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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015

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The Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg today filed with the City Clerk a formal notice indicating an intention to circulate a petition that would place on the ballot a measure prohibiting homeless services within the Central Business District but otherwise permitting such services in the broader General Commercial District that surrounds the core CBD.

Rod Jones, CCFB’s lawyer, assisted in the drafting of the measure and indicated that it is designed to clarify the zoning code. The City’s General Plan states that such services may be allowed in the General Commercial District but in Table 2-6 of section 18.22.030 of the City’s Zoning Code, sets up a classification of “Emergency/transitional shelter” is not allowed in the CBD. When the apparent discrepancy was pointed out to the City, it refused to respond or explain. By the time the lawsuit was first heard in court, said Jones, the City claimed that was not the kind of shelter being proposed. Jones continued, “The terms ‘emergency shelter’ and ‘transitional housing’ are discrete concepts but for some reason the City has muddled them in section 18.22.030. Now the City is trying to duck the issue and call the project a ‘mixed use development.’ But the problem with that is there are no well-defined first-floor commercial or retail plans, simply a pie-in- the-sky assertion that there might be this or could be that.”

CCFB spokesperson Anna Marie Cesario noted that the whole purpose of this petition is to clarify what the City is unwilling to do, insuring that the fundamental historical and business character of the CBD be retained and that social services for the homeless and transitional housing be situated outside that small central hub in any of a number of alternative zones. “It’s simply about providing the right services at the right location. That simple.”

CCFB’s Carolyn Petersen filed the paperwork and indicated the City has 14 days to authorize the petition drive. “Given that we’re fighting the City and yet they have control over approval, I’m hoping they don’t drag their heels and keep us from proceeding rapidly on this,” said Petersen.

(Press Release from Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg)

see: Notice of Intention to Circulate Petition

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THE STATE OF THE NAVARRO: After a slight rise in flow rate the Navarro River has settled back down to 23 cfs as of Sunday the 19th. The previous recorded low for the same date was in 1977 at 37 cfs. It is still cool and beautiful but showing the first signs of stringy green algae. Fry are in evidence but no fingerlings yet. Turtles can be spotted here and there and this past week I've seen a couple 12 inch steelhead/trout (?) nervously working up and down a stretch of river probably soon to be too low for their comfort. — David Severn

AS THE DROUGHT DEEPENS, and the rivers and streams of the Anderson Valley are at their lowest ebb ever for this time of year, state rules regarding who can take how much, are these: “The right to divert surface water in California is based on the type of right being claimed and the priority date. Water right permits specify the season of use, purpose of use and place of use for the quantity of water authorized under the permit or license. In times of drought and limited supply, the most recent ('junior') right holder must be the first to discontinue use. Even more senior water right holders, such as some riparian and pre-1914 water right holders may also receive a notice to stop diverting water if their diversions are downstream of reservoirs releasing stored water and there is no natural flow available for diversion. In the coming weeks and months, if dry weather conditions persist, the State Water Board will notify certain water right holders in critically dry watersheds of the requirement to stop diverting water under their water right, based on their priority. These notices will be posted.”

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WILDFLOWER SHOW 2015! The Anderson Valley Wildflower Show celebrates its 80th year from 10 to 4 on Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. It is produced by the Garden Section of the Anderson Valley Unity Club. Hundreds of wildflowers, grasses and other plants will be gathered, identified, arranged by family on tables throughout the hall and labeled with the botanical and common names. The warm winter caused many flowers to bloom early, taking advantage of what groundwater was available in our drought. We are very interested to see what our gathering crews will find currently blooming.

THE FIRST SHOW was created in the spring of 1926 by the late Blanche Brown, a much admired local teacher and gifted, self-taught botanist. The Unity Club was first involved in the show in 1928 and took full responsibility for it in the late 1950s.

IF YOU HAVE plants you would like to have identified, you are welcome to bring them in. Garden Section members and members of the California Native Plant Society will be on hand to help identify them.

