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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

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UNDER PRESSURE FROM STATE REGULATORS, North Coast Railroad Authority Signals That It’s Willing To Railbank Its Tracks Through The Eel River Canyon – For A Price

by Hank Sims

The North Coast Railroad Authority today signaled that it’s willing to railbank over 100 miles of dead tracks along the rugged Eel River — from Willits nearly to Scotia — so long as some other state agency pays the authority enough money to retire its debts.

At the same time, the authority says it hopes to someday open a Humboldt County-only railroad line from Scotia to Samoa, through Fortuna, Old Town Eureka and Arcata.

The moves come as the authority, a public agency, prepares to present a “strategic plan” to the California Transportation Commission at the end of January. In recent months, the commission has cast an increasingly wary eye on the struggling agency, calling for it to prepare a “shutdown plan” and asking the state legislature to form a special committee to hash out its future.

In response to this pressure, and in advance of the CTC meeting at the end of the month, NCRA Director John McCowen of Ukiah this morning presented his fellow board members with a draft “strategic plan” that he and the authority’s staff had prepared. (Read it here.) McCowen’s draft — as approved by the board on an 8-0 vote — officially foresakes the possibility of restoring rail service between Humboldt County and the Bay Area for the foreseeable future, and puts the possibility of railbanking a section of the NCRA’s main line on the table for the first time in the authority’s history.

“This is a momentous moment for the NCRA,” said Supervisor Estelle Fennell, one of Humboldt County’s two representatives on the NCRA board.

No trains have run in the geologically unstable Eel River Canyon for over 20 years. The draft strategic plan acknowledges that it would be immensely expensive to rebuild the track through the canyon, and that there is no compelling economic reason to try. But some other state agency might pay the authority to railbank that stretch of line so that the authority could retire some of its own debt:

[T]his scenic area is well suited for a multi-use trail, so long as it is understood that operation and maintenance issues will require dedicated funding to keep the right of way safe to users. Railbanking of this portion appears to be a viable option. State Parks or the Coastal Conservancy could purchase and manage this portion of the line for a multi-use trail under the federal railbanking process.

The authority has been strapped for cash for some time now, and is running large operational deficits. A great deal of its income comes from the sale and lease of public property that is under its control. At the same time, it has retained a Washington, D.C. legal firm to petition the U.S. Supreme Court hear its appeal of a California Supreme Court decision that held it to state environmental law.

As approved by the board of directors today, the NCRA’s new strategic plan will include the restoration of service between the Bay Area and Willits — currently, trains run only as far north as Windsor — and the institution of a brand-new Humboldt short line from Scotia to Humboldt Bay. It’s unclear from the strategic plan — which is only six-and-a-half pages long — exactly how much many of these projects would cost, or who would fund those costs, or what revenue they might be expected to reap.

If it ever does come to pass, though, it would mean that there would be two isolated railroad services operating on what was historically the Northwestern Pacific Railroad — one at the south end, and one at the north. The last major economic feasibility study commissioned by the NCRA, which dates from 2002, specifically decided that a line segmented in this fashion — which it labeled as “Scenario I” — would be a perpetual cash sink, no matter how much demand there was for its services:

The railroad has to operate the entire 300 miles in order to have a positive cash flow. Under Scenario I for all three demand categories, the railroad operated at a loss. The fixed costs of operating a railroad are too high to support the proposed 141-mile route between Willits and Schellville.

The North Coast Railroad Authority is scheduled to present its new strategic plan to the California Transportation Commission on Jan. 31 or Dec. 1.

(Courtesy, LostCoastOutpost)

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ACCORDING TO A RECENT LETTER being circulated to special districts in Mendocino County by County Auditor Lloyd Weer, the overall estimated property value loss associated with last fall’s devastating Redwood Complex fire is $38 million for this fiscal year (17-18), and $51 million for next fiscal year (18-19). That translates to a general fund revenue reduction of $380k this year and another $510k next year for a total of almost $900k revenue reduction for the two years after the fires. It’s not clear why the increase in estimated loss in the second year, but it could be that they expect more requests for assessed value reductions from fire victims over those they have so far.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME we’ve seen the estimated value of the devastating loss, but we’re surprised none of the Supervisors have brought it up yet, especially in light of their having given themselves well north of $125k total for their five giant raises without asking about the budgetary impact.

