- Killing Culture
- Variety Show
- Candidate Williams
- Care-A-Van Boonville
- KZYX Forum
- Coast Hospital
- Little Dog
- Candidate Questions
- Yesterday's Catch
- Remember Xenophobia
- School Massacre
- Slam Dunked
- Blessed Liar
- 13 Trolls
- Nazi Jones
- Keep Smiling
- Water Ruling
SNOW ON THE HILLS Monday morning, but no ice in the singing hearts of the Anderson Valley, where every day’s a holiday, every meal’s a banquet!
PROTECT AND LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN
by Laurel Krause
My sister Allison was shot and killed in a domestic US military massacre during a lunch time antiwar protest at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Allison was 19 years old when she was targeted for assassination. Her spirit reminds us the most heinous of all massacres is when those killed are defenseless young people at their schools.
On the phone last week with my colleague, Emily Aigner Kunstler, Emily told me the news of the 17 massacred, 15 injured, at a high school in Parkland, Florida. I heard her words but wasn't able to really take them in. I found it hard to react. After all, it was the 18th gun-related incident at an American school since the beginning of 2018, and is now just about an every other day occurrence in the United States of Gun Violence.
Later, as I watched the TV reporting of the mayhem and the lives lost, it struck home with me that I know the horror of how this feels, especially to the families personally hurt.
I know what those grieving 17 families have been going through since their Valentine's Day. Loss beyond words. Hurt beyond description. A feeling that nothing will change and no one will come to their aid to make change. The needlessness of the deaths staring you in the face. The flower of youth snuffed out by America's inability to CURB THE URGE to kill and massacre with automatic weapons.
I know that after the dust settles, to those killed and their families, it won't matter who did the killing ... whether it was a disturbed individual, a white supremacist, the military or law enforcement. Their children are no longer alive. The hopes and wishes for what those young people might have become are too painful to acknowledge. The family lives of those harmed will never be the same.
After the dust settles, will there be healing? Will our culture demand amends be made? With the NRA running every show in our government, the answers are ... there will be no healing, there will be no amends made, there will only be more trauma.
Our society easily forgets that the children are the future jewels and dreams of what our culture may become. A society that kills its children, and refuses restorative justice for all involved in massacres, is no longer a caring, protective culture. Instead, it is a culture that honors the almighty dollar, enabling massacres with automatic guns over the lives of its young.
When American TV audiences are exposed to continuous footage of massacres (and being told to watch it by TV pundits), we all become a little less feeling.
As Baby Boomers, the affects of the Kent State and Jackson State massacres happened to all of us ... not just my family or those who were killed or wounded. All the young people alive back then remember in detail their story as to how those massacres affected them for the rest of their lives. How they were severely changed by the murders ... how ever since they haven't been able to trust their government.
But our government and leaders refuse healing. There is no recognition of these traumas as nationwide traumas. The wounds stack up over a lifetime in peace-loving folks, one massacre at a time.
Will Parkland massacre survivors be sought to share their accounts of the trauma? Will they be formally acknowledged, honored, given a voice or a way to make amends, find their healing? That's what I want for them. These children deserve their healing. Hell, we all do!
Massacres DEMAND healing and for amends to made. The damaging effects and traumas do not go away. The blood of these young martyrs seeps into the land where it stays forever, a kind of curse on us all for not protecting our children.
WILL AMERICA EVER LEARN TO HEAL & MAKE AMENDS?
(Laurel Krause lives in Fort Bragg)
VARIETY SHOW 2018! It's that time of year again, where we ask you to get your act together for the 27th annual Anderson Valley Variety Show! This year the show will be on Friday and Saturday, March 9th and 10th. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts promptly at 7 o'clock. We'll be sure to have tickets available at the door, and they will also be sold the week before the show at Lemon's Market in Philo and the AV Market in Boonville. There are some hot acts that will only be onstage on Friday night, so be sure to get tickets to both shows!
