a California law which finds ignoring a mandatory evacuation a criminal offense.
Anyone who violates any orders or regulations stated in the Emergency Services Act can be found "guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment for not to exceed six months or by both such fine and imprisonment." (Gov. Code 8665).
There are also laws giving federal, state and local authorities the right to close out designated areas during a natural disaster to keep people out. Any person who enters a closed off area or remains in an area after being ordered to evacuate can be found guilty of a misdemeanor (Penal Code 409.5).
Additionally, Penal Code 148(a) states, any person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, firefighter or an emergency medical technician while they're trying to do their job, can be punished by a fine of $1,000 or by imprisonment in a county jail for up to a year.
WHEN THE FIRST REPORTS of multiple fires in California’s Sonoma County poured in Sunday night, emergency dispatchers were at the same time sending out fire crews to investigate downed PG&E power lines and exploding electrical transformers in the area, the East Bay Times reports. Personnel were reportedly sent out to at least 10 locations over a 90-minute period to look into sparking wires and other electrical-system problems. San Francisco-based utility PG&E and others in the state have been in the past found responsible for major destructive wildfires over power-line maintenance issues. The utility released a statement Tuesday night acknowledging the equipment issues over the weekend in Sonoma—reportedly caused by high “hurricane-strength” winds—but noted that any broader questions about maintenance issues causing the area’s wildfires are at this point “highly speculative.” In April, PG&E was fined $8.3 million for a power-line maintenance problem that caused the September 2015 Butte Fire in Amador County. State fire officials are still investigating the cause of the Wine Country blazes which, as of late Tuesday night, had killed at least 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in multiple counties.
HOW THE FIRES STARTED?
IT HAPPENED TO US, TOO
Australia is a long way from the normally idyllic environment of Sonoma and Napa counties, yet as a nation we know only too well the devastation and heartache caused by what we call bush fires. Having spent some time in July 2002 in and around Santa Rosa, actually staying at the Fountaingrove Inn, we feel a sense of connection as your community struggles in the wake of such loss.
Rebuilding physical structures is one thing. However, peoples’ lives and livelihoods will take some time to recover and be restored. The response of not only government but also not-for-profit organizations will require the support of the whole community.
In times such as this, please be assured you are in our thoughts and prayers.
“FIRE, FIRE,” I HEARD THE CRY
by Jonah Raskin
Fires are raging all around me in Sonoma County and there’s no end in sight. They’ve been raging for days and nights. The air is thick with smoke and I’ve been breathing through an old, blue bandana. It’s as foul as any air I’ve ever put into my lungs. Facemasks have been sold out for at least 24-hours and every time they’re back in stock they sell out again. I’ve been to all the hardware stores and have asked. “Come back later,” the clerks tell me.
It will take me days if not weeks to get my head around this disaster that has brought out the best and the worst in people. Some boast about their heroics, while others are quietly stoical. I suppose it feels good to escape from the fire, but I don’t see any point in singing one’s own praises. Some have lost everything. It seems best to help them and to extend one’s compassion.
On the first morning of the fire, which now seems like ages ago, I received a call from Cal Fire and was told to evacuate. I sat tight. Then I received another call and packed a few things and went to the Sonoma coast where I had supper with friends and strangers and then spent the night. The next day I came back home. My house was the same as when I left it, but it’s nearly 100-years-old and all wood and it would burn in no time at all if flames got close. I have packed some valuables and have stowed them in the trunk of my car, which is ready to go at a moment’s notice and with a tank full of gas.
Yesterday, I drove up 101, through Santa Rosa, to visit friends who grow grapes not far from the Sonoma/Mendocino border. On the way there and on the way back I saw the terrible devastation, especially around the Bicentennial Way and the Mendocino Avenue exits. The earth was black and buildings were barely recognizable as structures once built by human beings. It was a scene of devastation; it looked like the war zones I seen on TV news. My friends on the Sonoma/Mendocino border told me that they were “graped out.” Their crop had been harvested. It would be made into wine. So, they were fortunate.
The fire came close to my house. Why it stopped a quarter-of-a-mile from where I live I don’t know. Fires must have laws that they obey that have to do with the supply of air and with fuel to burn. There must be some kind of logic to them, but they also seem to be illogical and irrational. They go this way and then that way, for no apparent reason. If we knew why they did what they did, perhaps we’d be able to prevent them from happening, though it does seem that the way we build our towns and cities, with houses, cars, stores and people all jammed together, is not the wisest of ways to avoid conflagrations.