THERE will be plants for sale, potted and grown locally, many of them native flora. We will also have botanicals from Herbal Energetics, seaweed harvest by local people, and a table with books from the California Native Plant Society. Also new this year will be a table with a few wild edibles. Our tea room will provide tasty lunches and snacks. A raffle of garden-related items will be held which helps to provide scholarships for local students. Please join us for this delightful and educational exhibit. (Robyn Harper)

YOU CAN TAKE in the annually wonderful Wildflower Show (our fave Fairgrounds event of the year), then wander a few steps west for the first annual Goat Show, goat raising having become the latest addition to the County's thriving small farm movement. Grow and eat where you live, as they say, and goats are among the most versatile of God's creatures and tasty, too.

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BEVERLY DUTRA, representing the Community Action Coalition appeared at the Community Services District board meeting last week to ask the board for assistance in improving law enforcement coverage for Anderson Valley. Her letter to the CSD Board said, “We believe that the reassignment of Craig Walker, our resident deputy, to Ukiah has created a significant public safety issue. The Community Action Coalition requests that the Community Services District hold some form of public discussion on the very real consequences of this problem. Without the presence of a resident deputy the quality of our lives and our safety are both greatly impaired. We hope that you can schedule something appropriate soon. Thank you. — Yours Truly, Beverly Dutra, For the Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition”

MRS. DUTRA said that patrol deputies had been had taken a 10% pay cut several years ago before other County employees and as a result more and more County cops are leaving for city jobs or other counties where salaries and bennies are better. Dutra said that comparable positions in Ukiah Police Department, for example, paid $10 an hour more than County deputies get. Mendocino County pays upwards of $60,000 to train recruits only to watch them leave for higher paying jobs other places.

WHILE POLICE response times in incorporated areas of the County are reasonable, in the unincorporated vastness outside Mendo's urbanized areas, relatively minor, non-life-threatening emergencies may not get any response at all. Resident deputies have been withdrawn from almost all unincorporated areas of the County due to the staff shortage. In those areas the resident deputy is not on hand to keep an eye on things. “A potential crisis in law enforcement looms,” concluded Dutra. Dutra pointed the finger at the Board of Supervisors, saying they have been derelict in their duties and have not responded to letters and calls for fair pay for deputies. When Dutra requested that the board approach Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg on the issue, Holmes Ranch resident and senior CSD watcher Gene Herr grumbled, “Lots of luck.”

(HAMBURG is the Major-Major of local public office. When he's in he's out, and when he's out he's in. The 5th District hasn't had a real supervisor since Norman deVall, and before deVall, Ted Galletti, and before Galletti, the late, great Joe Scaramella. Hamburg, like Colfax before him, just draws his pay and does nothing.)

THE CSD BOARD'S February letter to Sheriff Allman asking for action on the resident deputy dilemma received no response whatsoever from either the Sheriff or the Board of Supervisors. The board agreed to host a public meeting on the issue in the near future, and Mrs. Dutra agreed to coordinate the meeting.

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photo by Nadia El Adli, courtesy,

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DENVER TUTTLE'S CRYSTALLINE POINT PROJECT is happening at Aquarelle on 4/29 from 5-10pm.


It will include snacks and drinks by Aquarelle, a raffle and auction of art and other items and services, and it is both a celebration of the closing of the current show that Denver has had at Aquarelle for the past year and a promotion for his next project, which will require fundraising. The Ukeholics with The Tiny Orchestra Of Boonville will be performing.

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This story definitely belongs in the theater of the absurd.

We had been waiting, waiting — not for Godot, but for AT&T to repair our line and restore communication. For a month and a week we waited…

Here is how the story goes:

Our phone went out on the 24th of January before 11am. We informed MCN since we are their fusion customers and have been nothing but satisfied with them.

MCN sent someone the next day to check if the problem came from their end and ascertained that everything was in order from their side. So the line problem fell under the jurisdiction of AT&T. They told us they would contact AT&T to let them know.

After that we remained pretty much in the dark, especially after the big storm that left us without electricity for three days. We were pretty sure that the problem came from our neighbors’ side: they had accidentally cut through our phone line doing work on their road in November. At that time AT&T had taken 5 days to do the repair even though it was entirely their fault since our neighbors had actually called them before doing the digging to check where the lines were (this because a similar incident has occurred a few month earlier, and at the time they had been told of the protocol to follow).

Anyway, a few days after MCN checked with us an AT&T truck driver came once to our side of the land and told us we should expect repairs within a few days. We told him about the incident in November and added that workers had come since to fill the hole: it might have been the reason for the problem. Our story didn’t seem to make a big impression, it appeared that AT&T didn’t need our help: obviously they had equipment that would detect the breaks in their lines in no time.