The most important thing for everyone to know right now is that we are still recruiting amazing and unique local acts for the show. We have a great lineup so far, but there is still some time available. If you (or your pet, or your kid) have ever wanted to strut your stuff onstage before the world's most forgiving and enthusiastic audience, now is your time to shine! Call Captain Rainbow at 895-3807 or Angela at 895-3362 to discuss rehearsal and logistics. See you all there! (Robyn McCallister)
TED WILLIAMS IN BOONVILLE THIS FRIDAY
5th District Supervisorial Candidate
At Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville
Friday, February 23, 2018, 3-5pm.
Fire Chief of Albion-Little River; Business owner and Software Developer; Author of 2 County Measures that improve fire services; Father and husband.
Some Priorities: Establish county-wide Internet; Increase Affordable Housing; Encourage Livable Wage Jobs; Strengthen Fire & Emergency Services; Protect Our Environment.
THE COUNTY’S CARE-A-VAN will be in Boonville on Wednesday, March 7 at the AV Grange (9800 Hwy 128). Sponsored by AV Animal Rescue. Spay and neuter surgeries by appointment (Call in advance: 707/888-7698) Vaccinations are $10-$13 each and do not need an appointment. Stop by the Care-A-Van for vaccines, heartworm testing, feline combo testing and microchipping from 10am-2pm.
A DATE WITH DESTINY. The location of the KZYX candidate forum March 5th at 7:00PM is Mendocino College - Ukiah Campus, in the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), ROOM 5430 (Band Room). See you then, Ed Keller - Election coordinator, KZYX.
VIEW FROM THE CLIFF HOUSE
(Photo by Judy Valadao)
SAVING COAST HOSPITAL
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CANDIDATE TED WILLIAMS
While there is discord about how to address the hospital, I’m pleased to see community consensus on the concept of high quality, local care. Hospital closures and reductions in service may affect older adults disproportionately, because these adults face greater challenges obtaining transportation and traveling farther distances for health care, but there is also a strong impact on young families. Without a hospital, the Mendocino coast would not be an attractive place to retire or raise a family. The hospital represents much more than medical care — it’s about sustainability of our rural community. Without it, we’ll face a greater downward spiral.
I’ve had personal experience with our hospital. I was born at MCDH. My grandmother and father died there. I was present for births of cousins. My wife had gallbladder surgery in out-patient. Like many, our experiences are mixed. When Mary needed an MRI prior to back surgery, MCDH quoted $3200. St Helena extension at Lakeport offered the same service for $445 with a far superior administrative process. I’ve also been on the fire response side, packaging and rushing patients to the hospital at times fog has prevented helicopter transport, further instilling a sense of local emergency department necessity. I’ve had friends and former schoolmates work at the hospital. Some have praised it while others have recommended going elsewhere when possible. It’s difficult to derive an overall grasp of the hospital situation from anecdotal stories. I believe the burden is on the MCDH board and executives to convince us that the proposed parcel tax assessment will translate into a top tier rural hospital. I expect the board to research what funding it’ll take to pull off the endeavor and not simply evaluate what amount the public will support on election day. Explain the plan to me like I’m five.
Money is fungible. No matter what restrictions are placed on the new tax revenue, the concern about appropriate spending will remain. The underlying concern is about trust and can’t be answered legislatively. I don’t doubt the intentions of the board to address a difficult reality most rural hospitals face today, but the path to trust is transparency.
Transparency is a greater concern to me than high salaries. Diagnostic equipment is expensive. Nobody will suggest the hospital save a buck by cutting corners on equipment. I can accept the idea that in a free market hospital administrators are also expensive. However, with that expense comes a need to measure success. How do we know whether the current executives are justifying their pay? I want to see a shovel ready plan with clear milestones, not just a request for more money.
