- Naval War Games
- Stornetta Dedication
- Hound Hunting
- Goldeneye Slurping
- Need For Plausibility
- Missing Airliner
- Galletti Runs
- Probation In Jeopardy
- Feinstein Doesn't Like It
- Tunnels? Frack No!
COAST WATCHER DAVID GURNEY recently posted an audio version of a news report he produced for KMUD out of Garberville on the Navy's dog-and-pony show regarding their plans for conducting tests and training off the NorCal Coast last Friday in Fort Bragg.
AN ESTIMATED CROWD of some 300 people assembled yesterday (Wednesday) on the Stornetta bluffs north of Point Arena as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell dedicated 1,665 acres of the Stornetta ranch to National Monument status.
ASSEMBLY BILL 2205 allows the individual counties of the state to decide whether or not to ban the use of hunting dogs to pursue bear and bobcats. Mendocino County's supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to support the bill to allow dogs. The Humane Society wanted to ban the use of dogs, but no one from the Humane Society showed up at the meeting to speak against the bill, while several people appeared to speak for it.
ANATOMY OF A WATER INQUIRY. Noting the presence of a pump and 3-inch pipe helping itself to the flow at the confluence of Indian, Anderson and the Rancheria all-year streams where they join to form the Navarro River, our guy also noted that the apparatus was the property and responsibility of the Goldeneye Winery, Philo. This was after a big rain brought the water up and migrating fish were, we hope, able to get upstream to their feeder stream spawning beds.
1. He called us to make sure we knew about it. He said he knew that property owners with riparian access to public streams could pump out of our streams and rivers, but was unhappy that Goldeneye was pumping when the water was low.
2. He called the State Water agency in Sacramento where "a nice lady" promised to call him back with the name of the correct person to talk to about riparian rules. She never called back.
3. He called the Mendocino County Water Agency, now part of the County's Building and Planning Department. Our guy, aware that Sheriff Allman has promised to crack down on illegal diverters, our guy was referred to the Sheriff's hotline where he left a message asking that a deputy check out this particular diversion to make sure it was legal. No call back from the Sheriff's Office.
4. He called Supervisor Hamburg who got right back to our guy to say it's a state issue but the state has not yet announced drought guidelines.
5. He called Chuck Morse at Supervisor Hamburg's suggestion. Morse said there was nothing in the regs at the moment to prevent low-water draws on the County's streams. Morse also said it was good that Goldeneye had waited for a big rain to pump and that grape growers in Mendocino County were conscientious. Our guy pointed out that he didn't know how long the Goldeneye apparatus had been at work. “It could have been in there before the big rain,” he said.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
REGARDING the missing Malaysian airliner: "Why are we still relying on primitive broadcast transponder technology and even more primitive radar to keep track of commercial aircraft?
For years now we've had the technology for live system data communications between the aircraft and the base on the ground. This allows us to automatically check critical systems and forewarn the crew of developing problems. Indeed, we can even take over failing systems to assure the safety of the passengers and the crew.
If we can have complete telemetry and control of a rover in Mars we should also have telemetry of commercial airplanes and ships on Earth. The technology is there, and not prohibitively expensive. But we need to set up monitoring servers worldwide that can be accessed securely by the control towers. This coordination starts with the U.N., and it should set out to do it."
UUSD ADMINISTRATOR FILES FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT
UKIAH: On Thursday, March 6, Warren Galletti, a Ukiah Unified School District school administrator filed paperwork to run for the Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools office on the upcoming June ballot.
Galletti, a lifelong resident of Mendocino County, says he is committed to meeting all education needs for the communities, families and students of Mendocino County. “As County Superintendent of Schools, I will work to improve our school districts and strengthen all education programs including alternative, technical, and special education throughout Mendocino County.” Galletti says.
“I believe my education experience as a teacher for seven years in PE, Industrial Math, Geography and ROP, 12 years as secondary principal of both a comprehensive and continuation high school, five years as athletic director, 22 years as athletic coach, and my current position as Director of Student Services for Ukiah Unified has prepared me to lead the County Office of Education.” he says. “I want to see a strong county office, improve labor relations and build morale among all education employees.”