At one point we heard some digging on our neighbors’ land and went to check. Indeed a new hole had been dug and the line pulled out. But obviously that was not where the break was. And we heard nothing more from then on.

In the dark again.

It is only much later, we were in the fourth week without a phone or internet, that I learned more from my neighbor. I was making a very important medical phone call, perched on my rooftop leaning over a 15 foot drop in order to get reception on my track phone (the only cell phone that works at all in our neck of the woods) wondering about the wisdom of being up there at my age when she showed up. She suspected that I knew nothing about what had been going on and wanted to inform me.

She said that a big truck, equipped with a big ladder, and one or two big men would show up at her place every week or so. They would ask her to tell them what the problem was. They wanted the whole story. Apparently they hadn’t talked to any previous AT&T worker and didn’t know the first thing about what might have happened. They would use their equipment to locate the break, put a few red flags up, and then leave saying that diggers will follow in a few days, and repairmen after that.

No digger ever showed up! But after a week or so another big truck with the big ladder and the big men would roll in. The men also questioned her about the problem and didn’t seem to have any knowledge of what had been done previously. They would leave telling her that they were just locaters and that the diggers would follows in a few days.

And again, and again, same replay, 3 or 4 times. It seemed like we were dealing with zombies who had no contact with each other or with a main office. They all said they were only locaters and that the diggers would come.

Finally on February 25, my husband ran into a repairman in a truck on our road and asked him if he had come to repair our line. It was the first intelligent, responsible person we had dealt with, but mostly the first real contact we had had with AT&T servicemen. The man realized, after answering that no repair had been done yet, that it had been more than a month since we had telephone or internet and he took it upon himself to run a temporary surface line so we could have phone and internet, temporarily.

This could have been done the very first day. It didn’t even take an hour.

Talk about efficiency! And now MCN was told that the final repair would be done by the 15th of March. Maybe the temporary line will hold until then! Cross our fingers!

An Update On April 14

We are now in the middle of April and finally some men were sent to fill the hole that had been sitting there since January, they didn’t seem to look at the lines that had been uncovered, then went on the dig another bigger hole not far from it.

As the story goes a splicer should come very soon to ascertain if that is where the damage is, and repair it.

As of today April 20, I have heard nothing. I do not know if it has been done. And there are other cases like ours!

Lydia Rand


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TO: California Coastal Commission

45 Fremont Street, Suite 200

San Francisco, CA 94105

Dear Commissioners:

This letter is in reference to the proposal by California Parks and Recreation Department to put “iron rangers” intended to collect money for access to and use of public beaches in California, specifically, in our understanding, Sonoma County.

The California Supreme Court cases of Dietz v. King and Gion v. City of Santa Cruz clearly established the right of public access and use of our coastal beaches. The former case involved a landowner charging money for access to a public beach. We are unable to see a meaningful distinction between an access charge by State Parks as opposed to a private landowner.

Although the State is trying to raise money from a multitude of sources, denying the public free access to OUR beaches seems a clear manifestation of class warfare. One of the few things a lower income family can do that does not cost money is to spend a day at the seashore.

The California Coastal Commission was created by popular vote to insure public access to the beaches and to protect those rights, whether from private landowners or public agencies. Particularly in this case where Parks and Recreation has proven itself to be capable of massive budget mismanagement and the concealing of funds, the idea that this organization should deny the public free access to beaches which are supported by our tax dollars is unconscionable.


Peter D. Lit, Darcie Mahoney


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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 20, 2015

Aguirre-Huaracha, Alvarez, Britton
Aguirre-Huaracha, Alvarez, Britton

ALEJANDRO AGUIRRE-HUARACHA, Gualala. Domestic assault, criminal threats of death or great bodily harm.

KELISHA ALVAREZ, Clearlake. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer.)

BRENDAN BRITTON, Willits. Rape of victim intoxicated or anesthetized by controlled substance.

Dousa, Doyel, Hanover, Henderson
Dousa, Doyel, Hanover, Henderson

MICHAL DOUSA, San Francisco/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BRANDIE DOYEL, Vallejo/Willits. Possession of meth for sale.