I recommend watching the MCDH meetings at mendocinotv.com
(Candidate for 5th District Supervisor)
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LONG-TIME COAST HOSPITAL NURSE LOUISE MARIANA ADDS:
The only way i would support a parcel tax is if it were dedicated to a specific purpose...keeping OB open, supporting the ER and ambulance service, and having an accounting method to keep track of the monies spent for those specific purposes..thats the ONLY way I would vote for the tax..otherwise, it goes into the general fund, and can be spent on consultants, huge administrative salaries, etc..the tax is supposed to raise about 1.5 million a year..did you all know, when Dr. Reddy was brought in, he was given a $630,000 guaranteed salary...and the CEO makes more money than ANY other adminisrator, ceo, judge, city manager, sheriff in the entire county. We need a different administrative team and a Board that isnt full of yes-men..and a CEO who doesnt hide away in a faraway corner without his name on the door..I worked on station 2 for 37 years...I love the hospital as much as anyone and want to see it survive and thrive, but first things first, a new administration...the one we have is transparent as asphalt. short of ha, demand that the tax money be dedicated.
Louise Mariana, R.N., Mendocino
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RICHARD MILLER ADDS:
Thank you for your courage to speak out, re MCDH, from your special perspective of having worked at our hospital for 37 years. I fully agree when you say:
*"We need a different administrative team and a Board that isn't full of yes-men..and a CEO who doesn't hide away in a faraway corner without his name on the door."* Regarding your comment on salaries:
*"the tax is supposed to raise about 1.5 million a year..did you all know, when Dr. Reddy was brought in, he was given a $630,000 guaranteed salary...and the CEO makes more money than ANY other administrator, CEO, judge, city manager, sheriff in the entire county."*
*We pay the CEO $320,000/year plus benefits*
*Dr Kermen is paid $900,000 plus*
The challenge our community faces is that the MCDH administration and Board are scaring us by threatening that our hospital will close if we do not provide them with tax money to help cover their failing money management. They are also selling us the tax by saying how little it will cost each property owner.
Many of us see through fear tactics and sales techniques. You recall we have been subject to these tactics by former CEOs and Boards. Having worked at MCDH for 37 years I am sure you remember the notorious CEO Brian Ballard who demanded, and failed, to get a parcel tax in 2005.
In the coming election we will be asked to decide if we want to financially support incompetence or demand change. I am confident that when we have an MCDH administration and Board, whom we can trust, we will support them both financially and energetically. Until then we either recall the present Board or wait until the November Board elections and the January 1, 2019 Board turnover.
Wishing you Excellent health,
Richard L Miller. M.A., Ph.D.
KZYX Host, Mind Body Health & Politics
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MYRA BEALS ADDS:
Thank you all for bringing your knowledge and experience to the community. Can attending the board meeting do anything to change administration, reduce their salaries, or have any positive effect in improving the hospital? Is there anything we can do to bring about positive change? In contrast to the rumors and misinformation currently appearing on this list, here are some actual facts. If you go to the hospital’s website (http://www.mcdh.org/parcel-tax-presentation
you will find three things. The first is a presentation about the need for a parcel tax. The second is the survey results that were presented at the hospital planning committee meeting last Tuesday; and the third is the draft resolution that the planning committee voted to send to the hospital board for a vote on whether to proceed. Note that the board has not yet voted on whether to place a parcel tax measure on the June ballot.
MTV also has videos of the board and committee meetings if you would like to hear the discussions.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, My old pal, Spot, seems to be in mid-life crisis. He just took off in a hot air balloon! You won't catch me doing daredevil stuff. Life is dangerous enough without pushing the limits.
MORE QUESTIONS FOR THE SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES
- What can you do to ensure the County creates exemplary (NOT mediocre) Mental Health Programs with the Measure B money?
- Why do we need to pay a consultant $50,000 to tell us we need: Crisis Residential Treatment Centers for support in early-stage crisis, 16-bed Psychiatric Hospital for people in advance-stage crisis, Drug & Alcohol Residential Programs with outpatient components, and a Mental Health Training Facility connected with Mendocino College for training the mental health professionals needed in these facilities as well as other people?
- What can you do to ensure these programs integrate cutting-edge neuroscience with body/mind awareness treatments that activate the brain's natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning, and optimize recovery?
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 19, 2018
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
NEGIE FALLIS IV, Covelo. Kidnapping, domestic abuse, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, first degree burglary.