Galletti graduated from Ukiah High school in 1984 and received an associate degree from Mendocino College, where he was named a Distinguished Alumni in 2014, and inducted into the Mendocino College Hall of Fame in 2007. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco where he also played Division I baseball, earned his teaching credential from Dominican College, and attained his administrative credential from Sonoma State University.
“I believe it is time for positive change. A vote for me is a vote for a lifelong educator committed to improving education in our county and I am committed to that effort if elected.” he concluded.
— Press Release from Warren Galletti
THE SUSPECT at the center of a shooting that wounded a police officer in San Francisco's Mission District over the weekend did not have a gun on him when the officer was shot, his attorney said Wednesday.
Police officials have not said whether Shaw's injury on Saturday was the result of friendly fire, but they have said that may be a possibility.
Ruano made his first court appearance Wednesday. He did not enter a plea to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon on an officer for allegedly trying to run down Shaw and his partner with his car or to a count of illegal possession of ammunition as a felon, a reference to a .38-caliber cartridge police allegedly found on him at the time of his arrest Sunday.
Police say Shaw and his partner tried to pull over Ruano on Saturday while investigating reports of a suspicious vehicle on Florida Street near 26th Street, and that Ruano tried to back his car up into the officers, prompting the shooting.
A key piece of evidence, the bullet that pierced Shaw's shoulder, has not been found.
Olmo said his client had been unfairly blamed for his role in a police shooting that was reckless. "What would justify the conduct of an officer firing so many rounds when no rounds were fired at him?" Olmo asked outside court.
Ruano was not charged with shooting at the officers.
"Based on the evidence at hand, the current charges are the most appropriate," said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
After the shooting, Ruano allegedly led officers in a high-speed chase before he was detained at a San Jose gas station early Sunday. Bastian said San Francisco police will present evidence supporting a charge of evading police officers to one of the neighboring counties where the chase took place.
Ruano is on felony probation in Mendocino County for drug dealing, records show. In San Mateo County, he is accused of possessing a switchblade in January. He is being held on $500,000 bail.
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)
THE FEINSTEIN SYNDROME
Fourth Amendment for Me, But Not for Thee
by Norman Solomon
Who knows, soon we might see headlines and cable TV shows asking: “Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?”
A truthful answer to that question could not possibly be “whistleblower.” It may already be a historic fact that Senator Feinstein’s speech on March 11, 2014 blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.
In her blockbuster Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA’s intrusions on her committee’s computers quite possibly “violated the Fourth Amendment.” You know, that’s the precious amendment that Feinstein — more than any other senator — has powerfully treated like dirt, worthy only of sweeping under the congressional rug.
A tidy defender of the NSA’s Orwellian programs, Feinstein went on the attack against Edward Snowden from the outset of his revelations last June. Within days, she denounced his brave whistleblowing as “an act of treason” — a position she has maintained.
Snowden and other genuine whistleblowers actually take risks to defend the civil liberties and human rights of others, including the most vulnerable among us. Real whistleblowers choose to expose serious wrongdoing. And, if applicable, they renounce their own past complicity in doing those wrongs.
Dianne Feinstein remains in a very different place. She’s 180 degrees from a whistleblower orientation; her moral compass is magnetized with solipsism as a leading guardian of the surveillance state.
This week, Feinstein stepped forward to tweak her tap dance — insisting that intrusive surveillance, so vile when directed at her and colleagues with august stature, must only be directed at others.
A huge problem is that for the USA’s top movers and shakers in media and politics, nothing rises to the level of constitutional crisis unless their noble oxen start to get gored. It doesn’t seem to dawn on the likes of Senator Feinstein that Fourth Amendment protections for the few are not Fourth Amendment protections at all.
More than 40 years ago, under the Nixon administration — when the U.S. government was breaking into the offices of the Socialist Workers Party, busting into the homes of members of the Black Panther Party in the middle of night with guns firing, and widely shredding the civil liberties of anti-war activists — few among ruling elites seemed to give a damn. But when news emerged that one of the two big political parties had severely transgressed against the other with a break-in at the Watergate office of the Democratic National Committee on June 17, 1972, the Republican White House had gone too far.