PATRICK HANOVER, Covelo. Court order violation.

ROBERT HENDERSON, Benicia/Willits. Domestic battery, possession of meth and pot for sale.

Kann, Nitzel, Sanchez, Stampfli
Kann, Nitzel, Sanchez, Stampfli

BRYAN KANN, Fort Bragg. Possession of meth for sale, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

NATHAN NITZEL, Arcata/Piercy. Under influence of controlled substance.

ALFONSO SANCHEZ, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. DUI, no license.

SHARON STAMPFLI, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, child endangerment.

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She came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island

Where the old world shadows hang, heavy in the air

She packed her hopes and dreams, like a refugee

Just as her father came, across the sea


She heard about a place, people were smilin'

They spoke about the red man's way, how they loved the land

And they came from everywhere, to the Great Divide

Seeking a place to stand, or a place to hide


Down in the crowded bars, out for a good time

Can't wait to tell you all, what it's like up there

And they called it paradise, I don't know why

Somebody laid the mountains low, while the town got high


Then the chilly winds blew down, across the desert

Through the canyons of the coast, to the Malibu

Where the pretty people play, hungry for power

To light their neon way, and give them things to do


Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught 'em

Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus people bought 'em

And they called it paradise, the place to be

They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea


You can leave it all behind, and sail to Lahaina

Just like the missionaries did, so many years ago

They even brought a neon sign, "Jesus is coming"

Brought the white man's burden down, brought the white man's reign


Who will provide the grand design? what is yours and what is mine?

'Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here

We satisfy our endless needs, and justify our bloody deeds

In the name of destiny, and in the name of God


And you can see them there, on Sunday morning

Stand up and sing about, what it's like up there

They call it paradise, I don't know why

You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye

—Don Henley, Glenn Frey

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Jill Stein spoke at the Green Party New Jersey Congress last month where I was recruited to table for NJ PeaceAction. She had a very comprehensive view of the whole outline of our current problems and I have finally decided to abandon the Democrats for the Greens. What was most encouraging to me was to see young Millenials becoming politically active on a wide range of issues.
 Youth spearheaded an unbelievable drive to get the all Republican conservative Morris County Freeholders to unanimously oppose the Pilgrim Shale oil pipeline proposed across Morris County. Note that the Morris County freeholders was the first political office for Gov Chris Christie, of course long since sold out to Koch Brothers and the plutocrats. The Morris County freeholders supported this resolution so strongly after young people persuaded 29 towns to pass resolutions, letters and legal action to oppose the Pilgrim Shale Oil pipeline. 
The Greens actually have young local candidates running for the NJ State legislature all of whom expressly mentioned Green Transit – ie increased Rail and bus transit instead of Auto Addiction in their sprawl areas. Another group of young people were fervent supporters of the “15 Now” campaign for a $15 minimum wage and got 300 people to turn out in Newark, NJ for a rally during lunch hour.
 Young people today know they are getting screwed from every angle and as they largely changed the whole gay rights issue, they will be a huge political force very shortly.
 The Green Party is for all their issues of Climate Change, Green jobs, Green transit, environmental justice, public banking, against the endless Wars.
 People are sick of both sellout Corporatist parties in the US and are ready for a true alternative…

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The workshop will be offered at the Ukiah Branch Library from 12 noon to 4 pm on Monday, May 11th, and at the Fort Bragg Branch Library from 12 noon to 4 pm on Monday, May 18th.

If you've got an idea for making the world a better place and you want to start a nonprofit as the means to do so, this is the workshop for you.

The good news is that starting a nonprofit isn't that hard to do if you have a sound plan, the right team, and sufficient startup capital. The bad news is that running a successful nonprofit is not easy. You'll need to think through exactly how you will bring value to the community, obtain funds, and comply with all the laws that regulate nonprofits.

Most nonprofits are tax exempt under a section of the Internal Revenue Code. To create a tax-exempt organization, first you need to form a California Nonprofit Corporation. Then you apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS and the State Franchise Tax Board. In this workshop we will explain all of the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals.

This workshop is being offered by the Mendocino County Library as part of a six month series of half day workshops on various aspects of running a community based organization. These workshops are being offered on the second Monday of each month in Ukiah, and on the third Monday of each month in Fort Bragg.

