- Graduation Day
- Full Moon
- Lynch Mob
- Catch of the Day
- Police Calls
- Healthy Criticism
- Hwy 20 Accident
- Hwy 1 Collision
- Team Sport
- Albion Burn Ban
- I Carry Your Heart
- Drought Hotline
- Recycling Jobs
- Delta Deception
JUNE BEING GRADUATION MONTH, and me being tasked with handing out some money to Boonville's graduating scholars on behalf of my nephew, I found myself charmed by both the ceremony and the matriculators. To bring off something nice amid the medium-security prison structures of public school architecture isn't easy; it takes planning, something of a civilized aesthetic and energy, which is why I was caught unprepared for how pleasant the evening turned out to be. It was staged in a kind of bower created in the normally austere space between the gym and the cafeteria, and it was obvious that smart planning and a lot of work had gone into making the event attractive and comfortable for the large audience. We have a new principal here in the Anderson Valley who's really tuned the place up, radically improved the vibe, you might say.
THE SOUND GUY, by the way, managed to bring off a minor audio miracle, by local standards anyway; you could hear every word. I've seen him at Mendo events before but I don't know his name. But his contribution to the overall success is always crucial.
YEARS PAST, in my experience anyway, and I've sat through a lot of these things, high school graduations were a kind of endurance contest held in the summer sweatbox of the high school gym and heavy on the Hallmark rhetoric these doggedly upbeat occasions demand. You'd need a small army of grief counselors standing by if you even attempted to tell the young the truth about what they can expect out there in the rapidly crumbling society that will demand all the cunning and discipline they can muster. “Life is whatever the hell it is and at the end of it you die alone, and probably painfully, in your own arms,” assuming your arms haven't been shot off in some distant desert. That might be a little extreme, but one wonders why we can't get some deviation from the Yellow Brick Road, even if it's only to the silly reality of that famous golden submarine.
THURSDAY NIGHT'S graduation spared us the usual endless translations of graduation banalities I've endured many times over the years. Since the medium of instruction at the school is English, why any translation? But the largely bilingual audience gets a double shot of rhetorical tedium that even the monolingual know is the usual pro forma bullshit anyway. We were also spared the endless and literally infantile videos documenting each graduate's life, from toddler-hood to adolescence, all of it set to musical mawk. You may be fascinated by a blow-by-blow rehash of your 18-year-old's life, but unless he's Mozart, spare me. One of these excruciating events I recall as lasting for more than three hours! Not Thursday night's though. Speakers got on and got off, which is the way it should be.
(MY ALL-TIME graduation bummer occurred at St. Mary's College where my daughter went to school. Lynne Cheney, wife of Darth Cheney, was the commencement speaker.)
THE BOONVILLE EVENT drew a large crowd for Anderson Valley, the largest I've seen. Children of Mexican immigrants made up a large majority of the graduates, and the Mexicans turned out in force. The class of 2014 struck me as serious, sedate even, for high school kids, perhaps because Mexican kids, in the Anderson Valley anyway, are raised in strong, intact families solidly aware of the decadent seductions presented by their adopted country and inoculate their young against it. Their children are well-behaved and polite, not all the self-absorbed, unmannerly narcissism we associate with the native young. But Americans, by and large, seem to assume that crazy is normal because we're born into the nuthouse, and most of us have to fight not to be admitted.
TAKE A GOOD, long look at the full moon tonight. Won't happen again on Friday the 13th until 2049.
FROM THE FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE'S archive: 72 years ago, June 14, 1942, “The Army today issued orders for the final exclusion of all Japanese from Military Area No. 1, comprising the western portions of California, Oregon and Washington and southern Arizona.”