AUDITOR WEER notes in his notice that the County has applied for reimbursement of the revenue losses to the state and federal government, but there’s no indication what the probability is for getting any of it or when it might come in. It also looks like they don’t expect much rebuilding any time soon because the amount of the estimated assessed value lost goes up for the second year. (— ms)

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A UKIAH resident who’s been close to the dispute between the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District and the City of Ukiah over how much the City owes the San District for years of Ukiah shortchanging the district of their rightful portion of the ratepayer payments says that there could have been some insider manipulation of the recent Sanitation District Board election by the City to get three new people elected who wanted to settle the dispute because the City is having trouble borrowing money with such a huge pending lawsuit hanging over its head. [Sorry for the length of that sentence. – ms) We still don’t know the terms of the City’s recent settlement proposal, but we agree that the City probably owes the District a lot of back payments, although the District’s initial demand seems inflated (not to mention lawyer costs in the hundreds of thousands). We may know if the newly elected members of the Sanitation District Board are truly Ukiah friendly when we see the terms of the settlement agreement. Trouble is, so far nobody’s seen the terms of Ukiah’s proposal, and we won’t know the final agreement, if there is one, until after it’s a done deal. Like road construction and computer infrastructure cost estimates, sewer system costs are nearly impossible to critique from the outside so whatever numbers are thrown around will be hard to verify, at best. For similar reasons, it will be very hard to determine who got the better deal if a settlement is reached. We can only hope that the new San District board members keep in mind that they are supposed to represent the District’s ratepayers, not the City of Ukiah. (—ms)

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BOONVILLE QUIZ IS ON! It’s time to blow away your mental cobwebs and come along to the first official 'Brain Exercises' (General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz) of the year that will take place tomorrow, Thursday, 11th January at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. We will start promptly at 7pm.

For now we shall remain on the schedule of 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month. The next Quiz after this will be on January 25th.

Prizes, bragging rights, fun, beers, fine wine, and delicious food await you. Hope to see you there.


Steve Sparks/The Quiz Master

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by Shepherd Bliss

Sonoma County, Northern California

Putting the words “death” and “café” together may seem unusual. In the United States, many of us ignore our own pending, inevitable mortality. Many Americans do not accept that they will surely die, much less talk openly about it with others, especially strangers. On the other hand going to one’s favorite café is something that many enjoy. Being in a café setting talking about death may not seem inviting, yet it can be invigorating.

Death Cafes began in Europe. More than 5,400 monthly Death Cafes now exist in over 52 countries. Initiated in 2010 by John Underwood in London, they began in Sonoma County, California, soon after that, with various facilitators over time.

Adults of all ages are invited to sit around tables, share snacks and tea. They talk about their experiences, hopes, and fears at Death Cafes around the world. The basic idea is to create a comfortable, informal, and respectful environment, where people can talk openly and candidly.

Tess Lorraine has been facilitating them monthly since 2014 in Santa Rosa and began offering them in Sebastopol this January on the third Friday of each month, 3:30 to 5 p.m., at the Sebastopol Area Senior Center. They are open to all adults. The Santa Rosa gatherings happen at the Fountaingrove Lodge on Saturday afternoons.

“Increasingly, as we age, conversations happen regarding degenerative and life-threatening diagnoses,” said Lorraine. “The cost of denial is that we lose the opportunities for the wisdom, growth, and healing that can occur when we share authentically. Our death is our final frontier and our lasting legacy.”

In a Sonoma Death Café monthly newsletter Lorraine published the following Ancient Celtic Wisdom poem:

Be a full bucket, drawn up the dark way of the well.

Something lifts you up into the light

and shows you your wings.

A full cup is set before you.

You taste only sacredness.

According to the website, “At a Death Cafe people gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. Our objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'…There is no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action.”

“A Death Cafe is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session,” the website continues.

Death Cafés are not a place to proselytize, seeking to convert others to one’s beliefs about death and dying. It is a place to tell and honor one’s stories, as well as to hear different perspectives.

Death Cafes offer a structure and format that encourage conversation. Laughter is not unusual, especially as people get to know each other and feel comfortable enough to share in a safe, facilitated environment. Death Cafes are one indication of growing death awareness here and elsewhere in the U.S.