I’ve lived with fires and with the fear of fires ever since I arrived in California forty-two years ago. I still haven’t accepted them as a fact of nature, though I know that we live in a land of fires—and droughts and floods. Disasters don’t just take place in New Orleans, Puerto Rico and Mexico. They’re right here in our midst. We live with them and sometimes we die in them.
I’ve spent part of the last day on a pot farm in Sonoma where no one evacuated, though the county told everyone on the farm to evacuate. No one stopped working. The harvest went on. The men and women, some of them from places as far away as Vera Cruz and Stockholm, kept at it and were paid $20 an hour. Other pot farms evacuated and weed went up in smoke and into the atmosphere.
I know that I have the jitters. I know that my anxiety level has been high because the immediate future is unknown. The fire might come knocking on my door, or it might skip my door. I have some friends who lost their homes in the big fire in Lake County, and others who didn’t lose their homes. I have received emails from all around the world asking about the fires in northern California. We’ve made the international news and we’ve been the subjects of nasty rumors, too. Indeed, rumors seem to spread as fast as wild fires.
What I don’t know is when the situation will end. Indeed, I don’t know when we’ll be back to normal and whether or not there is something once known as normal. I’ve heard it said that disasters—severe weather storms, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, floods and droughts—are the new normal. If so, then welcome to the new paradigm. Keep your wits about you, have a suitcase or a backpack with essentials at the door, and stay in touch with friends and family. Whatever you do, don’t do it alone. We survive as a species, or we don’t survive at all.
I’ve written this dispatch at the edge of my seat, ready to take off at a moment’s notice. I don’t want to lose my home, but I know that if I do, I’ll start all over again.
SURVIVOR RECOUNTS HARROWING RESCUE from Redwood Valley fire in Mendocino County
by Tobias Young
Like many people who fled the North Coast fires this week, RedHawk Palleson was awakened at 1 a.m. on Monday by the urgent knocking of a neighbor at the door of his Redwood Valley home.
AIR QUALITY ADVISORY
For Mendocino County
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Smoke and haze from the wildfires in northern California and the Redwood Complex of Redwood Valley and Potter Valley are impacting the air quality and reducing visibility.
Current wildfires are within and to the north, east, and south of Mendocino County.
Forecast models for mid-week are for stronger winds followed by a high pressure near the beginning of next week. Therefore, while surrounding wildfires are active expect unpredictable smoke impacts of some relief followed by intense smoke impacts to our air quality.
Currently air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the 'Unhealthy' to 'Very Unhealthy' ranges for parts of inland Mendocino County. This may continue for most of this week and the next until the fires are out.
Air quality in the 'Very Unhealthy' range affects everyone. When air quality is in this range, it is advised to avoid prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. If possible, stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity.
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. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke. When air conditions are 'Unhealthy,' everyone should limit prolonged or heavy exertion activities outdoors.
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.
According to Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer, Constance Caldwell, M.D., “Heavy smoke can pose a danger to everyone. If you can smell or taste smoke, or experience itchy eyes or a scratchy throat, this is unhealthy and you should stay indoors as much as possible. Those with heart or lung disease, including asthma, should consider leaving areas of heavy smoke if possible. If not, individuals with these health conditions should stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible. In heavy smoke, everyone should avoid unnecessary strenuous outdoor activity.”
New fire activity and wind directions and wind speeds can change at any time. It is advised to be prepared and stay informed. Impacts to the air quality will be most noticeable in the evening to early morning hours.
Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has particulate monitors running continuously measuring our air quality. These monitors report particulate matter concentrations hourly to the air District’s website. To get the latest air quality information for Mendocino County visit: www.mendoair.org.
While visiting our website, look at the sidebar to the right, or scroll down if using a mobile device to the section titled “Air Quality for Mendocino”. The air quality index ranges from ‘Good’ (green) to ‘Hazardous’ (dark purple).
SPECIAL REPORT - WILDFIRES
From Brasscheck TV
Another unnecessary tragedy. This one in Northern California. The technology exists to stop wildfires in their tracks has existed for over 20 years. Water, huge amounts of water, dropped bomber style from a massive plane that can load from natural sources and "bomb" massive areas all day and night.