MAYBE ACE LOCAL HISTORIAN Katy Tajha might be able to find more about the sad story of the Japanese family who successfully farmed a modest homestead just north of Point Arena during the run-up to World War Two. I heard about them from the late Joe Scaramella who, with typical modesty, recalled that a Fog Belt mob had to be talked down from harming them at the time of Pearl Harbor. He didn't say he was one of only two persons who publicly defended the Japanese, but he was. The other defender was a minister. Scaramella, as I recall his account, had sold the besieged family the radio that the mob had claimed could be used to signal the hostile offshore forces cruising the Northcoast in submarines. Scaramella pointed out that the radio didn't have the capacity for communication; it was a receiver, not a transmitter. In any case, the Point Arena family soon left the area for the interment described above. Maybe someone out there remembers their names and what happened to their property.
AS JOE HIMSELF told it before he died in 1996, “Before the war I was involved in radio stuff. I sold a local Japanese family a radio that was pretty advanced for that time. It received shortwave and other things. It was worthless in many ways. So, somehow the word got out that they were going to be shipped out, see. There were prominent people out here at the Point Arena Grange who were ready to go up there and wipe them out. They thought they were spies. They had that radio and they must be cooperating with the Japanese. I was a member of the Grange then. I went out there and the Methodist minister was out there. And, by God, the resolution came up to do something about them. Boy, the Methodist minister and I just fought that tooth and nail and by God we beat that down. I thought that was one of the best things I have ever done. There was an American citizen, he hadn't been charged with anything, he hadn't done anything, except that he bought a goddamn radio that was commercially available. Later, they voluntarily left. They probably felt it would be better to get out of this area.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, FRIDAY THE 13TH OF JUNE
MOLLYANNE FAAHS-STEWART, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
JESUS GALVEZ-CEJA, Talmage. DUI.
TIMOTHY KANE, Fort Bragg. Assault and battery, threats.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, revocation of probation.
JAMES MULHEREN, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
SATASHA ROBINSON-ROSADO, Lucerne. DUI.
BRYAN ROLLINS, San Francisco. Driving under the influence of drugs, vehicle theft, driving without a license.
POLICE CALLS AS OF SATURDAY MORNING
POSSIBLE DUI -- Caller at the gas station at the corner of Airport Park Boulevard and Talmage Road reported at 12:37 a.m. Tuesday that someone getting gas in a gold SUV was possibly drunk. An officer responded, but the car was gone.
CAMPERS IN PARKING LOT -- Caller in the 100 block of South Orchard Avenue reported at 8:14 a.m. Tuesday that a large group of transients with dogs and shopping carts had hung up a clothes line. An officer responded, and the group left upon request.
CAMPERS -- Caller in the 1100 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 8:19 a.m. Tuesday that two transients were camping near a Dumpster. An officer responded and cited them.
STOLEN CAR -- Caller in the 400 block of North State Street reported at 12:04 p.m. Tuesday that someone was trying to register a stolen vehicle. An officer responded and arrested Ashley Forge, 29, of Ukiah, on suspicion of vehicle theft.
DOG BITE -- Caller at Ukiah Valley Medical Center reported at 2:54 p.m. Tuesday that a victim of a dog bite was being treated. An officer responded and took a report.
BATTERY -- An officer responded to the 1100 block of Airport Park Boulevard at 4:22 p.m. Tuesday after someone called 911 and hung up, and arrested Jihad Muhhammad, 36, of Chicago, on suspicion of false imprisonment and domestic battery.
GARBAGE CANS BEING KNOCKED OVER -- Caller on Marshall Street reported at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday that a group was knocking over garbage cans on the street. An officer responded, but the group was gone.
SISTER WORRIED -- Citizen at 12:12 p.m. Wednesday wanted to report her sister missing, reporting that she was not responding to texts, her phone was turned off and she hadn't been on Facebook for several days. The caller later reported that she had heard from her sister, who was fine.
iPAD STOLEN -- Caller in the 700 block of South Oak Street reported at 12:26 p.m. Wednesday that someone stole her iPad out of her hands. An officer took a report.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to the 900 block of North State Street at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and arrested a 25-year-old Ukiah woman for theft.
CAR EGGED -- Caller in the 200 block of South Highland Avenue reported at 3:59 p.m. Wednesday that his car was egged. Attempts to recontact the caller were unsuccessful.
MAN HUFFING -- Caller at the corner of Low Gap Road and Bush Street reported at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday that a man was inhaling vapors from whipped cream canisters. An officer responded and determined the incident was not as reported.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Kohl's on North Orchard Avenue at 7:42 p.m. Wednesday and arrested a 49-year-old woman for shoplifting. She was cited and released.
IN ALL OF HISTORY, we have found just one cure for error — a partial antidote against making and then repeating grand, foolish mistakes, a remedy against self-deception. That antidote is criticism. Alas, criticism has always been what human beings, especially leaders, most hate to hear.
— David Brin, 1998; from "The Transparent Society"
[ED NOTE: TOMMY ANCONA is the major domo at Noyo Harbor, which he's run for years.]
CHP PRESS RELEASE: On June 12, 2014, at approximately 1705 hours, the California Highway Patrol received a report of a vehicle that had been involved in a traffic collision and was down an embankment on SR-20 at Mile Post 19.16. Upon arrival at the scene, the CHP was approached by a witness who stated the driver was tailgating and crossing over double yellows prior to the collision. It was determined that Thomas Ancona, 68, of Fort Bragg, was driving his 2001 Toyota Tacoma (V-1) westbound on SR-20 at an undetermined rate of speed. V-1's tires were worn and had insufficient tread depth. He entered a left turn at a speed that was unsafe for the mechanical condition of his vehicle's tires and V-1 began to under-steer. Ancona allowed V-1 to drive off the north roadway edge and collide with a rock embankment. Upon colliding with the rock embankment, V-1 overturned and skidded across both lanes of traffic. V-1 then collided with the guard rail on the south road edge of SR-20 and overturned, going over the top of the guard rail. After V-1 went over the guard rail, it continued to overturn several times traveling down an 85 foot embankment. V-1 collided with several trees until it came to rest on its left side, facing in an easterly direction, at the bottom of the embankment, near the creek. Due to the nature of the collision, Ancona was extricated and moved up to the roadway by the Fort Bragg Fire and CalFire Personnel. Ancona was then transport by CalStar to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries. CalTrans responded and the roadway was closed intermittently for the recovery of V-1.
ON JUNE 12, 2014, at approximately 1730 hours, P1, Xingmei Cai, 22, of Dublin, was driving V1 2008 Toyoto northbound on SR-1 at a high rate of speed. P2, Ricardo Hermosillo, 46, of Windsor, was driving V2 southbound on SR-1, approaching V1's location, at approximately 25 miles per hour. Due to P1's unsafe speed, she was unable to maintain V1 within the lane. As a result V1 crossed over the solid double yellow line, and the front of V1 collided with the left side of V2. As a result of the collision, V2's left gas tank ruptured. Approximately 30 gallons of diesel was spilled on the roadway. The northbound and southbound lanes were closed for approximately 4 hours, while the CHP and Cal-Trans cleaned the road. The CHP is handling the Hazmat report as well as the traffic collision report. (CHP Press Release)
There is nobody on this Earth more pleased by that which has transpired in Miami than I. Fans leaving early. Fans booing their home team. Morally bereft fans incapable of knowing the value of commitment, the value in loss. Fans not worthy of victory. The cult of three amigos coming together to “do this thing” irrespective of community allegiances. What’s the difference between San Antonio and Cleveland? Is the River Walk that much better than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Too cold, how about Chicago? How satisfying would it have been for LeBron to win with Anderson Varejo? How great that hug? How great to have truly been able to say this win is for my people? Is Bob Lanier or Dave Bing any less great because they never won a championship? Do these twelve-deep Spurs remind one of the eleven-deep 75 Warriors? In some ways yes, but even better. The Spurs don’t have a prima donna, albeit a prima donna who personified the purity of basketball, as a leader. The Spurs are selfless alpha dogs sharing one heart, one goal. And when one became lost in the self, as Leonard did for a brief moment in game three, it was so obvious that he immediately saw the erring in his way. Long live Red on Roundball! The Big Three is not a team. The Big Three cannot fill the four chambers of a heart.
Joshua Jennings, San Francisco
ALBION IS READY!
Albion Little River Fire Protection District adopts Burn Ban
Due to extreme drought conditions and due to the fact that California State Agencies have not yet declared a Statewide Burn Ban, on Wednesday June 11 the Albion Little River Fire Protection District Board of Directors unanimously approved the following resolution: Resolution 14/06/11 Whereas the entire State of California is now in extreme drought conditions; and Whereas the State of California has not yet declared a burn ban; and Whereas the District has recently extinguished two fires that flared from old burns; The Board of Directors of the Albion Little River Fire Protection District declares the following resolution: By Order of the Fire Chief a burn ban is in effect for all areas that receive fire services from the Albion Little River Fire Protection District. Burn permits are suspended, due to extremely dry conditions, until further notice. This ban takes effect at 12:01 AM June 16 2014. Passed and adopted by the Board of Directors of the Albion Little River Fire Protection District at an emergency meeting on the 11th day of June 2014 by the following vote: Ayes: Richard Riley, Bob Canclini, Chris Skyhawk, Scott Roat; Sam Levine Nays: None
[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
MENDOCINO COUNTY WELCOMES MORE INFORMATION THROUGH DROUGHT HOTLINE
The Mendocino County Water Agency and County officials are asking residents living in unincorporated areas of the County to call in to the Mendocino County Drought Hotline if they are having issues with water supply. These calls have proven to be an invaluable source of information to know where problems are occurring in the County with residential groundwater. For those residents who are on a well or draw from a spring, and who are also concerned that this source of water will not last much longer – or is already dry – you are encouraged to call in to the Mendocino County Drought Hotline at 707-463-4589 and leave a message. Please be advised that the Drought Hotline is still just for informational purposes. However, residents may also call the County’s Department of Environmental Health for further resources and information regarding water haulers, at 707-234-6625.
RECYCLING WORKERS IN THEIR OWN WORDS
As told to David Bacon
I first applied for a job at the Select agency in 2000. I'd just arrived from Mexico, and a friend explained to me about the agencies, that they'll quickly send you out to work. They sent me to some other places before ACI. Then I was out of work for awhile, and I went down to the agency to ask them for another job. They said the only job they had for me was in the garbage.
A lot of people had told me that this job was really bad. The woman at the agency told me, go try it for a day, and if you don't like it you can come back here. So I went. At first they put me on the cardboard line. That didn't seem so bad because it's not so dirty. It's just that the cardboard stacks up so fast. But then they put me on the trash line, which was a lot dirtier. But the thing is, I needed the job. So I worked hard, and the years passed, and I was still there.
All day every day the trucks arrive, they unload and a machine starts pushing the trash onto the line. Down below, we start sorting it. The line brings all the trash past the place we're standing, and first we separate out the cardboard. The next line takes out the plastic. Then the metal and aluminum gets taken out on another line.
The worst position -- the one with the heaviest and dirtiest work -- is the trash line. It's really ugly. All the really terrible things are there. Things like dirty diapers. There are dangers too. Broken glass. Rusty iron.
I got punctured twice by hypodermic needles, and they sent me to the hospital. I was really scared, because you don't know where the needles have been. You could get HIV. They kept checking my blood at a clinic in Castro Valley for eight months afterwards, for AIDS or hepatitis or other illnesses.
Afterwards Maria at the agency said the company had checked my papers and found out that they weren't any good. I wouldn't be able to work anymore if I couldn't give them new papers within a month. I told her I wanted to see this in writing, and I'd take it to a lawyer before I signed anything. I told her, "With the lousy wages you're paying us, do you think you're going to find people with good Social Security numbers?"
After the month was up they didn't say anything. I knew three people after that who were called into the office after they'd been punctured by a needle, and the company then checked their papers. But they lost their jobs because they didn't speak up the way I did.
The heaviest job is separating out the metal and taking it to the containers. Once I was sorting on the line and a heavy piece of equipment fell on me. It really hurt me bad, but they didn't pay me anything for that or send me to the doctor or the hospital. Last November I slipped and fell while I was putting a cylinder on the forklift, and it hit me in the stomach. They didn't do anything for me that time either. They just sent me home. They always look for a way not to send you to the doctor when something happens.
We don't have any medical insurance. They tell us that because we work for the agency, we don't have a right to this benefit or anything else. No vacations. Nothing. They call us temporary workers because we work for the agency, but we're not really temporary. Many of us have been working at ACI for many years. We are permanent workers there. But ACI doesn't have any of its own employees on the sorting lines. Down there we all work for the agency.
When I started at ACI they were paying me $8 an hour. They made us work ten or twelve hours every day, standing in one place all that time. If we got sick and asked for time off they'd deny it. Every Saturday was mandatory. If we stopped the line to get a drink of water because it was so hot they'd get angry. If we went to the bathroom, they'd look at their watch to see how much time we were taking.
Then in 2012 they started two shifts and raised the wages to $8.50 for nights and $8.30 for days. I don't think that's a fair wage. The job is very heavy and the pay is really low. In one safety meeting I asked them to give us a raise. Then the manager yelled at me and called me a grossera because I said the company was greedy. Afterwards he told me I had to go apologize in the office.
They'd yell at us and tell us to get out more production but they'd never raise the wages. Our hands were hurting from what they already demanded. Once a woman said we'd go on strike and Brenda, the manager, said we'd all be fired if we did. She said, there are four doors and they're all open for anyone who doesn't like it here.
Then they decided to motivate us by giving us clocks as presents, but they didn't work. When I asked why they'd give us broken clocks the company was insulted, but I see better stuff in the trash.
Even though we were asking for raises, we never knew that San Leandro had a living wage law. Of course they never said a thing about it. They would just say, there's not going to be any raise. We learned about it when we talked with the union organizer, Agustin. We decided to file a court case to force them to raise the wages. We didn't want to get fired - we wanted them to pay us better.
Then in February they began calling us in to say they'd started checking our papers. They said la migra had checked our papers over a year earlier, but if that was really true, why did they wait until we'd filed the suit? When I asked Monica, a manager, why, she said it was partly because we'd sued the company and partly because the company had been audited by la migra. People have worked here for fourteen or fifteen years, and no one ever said anything to them before. Now that we filed the suit, we're getting fired.
Since I got fired I've been very worried about my situation. I can't get hired and my sons lost their jobs in Los Angeles and came up to live with me. My PG&E bill is very high, $258. The water bill came -- $239. The rent is $1250. We're all living in one room and renting out the others just to be able to pay it.
I've been here fourteen years, and it's impossible for me to go back to Apatzingan, in Michoacan, where I was born. But I was never sorry I came. I worked hard for three years, and brought my two sons. I may not have a job right now, but I don't regret anything. I'm going to struggle, and continue moving ahead.
(Lopez' name has been changed to protect her identity)
* * *
LUIS VALLADARES, East Bay recycler, his wife and two of their children.
My father is a farmer in Chiapas, and grows corn, mangoes and bananas. Our land wasn't enough to support our family, though. The little we were able to grow was just to eat. When I went to school I didn't have any money for lunch. I'd just bring some tortillas with salt, or some beans. We always suffered from poverty. Now we just try to forget.
Poverty closes doors in your life, to what might have happened if you could have kept studying. When I was sixteen I left home and school, and went to Mexico City. Parents never want their children to leave. But we, their kids, don't belong to them, and we can't stay. The majority of young people in my town have left, like me, looking for a way to help their families survive.
In Mexico City I found work as a musician, because I play the marimba. On weekends we'd go out to the markets with the marimba and make enough to eat. Then I met my wife who was living in Mexico City too. I was the one who suggested to her that we come here. She had a sister who was already here. We had no money, so her sister gave us a loan to get here. I came first and found a job with this same agency. It wasn't very stable work, but after five months I put together enough money to bring my wife.
We had a daughter we had to leave behind. She was just three when we left, and she's sixteen years old now. She still lives in Mexico. This was very hard for us. We send money home for her, but she doesn't want to come live here and leave her grandmother. We don't want to force her. And now, of course, it's much harder to come. It's not just more expensive, but you're risking your life. Many people have died trying to cross the border.
When I came I crossed in the desert. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. You just make the decision to do this out of need. When we were thinking about coming here, my idea was that we'd stay here for two or three years, save up some money and then go back and build a house. But look. Now we've been here 14 years and we can't go back. My children belong here, and there are a lot of benefits for them here.
I worked at ACI for twelve years. When I started I was a sorter on the line. Then they asked me if I wanted to operate machinery, and I got off the line. I ran the packing machine. I learned to drive the forklifts and the loaders - all the machines the company has.
The packing machine packs all the material that is sorted on the line -- paper, cardboard, trash, aluminum, plastic, cans - into a dense package and puts the bands around the package. Each package has to have a certain weight. My job was to watch the line, and calculate the weight of the material going into the machine. If I let too much go in, the machine would seize up. It would be a big headache. It took me time to learn, but at the end it's like the way you know your car.
Can they take someone who's been working there a month and have them do this? No one is irreplaceable, but it takes anyone time to learn. It's a very responsible job. You can't go to sleep on this machine. If you fall in you'll wind up in pieces.
If the machine jams, to go inside you have to stop it, take out the key, and pull the electrical switch. At another company a friend of my wife reached in to free a piece of metal that had jammed the machine. The machine was still on and he hadn't unlocked it. The machine grabbed his foot. He didn't lose it, but he's disabled now.
This is a very dangerous place to work. Machines are always passing by. The line is moving and other machines are moving around them.
When I started at ACI they paid me $6.75 an hour. I left in 2009 because they were only paying me $8.50. One Friday, when I saw they were still paying me that same lousy wage, I punched out and told the supervisor that if they wanted me to give me a call. The agency fired me. But the person they hired to replace me wasn't very good at the job. After a year, the agency called me and I went back at $10 an hour.
I didn't know about the living wage, but some women at work talked with Agustin from the union and decided to file the suit. Whatever is for the benefit of us, the workers, I support. And I continue to support it. I never imagined they would fire us for this.
I always had the idea that unions had a lot of benefits for workers. They've never paid us any of these things. So I thought if we filed a suit, it might lead to having a union, and eventually the company would work with it. Instead Anna and Monica called me to the agency office and said, "We want you to reverify your Social Security number, and bring us proof that you can continue to work here."
You know, when many people come to this country, we come illegally. I'm not going to lie. When we came we had to find a way to start working. And this is the basic thing you need - a Social Security number. You have to buy a number. If we had good numbers we'd never have the kind of problems we have now. By 2001, when I came, you could not get a real Social Security number, although long ago you could.
Since that attack on the twin towers it's been really hard. They've started checking Social Security numbers a lot more. Jobs also just got harder to find. A lot of companies closed, leaving their workers without jobs. Now we're in this ocean of unemployed people.
At first I was very angry. I felt helpless. And then quickly I began to worry. I have to pay the rent, the bills. The kids have to eat. When you're working, you only make enough just to live. Do you think with the wage they've been paying that we were able to save any money?
I haven't been able to find another job. My wife is working, but only part time in a hotel. Lately I've been going out to work with some friends. But it's just two or three days a week. This week I didn't work a single day. Every penny I make I'm putting away to pay the rent.
I don't believe that what happened to us at ACI is just. We're looking for the welfare of our families, trying to get a fair wage so we can live better. People need to understand what happened to us, the abuse and low pay that immigrants have to live with.
(Valladares' name was changed to protect his identity)
ENVIRONMENTAL WATER CAUCUS SHREDS ‘MISLEADING’ BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN
by Dan Bacher
The Environmental Water Caucus, a diverse coalition including conservation, fishing and environmental justice groups and the Karuk and Winnemem Wintu Tribes, on June 11 responded to Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its associated Environmental Impact Report with a stinging 250-page critique of BDCP’s inadequacies and multiple failures to conform to state and federal laws.
“The plan is an omelet of distortion and half-truth intended to mislead and deceive,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA).
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), characterizes the BDCP as “a construction project masquerading as a habitat conservation plan.”
The core of the plan is the construction of two underground twin tunnels 35 miles long and 40 feet in diameter to deliver Sacramento River to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.
Among the criticisms detailed in the Caucus’ review are that it is contrary to the Delta Reform Act of 2009, it fails to provide adequate ecological assurances under state and federal endangered species laws, it fails to assure funding for the project, and it fails to analyze reasonable alternatives to the preferred plan for huge tunnels under the Delta. Other points highlighted by the Caucus include:
• Exporting more water out of the Delta was a foregone conclusion for the main proponents of the plan, which are the powerful water districts south of the Delta. BDCP has cherry picked the science to support that objective and has created 40,000 pages of biased analytical findings to support that predetermined goal, trying to hide the real intent in the process.
• Federal and state laws require that a permissible project must contain a solid financing plan – precisely the kind of plan that BDCP lacks. Even after seven years of planning and debate, BDCP fails to spell out who will be responsible for the $50 to $60 billion cost. Tax payers can expect to pick up most of that tab.
• The Bay Delta “Conservation” Plan has little to do with conservation. In an effort to mislead the public, BDCP disingenuously characterizes the eight-lane expressway sized tunnels that will drain the Delta of life sustaining freshwater as a “Conservation Measure.”
• Purporting to restore Delta ecosystems and protect its most vulnerable fish species, BDCP would instead further reduce natural Delta flows to San Francisco Bay, helping push listed, vulnerable salmon and resident fish species into oblivion, and officiate at the demise of California’s salmon industry.
• BDCP proffers the snake-oil hypothesis that physical habitat can substitute for water flows, while ignoring the fact that water is aquatic habitat. While BDCP analyzes the tunnels at a specific project level, habitat is only analyzed at a conceptual level. BDCP only promises to restore some acres of habitat somewhere at sometime in the future, if funding can be secured, while ignoring that most habitat restoration efforts in the past have failed to achieve predicted results.
• BDCP will degrade water quality and harm beneficial uses of water in the Delta, along with promoting wasteful and unreasonable uses of water south of the Delta, contrary to numerous state and federal water quality laws and the California Water Code.
• While BDCP trumpets the risks to California’s water supply from massive Delta levee failures due to earthquakes, BDCP lifts not a finger to address these supposed seismic levee issues.
The Environmental Water Caucus proposes an alternative that reduces water exports to a more sustainable level, in order to permit recovery of the Delta while maintaining water supplies for both Delta and south of Delta water users. The plan, the “Responsible Exports Alternative,” sets a cap on water exports of 3 million acre feet per year.
The construction of the peripheral tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
See the detailed Caucus comments at: http://www.ewccalifornia.org
The Environmental Water Caucus includes the following organizations and Tribes:. AquAlliance. Butte Environmental Council. California Coastkeeper Alliance. California Save Our Streams Council. California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. California Striped Bass Association. California Water Impact Network (C-WIN). Clean Water Action. Citizens Water Watch. Desal Response Group. Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. Environmental Protection Information Center. Earth Law Center. Fish Sniffer Magazine. Foothill Conservancy. Friends of the River. Food & Water Watch. Institute for Fisheries Resources. The Karuk Tribe. North Coast Environmental Center. Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fishers. Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. Planning & Conservation League. Restore the Delta. Sacramento River Preservation Trust. Sierra Club California. Southern California Watershed Alliance. Winnemem Wintu Tribe
CONTACTS: Conner Everts, Environmental Water Caucus. firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-804-6615. Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. email@example.com, 209-464-5067. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta. firstname.lastname@example.org, 209-479-2053