As spring 2014 gets underway, we might be nearing a pivotal moment when major sectors of the establishment feel compelled to recognize the arrival of a constitutional crisis. Consider how the New York Times editorialized in its Wednesday edition, declaring that Feinstein “has provided stark and convincing evidence that the CIA may have committed crimes to prevent the exposure of interrogations that she said were ‘far different and far more harsh’ than anything the agency had described to Congress.”
In the euphemism lexicon of official Washington, “far different and far more harsh” refers to outright torture by the U.S. government.
At the surveillance-state garrison known as the Washington Post, where cognitive dissonance must be something fierce right now, quickly out of the box was conventional-wisdom columnist Dana Milbank, who portrayed Feinstein as a savvy and angelic force to be reckoned with. The adulatory logic was classic for journalists who like to conflate complicity with credibility.
Noting Feinstein’s record as “an ally of Obama and a staunch defender of the administration during the controversy over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs,” Milbank wrote: “So her credibility could not be questioned when she went public, reluctantly, to accuse Obama’s CIA of illegal and unconstitutional actions: violating the separation of powers by searching the committee’s computers and intimidating congressional staffers with bogus legal threats.”
News media accounts are filled with such statements right now. On the surface, they make sense — but there’s a pernicious undertow. With the underlying logic, the only time we could become sure that Wall Street malfeasance was a real problem would be if someone with the stature of Bernie Madoff stepped up to condemn it in no uncertain terms.
History tells us that we’d be deluded to depend on entrenched elites to opt for principle rather than continuity of the status quo. With few exceptions, what bonds those at peaks of power routinely trumps what divides them. It takes a massive and sustained uproar to really fracture the perversity of elite cohesion.
Consider the fact that the CIA, under the current Democratic administration, has gone to extraordinary lengths to transgress against a CIA-friendly Democratic-controlled Senate intelligence committee, in an effort to prevent anyone from being held accountable for crimes of torture committed under and by the Republican Bush administration.
While Dianne Feinstein has a long and putrid record as an enemy of civil liberties, transparency and accountability, it’s also true that thieves sometimes fall out — and so do violators of the most basic democratic safeguards in the Bill of Rights. Some powerful “intelligence” scoundrels are now at each other’s throats, even while continuing to brandish daggers at the heart of democracy with their contempt for such ideals as a free press, privacy and due process. The responsibility for all this goes to the very top: President Obama.
Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.
FRACKING OPPONENTS SHOULD OPPOSE PERIPHERAL TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
The anti-fracking movement in California has grown in recent months since the passage of the green light to fracking bill, Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4.
Fracking opponents heckled Jerry Brown at the Democratic Convention last weekend as they urged him to ban fracking (http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Gov-Jerry-Brown-heckled-by-protesters-opposed-to-5300447.php.
Fracking opponents have attended state and federal government meetings around the state to call for a ban or moratorium on fracking, as well as holding spirited rallies and protests at the State Capitol in local communities.
Fracking opponents also pressured the Los Angeles City Council to recently support a moratorium on fracking, making L.A. the largest city in the nation to formally come out against the environmentally destructive practice.
State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) have also introduced legislation, SB 1132 that would impose a moratorium on fracking and acidization in order to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction. (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/state-senators-mitchell-and-leno-introduce-fracking-moratorium-bill)
Finally, there is a big protest being organized by Californians Against Fracking on this Saturday, March 15, at the State Capitol, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Tribal leaders, environmentalists, fishermen, health advocates, family farmers and people from all walks of life are expected to attend the largest anti-fracking demonstration to date in California. (http://www.californiansagainstfracking.org)
The increasing opposition to fracking takes place as the movement to stop the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels is mushrooming throughout California. These campaigns are closely linked – to oppose fracking in California, one should also strongly oppose the peripheral tunnels, since the water needed to expand fracking will inevitably come through Brown’s proposed twin tunnels.