“For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…,” according to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk “Thich Nhat Hanh had a beautiful way of putting it when a little girl asked him if he’d decided what he’d be in his next life. He said maybe a little dust, and some soil and a bit of the sky, a cloud, a flower, and perhaps other stuff. Then he said ‘oops,’ he had to be careful or he might step on the flower, if he wasn’t being mindful and laughed,” according to Deborah Thayer.

Many indigenous cultures are more death aware than the dominant American cultures. For example, this reporter lived in Mexico and appreciates that country’s annual Day of the Dead celebration, where families go to graveyards at night to honor their ancestors. It is still my favorite holiday. I have attended them here in Sonoma County.

A deep connection exists between love and death. As the poem “For Those Who Have Died” by Chaim Stern starts “’Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch.”

For more information and to get on the monthly email list for Sonoma County Death Café meetings:

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss {} is a retired college teacher. He has contributed to 24 books.)

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DEATH CAFES? No insult intended my friend and contributor Shepherd Bliss, but I thought that's what Senior Centers were for.

THE MCN CHAT LINE has been buzzing with comment on the death of a highly regarded Coast woman named Barbara Bybee. A couple of people claimed to have received faulty treatment at Coast Hospital's emergency room, and one commenter claimed, with no evidence, that the Hospital failed to catch the heart problem that apparently killed Ms. Bybee.

CLEARLY, management of Coast Hospital deserves all the criticism it gets, but line staff has always done a first-rate job despite a series of moves at the top, occurring over the years, which have placed Coast in a precarious financial situation so severe that Coast could be reduced to a clinic similar to those in Ukiah and Boonville, leaving thousands of Coasties with no emergency or severe care option but the Adventist for-profit monopolies in Willits and Ukiah. Coast has always paid its administrators and certain of its doctors wayyyyyy too much, in my admittedly long distance opinion, a fact bedeviling the place for what? thirty years now? An irony of Coast's fiscal woes — somewhere between $11 and $13 mil — is that it's that indebtedness which has discouraged the Adventists from adding Coast Hospital to its long list of outback conquests.

MY EXPERIENCE with Coast Hospital over the long years has always made me a staunch defender of it. I've told — nay, ordered — my colleagues here at the County's beloved weekly newspaper that if I suddenly conk out, the Boonville ambulance either carries me to Coast Hospital or leaves me lie. Really, where would you want to go? Among the deep fry ambience of Ukiah or the sea-scented cypress of Fort Bragg?

MOST OF MY, ah, interfaces, with the vegetarian cult medical center in Ukiah have left me and mine relieved to have escaped alive. One brother, who needed regular blood transfusions, watched the nurse kick the blood machine to get it started. He said he feared she might kick him if he wondered out loud about the viability of the thing. The Adventists kicked my seizing sister out after an hour because she was merely a medi-cal patient, thus not lucrative enough to treat. She received a quality of care at Coast Hospital that Rockefeller himself pays thousands to get.

COAST HOSPITAL is one of the very few community hospitals owned by the community it serves. Destroying it by unfounded criticism and bad management is an insult to the generations of Coast people who have faithfully supported it.

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MCN Commenter #1: To all who complain this should be on the Discussion List, I apologize. However, it’s a topic of vital importance, so I’m gonna chime in. I’ve been reading the discussion surrounding Barbara’s death with much bewilderment. As is often the case with nearly all discussions related the our local hospital, I have a hard time reconciling what I hear/read with what I have personally experienced. For what it’s worth, here’s my tale from last Spring. I had severe abdominal pain for about a week, so I finally went to the ER. My condition was not taken lightly. It was not dismissed as a trivial stomach ache. I got a prompt CT scan and diagnosis. It was serious enough to warrant immediate admission to the hospital and a week of treatment. Had I not received this treatment, it’s likely I would not be alive to type this. The staff was uniformly competent and caring. I not only received excellent care, but guidance with the bureaucracy to get the thing paid for, too. Perhaps my gender helped. Perhaps my GF acting as advocate helped. Maybe I got lucky and came in when the right staff was working. Or maybe, just maybe, the hospital’s successes are under-reported and the inevitable bad outcomes are used with embellished facts and grandiose extrapolations to vilify hard-working competent professionals. I know nothing about Barbara’s case. It sounds like she was a fine human being, and her death is profoundly sad. Perhaps someone at the MCDH erred in sending her home, but I don’t have the facts and I’m not leaping to judgement. And I’m certainly not making damning accusations about the entire institution.

Commenter #2: Right on Garth. Almost like the experience I had. I was thankful to be handled with fine care by MCDH and glad they were here for me. I arrived by ambulance and could not imagine having to go to Ukiah or Willits to delay treatment.

Commenter #3: Many posters here have had positive experiences at the MCDH ER, and feel the need to announce here. Big deal. These experiences have absolutely nothing to do with the reported misdiagnosis in Barbara's case. This report is unsubstantiated, as it was posted here with no facts to back it up, and I have not heard the person who made this claim continue to back it up either. I knew Barbara for 35+ years, as one of the sweetest most non-judgmental people around here, so this discussion is upsetting to me on a personal level. I am certain she would not her memory involved in the kind of arguments on this list surrounding her death. On the other hand, if this was a case of malpractice, the person or people who know for a fact she was sent home after complaining of obvious symptoms of a heart attack should please come forward to substantiate these claims. Otherwise, I wish everyone would quit dishonoring her memory in this way. It's needless and offensive to speculate about such things.

NOW ON TO SOME free association but on a health theme. I stopped in at WalMart, Ukiah this afternoon to buy some goldfish. Strewn about the mammoth store's parking lot perimeter were clusters of the homeless, most with their stuff piled in shopping carts or simply mounded nearby. The bulk of this growing army were massed between WalMart and Jack In The Box. It's a scene implying collapse, an absence of competent authority, a harbinger of even more chaos to come.

INSIDE THE STORE, a lot of the customers looked like they were about a half-step from homelessness themselves. WalMart's the only store in the area where the poor can stock up on necessities. I also couldn't help but notice that most of my fellow shoppers were overweight, lots of them dangerously overweight. I'm not likely to be confused with Peter Pan myself; I'm more worried about my fellow fatso-watsos than I am judgmental of them. I read somewhere that 71 percent of US are too fat, the result being premature death from a range of malignancies. A doctor told me once, "You'd be surprised how many people come in here who have no idea their heart is about to seize up. We take a lot of people straight into surgery." All it takes to stay reasonably fit is an hour a day, maybe not even that, to keep the heart muscle muscled. I do at least two miles on foot, some of it uphill and, lately, 90 push-ups in sets of thirty. No back probs ever. The medicos tell me my basic stats are like a twenty-year-old. Every four or five months I get a cortisone shot in my left knee. The only serious trouble I've had, and it was serious enough to get me about half way down the white tunnel, was my own fault for delaying treatment.

WALMART'S GOLD FISH MANAGER said he couldn't sell me any fish — $1.25 each — until 8pm. "We just got a new shipment in," he said by way of an unsatisfying explanation. I asked why 8pm. "Beats hell outta me," he said. I put goldfish in a livestock trough and, when office excitement gets overwhelming, I walk outside to watch them swim around. Years ago a raccoon fell in trying to catch my fish. He was thrashing around in about three feet of water before I came up with a two by four he could climb out on and save himself. We live close to nature here in Boonville.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Of course Skrag's into dope. He offered me a joint today. ‘C'mon, Little Dog, loosen up. We can be the intra-species Toke Bros.’ I told the raggedy degenerate that if I see him with narcotics of any kind I'm going straight to my friend, the Sheriff. He just laughed and strolled off.”

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June Primary
With all the distressing (?) news on the national level, it's easy to forget that we have local government that makes decisions that effect our everyday lives. In light of that, we have an opportunity to get to better know a worthy candidate who's running for the upcoming 5th District vacancy on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Chris Skyhawk will be at The Woods in Little River this Saturday, January 13th from 2pm to 4pm to share his vision and love of the power of local government to improve the lives of the people living right here, right now. A long-time community organizer, Chris has extensive professional experience in mental health and children and family services, counseling and mediation and served as a board member and President of the Albion Little River Fire Protection District. If elected he will work for affordable housing, a strong local economy, mental health services reform and robust environmental protection. Please attend and share YOUR vision for Mendocino County.

When: Saturday Jan. 13, 2-4pm
Where: The Woods Clubhouse
43300 Little River Airport Rd.
Contact: Rachel Binah 937-3227

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HARE CREEK, Tuesday afternoon

(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Ca Dept Of Fish And Wildlife Scientists On The Cannabis Hour Thursday, Jan. 11 At 9 A.M.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientists Angela Liebenberg and Scott Bauer will be my guests on The Cannabis Hour, Thursday, Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. on KZYX.

Liebenberg, Bauer

They’ll explain their department’s role in protecting fish and wildlife resources from cannabis cultivations that may involve: diversion of water; land clearing such as timber conversion; road construction and stream crossings; riparian vegetation removal, and introduction of pollutants into waterways and other habitats. I’ll be presenting some farmer complaints I’ve received about DFW. We plan to take questions and concerns at 9:40 at 707 895-2448.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 10, 2017

Borgongo, Caine, Conwell

ANITA BORGONGO, Ukiah. Burglary, vandalism.

SAMANTHA CAINE, Willits. Drug sale, possession for sale.

BRANDON CONWELL, Vacaville/Redwood Valley. Drug/narcotic possession, sale, possession for sale, transportation, parole violation.

Ghisetti, Hernandez, Hoge

MORGAN GHISETTI, Eureka/Laytonville. DUI, resisting.

BUD HERNANDEZ, Hopland. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.


Lopez-Yocanaguadarrama, Rodgers, Smith

ROBERTO LOPEZ-YOCANAGUADARRAMA, Boonville. Metal knuckles, failure to appear, probation revocation.

JESSE RODGERS, Ukiah. Parole violation.

BRANDON SMITH, Ukiah. Burglary, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, petty theft, vandalism.

Tucker, Weaver, Yeomans

BRETT TUCKER, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

MORGAN WEAVER, Corning/Fort Bragg. No license, resisting.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

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When I was a kid there was constant fear in the summer about swimming because water was thought to be a mode of transmission. I knew kids that got sick with polio. One lived down the street. He eventually got out of bed but couldn’t walk without crutches and leg braces. Went from being a happy and chunky little kid to skinny and sick looking. He died in his teens. I don’t remember what he died from.

When the vaccine came out everyone I knew ran to get a shot. And low and behold the polio outbreaks died down and stopped I think sometime in the mid-60s. At least I don’t remember any after that time.

My view is that polio is nothing to mess with. It can cripple and kill. Get the damned shot. At least that’s how I look at it.

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I would like to thank the Trump administration for clearly showing how truly committed to states’ rights it is.

Administration officials have called for our state officials to be arrested should they refuse to have our law enforcement agencies do the Department of Homeland Security’s deportation work for them.

The Commerce Department has stated that it views any future attempts by California to pass a net-neutrality law as being superseded by federal authority.

The recently passed tax bill was handcrafted to force California to further subsidize the federal government.

The Interior Department proposes to sell offshore oil and gas leases off our coast despite California’s wishes to avoid repeat devastation of our environment and our fishing, recreation and tourism industries.

And, of course, the Justice Department has decided to resume its failed war on cannabis in California.

California is the world’s sixth-largest economy. Furthermore, we are kind of experts on immigration, cyber-issues, energy independence and cannabis. One would think that would be enough to justify respect for our state’s rights.

Maybe it’s because we forgot our tiki torches?

Gabriel Froymovich


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by Manuel Vicent, translated by Louis S. Bedrock

In the lavish Tour d’ Argent restaurant in Paris, which has been awarded all the stars and forks possible, two couples were seated at a table: the proprietor of a Japanese multinational company with his fine, delicate wife and a Spanish businessman with his beautiful young secretary.

After several months of hard negotiations, they were gathered in the restaurant to celebrate an agreement through which the Japanese magnate would buy the Spanish company for many millions of euros.

At the table of this historic restaurant, with a view of the Seine behind the pressed duck — the house specialty, the conversation flowed along with gestures of the utmost courtesy. Only the secretary maintained a forced smile, appeared very nervous, and didn’t participate even in the most banal exchanges.

When dessert arrived, along with the bottle of Dom Pérignon, the golden bubbles of which would crown the sweet deal, the secretary couldn’t take it anymore. Just when everything seemed to be flowing according to the most formal rites — Chinchín! To your health! — at that moment, without a word, the secretary grabbed her handbag and began to beat the Japanese magnate over the head with it to the astonishment of everyone, including the waiters and the clients of the establishment.

Carried away by his sense of importance, the magnate had been putting his hand under the skirt of the young secretary; while he talked non-stop of millions of euros, at the same time, he was sampling exquisite delicacies. However she was not inclined to allow many years to pass before talking about such humiliation like the Hollywood actresses and so many other women who suffered sexual harassment by their bosses.

She defended her dignity expeditiously during the very act, without worrying about the consequences, by using her designer handbag as her weapon. What happened afterwards to the business deal? The response shall be left to the imagination of the intelligent reader.

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“You know, you DO have the right to remain silent.”

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by Dan Bacher

If you want to comment on a proposed water grab of Northern California and Delta water by the Trump administration and San Joaquin Valley growers, you only have until February 1, 2018, to do it.

On December 29, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it will conduct an environmental analysis of potential modifications to the operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP), in coordination with California’s State Water Project, to “maximize water deliveries” and “optimize marketable power generation.”

In other words, the Trump administration wants to increase water exports to agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley at a time when the Delta smelt are near extinction and winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species are struggling to survive after decades of massive water deliveries.

“The CVP is a major water source for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and fish and wildlife demands in California,” according to the announcement from Reclamation. “State and federal regulatory actions and other agreements have significantly reduced the water available for delivery south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. This project will evaluate alternatives to restore water supply in consideration of all of the authorized purposes of the CVP.”

What Reclamation didn’t mention was that this proposal comes at a crucial time for fish populations on the Delta and the West Coast. In spite of a record water year in Northern California in 2017, the abundance of Delta smelt recorded in the state’s annual fall midwater survey (FMWT) is the lowest in the survey’s 50-year history.

Only two Delta smelt were collected at Delta index stations in October. One was from Suisun Bay and the other from the confluence of Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, reported James White, California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist, in a memo.

The agency collected the smelt, along with other five other pelagic (open water) species, in trawl nets at 100 index stations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, from September 1 through December 13.

“The population is so low that they can’t find each other to mate,” Tom Cannon, a fish ecologist and consultant for the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, told Alex Breitler of the Stockton Record. “We’re lucky to have any smelt.

Maligned by agribusiness groups and San Joaquin Valley Republican Congressman as a “small minnow” supposedly standing in the way of deliveries of Delta water to irrigators, the Delta smelt is in fact a indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Delta ecosystem like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine.” More information:…

If the fish becomes extinct, it would be the first fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Nixon in 1973, to perish in the wild.

A Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), “Revisions to the Coordinated Long-term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related Facilities” was published in the Federal Register, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 and can be accessed at

The USBR plans to hold two public meetings this month to take public comments: one meeting in Los Banos at the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority office and another meeting in the capitol, Sacramento. AquaAlliance is asking the Bureau to also hold a public meeting in Chico this month.

“AquAlliance is submitting written comments, as we do in all major Northern California water exploitation project proposals, and is asking you to join us by insisting that the Bureau hold a public meeting in the Northern Sacramento Valley, right here in Chico, to take into account our concerns that Northstate Salmon Water is being marketed by millionaires to millionaires to make more millions,” said Jim Brobeck, water policy analyst for AquAlliance.

Request a meeting in Chico by writing Katrina Harrison, project manager, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I Street, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814-2536; call Harrison: 916-414-2425 or email

Let Ms. Harrison know you are opposed to Bureau efforts to maximize Central Valley Project water deliveries and would like to express your concerns in person at a public meeting in Chico.

Reclamation, headed by Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, is the lead federal agency and will request other agencies to participate as cooperating agencies. Reclamation is seeking comments by Feb. 1, 2018, that will be used to develop alternatives to the proposed action. Public scoping meetings will be scheduled for mid-January.

Here is the information on the two public meetings that Reclamation has scheduled to receive oral or written comments:

[x] Tuesday, Jan. 16, from 6-8 p.m. at the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, 842 Sixth St. in Los Banos

Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 2-4 p.m. at the Stanford Room, 650 Capitol Mall in Sacramento

Written comments are due by close of business, Feb. 1, 2018, by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Katrina Harrison, project manager, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I Street, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814-2536; fax 916-414-2439; or email For additional information, please contact Harrison at 916-414-2425 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to push his environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels plan, a project that would likely result in the extinction of Delta and longfin smelt and Central Valley salmon and steelhead, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.