In March, the Library offered an introduction to the world of grant seeking and grant writing. In April, they offered an introduction to resource development for Community Based Organizations. The June topic will be “Nonprofit Governance and Leadership: Best Practices for Boards of Directors.” The workshop in July will be “Planning 101: an introduction to strategic, business, and resource planning for Community-Based Organizations.” The topic of the final workshop in 2015, held in August, will be “Communication and Conflict Management Skills for Community-Based Organizations.”

The workshop is free, and preregistration is requested. Interested persons should call 463-4490 in Ukiah, or 964-2020 in Fort Bragg, to reserve a spot.

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FAMED ECONOMIST ROBERT REICH recently visited the Mendocino Coast, dashing off these observations about Fort Bragg for his blog:

Today I’m in Fort Bragg, California – a former timber town of about 6,000 people on California’s northern coast. The timber mill closed about 15 years ago, leaving behind one of the largest and most scenic parcels of private ocean-front property on the entire Pacific coast. If developed sensibly, it could sustain the town environmentally and economically for decades to come. But Georgia-Pacific, which owns the parcel, doesn’t want to pay the costs of cleaning it up. And who owns Georgia Pacific? Koch Industries, of course.

When traveling around America, uncovering the handiwork of the Koch brothers, I’m often reminded of the character Mr. Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore in Frank Capra’s iconic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” whose greed almost turned Bedford Falls into a wretched Pottersville.

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Ukiah Symphony Association

The Ukiah Symphony presents a concert of all-Russian music on May 16 at 8 pm and May 17 at 3 pm at the Mendocino College Center Theater. Featured will be Symphony No. 2 in B minor by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) and Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Opus 30 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi will be featured as piano soloist on Rach III. Tickets are available at, Mendocino Book Company at 102 South School St. in Ukiah, and Mail Center, Etc. at 207A North Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale. Prices are: $25/adults, $20 for seniors, and $5 for 18 and under or ASB cardholders. For more information, call 707-462-0236.

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by Dave Zirin

As a sports writer I am very sensitive to the use and misuse of boxing metaphors. Few analogies are either more powerful or more universally understood than comparing a public figure to an iconic fighter. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, in a panoramic, painfully personal, deeply researched 10,000-word excoriation of Dr. Cornel West, published in The New Republic, has compared the 61-year-old professor to Mike Tyson. He describes Dr. West as someone who once “tore through opponents with startling menace and ferocity,” but who has since devolved into a “faint echo of himself,” an ear-biting sideshow, more interested in celebrity than serious academic and political work.

With all respect to Dr. Dyson, who wrote the intro to my book Game Over and has been a friend to me on numerous occasions, this is in my view the wrong choice of championship pugilists. Dr. West is not Mike Tyson: he's Muhammad Ali. Not the Muhammad Ali of ESPN hagiographies or Hollywood films starring Will Smith. But the real Muhammad Ali: effortlessly provocative, undeniably narcissistic, and unquestionably brilliant. The deeply hurtful quotes that Dr. West has aimed at Dr. Dyson (he has “prostituted himself intellectually”) and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry (“she is a liar and a fraud”) are 21st century iterations of Ali’s regrettable, and for many unforgivable, questioning of the blackness of the great Joe Frazier, comparing the proud fighter to an ugly gorilla, all in the name of hyping up fights and throwing Frazier off of his game.

These comments are vicious, and as someone who has benefitted from the kindness offered me by both Dr. Dyson and Dr. Harris-Perry, they anger my blood. The restraint that Dr. Dyson has shown over the last several years as Dr. West has thrown out his assorted rabbit-punches should be acknowledged. But the sight of Dr. Dyson escalating what was a one-sided series of verbal taunts into a written treatise, and marshalling his intellectual powers toward a polarizing 10,000 word New Republic essay is to see nothing less — I suppose based upon your perspective — than the academic version of either George Foreman punching himself out in Zaire or "Smokin' Joe" sending the champ to the canvas of Madison Square Garden. (I am well aware that in this metaphor, I’m the white sportswriter getting some copy out of the spectacle of two heavyweights throwing hands. Hopefully I’ll be more Bob Lipsyte than Jimmy Cannon.)

The timing of the essay is also very disorienting. We are at a moment when a new movement is attempting to confront an epidemic level of police violence. Dr. Dyson and Dr. West have in word and deed both been important voices in this movement. As the challenges of sustaining this struggle grow with every police killing it is an odd moment for a public figure like Dr. Dyson to write so particular, so personal, and so granular an attack against Dr. West over his lack of scholarship, his love of celebrity, and his at times highly intimate racialized attacks against President Obama.

The piece begins with Dr. Dyson’s thesis that Cornel West’s animus for the president is rooted in a love betrayed. Dr. West "hates" President Obama and uses such personal invective in his political critiques because he once loved him and feels wronged, both personally snubbed and politically ignored. It is difficult to escape the idea that this thesis mirrors Dr. Dyson’s perspective toward Dr. West. His anger is so intense toward Cornel West because his one time mentor — someone with whom he would attend Anita Baker concerts in the 1980s for no reason other than to swoon — has branded him a sellout for not joining him in denunciation of the Obama administration. Dr. Dyson defends himself against these charges, writing that he has never relinquished his criticisms of President Obama but has also never relinquished either his love for either the man or his respect for the accomplishment of becoming the first black President of a country founded on principles of white supremacy. He believes he has been principled and is demonstrably hurt that West has translated his political approach through the ugliest possible lens. There has been no give, no charity, in Dr. West's public analysis of Dr. Dyson's political tactics and now Dr. Dyson is ready to return in kind. In honor of the boxing metaphors used by Dr. Dyson, several of his blows hit their mark and Dr. Dyson is frankly too good a writer to not make this piece leave a mark. Dr. West has exposed his chin through his acquisition of celebrity and absence of scholarship and Dr. Dyson never forgoes taking a roundhouse punch, even when just a jab will do.

But there are several holes in Dr. Dyson’s piece that are glaring. To read the article one would think that West’s anger toward Obama is solely rooted in snubbed invitations and unanswered phone calls. This ignores a series of key political criticisms that West has been raising for years.

Cornel West believes in Palestinian liberation. He believes in amnesty for undocumented immigrants. He believes that the bankers responsible for the 2008 crisis should be brought to justice. He believes that capitalism is a driving engine of much of the injustice in our world. He believes that Obama’s drone program is an act of state-sanctioned murder. One can choose to agree or disagree with these points but one cannot ignore that Dr. West has been relentless in his efforts to place them in the political discourse. The word "Palestine" or "Palestinian" does not once make its way into Dr. Dyson’s piece. Neither does “Wall Street” or "immigration." The word “drones” only comes up in a quote attributed to Dr. West. We can debate how sincere Dr. West's commitments are to these issues or whether they are a cover for his hurt feelings and heartbreak that Dyson posits is at the root of all discord. But they should be reckoned with. Does a “black politics” going forward need to have something to say about corporate power, Israeli occupation, immigration and drone warfare? That’s the unspoken debate in this article, made all the more glaring because Dr. Dyson is sympathetic — and far closer to Dr. West than President Obama — on many of these questions.

Dyson says repeatedly that he is a critic of Obama but loves the man while disagreeing with much of his “neoliberal” policy. Yet he also goes out of his way to write,

Obama believes the blessed should care for the unfortunate, a hallmark of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. West and Obama both advocate intervention for our most vulnerable citizens, but while West focuses on combating market forces that 'edge out non market values — love, care, service to others — handed down by preceding generations,' Obama, as [Jonathan] Alter contends, is more practical, offering Pell grants; stimulus money that saved the jobs of hundreds of thousands of black state and local workers; the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the disparity of sentences for powdered and crack cocaine; the extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which kept millions of working poor blacks from sliding into poverty; and the extension of unemployment insurance and food stamps, which helped millions of blacks.

One cannot read this as anything but an endorsement — and a very selective telling — of President Obama's political agenda. One could also well ask how the hyper-militarization of our cities, the record number of deportations, the closing of public schools, and the "drill and kill" public education testing regimen can be translated as the "blessed caring for the unfortunate."

Then there is the specter of the Black Lives Matter movement, which hangs over every syllable in this piece. Aside from one dismissive mention of Dr. West getting arrested in Ferguson during a staged act of civil disobedience, it is not discussed explicitly. But, at least for this reader, it was impossible to divorce this major article coming out at a moment when the movement is publicly facing a series of questions: namely whether it should be moving in a more radical or conciliatory direction."

It has to be noted that Dr. Dyson’s initial public critique against West came not with this article but last week at the National Action Network's 16th annual convention where he said,

Stop thinking that your way is the only way. It may be a great way, it may be a powerful way that works for you, but one size don’t fit all. So be honest and humble in genuine terms — not the public performance of humility masquerading a huge ego. No amount of hair can cover that.

NAN is of course the organization of Reverend Al Sharpton. Reverend Sharpton has also been, as Dr. Dyson mentions, a repeated target of Dr. West. Reverend Sharpton is currently in a battle against young activists — sometimes a literal battle — over the microphone of this movement. A new generation of leadership, less tied to the Obama administration, wants to be recognized as the leading organizational and political power against police brutality but Sharpton is not going down easy. As he said to young activists in February, “It’s the disconnect that is the strategy to break the movement. And they play on your ego. ‘Oh, you young and hip, you’re full of fire. You’re the new face.’ All the stuff that they know will titillate your ears. That’s what a pimp says to a ho.”

Reverend Sharpton is cracking down on those who would challenge his authority. In other words, while Dr. Dyson has been given ample provocation to strike back at Dr. West, there is also a political battle thrumming beneath the surface that we would be naïve to ignore. Dr. Dyson says that Dr. West's fatal flaw lies in seeing that his way is the only way. It is true that no one has all the answers but we can't settle the questions unless we depersonalize and get at the substance of the divisions: reform vs. revolt; working inside vs. working outside the corridors of power; and so many other "old" debates that have taken on, to use a much-abused phrase, the fierce urgency of now.

Dr. Cornel West is no Mike Tyson, and it has to be said that even in the land of metaphor, comparing Dr. West to a convicted rapist is difficult to read. But in comparing him to Ali, let's also remember that the Champ had two careers: one where he was simply too quick to touch and one, after he returned to the ring in 1970, where he was slower but still fighting with his gloves down and possessing a new strategy: one where he chose to take punch after punch after punch to the chin, until he either fell down or his opponent tired from exhaustion. Ali paid a dear price for this strategy but it was devastatingly effective. Dr. West has chosen over the last several years to take numerous punches from his political opponents. I don’t believe any have punched quite as hard as Dr. Dyson. But with this 10,000-word escalation that increases the personal heat while brushing over the political differences, Dr. Dyson may have done exactly what Dr. West was tempting him to do. The tragedy is that there are so many others who should be higher on everyone’s list of those who need to be prodded, need to be provoked…and need to be knocked the hell out.

(Dave Zirin is the author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil. Contact him at

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by Dan Bacher

The California Fish and Game Commission on April 17 unanimously approved a controversial emergency regulation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to close 5.5 miles of spawning habitat in the Sacramento River above the city of Redding to protect winter-run Chinook salmon from around April 27 to July 31.

The Commission also approved "enhanced protective measures" included in the ocean sport and commercial fisheries regulations for the 2015 season that were adopted by the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) last week.

“We are taking proactive measures on two fronts to protect these endangered fish both in the ocean and on their natal spawning habitat,” said CDFW Chief of Fisheries Stafford Lehr. “The fishing communities have stepped forward to support these measures and work towards long-term sustainability of the resource. None of us wanted to be in this situation, but heading into a fourth year of extreme drought calls for extreme measures.”

Lehr pointed out that 95 percent of winter run Chinook eggs and juvenile fish perished last year, due to high water temperatures on the Sacramento River.

The Department estimates that 3,015 winter Chinook have returned to the Sacramento this year. To help keep the population of winter run Chinook surviving during the drought, Lehr said the Department and federal government are tripling the population of winter Chinook smolts that they will release into the river from the Livingston Stone conservation hatchery to 660,000 fish this season.

"We're trying to develop an 'ark' for the salmon," by holding wild adults, spawning them and raising the young fish, he explained.

The emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam, according to Harry Morse of the CDFW. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to catch and release trout fishing.

DFW officials claimed the closure "will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run salmon by anglers."

Charles Bucaria of the Northern California Council of Fly Fishers said he supported the closure in light of the precarious situation the winter Chinook are in. "There are no alternatives - the closure needs to take place," he stated.