ROBERT JAMES SR., Ukiah. Battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
BRIAN MCCARTHY, Willits. Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ-TURNER, Ukiah. Battery with serioius injury, probation revocation.
KYRA SAUVAGEAU, Fort Bragg. DUI.
ROGER SCHOENAHL, Ukiah. Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ERIC STARK, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
KYLE STARK, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
REMEMBER THIS DAY
Japanese Americans observe Feb. 19 as a Day of Remembrance, the day President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in remote camps.
I was 5 years old when I went with my parents to the Topaz relocation center in Utah. My mother and I were there for 2½ years while my father fought in Europe with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
I am worried that this could happen again. The intolerance against immigrants of color and Muslim Americans is laced with the same bigotry Japanese Americans experienced in 1942. The recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement collateral arrests of groups of immigrants differ in scale but exhibit the same xenophobia.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There was one of these school massacres in May, 1927, in the town of Bath, Michigan, 45 people killed.
The weapons were dynamite and a .38 caliber revolver.
The culprit was the head of the Board of Ed., an elecrical engineer who was angry that the board, over his objections, had voted funds to expand the school. So he took direct action, the kind of political action you don’t see much of anymore except by the Muzzies. Using his access, one night he wired the place with dynamite. The next day he set off the charges and shot survivors as they ran out of the building, including the principal and the superindent of schools. Fortunately, only half the school exploded, which kept down the casualty list.
Checking records here at the newspaper it was a one day story, May, 17, 1927. After that there was no more said about it. Remember that was the year of Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and The Great Gatsby.
It just goes to show ya, as it says in Ecclesiastes, there’s nothing new under the sun.
"GRABBIN' A BITE"
(Photo by Harvey Reading)
LEBRON JAMES FLIPS THE SCRIPT — AGAIN
by Dave Zirin
“Whatever her name is.” This is how LeBron James referred to Fox News host and professional bigot, Laura Ingraham. The Ann Coulter mimeograph devoted an entire segment to mocking LeBron James’ intelligence and telling him to “shut up and dribble.” It is a tired critique that has been used to shut down outspoken black athletes for as long as there have been outspoken black athletes.
Ingraham was melting down on air like a certain particle of snow because James and fellow all-star Kevin Durant had criticized Donald Trump…for being Donald Trump. James in particular earned her ire for saying, “[Trump] really don’t give a (expletive) about the people….While we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, as this is not the way.”
Ingraham’s goal was to provoke a response and create the kind of buzz that would provide more content for Fox News, content she could then feed into a racist inception loop of coverage about herself. It’s a troll move, played out on a major cable news network. My own theory has long been that the best possible response to these people is to starve them. For their species, the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Yet in this case, I was very wrong. LeBron James did more than just respond. He provoked a tidal wave of support from his own personal Justice League in the world of sports.
It started when he said, “We will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that…. She did the best thing to help me create more awareness…. I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality [because] a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble. So, thank you, whatever her name is. I don’t even know her name.”
We quickly saw that LeBron would not be the lone voice to stand against Ingraham, not by a long shot. Durant called her “racist” and “ignorant”. Dwyane Wade tweeted, “They [used] to try and hide it.. now the president has given everyone the courage to live their truths.”
Fellow all-star Paul George said, “People just view us as athletes and basketball players. We’re just a part of what’s going on in this world and what’s going on in this society just as much as anybody else. We’re fathers, we’re sons, we’re brothers, we’ve got family to look after. We’re connected just as deeply in this as anybody else is, so for someone to go out and say stick to dribbling the basketball, that’s pretty ignorant. That just goes to show you where we are as a country right now.”
Players union Executive Director Michele Roberts said, “Between LeBron’s 40 million followers and Kevin Durant’s 17 million followers on Twitter, Laura Ingraham has now introduced herself as intolerant and narrow-minded to 57 million people around the world. We stand with our players.”
