AS OF MONDAY afternoon, a woman identified so far only as “Owl,” has commenced a Willits Bypass tree sit.
A LOCAL READER WRITES: I was up in Boonville this weekend. I had to go to Calpella with my son before going to Anderson Valley. In classic karmic style, I was just getting ready to get on 253 to Boonville when I saw the one sign indicating it was closed at Flynn Creek.
Normally, this trip would have been 20 miles (36 Minutes). On Saturday, I took Mountain House Road which is the best alternate (it is an unmarked road that originates in Hopland). Very small and windy and not for the masses AT ALL. That little, albeit beautiful, detour is 44 miles (an hour and five minutes). Did you know that?
I am not going to further describe the trip but, when I discovered that 253 was closed BOTH Saturday and Sunday and that the film crew was allowed to run overtime on top of that, I was both furious and embarrassed. Furious because THIS IS NOT a reasonable concession and this was TRULY way beyond what anyone, in most places, would tolerate. It was clearly bad decision-making and, it seems, without any consideration or even knowledge of the inconvenience it caused in the valley. I am embarrassed because I put myself out there to help and promote the project and to rally the Valley to welcome the film and the crew. Now, I have been assailed by those I assured that you and the county would come to a balanced plan and that the benefits were far greater than the small inconveniences.
What Happened? Who approved this decision?
Clearly, 253 is a County road, so clearly, this was a closure that would have been denied by CalTrans. Did anyone understand the distance difference and the time difference of even the best alternate route? There was, by the way, no alternate route set up or recommended, so, I doubt ANY research was done. Many types of vehicles would not be able to use Mountain House Road as an alternate because of its size and condition. One sign at the beginning of 253? Does anyone really think that is “Fair Warning”?
The one thing that I offered up and clearly stated to Supervisor Hamburg and the location manager, was to minimize hold times. I even discussed this directly with the location manager. I will hope to have a conversation with her in the next week to also express my disappointment in her poor judgment.
This is a very sad situation to me and very disappointing. This very clearly illustrates that neither the Film Commission nor the County had any forethought to the future of filming in the county; that the perfect opportunity was not only missed but completely botched, to demonstrate to the community that filming is a viable resource.
REPEAL BYPASS SUPPORT
We are seeking repeal of the Brooktrails Township Board of Directors decision to support CalTrans' Willits bypass.
Tony Orth, president of the board and longtime supporter of the bypass, placed this on the agenda for the March 26 Brooktrails board meeting. The board approved its support of the bypass on a 5 to 0 vote.
Earlier in the day, 150 Brooktrails and Willits residents jammed Mendocino County Supervisors chambers and delivered more than three hours of statements and opinions unanimously against the bypass. There was one exception, Phillip Dow, owner of Dow & Associates, the paid private consultant and executive director of the Mendocino Council of Governments. Mr. Dow spoke in favor of the bypass, representing MCOG.
Mr. Dow has pushed for the partial funding of the bypass with our local MCOG funds to the tune of $31 million.
Tony Orth's wife, Janet, who is employed by Dow & Associates and attends MCOG meetings with Mr. Dow, is MCOG's deputy director for administration. She has prepared the last several years of MCOG budgets.
Monies from MCOG are intended to be distributed to towns, cities, and areas around the county for improvements to transportation from roads to bike paths. There have been substantially fewer funds available to Willits and other communities due to diversion of this transportation budget to support CalTrans' Willits bypass.
Tony Orth's unflagging support of the bypass, and his wife's positions with MCOG and Dow & Associates, appear to be a conflict of interest and a violation of the Fair Political Practices Act. A formal complaint against Tony Orth has been filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Let us not be fooled by slimy, conflicted political maneuvering. If MCOG had not committed $31 million to the Willits bypass boondoggle, we would have money for the improvement of Sherwood Road and its intersection with Highway 101, as well as funds for other in-town alternative routes to improve traffic flows in Willits.