Other anglers told the Commission that they opposed the closure because it unfairly targets anglers, even though they rarely hook winter Chinook when targeting trout while fly fishing on the river.

Many anglers have pointed out that massive winter Chinook mortalitytook place in 2013 and 2014, due to the virtual emptying of Shasta and other northern California reservoirs to ship water to corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies during a record drought.

Mike Quinn of Angler West Radio told the Commissioners, "What you are proposing today will no effect on the salmon in the Sacramento River. It's a matter of not having enough salmon carcasses in the river to provide food for the winter Chinook fry."

The Commission also adopted ocean sport fishing regulations that will mirror federal regulations approved earlier this week. CDFW, in consultation with representatives of California’s sport and commercial salmon fishing industries, recommended additional "strategic protective measures" for winter-run Chinook salmon to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).

The PFMC recommended federal regulations that provide for sport and commercial seasons off California designed to target more abundant stocks, including Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon, while minimizing contact with winter-run Chinook.

Recreational fisheries in California and southern Oregon are primarily focused on Chinook salmon and run from May 1 through September 7 in the Brookings/ Eureka/Crescent City area, according to the PFMC.

Fisheries further south all opened on April 4 and will continue through November 8 in the Fort Bragg area, through October 31 in the San Francisco area, through September 7 from Pigeon Point to Point Sur, and through July 19 south of Point Sur.

“The CDFW proposal to reduce the allowable ocean harvest rate on winter-run salmon and change the timing and location of ocean fisheries south of San Francisco was accepted by the PFMC after in- depth analysis, review and discussion,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s representative to the PFMC. “The Commission concurred with these recommendations, realizing their conservation benefit to all winter- run.”

Yaremko said it is "highly unusual" for a state to propose even stricter guidelines on a listed species than required by the federal Endangered Species Act. However, CDFW scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and additional ocean fishing restrictions will help a significant segment of the winter-run population to avoid losses.

“Given the gravity of the current situation, the Commission recognizes the need for highly protective measures,” said Commission President Jack Baylis. “It is imperative that our fisheries are given the best protections.”

Recreational anglers "went the extra mile" to ensure that more adult fish are returned to the river this year, and put forth restrictions beyond what even the CDFW expected, according to the Coastside Fishing Club.

"Throughout this process we have been concerned about the impacts of the drought, and in particular the effects the drought is having on our salmon stocks," said Dan Wolford, President of the Coastside Fishing Club. "With the loss of the 2014 winter-run brood year it was apparent that we had to take extraordinary measures to help recover these fish.”

"But curtailing fishing opportunities this year to provide for the return of more adult spawners, will be a meaningless gesture unless the federal and state water managers take immediate and dramatic action to provide suitable spawning habitat when they return, and to enable the resulting brood year to successfully out-migrate to the ocean. We want our actions to be noted and acted on," Wolford emphasized.

Fishermen, Tribal leaders and environmentalists note that the drought itself is not the reason for the collapse of winter Chinook salmon, the near extinction of Delta smelt and the collapse of American River steelhead, as agency officials often claim. They point to poor management of our reservoirs and rivers by the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources during a record drought as the culprit behind record low populations of fish species that once numbered in the millions.

The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the CDFW's fall midwater trawl survey released in January. Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December. ( )

The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta. The surveys show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail have declined 97.80%, 99.70%, 99.98%, 97.80%, 91.90%, and 98.50%, respectively, between 1967 and 2014, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Allliance.

The Delta smelt surveys continue to yield dismal results in 2015. The CDFW has found only 21 fish in January, 72 in February, 6 in March and only one - yes, one - lonely Delta smelt in April.

Anglers point out that imposing more restrictions on angling and conducting captive breeding programs of winter run Chinook salmon and Delta smelt don't address the real reasons for the declines of endangered fish species - massive water exports out of the Delta, poor management of upstream reservoirs and increases in pollutants in Central Valley rivers over the past two decades.

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to fast track his plan to build the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. On April 13, the Center for Biological Diversity and Restore the Delta (RTD) responded to the governor’s abandonment of the pretense of “conservation” and “restoration” and move to permit a “tunnels only” Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). ( )

The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of winter Chinook, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

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