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Letters (April 7, 2022)

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GRAPE GROWER PIPE DREAMS

To the Editor:

The Eel River’s embattled salmon and steelhead may have no better enemy than Guinness McFadden. In his recent letter to the Editor, the Potter Valley wine grape grower kicks up a fuss about Representative Jared Huffman’s efforts to help reach a proactive solution to the issues raised by the pending expiration, this April 14, of PG&E’s license to operate the Potter Valley Project. But McFadden’s unfiltered fury at the prospect of Eel River dam removal only shows how bankrupt Potter Valley’s arguments are.

McFadden denounces what he calls Huffman’s “woke environmental radical” agenda in noting that impacts on Eel River salmon and steelhead will restrict Project operations while PG&E is decommissioning the dams.

But it’s not radicals, but the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that says coverage for “take” of listed Eel River salmon and steelhead expires with PG&E’s license. And it’s NMFS that has put PG&E and federal dam regulators on notice that “the Project is causing take of ESA-listed salmonids.” And it is NMFS that has outlined the Interim Protective Measures that will, in fact, restrict Project operations.

McFadden sputters that Huffman “falsely claims hundreds of miles of a mythical Holy Grail of pristine spawning grounds upstream of Lake Pillsbury when in fact there are fewer than 50 miles.” But again, it’s McFadden who’s refusing to follow the facts.

NMFS researchers just assessed the salmon and steelhead habitat blocked by Scott dam for the past century. Their paper shows dam removal will be like adding another of the Eel’s most productive tributaries, with between 105 and 290 miles of steelhead habitat. The upper basin has cold water habitat lacking downriver, essential for juvenile steelhead growth and for protection from voracious pikeminnow introduced by the Project. The scientists found “enabling access to the blocked Upper Mainstem subbasin could likely support populations of winter-run steelhead trout, summer-run steelhead trout, and fall-run Chinook salmon, even during warm months and during exceptionally warm and dry years like 2015.”

Of course, McFadden’s not dumb. He knows all this stuff. But he has many acres of vineyards to water and his own hydroelectric plant to run. McFadden’s real problem is that he wants to keep getting plenty of Eel River water at far below its true cost. But Potter Valley’s demand that someone else pay hundreds of millions of dollars upfront and tens of millions of dollars a year just to keep the obsolete, fish-killing Eel River dams in place was always a pipe dream.

Scott Greacen, Conservation Director, Friends of the Eel River

Humboldt County

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MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION 2022

Editor,

Vivaldi Spring allegro, Canadian Brass

47th Anniversary - 17th consecutive Revival

Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration 2022

Let's return physiquely to the Hill House in Mendocino when we all can participate comfortably in full fellowship. Meanwhile, the spirit continues on the waves of radio.

The Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration invites your action in April for poetry submissions beginning in May, toward the poetry rally beginning June 5.

Send your poems, recorded by smartphone, one or more in a clip of up to four minutes, for performance on KZYX, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, starting June 5.

Dan Roberts, in his Sunday afternoon broadcasts of RhythmRunningRiver, will match your poems with the beat of world music, until everyone has been heard at least once in successive broadcasts. Last year's Celebration delivered the voices of 63 poets.

So, write during April, send a recording in May for broadcast in June. The submission window will be open from the 1st to the 20th of May.

April is National Poetry Month. Pursue your Muse! For more information, hear RhythmRunningRiver at kzyx.org this Sunday at 3 pm, or email me, gblack@mcn.org.

For tech advice, http://www.outfarpress.com/poetry. Get a friend to help.

It's as easy as sending a photo by email, really! Get a friend to help.

Gordon Black

Mendocino

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SUPPORT HOSPICE

To the Editor:

As many of our supporters know, Hospice of Ukiah operates a large, diverse Thrift Store at 401 So. State Street. It is the only truly “charity” thrift in the area — all of the profits stay in our community, providing resources for our free Hospice and Palliative Care Services.

COVID has affected these profits as sales have dropped and donations have increased due to people using COVID time to clean out the closets and garages. We love the gently used, saleable items, but COVID has also discouraged the wonderful group of Volunteers who used to help us accept, price, sort and display them. We have had to rely on paid staff and they are overwhelmed daily.

Restrictions are lifting, and while we still encourage masking in our store, we are seeking volunteers. Volunteering has many benefits, not just the “feel good” knowledge you are contributing to the care of your neighbors, but the mood enhancers of meeting new people and working in a friendly, interesting and caring atmosphere. If you have a few hours in your week and are inspired to “give back” or “pay it forward”, then give us a call at (707) 462-4038. Oh, and regular volunteers get a 25 percent discount on all the fascinating and useful donations.

Janet Denninger, Administrator, Hospice of Ukiah, Inc.

Ukiah

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LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND

Editor,

Author Todd Hooper writes that we can reduce dependence on oil by increasing the amount we produce.

But as long as we depend on oil, we’ll have price shocks. Global commodities are subject to hiccups in supply and demand. They’re traded on Wall Street, which profits from the price volatility we’re seeing now. A few speculators are getting very rich at our expense. This is how the system is designed to work.

If we truly want cheap energy that isn’t subject to price volatility or susceptible to weaponization by corrupt nations like Russia, the answer is obvious: Replace fossil fuels with energy resources using fuels that can’t be commodified, like the sun and wind.

A big, practical step toward price stability and true energy independence would be to put an annually escalating national tax on fossil fuels. Return all revenue to individuals in equal shares. Start the tax low, but raise it meaningfully every year, to give everyone a reasonable time horizon to phase into new energy sources.

The return of the revenue from the carbon tax would protect consumers from any tax costs the fossil fuel companies try to pass along. Meanwhile, businesses would rapidly innovate to squeeze fossil fuels out of their supply chains. As demand for fossil fuels drops, so will both price volatility and prices themselves.

No amount of domestic drilling can alter a worldwide commodity system designed to produce price volatility. Continuing our dependence on fossil fuels plays into the hands of maniacal despots like Russian President Vladimir Putin. I urge our congressional delegation to include a carbon tax to protect individual consumers in whatever climate measures they might work on this year.

Ray Welch

Marinwood

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THE NEWSOM CONTRADICTION

Editor,

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered California cities and other local water agencies to reduce water usage and tighten conservation rules. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t take the same position on new housing construction.

Instead of forcing the communities from Healdsburg north to build more housing, Newsom should allow a moratorium on new housing in our area. Unlike the communities south from Windsor to Marin County, the north county does not get water from Lake Sonoma. Lake Mendocino is empty, and we do not get water from the Sierra snowpack. We simply do not have the water to allow new hookups to our water system. If new housing is to be built, build it where water is available.

Temple O. Smith

Cloverdale

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ROSE CITY BLUES

Editor: 

Since 1950, as the population of the United States has doubled, the population of Santa Rosa has increased tenfold, and it shows. Santa Rosa now has too little water, congested streets, noisy freeways, crime and strained police and fire departments.

Sonoma County as a whole faces a similar problem to that of Santa Rosa. For example, the unincorporated area of Sonoma County is mandated by the state to build 3,900 new housing units over the next eight years. That’s enough to house 10,000 people, the population of Sonoma. In order to have access to sewer and transportation, the vast majority of these housing units will be built adjacent to existing towns. Not completely jokingly, the county might be better off building another town rather than building housing developments and strip malls on the edges of existing towns.

If we have to build, and by state law we do, then we should build communities that are beautiful, with parks, not tract homes, strip malls, infill apartments, congested streets and freeways, the sad result of too much growth.

Dan Roberts

Santa Rosa

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SMITH V. ROCK

Dear Editor,

On Sunday it seemed like it would be a normally boring presentation of the Academy Awards, the annual affair where "Tinzel Town’s" most affected actors, actresses, directors, producers and others wallow in trumped up glory for one day.

But suddenly comedian Chris Rock made a disparaging, snide remark about actor Will Smith’s wife-who has lost her hair due to suffering from a rare disease. A second or so after this rude remark, Mr. Smith burst forward to slap the comedian in the face.

While it was a strange interruption, it didn’t really affect the rest of the show. Since there was shock at Mr. Smith’s action and at the outburst from the enraged yet talented, prominent black actor, Will Smith has apologized profusely to the the “Academy,” the public, and to Mr. Rock. While the incident may have been out-of-line and unprofessional, it seems to me Chris Rock should be the one who apologizes to Mr. Smith-not the reverse. Smith had every right as a husband and someone who is part of Holy Matrimony-along with his beloved wife-to react to this rude public insult.

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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