There will be a Brooktrails board Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, April 9, at the Brooktrails Community Center.
Brooktrails and area residents are encouraged to attend this meeting to express their opinions about these matters during the public comment period. — John Wagenet, Willits
WE WROTE TO PHIL DOW asking him about possible conflicts of interest as suggested by Wagenet's letter. Dow promptly replied:
“MR. ANDERSON: I only have two contracts, one is with the Lake County City/Area Planning Council (APC) and the other is with the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG). My responsibilities with both agencies are to provide comprehensive administrative and planning services. These contracts were awarded in a competitive process. I have no other private or public contracts. All Dow & Associates profits are generated through these two contracts. My responsibility as the Executive Director is to carry out MCOG Board policy. The US 101 bypass of Willits has been the top highway improvement priority of every MCOG Board for over three decades. — Phillip J. Dow, P.E., MCOG Executive Director
MEANWHILE, here in the intoxicants capital of the United States, we learn from the “Mendocino County Public Health Services’ Prevention and Planning Unit,” that our heavy hitters in Ukiah “recently assessed alcohol outlets in the County” and found that booze licenses “exceed one for each 2,500 inhabitants in Mendocino County.” The press release rumbles on and on to make the windy claim that this stat “corresponds with a proportional increase in alcohol related violence, underage drinking, unprotected sex and driving after drinking.”
NOWHERE in all of this is so much of a mention of the several hundred roadside booze boutiques upon which Mendocino County hangs its tourist welcome.
WE ALSO NOTE that Meredyth Reinhard, “Senior Program Specialist, 472.2614 or firstname.lastname@example.org“ apparently wrote the report. She was Mike Sweeney's love interest in May of 1990 when Sweeney's former wife, Judi Bari, was blown up by a car bomb in Oakland. On the off chance that local or federal law enforcement again might think car bomb attacks on former spouses are, as we say in Mendocino County, inappropriate, Ms. Reinhard's dna would be subpoened. Why? The person who placed the bomb in Bari's car can be identified via dna, and since Sweeney, among his vague placements of himself at the time of the explosion, says he was at his girlfriend's house… The implicating dna in this case was not the forensics tool in 1990 it has since become, but it's found on letters written by the bomber who variously signs himself Argus and the Lord's Avenger. Sweeney, of course, presently functions as Mendocino County lead garbage bureaucrat. His current love interest (the guy seems to be catnip to the ladies) is Glenda Anderson, ace reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Only in Mendocino County where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every morning could this stuff happen.
“INAPPROPRIATE,” by the way, is Mendolib's pejorative of choice, applied to everything from bad table manners to mass murder.
THE SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT took Ms. Reinhard's press release and converted it to an hysterical front pager called, “Mendocino County Drowning In Alcohol,” but at least the PD pointed out that the wine biz is one of the County's primary enterprises, the other being weed. But the article (by Martin Espinoza) did not point out that the hundred or so roadside booze boutiques called tasting rooms are also bars in every known sense of the term, and they require NO permits because they're exempt as agriculture-related, wine grapes being ag, you see. Most unfairly of all Espinoza's story drops the venerable South Ukiah bar, the Water Trough, into the discussion, complete with an inflammatory color photo with a couple of kids walking by its front door, by pointing out that the Trough is next door to a school on whose campus late night revelers drink alcohol, as if the Trough's proximity is somehow responsible, and as if the two kids in the photo might pop in for a recess highball. The article does point out that the Trough has been there for many years, long before the school. The Trough is owned by Ted Schamber, now well into his 8th decade. He can remember when there were 29 bars between the Trough and Calpella, and that was long before neo-Puritans were writing silly press releases implying that if licenses to sell alcohol were less prevalent in the County all the social ills attributed to liquor licenses would disappear.
JUST IN FROM Fort Bragg’s indefatigable Laurel Krause, whose sister Allison was one of four young persons shot to death May 4th 1970 during an anti-war protest at Kent State: On April 3, 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal’s submission to the United Nations was posted ONLINE at the UN Human Rights Committee website. http://bit.ly/10xZebQ
UN NEWS: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Committee released their ‘List of Issues’ to be asked of the United States regarding American Leadership’s human rights record. Unfortunately the ‘List of Issues’ does not include the Kent State Truth Tribunal submission for the May 4th Kent State massacre.
However, the List does include broad language inquiring about measures taken by the U.S. to address police brutality and excessive use of force, which may serve as impetus for discussions about Kent State later this year.
There is still a possibility that the May 4th Kent State massacre will be brought up during the UN Human Rights Committee’s formal review in October 2013.
The GOOD NEWS: The 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal submission to the United Nations is now posted ONLINE. READ the Kent State submission, now ONLINE at the United Nations, Human Rights Committee: http://bit.ly/10xZebQ
Uncensoring the ‘unhistory’ of the Kent State massacre while also aiming toward justice & healing, a chapter in Censored 2013 from Project Censored: http://bit.ly/RQNUWC
2/9/13 KSTT submission to the United Nation: A Plea for Justice at Kent State: http://bit.ly/WQpjUP
NAVARRO BY THE SEA'S 2nd Annual Earth Day Clean Up and Inn Tour!
The Historic Coastal Inn known as Navarro by the Sea has undergone extensive rehab in the last few years since the property was acquired by the state and a coalition of non-profit groups was finally able to secure funding for the restoration. Most of the major work has now been completed for this unique historic building at the mouth of the Navarro River which was near collapse in 2010 when work began. To date the building itself has been restored and the last phase of the work — the interior — has begun. With luck the classic old inn and the public beach nearby will re-open to the public before the end of 2013. On Saturday May 4th, the non-profit group known as Navarro by the Sea will host a combination clean up and tour of the Inn and area. Cleanup activities will include cleaning and repairs to the historic Inn and Mill House, siding repairs and painting of the two cottages on the east side of the Inn, trash pick up at the beach and riverfront, invasive species removal, and planting native species. The volunteer cleanup will be from 9 to noon, followed by a barbecue for all the volunteers who RSVP (so we have enough food for you!). In the afternoon the Inn will be open to volunteers and the general public from 1 to 4 so everyone can see the amazing progress that has been made so far, and how much more work is still needed to complete the interior renovations and open it as an interpretive center. Saturday, May 4th; Navarro-by-the-Sea 2nd Annual Earth Day Clean Up. Volunteers Needed 9-noon. Free BBQ at Noon for Volunteers. Navarro Inn Open for Tours 1-4pm. Call 707-877-3477 for info and to RSVP. Bring your boots, gloves, tools, and muscle! For much more information and photographs of the restoration so far go to www.navarro-by-the-sea-center.org
Court Collections Moving To Administration Center Effective May 1, 2013
Effective May 1, 2013, Court Collections will move to the Mendocino County Administration Center. Court Collections will be co-located in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office located at 501 Low Gap Road, Room #1060, Ukiah, CA 95482. With the move, hours of operation for Court Collections will be enhanced to mirror the hours currently available in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office; public counter hours will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and telephone hours will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Both offices will remain open Monday through Friday, except holidays, and will remain open through the lunch hour. We do not anticipate any disruption in service. Please feel free to contact us at (707)234-6883 or (707)234-6884 with any questions regarding the move. Thank you in advance for your cooperation during this process. Released by: Shari L. Schapmire Shari L. Schapmire Treasurer-Tax Collector 501 Low Gap Rd, Rm 1010 Office: 707-463-4441 Ukiah CA 95482-3734 Fax: 707-463-5649
JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: Want to know what Mendocino County public employees made in 2011? That information has been added the the Bay Area News Group's “Public Employee Salaries Database.”
(type in Mendocino County in the search box at the top of page)
NORMAN DEVALL COMMENTS: Regarding “Mendocino County Employee Retirement Association’s “burn rate”
The comment re “burn rate” is from Sakowitz not me. He should know. He's on the Retirement Board and has access to the numbers. The retirement system is based on a concept of 8% return on investment. Illogical, unreasonable and not obtainable. I would like to see what the “burn rate” would be with a still high return rate of 4%.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office continues to receive reports of Fraudulent Scams.
On 04-5-2013, approximately 10:00 a.m. a Eureka citizen reported she was contacted by E-Mail asking if she wanted to use her vehicle to advertise Monster Energy Drinks. The E-mail inferred it was from Monster Corporate Office and she would receive money by having her car wrapped with the Monster Energy Drink advertisement. The citizen thought she was communicating with Monster Cooperate Office. The E-Mailer stated she was being sent a check to pay her to advertise and for the advertisement wrap. The citizen was to cash the check, keep $300.00, and then send $1,400.00 by Western Union to a graphic designer in North Las Vegas. The citizen received the check by United Parcel Service on 04-04-2013 from a person in Florida. The citizen took the check to her bank to deposit it and was informed by the bank the check she received for $1,950.00 was a fraudulent check. The bank informed the investigating deputy this was the second fraudulent check regarding car wraps they had recently received.
Another citizen recently reported receiving an official looking money order mailed to his home with instructions on what to do with the money order. The money order was to be deposited in the citizen’s bank account and the citizen was allowed to keep $150.00 from the money order which had a face value of $985.00. It was supposed to be part of a “Secret Shopper Program” evaluating Postal Money Order service. The citizen was to take the remaining money from their bank account and send it to another person.
In another scam a citizen reported getting phone calls stating they won the Publishers Clearing house and they were to send money to collect their winnings which had a processing and shipping charge. The citizen realized it was fraud and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.
These are just a few examples of the types of fraudulent scams that have recently occurred.
Scams can contain the following:
Alarmist messages and threats of account closures.
Promises of money for little or no effort.
Deals that sound too good to be true.
Requests to donate to a charitable organization after a disaster that has been in the news.
Bad grammar and misspellings.
Information and reporting Websites:
If you receive any suspicious phone calls or mail that you suspect as being a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency.
TO THE EDITOR: It was brought to my attention that the people opposed to the bypass went on record at the Board of Supervisors meeting as saying that I oppose the bypass. I had a call from one of the supervisors asking if that was true. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have supported the bypass for more than 40 years.
I have testified at the CTC meetings when we were asking for funding. I have written countless letters of support. It infuriates me when people twist the truth and give misinformation if it seems that it will suit their interest.
Several years ago, a group of people from the Environmental Center came to me and asked if I would support a two lane bypass. They thought this would be a solution to the problem, as they saw it. In the spirit of compromise, even though I didn't think it made a lot of sense, I signed the petition and went along with the idea, because I know that in order to live in a peaceful community, compromises must be made when there is a burning issue at hand.
Now, the very same group of people are objecting to their own idea that the two lane option is "dangerous"... History shows that there are some people that object to everything...and especially to anything purporting to be progress.
The only alternative to the current imperfect design is a continuation of the status quo for the indefinite future. The truth is....the birds will fly to the next tree, the frogs will hop to the next pond and 10 years from now life will go on and most won't notice that anything unusual has happened. They will just be happy they can get through Willits and enjoy our downtown area.
Margie Handley, Willits
In the wake of the events of the last week, I would like to clarify the basic mission of Save Our Little Lake Valley (SOLLV) and reaffirm our principles and commitments.
The work of SOLLV is focused on public education, legislative communication, judicial review and fund-raising to stop the Caltrans Bypass from moving forward and encouraging support for better alternatives.
While SOLLV as an organization is not directly involved in non-violent, civil disobedience, we do support, respect and honor the tree-sitters and all of those who choose non-violent civil disobedience.
There is a long tradition – Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others – of people who have been willing to risk arrest to stand for what they believe. Without the inspiration and dedication of Warbler, and all the tree-sitters, this movement to stop the Bypass would hardly have been noticed or grown as it has over the past few months.
SOLLV is aware that the tree-sitters, and all of those involved in civil disobedience, receive training and make a pledge to uphold principles of peaceful non-violence and no property destruction.
The non-violence pledge includes a commitment to avoid verbal violence and abusive or disrespectful language. The pledge also includes a commitment to have an attitude of friendliness, respect and openness toward all people, including employees of Caltrans and officers of the CHP.
We understand that in the heat of passion during the extraction of the tree-sitters on April 2 (during part of the extraction the CHP had guns – with a type of bullets unknown at that time – pointed at a tree-sitter), aspects of the non-violence pledge were breached.
We feel that it is important to acknowledge – and we deeply regret – any breaches of the non-violence code. SOLLV supports the effort to move forward with a strong, public reaffirmation of the commitment to the non-violence code and a renewed program to expand non-violence training for everyone.
While much debate and emotion has been directed at the extraction of the tree-sitters on April 2, there remains much important work to be done.
We encourage all residents of Willits (and beyond) to educate ourselves. Learn the facts about the Caltrans Bypass. Come to the Bypass Bootprint Tour: Meet at the Little Lake Grange, 291 School St., at 1 p.m. each Sunday and join a guided walking and driving tour. Educational literature is also available at the new SOLLV office located at 716 S. Main Street. We all have an obligation to be informed.
Sincerely, Sara Grusky, Save Our Little Lake Valley (SOLLV)
2013 GRAND JURY REPORT
K-5 Willits Charter School (March 6, 2013)
Summary: The 2012-13 Grand Jury (GJ) investigated community concerns about a Charter School located at a questionable location. Of concern was how a group of citizens could exempt themselves from all State, local zoning and building codes. The speed with which the development proceeded shocked many in the Willits community. The GJ learned that it was a well-planned project that exempted itself from local building ordinances and environmental restrictions. The school founders and staff believe they are meeting a definite need in the community by providing an alternative to traditional education. They meet the standard for credentialed teachers and use non-credentialed faculty as well. They do not have a salary scale or a unionized teaching staff. The GJ recommends that the Charter School continue the search for a permanent location by the end of their three year lease and provide the current location with appropriate safety and security measures.
CEQA: California Environmental Quality Act regulates land use regarding environmental impact.
State guidelines: Government code 53090-53097 and Education code 47604 and 47607. Education code 47610 exempts charter schools.
Flood-way: An area where the flood hazard is the greatest, next to a body of water which must be preserved.
Flood plain: A flat area adjoining a body of water that is subject to one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.
Background: The 2012-13 GJ received a complaint that a K-5 grade charter school in Willits was being developed at a location unsuitable for a school site. Also of concern was this was happening without the general knowledge of Willits residents. The organizers exempted themselves from following school construction guidelines and approval by the State architect. The complaint stated the proposed location, 504 Commercial Street, was on a major thoroughfare. The school location is bordered by a salmon bearing creek known to flood, and a housing complex that has had a history of drug sales and violence. The Charter school purchased and refurbished portable classrooms on this piece of leased land. The Charter School consists of two portable classrooms donated by the Willits Unified School District and other portables purchased online. The Superintendent of schools advised against the school district supporting the location of the charter school, and the self exemption from local building zoning requirements. This was overruled by the school board. The GJ was told the City of Willits Technical Advisory Board was persuaded that the charter school was going forward at that site. The Board reluctantly made a list of mitigating recommendations essential for the charter school to move forward.
The GJ felt it was essential to research whether or not an independent group of citizens could exempt themselves from local and State regulations on the location of a school.