Even Commissioner Adam Silver, unprovoked, started his “state of the NBA” press conference by speaking in support of politically vocal players against these kinds of attacks. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Faster than you can say “Roger Ailes was a serial sexual predator who built Fox News on a foundation of lies,” #wewillnotshutupanddribble was trending worldwide.
What seems to have upset Ingraham the most is not the uniform charges of racism, but the sentiment expressed by Charles Barkley, “LeBron James is LeBron James. Who’s Laura Ingraham?”
The avalanche of response actually put Ingraham on the defensive, compelling her to both invite James onto her show to discuss and make the following back-peddling statement: “There was no racial intent in my remarks—false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.”
So now we have Laura Ingraham having to defend herself from charges of racism and her own obsolescence and once again LeBron has proven many of our conventional wisdoms to be simply wrong. When LeBron started, his goal of being a new template “the socially conscious mogul” was something I didn’t think was possible simply because it had never been done. You either had to be a Muhammad Ali or a Michael Jordan: a man or a brand. LeBron has crushed that binary. Similarly, I never thought there was any advantage to feeding a troll, especially one as insipid as Laura Ingraham. But LeBron has created a different normal, where you can give other people confidence by stepping out, and marshaling a collective response in the face of an unrepentantly racist, demonstrably violent right wing echo chamber. Laura Ingraham chose to read from a very old, very tired script in telling a black athlete to shut his mouth. She didn’t count on LeBron James adopting a new script in response, and we are all in these tragic times, better for it.
SATAN BLESSES TRUMP
Trump lost a lawsuit in 2011 after he sued for libel, the author of the book "TrumpNation", Mr. Tim O'Brien. In an interview Mr. O'Brien states, "Trump ultimately had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years about all sorts of stuff: the size of his real estate ownership, the price of his golf club memberships, the size of his organization, his wealth, speaking fees... and about his business dealings with career criminals."
Mr. O'Brien continued, "Under oath Trump tries to avoid saying that he's lied in the past until he's presented with documentation proving otherwise."
So this case shows how Trump is a proven liar and loser! Trump's so stupid he thought he'd win, but ends up losing and being proven a liar!
Sadly, Trump’s supporters look like fools when they defend Trump’s ongoing circus of lies. The stupidest of them all is Mr. Philbrick, who writes in every week, "God Bless President Liar face" — like "God" would ever bless a known lying psychopathic sexual predator as Trump. Sure! As most smart AVA readers know, it's clearly Satan, who's "blessed" Trump.
Also newsworthy is the announcement, by a judge, that Trump has to pay out millions in fines for his fraudulent Trump University Scam. Remember that? Where Trump lied to kids and stole their money after promising nonexistent jobs. 100% true! WOW.
No other "president" in history has ever lost the election by three million votes, as well as been a proven serial liar who has to pay out millions in fines. Hugest Embarrassment Ever! Wow.
Satan obviously blesses Trump.
THIRTEEN RUSSIANS & A HAM SANDWICH
by James Kunstler
Remember that one from 1996? Funny, that was the American mainstream media bragging, after the fact, about our own meddling in another nation’s election.
WASHINGTON — A team of American political strategists who helped [California] Gov. Pete Wilson with his abortive presidential bid earlier this year said this week that they served as Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin’s secret campaign weapon in his comeback win over a Communist challenge.
—The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1996
The beauty in Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russian Facebook trolls is that they’ll never face trial, so Mr. Mueller will never have to prove his case. In the new misrule of law made popular by the #MeToo movement, accusations suffice to convict the target of an investigation. Kind of sounds like going medieval to me, but that’s how we roll now in the Land of the Free.
Readers know, of course, that I’m not a Trump supporter, that I regard him as a national embarrassment, but I’m much more disturbed by the mindless hysteria ginned up by Washington’s permanent bureaucracy in collusion with half a dozen major newspapers and cable news networks, who have run a psy-ops campaign to shove the country into a war mentality.
The New York Times published a doozy of a lead story on Saturday, the day after the indictments were announced. The headline said: Trump’s Conspicuous Silence Leaves a Struggle Against Russia Without a Leader. Dean Baquet and his editorial board are apparently seeking an American Napoleon who will mount a white horse and take our legions into Moscow to teach these rascals a lesson — or something like that.