Map reveals tunnels will supply water for agribusiness, fracking
Food and Water Watch and Restore the Delta, opponents of Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, on March 4 released a new map that shows that 35-mile long twin tunnels would mainly supply water to the largest agribusiness users of Delta water exports, land impaired by toxic selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and the oil and gas basins where the energy industry could expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking (hydraulic fracturing).
Much of the area that the oil industry could frack for oil and natural gas in California is located in and near toxic, drainage-impaired land farmed by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch revealed on March 4.
The maps were released at a time when Governor Brown is fast-tracking the construction of the peripheral tunnels and backing the fracking of California. In September, Brown signed Senate Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4, legislation that anti-fracking opponents say gives the green light to fracking in California.
Before Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 4, Brown accepted at least $2.49 million in financial donations over the past several years from oil and natural gas interests, according to public records on file with the Secretary of State’s Office and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/fracking-jerry-brown/Content?oid=3726533)
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), told reporters in a teleconference the significance behind the map. (http://restorethedelta.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Restore-the-Delta-Fracking-Selenium-Soils-Valley-Agriculture-Irrigators-BDCP-Map-Table-rd.pdf).
“This map shows a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor’s tunnels," she said. “Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it.”
“The fracking sites line up perfectly in the Valley with where the governor wants to export this water,” added Steve Hopcraft, a spokesman for Restore the Delta.
Barrigan-Parrilla said fracking is another “water intensive industry” in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies already impaired by selenium, nitrates, pesticides and other pollutants.
“The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use,” she stated, referring to the BDCP website. “Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry – at the expense of everyday Californians.”
Barrigan-Parrilla said the map shows the largest agricultural users of water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta "all are irrigating land impaired by concentrations of selenium that will make farming increasingly unsustainable. These drainage-impaired lands, however, sit on top of oil and gas basins that underlie the San Joaquin Valley.”
“The $60 billion tunnel project will not benefit the SF-Bay Delta estuary, or its surrounding communities and urban areas. It will not benefit San Joaquin farming communities that do not have access to clean drinking water. And it will not benefit urban ratepayers within the Metropolitan Water District or the Santa Clara Water District, as they will pay for a disproportionate share of the tunnels project,” she stated.
She also said methods of energy extraction, including fracking and steam extraction, require “significant quantities of water and produce contaminated water, which would further render San Joaquin Valley groundwater basins unusable for farm community residents who already do not have access to clean drinking water.“
Oil industry claims little water used for fracking
The oil industry minimizes the amount of water used for fracking, contending that fracking uses relatively little water. The Western States Petroleum Association, the largest corporate lobby in Sacramento, also claims that fracking is safe and environmentally friendly.
“Hydraulic fracturing does not use large volumes of water, at least not in California,” claimed Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to created so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California.
“All of the hydraulic fracturing that occurred last year used less than 300 acre feet of water, according to the California Department of Conservation. That’s about the same amount of water needed to keep two West Coast golf courses green,” said Reheis-Boyd, in her latest piece on the WSPA website, entitled, “Oil Production and the Drought: We Get It,” (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/moratorium-legislation-does-not-make-sense-california)
Reheis Boyd also claimed, "The Department of Conservation also found that California uses 'much less water' and fluid than other states where hydraulic fracturing is currently underway. Strict standards ensure that proper well casings are in place to protect surface and fresh water.”
However, fracking and peripheral tunnels opponents point out that reporting of water used for fracking is voluntary, so the California Department of Conservation’s figure is virtually meaningless.
Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director for Food and Water Watch, revealed that Kern County, where 70 percent of California's oil reserves are located, used 150,000 acre feet of water in 2008 alone. Most of this water comes from the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project that obtain their water from the Delta.
“When you consider that 8 barrels of water are used for every barrel of oil extracted, you could be getting into millions of acre feet used for fracking oil wells,” he noted.
Barrigan–Parrilla said that if 30,000 potential fracking sites were utilized, that could result in an additional 450,000 acre feet of water used, considering that each fracking operation uses 15 acre feet of water.
She also noted that the industry has used four times the amount of water that it has claimed it employs in Colorado and other states where fracking has been used to extract oil and natural gas.
Scow emphasized, “It's unfair for the Governor to make Californians subsidize water use and abuse by corporate agribusiness and oil companies, especially in a drought and in a bad economy."
Westlands and Kern County receive bulk of Delta water exports
In addition to showing the overlay of drainage impaired land and oil and gas basins in the San Joaquin Valley, the map also demonstrated that just two of the water export contractors, Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency, used a larger percentage of water, 55 percent, than the urban districts serving Los Angeles (Metropolitan Water District) and Santa Clara Valley (Santa Clara Valley Water District) combined, who used 45 percent.
“From 2000 to 2009, Westlands and Kern County Water Agency received an average 1,788,000 acre feet of exported water from the Delta, whereas Metropolitan Water District and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (home to tens of millions of Californians) received on average 1,400,000 acre feet of exported water from the Delta,” she stated. “Total Delta exports for this period were 5.2 million-acre feet on average, with over 3 million acre-feet of water on average going to these agribusiness districts.“
During the 2010 State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) hearings, participating scientists from fishery agencies and NGOs reached consensus that the Delta needed additional flows for fisheries to be restored. Delta exports would need to be cut to 3 to 3.5 million acre-feet to achieve those additional needed flows.
The Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan, backed by Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch, sets a cap of 3 million acre feet per year for Delta exports, while ensuring the meeting of California’s water needs through increased conservation, recycling, the retirement of drainage impaired land and other measures.
Barrigan-Parrilla said the continuing irrigation of drainage impaired lands will set the stage for environmental disaster by imperiling wildlife and fish populations, including Central Valley salmon and steelhead and Delta fish populations.
“Selenium contamination from unsustainable farming in Westlands and Kern threatens farming in neighboring areas, water quality and wildlife, and a repeat of the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge disaster is possible,” Barrigan-Parrilla said. “The majority of lands with the highest selenium concentration fall within the boundaries of the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water agency. Selenium-laden land that drained polluted water into wildlife areas caused the tragedy in Kesterson 25 years ago – birds in the wildlife refuge born with deformities."
“The drainage-impaired lands within Westlands drain back into neighboring water districts, and then back into the San Joaquin River. This polluted water makes its way back down the San Joaquin River, draining into the South Delta, loading the Delta with additional salt concentrations and pollutants that are extremely harmful to fisheries,” Barrigan-Parrilla observed.
It’s time to change direction
Meanwhile, the Governor continues to push the peripheral tunnels and the expansion of fracking in California. The two organizations called upon Governor Brown to “change direction and instead of subsidizing unsustainable agriculture and fracking, invest in policies that create regional water independence.”
In an action backing up the two groups’ opposition to the peripheral tunnels, a state advisory panel including scientists, Tribal leaders, commercial fishermen and recreational anglers on February 26 slammed the Bay Delta Delta Conservation Plan for leading to the decline of imperiled stocks of Central Valley salmon.
The California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout has recommended that Director of Fish and Wildlife Chuck Bonham deny the incidental take permit for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Alternative 4, claiming that the plan does not meet the requirements of a Natural Communities Conservation Plan and therefore cannot be approved because it will contribute to the further decline of Sacramento River winter run and spring run Chinook salmon. (http://mavensnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CACSST-to-Bonham-CDFW-on-BDCP-NCCP_022614.pdf)
The letter states, "BDCP promotes the unproven scientific hypothesis that habitat restoration can substitute for flows. However, the State Water Resources Control Board has already indicated that Delta inflows and outflows are presently insufficient to help listed species recover their former abundance. BDCP would reduce Delta outflow, which contributes to the decreases in salmon smolt survival rates modeled by BDCP."
There is no doubt that the peripheral tunnels will supply water to frack California and kill salmon and other fish species – and fracking opponents should oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels.
The Restore the Delta map can be viewed here: http://restorethedelta.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Restore-the-Delta-Fracking-Selenium-Soils-Valley-Agriculture-Irrigators-BDCP-Map-Table-rd.pdf)
The Food and Water Watch map can be viewed here: http://yx17.us/p/?_1723-722/1SGOW8VRL-5/_2._ct