Approach: The GJ studied and compared written statements from the school’s legal counsel and legal counsel of those opposed to the school. The GJ reviewed Board of Education minutes, Memorandum of Understanding between the Charter School Association and Willits Unified School District, and studied state requirements for charter schools. The GJ also interviewed school district staff, city authorities and police, charter school staff and made visits to the school and the surrounding area.
Discussion: Parents and community members supporting the new school attended several City Council meetings. Founding members exempted themselves from CEQA requirements and local planning restrictions. They did not use the services of the state school architect for review but asked the city manager and received the services of the city building inspector. The city building inspector insisted that the foundations be built to withstand the 100 year flood level. The creek overflowed in November 2012 and destroyed the school landscaping but did not enter the portable classrooms.
The charter school principal explained the short notice to the community was due to the receipt of their grant monies. If they did not move forward at that time the grant money would have been lost. Exempting themselves from all zoning laws and restrictions accelerated the construction process and caused community concern. School staff stated the school had been in planning for four years. The founders approved the location as “perfect,” close to the park, library, County Museum, and the new Mendocino College site.
A member of the Charter School Board stated, “State laws concerning charter schools are ambiguous.” Attorneys for the charter school and the school district had different interpretations of the same case laws.
At the first interview, with the school principal, the GJ was informed this was a temporary location and a permanent location would be found by the end of the three year lease. At a second interview it was reported by school staff, they were hoping to be able to renew the lease. The long range plan is to create a campus adjoining the school’s grades 6-12 counterpart. The property adjoining the 6-12 school is suspected of being contaminated. Correcting a contaminated soil problem would be very expensive.
The charter school board supporters promised city authorities they would mitigate all problems by conforming to parking regulations, providing crossing guards and the installation of proper gates. When questioned, the Willits police stated that the charter school had made every effort to mitigate location problems. They said the school generally obeys parking restrictions.
The speed limit on Commercial Street has been lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Police reported that the adjoining property owner has made an effort to improve the safety in the complex. The school and the complex are separated by a fence that needs safety improvements.
The Willits Unified School District reports the loss of 70 students at a cost to the district of at least $350,000 in tax revenues.
The charter school has credentialed teachers for core subjects, such as language arts and math and uses non-credentialed teachers for non-core subjects such as art and physical education. Core subjects are taught to meet proposed federal standards not CA state standards. The teaching model is “inquiry based.” The school is reputed by community members to meet the needs of accelerated students, as well as those having difficulty in the public schools.
The GJ observed safety issues including the following:
the school ramps lack a non-skid surface
• open electrical panels
• uncovered electrical outlets
• cleaning supplies in open, unlocked cabinet and accessible to students
• uncovered windows
• classrooms did not have internal locks
• physical activity room floors were not level
• carpets unclean and unsanitary for children
• classrooms appeared in disarray
• the fence on the lower portion of the south side appeared insufficient to restrain children or dogs
• no public address system
• Advanced planning, private donations/loans and the dedicated work of parent volunteers enabled the school to become functional within six months.
• The charter school is meeting the needs of particular students at a cost to general educational funding for the Willits School District.
• State laws concerning requirements for schools are very specific; however schools may exempt themselves from these laws by a 2/3 vote of the governing board, i.e., Willits Unified School District Board.
• The school appeared suddenly at a problematic location after the Charter School Board exempted themselves from all restrictions. The school has made an effort to overcome the problems of the location.
• The GJ noticed the following areas of concern:
- the school ramps lack a non-skid surface
- windows lack coverings
- classroom doors do not have internal locks
- cabinets for cleaning supplies require locks
- electrical panels need to be locked
- classrooms need general cleaning to meet the sanitary and
- safety demands of a school environment
- the school has no public address system for early warning
• The charter school should continue and document the search for a permanent location that meets the needs of child safety and environmental regulations. (F4)
• Install window coverings immediately and make every attempt to improve classroom safety and cleanliness. (F5)
• Install internal locks and a public address system for school security. (F5)
Caltrans' bulldozers bulldoze more than wildlife and migratory bird habitat. Big Orange – Caltrans bulldozes the law just as thoroughly. Because ninety percent of U. S. wetlands have been drained for agriculture and development, the Clean Water Act has granted federal protection for all remaining marshland such as the Little Lake Valley.