I’m surely not the only one to notice how this hysteria is designed to distract the public attention from the documented misconduct among FBI, CIA, NSA, State Department officials and the leaders of the #Resistance itself: the Democratic National Committee, its nominee in the 2016 election, HRC, and Barack Obama’s White House inner circle. You would think that at least some of this mischief would have come to Robert Mueller’s attention, since the paper trail of evidence is as broad and cluttered as the DC Beltway itself. It actually looks like the greatest act of bureaucratic ass-covering in US history.
Of course, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was quick to qualify the announced indictments by saying that Russian trolling on Facebook had no effect on the 2016 election, and that the Trump campaign was not implicated in it. Maybe the indictments were just a table-setter for something more potent to come out of Mueller’s office. But what if it’s not? What if this is all he has to show for a year and a half of the most scrupulous delving into this “narrative?”
Meanwhile, the damage done among America’s former thinking class essentially leaves this polity like theScarecrow in The Wizard of Oz: without a brain. I doubt they will be satisfied by Mueller’s indictment of the thirteen Russian trolls. Rather, it may tempt them to even more violent hysterics and greater acts of lawlessness. The only thing that will stop this nonsense is Big Trouble in the financial system — which the news media and most of the public are ignoring at their peril. It is coming at us good and hard and it will feel like a two-by-four to the nation’s skull when it gets here.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
STEVE SPARKS (aka Turkey Vulture) WRITES:
From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series, “Signs that the Apocalypse is Approaching.” A fired-up Buzzard reports, “After Roy Moore, the door was open for pretty much anyone—even Nazis. You may recall that the narrowly defeated Alabama senate candidate was accused by nine different women of sexual misconduct, many of whom say they were under-18 at the time. Moore was also a lawless theocrat who defied the rulings of higher courts; considered Christian law at least equal to, if not higher than, American civil law; said homosexuality should be illegal; said Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress; and suggested we ought to repeal the 14th and 15th amendments, passed after the Civil War to guarantee equal rights to black Americans. Moore had the support of the Republican National Committee and the President of the United States.
So, as a measure of the true horror of this American moment, it makes a perverse kind of sense to see Arthur Jones careening his way towards the Republican nomination for an Illinois congressional seat. Jones has no opponents in the Republican primary, even though he is a Holocaust denier, has a long record of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and virulent racism, and once led the American Nazi Party. Jones is a remarkable specimen of modern American life. He no longer calls himself a Nazi, yet he spends his time screaming about how Jews are to blame for everything and calling the Holocaust “an extortion racket.” What else, exactly, does being a Nazi involve, besides the moral disasters that await if these views go unchallenged in the public square?
The Republican Party refuses to put a stop to his candidacy. Where is their opponent for Jones in the Republican primary—you know, someone who's at least not a de facto Nazi? The essential moral cowardice of today's Republican leadership is breathtaking. It's no longer enough for the Paul Ryans and Mitch McConnells to stand idly by as the president stomps on our democratic norms and makes a mockery of this nation's founding principles from the Oval Office. It's not enough for them to let Roy Moore happen. Now they may allow Arthur Jones to get dangerously close to the United States Congress, all because they're afraid of their own base. It would appear that the Apocalypse is knocking on our door. Please pass me the sick bag.”
BIG COURT VICTORY: 10-YEAR CALIFORNIA WATER TRANSFER PROGRAM FAILED ANALYSIS AND DISCLOSURE
by Dan Bacher
On February 15, Federal District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill in Fresno issued an order supporting many of the claims made by AquAlliance and their co-plaintiff partners in a landmark lawsuit challenging water transfers from rice farmers in the Sacramento Valley to growers in the San Joaquin Valley.
AquAlliance filed the litigation in May 2015 against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA) over “their inadequate disclosure, avoidance of impacts, and mitigation of major water transfers” from the Sacramento Valley through the Delta to the San Joaquin Valley.