Strange, isn't it? We have the resources to drop billions of dollars worth of munitions on the Middle East, but we can't scoop up free water to keep our homes from burning.
What's wrong with this picture? It's used in Europe and Russia and any other place that can afford it. But it's not being used in the US. Why? Did this tragedy have to happen? The answer is — No. The technology to put out these monstrous fires already exists, but “our government” refused to use it in 2003, because it was made in Russia.
The Russians designed the Ilyusian IL76 (similar to a USAF C-5) Water-Bomber plane with the capacity to carry 16,000 gallons of water, able to put out a fire the size of 10 football fields lined up end to end, in fifteen seconds. Why did we refuse it then? Did politics and historical animosity get in the way of saving our land, our animals, and our homes? Why was it not called in for this fire? These are questions that the citizens should be asking their Government representatives.
MTA NEWS: FREE DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICE ALSO OFFERED
MTA is Waiving Bus Fares in Willits and Ukiah
Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) is offering free public bus transportation service on all of its Willits and Ukiah routes with the exception of Route 65 to Santa Rosa. The free fares are offered to help people who have been affected by the Mendocino Lake Complex fires and will extend through Saturday.
Free travel includes MTA’s door-to-door Dial-A-Ride service in Willits and Ukiah. For free pick-up and delivery to your destination, call (707) 462-1422 ext. 2.
All MTA buses are running on normal schedules with the following exceptions:
MTA is stopping in Redwood Valley only at the West Road stop at highway 101 to pick up and unload passengers.
Coast service via MTA Route 95 buses only goes as far south as Bodega Bay.
Service on MTA’s Route 65 is currently blocked to Sonoma County Airport. MTA buses are dropping passengers at Coddington Mall and 2nd Street bus terminals only. Those buses can accommodate large suitcases and limited bicycles.
Check for service updates on the MTA website at mendocinotransit.org. Or call (707) 462-1422 or 1 (800) 696-4682.
Mendocino Transit Authority provides safe and convenient public bus service throughout Mendocino County.
ROBERT MANDEL, 1941 – 2017
A native New Yorker, Robert moved to the Anderson Valley in 1978 on the ebb of the “back to the land” migration. He had studied on th East Coast in Florence and Venice and at Berkeley.
But in 1975 he visited the valley and it sparked in him a desire for a different life. Robert and his partner William Chambers began a serious search for a place to pursue that life. But they always returend to Anderson Valley, finally recognizing that this was it. They bought land south of Boonville overlooking the valley at a time when people of moderate means could afford to do so. Robert lived on the land, gardening, restoring the forest after 100 years of logging, sharing his passion for fine wine and realizing it grew all around him, listening to opera and sharing it with neighbors via a pair of powerful speakers, preparing beautiful meals to enjoy with family and friends. Robert had a very deep love of life and the land. After two months in the hospital in San Francisco this summer, he returned to his home for the last time, a few days after his 76th birthday. He was such a warm bright light. We know he will be missed by many.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 11, 2017
Blessman, Hunter, McCarthy, Vassar
HELEN BLESSMAN, Redwood Valley. Refusal to disperse when ordered, resisting.
ROBERT HUNTER JR., Redwood Valley. DUI.
BRIAN MCCARTHY, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, interfering with police communications.
BRIAN VASSAR, Redwood Valley. Assault on police officer.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“When the money flows dry up the music will stop, smart guys will grab a chair now.”
I think one thing that is “different this time” is that the people in charge of the money flows have a sense of how thin the ice is and how deep the cold water beneath it is. Another thing is that so much of the rest of the world is stuck out on the ice with us – money is still flowing to the US because there is yet no viable alternative for the vast amount of dollars sloshing about.
Forgive the mixed metaphors, but the folks “in charge” know that this is nothing but a confidence game and they must do anything to keep from losing that confidence. They know that once the panic starts and the herd stampedes towards the edge it is a long way down to the bottom.
I doubt that they could keep a recession from spinning out of control and I think they doubt it too, so they “continue until they can’t.”
LITTLE DOG SAYS “Another thing about Skrag — he swears a lot, especially when he's hungry. He was pacing around this morning saying stuff like, ‘C'mon, c'mon, open the gd door and get the bleeping food out here!’ Then he lobs f-bombs at everyone walking past who have no responsibility for him. ‘You, bleepnuts, you got the bleeping chow?’ Finally, the food man shows up and he says, ‘About bleeping time!’ In the long history of feline ingratitude, this cat is in a class by himself.”
Gleaning Party, Blue Meadow Farm
LET THE HEALING BEGIN: BIONEERS 2017
by Jonah Raskin
Want to be part of the largest all-inclusive gathering of Native Americans anywhere on the planet? What about a workshop for making chocolate and another about learning how to cook without fossil fuels? Or spend a day at Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin County and learn about carbon farming. If all the above appeals to you, then the Bioneers annual get-together at the Marin Center is for you. “Every time I go, I learn something and invariably find a few gems,” Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore’s Dilemma, said. This year’s “gems” include Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” talking about independent media and an open Internet. Anthropologist Jeremy explores the secrets of Ayahuasca and sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land, explains the value of emotions for “political healing.” Plus there will be dozens of Native Americans from different nations within the U.S.
The official theme for this year’s Bioneers is “Uprising,” but it might as well be “healing” which is so important after getting hit by political and meteorological storms as well as fires. There’s culture everyday of the three-day fest that can seem like Burning Man for intellectuals and activists. On the first day, Friday October 20, there’s drumming, and there’s drumming again on Saturday October 21, plus dancing by Oakland’s Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company.
Co-Founders Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons give opening talks, and, while they live year-round in New Mexico, they’ve held the Bioneers in northern California so often that they deliver a package that seems meant for the North Bay.
“This year is the first Bioneers with Trump as president,” Simons said. “There’s more of a sense of urgency and emergency than every before.”
A baby boomer who discovered nature in New York’s Central Park, Simons regards Bioneers as a kaleidoscopic event that emphasizes women’s leadership, the value of Native American traditions and the decisive role that young people are playing in “uprisings” that are taking place from Marin, with its innovative “carbon project,” to Washington, D.C., home to the inspiration “Democracy Collaborative.” If you hope to heal, then Bioneers is meant for you.
Bioneers, October 20-22, 2017, Marin Center, San Rafael.
LEGENDARY UKIAH STREET PERSON, Kelisha Alvarez, was in court Tuesday morning seeking a pass to get out of jail for an interview at a rehab program. She kept interrupting Judge Moorman to say she wanted to go check on her "home" while she was out on pass and get some of her "stuff" -- "You guys are all worried about your homes, but you don't care about mine!"
MS. ALVAREZ tried one of these programs before, her lawyer, Marci Baldock said, but they didn't have the right medications.
"That's not for her to decide," the judge said.
Ms. Baldock will have to call the program facility and arrange the interview, then the judge will decide whether to issue the pass. If Kelisha gets into the program, then her sentencing on the violation of probation, now set for Oct. 19th, will be continued until she completes it — or otherwise.
THIS INTERESTING ITEM was reported in a report posted on www.nakedcapitalism called “The High Price of Cheap Cannabis” by Yves Smith. (Hat tip to Susie de Castro for pointing it out.) The part that got our attention was this item about Casey O’Neil of the California (pot) Growers Association which allegedly helps small pot growers. O’Neill now seems to have taken up with the enemy, Flow Kana aims to corner a big chunk of the emerging pot business by setting up a big processing, distribution and sales facility in Redwood Valley at the old Fetzer Winery. Apparently O’Neill doesn’t consider Flow Kana “a threat” — “so far,” for fear that there might be even bigger operations out there eyeing to tap into Mendo’s pot potential.
According to Smith’s Report:
Casey O’Neill, however, may have the adaptive qualities to make it in California’s new cannabis economy. Over the decades, he has played many roles: black market grower, plant breeder, cannabis consumer, and felon (he spent two months in the Mendocino County jail for cultivation). Now he’s a tax-paying cannabis farmer and policy activist.
Through it all, he has argued for the value of cannabis as a medicine, and for the benefits of small-scale, environmentally sound cultivation. Today, laminated cultivation permits hang on posts at the entrance to his farm. He relishes the security, predictability, and peace of mind that comes from running an above-board business.