HABITAT PROTECTION. This is what environmental law is meant to accomplish. This translates into no draining of any more wetlands. No phoney, sci fi pseudo science to displace migratory birds. Will they become illegal avian immigrants when they attempt to return to their stopover on the Pacific Flyway? Increasingly, scientists, ornithologists, naturalists and bird watchers report reductions in the numbers of migratory birds. Climate change, drought and timing kill some birds, However, habitat destruction is the primary reason for the largest ongoing wildlife extinction in human history. The two legged culprit called man is responsible for this destruction.
MITIGATION. The authors of the Clean Water Act would be horrified at Big Orange's plan to “mitigate” the illegal destruction of the marsh headwaters of the last intact Coho salmon stream in California. Caltrans plan to construct a new marsh ignores the symbiosis of plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles and microlife which have evolved in the Little Lake Valley over thousands of years, since ancient times. Instead, Caltrans will present the birds with a new marsh. Will Caltrans send notarized letters to the migrating water birds explaining that their marsh is being drained? Or is email more acceptable for our fast flying friends? Will they be labeled illegal avians when they try to return?
Caltrans, in cahoots with the domestic military, the California Highway Patrol, are engaged in criminal activity of destruction for an obsolete transportation plan. The supposed legal court protection, so far, has been no protection at all. Since when is the decision of one man, a court judge's refusal to sign an injunction to halt work until the Epic, Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity's lawsuit could be heard, be called democratic? What about the blue and black oak, Oregon ash woodlands in the southern section of the plan?? This is habitat for yellow warblers and other threatened songbirds.
Is this China, India, or Israel where autocratic big governments decides for the people, no or little dissent permitted? Mega government in a supposed democracy like India has enabled the hated Montsanto to destroy all local drop seed saving so that farmers in increasing numbers commit suicide as their genetically engineered crops fail and their land is foreclosed by debt holders. In China, air pollution ruins the health of generations as mega government ruins environmental wonders like the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. In Egypt, the Aswan Dam has destroyed the natural agriculture practiced into antiquity so that today petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides impoverish the soil, once yearly renewed by the flooding of the Nile River. Israel has polluted its rivers and drained its water tables, needing ever more of its neighbors' land to expand rather than halt destruction and renew. Where is the democracy in any of these activities?
Mega development destroys our one precious planet. In India, a young friend describes her once wildlife abundant native Punjab Province as having no nature at all. All formerly wild areas have been destroyed by development and industrialization. Wild animals. Birds. Traditional village life. Gone.
What will we do here? How can we prevent Caltrans from brutalizing our environmental law? Have not our overseas wars come home?
Who are the decision makers in Caltrans? Names and addresses, please. Who are these unseen beaurocrats in the California Highway Patrol writing the agendas? Why does a one man court decision, refusal to honor an injunction, permit mega agencies to over ride years of legislative environmental law? Is this the court's excuse for due process?
Why aren't our local Peregrin Audobon Society and California Native Plant Society filing Friends of the Court briefs on behalf of an endangered ecosystem in the Pacific Flyway? Why does the Peregrine Audubon Society refuse to participate, relying on an obsolete rule to refuse help in any issue labeled “political”? Habitat protection, stopping habitat protection is political. I think that is Audubon's mission.
Group thinkers, you who think that official agencies' acquiesence to a disastrously destructive bypass plan is good enuf to go along with mega government planning, please reexamine the citizen proposed alternatives. Democracy rules from the people up to the representatives, not from the officials down to the people, as in plutocracies. Democratic governance requires a well informed electorate. Which do we have?
Sincerely, Dorotheya M Dorman, Redwood Valley