  1. George Hollister January 11, 2018

    Gabriel Froymovich states Trump is committed to states rights. I have never heard Trump say that, though many of his appointees have. But what is refreshing is to see liberals embracing federalism. This has happened only because of Trump, the most transformative president this country has seen since FDR. The people of the US would get along much better if we returned power to states, and stopped sticking our respective nose’s in what is the business of other states. After all, we have enough issues to deal with locally. The role of the federal government is to protect our individual Constitutional rights, not run our lives.

    A possible way to handle the lack of a tax deduction for local and state taxes, is to allow a deduction for programs the states take over from the federal government. Complicated, but possible. And eventually we can completely do away with many federal programs all together.

    • Harvey Reading January 11, 2018

      George, your comment itself is its own best response; like riding on a merry-go-round, one that never stops.

  2. Harvey Reading January 11, 2018

    I found the Vicent column to be an excellent summation of the rights of 21st Century women in the so-called developed world, a world that is careening, ever more quickly, toward a well-deserved, self-inflicted oblivion. Who needs a god when we’re more than capable of effecting our own demise?

  3. Alice Chouteau January 11, 2018

    Regarding the death of Barbara Bybee-according to online comments, she sought help at the MCDH ER with two of the most common symptoms of impending heart attack, according to the American Heart Association—breaking out in a sweat, and pain in arm or shoulder. Almost everyone I know is aware that these are serious warning signs, to be taken seriously. I have no quarrel with care I have received at the ER, but in this case at least , it seems someone made a serious blunder.

  4. Harvey Reading January 11, 2018

    USBR never has given a damn about fish or wildlife, for all its pious lip service and hatchery construction for “mitigation” of fish losses caused by bureau water projects. The underlying basis for its existence is to build general-taxpayer-subsidized water projects that provide general-taxpayer-subsidized water to welfare agricultural interests. The bureau serves farmers, and nothing more.

    Even here in the “wild west” of Wyoming, farmers grow crops and graze livestock in state parks on park-designated land that is leased from the bureau. Such (actually non-exclusive) leases are effected through bureau irrigation-district contractors. Then the farmers happily try to keep the public out. The bureau calls it multiple use. That was happening all through the Obama years, and long before.

    The funny thing is, Wyoming agriculture is a tiny portion of the state domestic product, as in California, and its output would not even be missed, at the local, state and national levels, if it all went away, overnight. And for all the bellowing and propaganda in California, its agricultural output would not be missed either.

  5. Harvey Reading January 11, 2018

    Death Cafes? What a degenerate species we are. Anything for a buck.

    Senior centers are more of a place for exchanging hazy, usually false, memories of the good ol’ daze that never were.

  6. Jim Updegraff January 11, 2018

    Obesity: Trump is obese 2nd stage and lives on Big Macs and Diet Pepsi. Prime candidate for a stroke or a heart attack plus Diabetes 2. It is not a question of but when.

  7. Jim Updegraff January 11, 2018

    Correction – not of but if.

  8. Jeff Costello January 11, 2018

    Very common to see fat people at McDonald’s gorging on big macs and fries and deep fried apple pie, and drinking diet coke (like that’s gonna help).

    • George Hollister January 11, 2018

      At Fjords in Ukiah, back in the 1960s and 70s, there were regular diners that were in the 300 lb. + range. No burgers, just all you could eat fried chicken plus a full range of items to make up a “balanced” diet. Frankly, McDonald’s does not compare.

      The customers that intrigued me were the couples where the man was barely pushing 150, with a wife pushing 320. The men took it upon themselves to fetch seconds and thirds for their “well nourished” spouses. I could think of a couple of reasons why this was done, but never was sure and I was not going to ask.

  9. John Sakowicz January 11, 2018

    Does insider manipulation of the recent Sanitation District Board election by the City of Ukiah void the election results?

    • Eric Sunswheat January 11, 2018

      Probably depends upon whether relevant laws were broken, and which once revealed, then incense the voters to stage a recall, and perhaps a voters referendum to invalidate the pending legal settlement, is one guess at this late hour.

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