Serving on the board of directors for the California Growers Association, O’Neill has become a strong advocate for small-scale cannabis cultivation. Perhaps hedging his bets, he also recently accepted a position in business and policy development at Flow Kana, a cannabis distributor building a 85,000 square-foot “cannabis campus” in nearby Redwood Valley.
The facility, which also houses a retreat center, will process, test, and distribute co-branded cannabis from some 80 boutique Mendocino and Humboldt county growers, operations not unlike the O’Neills’ HappyDay Farms.
So far, Emerald County growers don’t consider the San Francisco–based Flow Kana a threat. Rather, it’s a lifeline that, if all goes well, will help them stay afloat. Casey and Amber trust that the co-op will help them reach “discerning customers” — people who will seek Mendocino County sun-grown weed the way wine drinkers seek biodynamic-certified Napa cabernet.
“The strength of the story is what we’re counting on to keep us in the game against bigger, more capitalized operations,” O’Neill says. “Grown in a greenhouse has only so much story to it.”
SCHARFFEN BERGER CELEBRATES LEGENDS OF CHOCOLATE AWARD; SHOWCASES ARTISAN CHOCOLATES AT THE BIG CHOCOLATE SHOW 2017
Iconic Chocolate Maker John Scharffenberger Recipient of Very First Legends of Chocolate Award
NEW YORK (October 6, 2017) – The 2017 The Big Chocolate Show finds SCHARFFEN BERGER, America’s first modern-day artisan chocolate manufacturer, celebrating John Scharffenberger as a 2017 recipient of the first-ever The Legends of Chocolate Award. This award recognizes those whose work has had a significant impact on the world of chocolate as we experience it today. John Scharffenberger is the first American to make fine bean-to-bar chocolate and therefore the father of the craft chocolate movement in the U.S. His efforts in the areas of chocolate making and innovation are indeed legendary and have positioned him to be a standout amongst other chocolate engineers.
The inaugural class of Chocolate Legends includes Sophie and Michael Coe, Ed Seguine, John Scharffenberger and Juan Carlos Motamayor, all of whom will be feted on Saturday, October 7th in front of fellow colleagues, chocolatiers, confectioners, chefs and media. Following the ceremony and induction, The Legends of Chocolate will be displayed in the Hall of Legends, being installed this fall at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), in lower Manhattan. At the presentation, John Scharffenberger will be introduced by esteemed author, foodie and environmentalist, John Kaminsky, who has traveled the world with John.
“When I started SCHARFFEN BERGER, I made a commitment to crafting the world’s most authentic, high-quality and flavorful chocolates available,” says John Scharffenberger, founder of SCHARFFEN BERGER. “To be recognized by my peers and colleagues as one of the first ‘Legends of Chocolate’ is humbling and while it’s not something that I set out to accomplish, it’s certainly a recognition that I am immensely proud of.”
During the 2017 The Big Chocolate Show, SCHARFFEN BERGER will be showcasing its premium line of chocolates. Trade show attendees will have the opportunity to discover the brand’s assortment of milk, semisweet, bitter and extra dark chocolates at the SCHARFFEN BERGER Booth #3.
Founded in San Francisco in 1997 by chocolate connoisseur Robert Steinberg and winemaker John Scharffenberger, SCHARFFEN BERGER combines time-honored chocolate making traditions and proprietary artisan processes to develop the most complex and flavorful chocolate that meets the demands of even the most discerning enthusiast. Designed with a culinary approach, SCHARFFEN BERGER chocolates are made from cacao beans sourced from small sustainable farms around the world and blended in small batches to deliver the best chocolate from the finest beans nature has to offer.
The Big Chocolate Show will take place October 6-8, 2017, at The Terminal Stores, located at 269 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10011. For more details on the trade show, please visit http://bigchocolateshow.com/, and for more information on SCHARFFEN BERGER, please visit www.scharffenberger.com.
About SCHARFFEN BERGER
America’s first contemporary artisan chocolate manufacturer, SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate Maker, set out to craft the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world, blending it in small batches, and gently processing it to maintain the subtle flavors in the beans. Designed with a culinary approach that makes it perfect for pairing with fine wine, spirits and food, SCHARFFEN BERGER is a must-have pantry essential that will enhance the flavor of anything you bake with nuanced, rich chocolate notes. The SCHARFFEN BEREGER Chocolate Maker line consists of gourmet chocolate bars, baking chocolates, dark chocolates and milk chocolates; chocolate gifts including: holiday gift sets, corporate chocolate gifts, chocolate wedding favors, gift bags, boxes and baskets; and baking kits. For more information on SCHARFFEN BERGER, please visit www.scharffenberger.com.
FRIDAY OCT 13 CONCERT AT WILLITS CENTER FOR THE ARTS STILL ON, now fundraiser for fire victims.
Because so many other events are being cancelled, we are holding our October 13th music event as planned. Now ALL funds collected will be donated to the Community Foundation specifically for fire victims.
What: A Laura Nyro tribute with other singable and/or danceable music plus music written by Bill Taylor, with him on keyboard, George Husaruk on flute, Yanahay Hooper on bass, Jaye Alison Moscariello and friends on vocals. Anyone is welcome to sing or dance who wants to. This is a chance to connect with community while raising support for those most hurt by the ongoing fire. Please invite any and all to come out for each other and have a respite from the challenges we are facing.
When: Friday October 13th, 7-10 PM
Where: Willits Center for the Arts, 71 E. Commercial St. (next to Noyo Theater in Willits)
How: Suggested donation of $15, any amount welcome all of which will go to the Community Foundation (to which checks can be written). If you want to rehearse with us, we will meet at the Ukiah Methodist Church at 3:30 PM on Thursday October 12th. Mostly, just show up ready to listen and/or sing and/or dance.
Why: For anyone wanting to be with others, and/or to help those in need.
Our KZYX radio Monday October 16th Farm and Garden Show will be a call-in about what can be done in the garden this time of year for winter and next spring's harvests. We will also take fire-related calls on the topics of farm, garden, vineyard, landscape that offer resources or state needs. The show is from 1-2 PM at 91.5 FM, 90,7 FM, 88.1 in Fort Bragg, or at the kzyx.org website.
An update on Floodgate Farm: We made it safely through the October 9 fire, only having a small grass fire to extinguish to save our home, cabin and garden. The July fire made defense easier, but this firestorm was a lesson that already burned areas are not necessarily safe. SO to all of you, please be safe and do not assume anything.
As for the Floodgate Farm fire damage repair work parties, they are still on at 12400 Bakers Creek Road, Redwood Valley between 8 AM and 5:30 PM Tuesday October 17 and Saturday October 21st, but if we can schedule with others with greater need, we will meet at a different location. Please call 707-272-1688 just before the scheduled days of Tuesday 17th October and Sat. 21st October for possible location change.
We encourage everyone to take care, stay safe, let us know if you suffered from the fire and need anything. And PLEASE come to the concert October 13th!
Bill Taylor and Jaye Alison Moscariello 707-272-1688 and 310-970-4517
METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT APPROVES DELTA TUNNELS FUNDING
by Dan Bacher
Just after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his opposition to the current Delta Tunnels project today, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board voted to fund the controversial California WaterFix.
The board voted 28 to 6 in favor of the project, with two board members abstaining. You can view the vote tally here: screenshots.firefox.com/…
The vote directs the powerful water agency to participate in the construction of the tunnels, contribute 26% of funding ($4.3 billion), and go forth with two joint powers authorities (JPAs) one for construction and one for financing.
Before the vote, Jeffrey Kightlinger, MWD’s general manager, emphasized, "This is not intended to be a symbolic vote. This is an action vote. We are ready to act.”
To view MWD’s proposed motions on CA WaterFix, reference item 8.4 on the Oct. 10 board agenda.
As expected, John Laird, Governor Brown’s Natural Resources Secretary, praised the decision. “Metropolitan’s investment will provide water supply reliability for the region’s residents and economy,” said Laird.
Delta Tunnels opponents said they were disappointed with the vote, although not surprised. They vowed to keep fighting the project, one that they say will create no new water while raising water rates and causing great harm to imperiled Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species.
“Food & Water Watch is disappointed by Metropolitan Water District’s vote to allocate more than $4 billion toward a wasteful Delta Tunnels project that would force higher water bills and property taxes on Southern California families,” said Brenna Norton, senior organizer of Food & Water Watch in a statement. “It is unfair to raise rates for a project that will needlessly make Southern California’s water more expensive, while benefiting corporate agribusinesses that grow excessive amounts of almonds and pistachios in the desert for export.”
“We commend Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for opposing the project and a majority of his appointees on the Metropolitan board for voting against it,” said Norton. “They were joined in opposition by representatives from the San Diego County Water Authority and the city of Santa Monica.”
Norton said the tunnels will continue to “face major financial obstacles” as approximately 74% of the initial cost, which does not include interest payments, remains unsecured.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said that although she anticipated the outcome of the MWD vote some time ago, “we knew that Southern California ratepayers needed to be warned about what this project means for them in terms of higher water rates and no increased reliability.”
“We also knew that we needed to spend time and energy educating Southern Californians about the Delta and our state’s water management, so that’s what we did. MWD may have won the battle, but we know the tunnels will never be built because economics, science, and law will carry us through the permitting processes and litigation, ensuring victory,” she said.
“It is the last gasp of an unsustainable, environmentally destructive way of managing California's water supply,” she concluded.
Mayor Eric Garcetti declared his opposition to the current twin tunnels project on Tuesday during a speaking engagement at the Sacramento Press Club, stating he preferred just one tunnel.
After the vote, Liza Tucker, Consumer Advocate for Consumer Watchdog, said, “Clearly Garcetti needs to be commended for opposing the twin tunnels project as it was originally conceived, but saying you’re just for one tunnel isn’t the solution. This is a way of placating corporate interests while looking like you’re for the ratepayer. It’s pure political theate. Every politican who aspires to higher officies wants to keep the donation spigot open.”
“Two of the Los Angeles MWD board members sold out and voted for the twin tunnels, but the majority voted against these tunnels after having heard the impassioned pleas of the ratepayers and low income residents who would be the most burdened by a project that would bring them no additional water,” she explained.
”This is all about using public dollar for private gain,” Tucker said. “What’s so wonderful about the Wonderful Company grabbing vast quantities of water to grow nuts in a desert for export? Why should we pay for that?”
Tucker noted that Garcetti has received donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars from farming, engineering, and financing companies, including Stewart and Lynda Resnick of The Wonderful Company that makes POM juice. For more information, go to: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...
Before the Metropolitan vote, Delta residents and their allies held signs opposing the project and urging Mayor Garcetti to oppose the Delta Tunnels outside of the Sacramento Press Club event where he was speaking. They were pleased to hear that Garcetti had finally announced his opposition to the project as now conceived, although they said they are as opposed to a single tunnel as to the twin tunnels.
Those holding signs in front of the event included Adam Scow, California Director of Food and Water Watch; Jim Cox of the California Striped Bass Association, West Delta Chapter; Barbara Daly and Wendy Heaton of North Delta Cares; and Juliette Beck of the Sierra Club Yolano Group.
“One tunnel is just as bad as two tunnels,” said Cox.
“The idea of one tunnel is ridiculous, since either way, the project will devastate the Delta,” said Daly.
Now that Metropolitan is financially committed to the project, Barrigan-Parrilla said the focus of tunnels opponents now shifts to the two remaining water districts asked to participate in the Delta Tunnels: Kern County Water Agency and Santa Clara Valley Water District. Kern County Water’s vote on CA WaterFix is scheduled for this Thursday, October 12, while Santa Clara Valley is scheduled to vote next Tuesday, October 17.
She also said the next steps for tunnels opponents include Phase 2 of State Water Resources Control Board hearings, as well as continued litigation on the CEQA case and the validation case.
On September 18, the California Indian Water Commission joined three environmental groups — the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), AquAlliance and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) — in filing a legal challenge to the state validation process that would allow bonds to to be issued to finance the construction of the Delta Tunnels.
A recent landmark 9th Circuit ruling that federally reserved Indian water rights have precedent over all state and federal water rights puts a new twist on how much water there really will be available for the tunnels or any other project — and could put a big wrench in state and federal plants to build the massive 35 mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
“The California Indian Water Commission's involvement in this filing is about upholding traditional indigenous responsibilities to the lands and waters of California," said Dr. Don Hankins, President of the federally recognized CIWC. "With this filing, we affirm our commitment to future generations through protection of the lands and waters of this state, and the associated organisms, which we also maintain obligations to."
10-12-17 UKIAH VALLEY BASIN GROUNDWATER SUSTAINABILITY AGENCY MEETING - CANCELED