The court order is available here: www.aqualliance.net/...
AquAlliance’s co-plaintiff, represented by Aqua Terra Aeris, is the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), led by Executive Director Bill Jennings. Additional co-plaintiffs in the litigation include the Central Delta Water Agency, Local Agencies of the NorthDelta, and South Delta Water Agency that are represented by the Soluri Meserve law firm.
“AquAlliance is elated that the court found in favor of many of our legal arguments that seek to protect the communities, environment, and groundwater dependent farmers in the Sacramento Valley as well as Delta farmers and fish,” said AquAlliance Executive Director Barbara Vlamis. “This ruling exposes the danger posed by the 10-Year Water Transfer Program’s water-grab that would benefit agricultural interests with junior water rights growing permanent crops in a desert.”
USBR and SLDMWA (Agencies) approved a program that could send up to 600,000 acre-feet of Sacramento Valley water south of the Delta each year. To look at that amount of water in perspective, 600,000 acre-feet each year for 10 years is equivalent to what a city of 100,000 people would use in 200 years, according to Vlamis.
”When combined with additional state approved transfers, the total could be over 800,000 acre-feet each year,” she said. “If history is any guide, half of the transfer water could come from groundwater substitution.”
Groundwater substitution transfers take place when a water district sells its river water that is normally used to irrigate rice and instead continues growing rice by pumping well water. “The grower makes money on both the water sale and the rice that is grown,” explained Vlamis.
“Although widely opposed by North State residents and local government, the Agencies moved forward approving the use of groundwater substitution, fallowing, reservoir releases, and conservation to make the transfers possible,” according to Vlamis. “The Agencies proposed a thin veneer for mitigating impacts that depends only on monitoring the stressed hydrologic systems (groundwater, streams, and rivers) to produce data that will be reviewed in the future by USBR and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).”
Vlamis said the significance of the decision extends well beyond the water transfers to current litigation in the courts challenging Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project.
“Some of the same issues raised by Aqualliance regarding the twin tunnels, such as the impacts to ground water, land subsidence and climate, were brought up in this case and the court ruled favorably,” she said.
The lawsuit asked the court to declare that the Agencies’ Environmental Impact Statement/Report was “arbitrary and capricious, ignored relevant new information and failed to meet minimum requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).”
Vlamis said the court order ruled in favor of AquAlliance in many areas. For example in their CEQA claims, the court ruled favorably over the absence of performance standards for groundwater mitigation measures; the FEIS/EIR failure to mitigate for land subsidence; and the inadequate cumulative biological impact analysis regarding reduced delta outflow.
O’Neill also ruled favorably over the FEIS/EIR’s failure to analyze impacts to the giant garter snake and propose mitigation under CEQA.
“This type of failure was deemed dangerous because the lack of analysis and findings about the extent of impacts makes it impossible to determine if the mitigation measures are sufficient,” said Judge O’Neil (Page 132 of ruling).
In addition, the decision determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion for the giant garter snake (“GGS”) is invalid under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) because it relies on flawed conservation measures.
In the NEPA claims, O’Neill also ruled favorably on the failure to evaluate the effectiveness of groundwater mitigation and climate change.
It will be interesting to see the impact that this court decision will have on proposed water transfers this year.
Meanwhile, Governor Brown continues to push his California WaterFix forward, in spite of intense opposition by fishing groups, Tribal leaders, conservation organizations, environmental justice advocates, family farmers, water districts and elected officials.
The Brown administration on February 13 released the long-awaited cost-benefit analysis for the Delta Tunnels, claiming that the plan could "bring billions of dollars in benefits."
Delta Tunnels opponents countered that the analysis is "incomplete,” as it only examines the initial phased-in tunnel and states that analysis for the second tunnel would need to be completed in the future. More information: www.dailykos.com/...
1) U.S. Bureau of Reclamation /SLDMWA 10-Year Water Transfer Programhttp://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp/ltwt/andhttp://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=18361
2) Maps illustrating the groundwater conditions in the Sacramento Valley: