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Mendocino County Today: Monday, April 7, 2014

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THE POTTER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT, according to an account in the Ukiah Daily Journal by Justine Frederiksen, says "Lake Mendocino could have about 3,000 more acre-feet -- or nearly 163 million gallons -- if more of the water released from Lake Pillsbury is allowed to flow down the Eel and on through the Potter Valley Diversion into the headwaters of the Russian River and into Lake Mendocino. As is, that extra 3,000 acre-feet flows into the Eel and eventually out to sea.

THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission control how much of the water released from Pillsbury to the Eel River is allowed to pass through the Diversion tunnel into Potter Valley and on into Lake Mendocino.

MS. FREDERIKSEN QUOTES from a letter from the Irrigation District's Janet Pauli: "We find ourselves, once again, in a situation where there is an uncontrolled spill of water from Scott Dam (at Lake Pillsbury) and Pacific Gas & Electric (which owns the lake and operates Scott Dam) is not allowed to maximize the Potter Valley Diversion.... In a normal water year, the amount of water lost to storage in Lake Mendocino ... has been a problem which has resulted in chronic late season water storage shortages. Now, however, in a drought year ... the impact of the loss of this potential water supply is greatly magnified."

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ON MARCH 25 two young people from a segment of society who we don’t hear from much rose to speak to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors during public expression.

Diamonte McCain: “I am a homeless youth in Mendocino County. There's not that many resources, nothing really for the youth to do who are homeless. There are a lot of youth out there that are homeless. There has been a lot of times where I have been harassed and I just wanted to see whether there would be able to be more resources for the homeless youth so we don't have to just sit on the streets so we can actually do something for ourselves instead of just sitting there. Pretty soon we are not youth anymore and we become adult homeless. I know there are a lot of programs for adults but there's nothing for the youth.”

Erica Rodriguez: I'm also another homeless youth in Mendocino County. I agree that there is not that much resources for us out there because we are trying to get off the streets but we can't without any help. It seems like most of the time we are being harassed. We are told to go somewhere else or some distance away. But I was just wondering if there was anything. If you guys don't want us to go to certain places and we are just standing there with all our stuff then you should help us out with something. You know something like a place where we could go. There's a lot of people out there that are hurting and everything, and I am one of them, and I don't think anyone should, especially a youth who is trying to get off the streets should be harassed or considered to be different all because they don't have money or a place to go. I just think there should be more resources for the homeless youth. That's all.

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The "liberal" on the board, Dan Hamburg, had nothing to say. So it fell to Supervisor McCowen to at least ask about what resources are available. "I don't want to put anyone on the spot, but if we do have someone in the audience who could speak to what resources might be available for homeless youth, I'd like to hear it. We would all acknowledge that we could always do more, but there are some resources available.”

Stacey Cryer, Director of Health and Human Services: “I've been listening to the testimony I just heard from the two homeless youth. I plan to introduce myself to the gentleman across the way who I understand is named Von and talk about some of the services that are available. I have been texting Camille Schrader [manager of Redwood Childrens services] already asking her if we can make a connection. Certainly there is the Arbor on the Main, a Redwood Childrens Services program, and some other resources that I will talk to this gentleman about.”

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Sheep Shearing

Have an item that might interest people who are on the list for food shed e-mails since many of them have livestock as well. Matt Gilbert has sheared our small flock for at least 10 years and we think he's terrific. He's been doing this since he was a teen-ager and is now going into it full time as well as developing a wool processing business in Ukiah - good news for us who are tired of the increasing expense of sending our wool away for processing. He has a website that describes the stages and progress in developing this –

We'd be happy to give our personal recommendation to anyone who calls at 895-2626.

Many of the foodshed people have seen his demos at the Fiber Festival part of the Apple Fair. He'll shear anything from the backyard pet/lawnmower to large flocks and is consistently kind to the animals and meticulous in his shearing - very rarely a nick and almost no second cuts. We look forward to his annual visit and really want his business to succeed. Could you add an item about him to the next food shed mailing or pass this on to whoever could do this?

Many thanks, Bev Elliott

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Raw Milk Safety Act

Hi folks,

Tom from Emerald Earth put together the list of all the Agriculture Committee members in our State Assembly. They are the gatekeepers for AB2505 and if they vote it through this first hurdle then it can go for a floor vote. So, if you have some time (Tom, said he called them all in half an hour) please call the list below. I have attached our sample letter in case you need some extra talking points.

Assembly Ag Committee Phone numbers

Example script:

“I'm calling to express my support for AB2505, the Home Dairy Farm Raw Milk Safety Act. This bill will support the rural economy, preserve the traditions of the small family farm, and provide feasible regulations for small home dairies.”

The person responding will likely ask for your name and hometown.

Politicians to call:

Eggman, Susan Talamantes (Chair) Capitol: (916) 319-2013 District : (209) 948-7479

Olsen, Kristin (Vice Chair) Capitol: (916) 319-2012 District: (209) 576-6425

Atkins, Toni Capitol: (916) 319-2078 District: (619) 645-3090

Dahle, Brian Capitol: (916) 319-2001 District: (530) 223-6300

Pan, Richard Capitol: (916) 319-2009 District: (916) 262-0999

Quirk, Bill Capitol: (916) 319-2020 District: (510) 583-8818

Yamada, Mariko (Bill Author) Capitol: (916) 319-2004 District: (530) 662-7867 or (707) 552-4405

Sara Grusky, Green Uprising Farm at Blackberry Bend

Milk from Floppy and the flock; fruits and vegetables sustainably grown -- no artificial pesticides or fertilizers -- ever! Call 707 216 5549.

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LawrenceRingoLAWRENCE RINGO has died. A pivotal guy in the development of marijuana with the crucial medical cannabinoid known to reduce pain and inflammations without the soporific "high" the plant produces, Ringo was a long-time resident of Southern Humboldt County. His Southern Humboldt Seed Collective enjoyed a wide reputation for encouraging responsible cultivation practices. Ringo died of cancer on Thursday, April 3rd.

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MICHAEL SLAUGHTER COMMENTS: "PBR not advertised? Nonsense! Recall the jingle (with two chords, a I and V)…

What’ll you have?


What’ll you have?


What’ll you have?


(And there was Fehr’s– “It’s always Fehr weather when good fellows get together.” And Champagne Velvet on early TV: “… Champagne Velvet, the champagne of bottled beer.” But, you know, I never heard of Griesedieck making a commercial…)

PABST ADVERTISES? Mr. Slaughter's jingle, if that's what it is, rings a bell, a faint bell, but has it been rung in the last 50 years? And what was that beer from the land of sky blue waters? Olympia?

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No, this is not an April Fool’s Day Joke!

by Dan Bacher

On April 1, State and federal officials announced in a media call that they would “temporarily” allow increased water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to capture run off from the latest storm, in spite of the the threat it would pose to Central Valley salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and longfin smelt.

Combined pumping levels at the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project will rise from about 1500 cfs to “no more than 6500 cfs over the course of the next few days,” according to Mark Cowin, Director of the Department of Water Resources.

That translates into an increase in Delta pumping by 433 percent. Cowin said the increased pumping would continue for at least a week.

This was done even though Shasta, Oroville, Folsom and other northern California reservoirs remain low for this time of year and many north state cities are now being forced to ration water to residents because of the systematic emptying of reservoirs last year to export water to corporate agribusiness, southern California water agencies and Kern County oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection oil extraction operations.

The decision to increase pumping was the result of political pressure from west side San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests and their political allies, most notably Senator Dianne Feinstein, even though the Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency only contribute .3 percent to the California economy.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Representatives Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao on March 27 sent a letter to Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker requesting more Delta water for San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, claiming that water exports wouldn’t harm endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species.

The officials on April 1 call included Cowin, David Murillo, Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Will Stelle, Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service; and Chuck Bonham, Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cowin discussed the current water situation, claiming that this water year “in the range of the sixth, seventh or eighth driest year on record.” Cowin admitted that the snowpack was only one third of normal while northern California reservoirs remained low, in spite of recent storms. Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir is at 60% of average for this date, Lake Oroville at 64%, and Lake Folsom at 69%, so still well below average.

However, Cowin and state federal officials claimed that the increased pumping wouldn’t jeopardize endangered Central Valley salmon species, but provided no evidence to justify this claim, other than referring to an “exchange of emails” between state and federal officials.

“In an exchange of emails yesterday, NMFS officials concurred that this temporary adjustment to the inflow/export ratio won’t jeopardize listed salmonids and is consistent with the federal Endangered Species Act,” said Cowin. “And during this period of time when this adjustment is in effect, another flow requirement that restricts the level of reverse flows in the Old and Middle River channels in the Delta, it’s called OMR, those restrictions will govern pumping levels over the course of the coming days and provide minimum protections for all fish species currently making their way through the Delta.”

Chuck Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, justified his agency’s support of the decision by making the following statement, one of most stunning examples of political double talk I’ve ever encountered.

“I’ve said to some of you before that in my opinion, we’re going to make it through this period because we’re working together, and if you are keeping track, since about the end of January, the five agencies, the two federal fish and wildlife agencies, and my department as well as the two water supply agencies have collaborated to manage at least half a dozen changes which allow us to achieve additional flexibility while still remaining within the boundaries of the existing and applicable laws and regulations.

On the state front, under the state Endangered Species Act, typically what happens is the DWR will consult with my department; my department has the benefit of the NMFS or USFWS findings about the proposed changes pursuant to the federal biological opinions and our department will review and then concurs that the findings are consistent with coverage under the California Endangered Species Act. We know right now that we’ve got most of our major fish species in or about the reach the Delta, and at the same time that we know these are our last likely major rainstorm events which matter a lot for water supply.

To be blunt about it, on every decision we’re making here, some constituents will believe we did not go far enough and other constituents will believe we went too far, and I think that’s a reflection of the challenge and the circumstances we’re in.”

Translation? Bonham is saying that endangered fish species, which he is entrusted to protect in his role as the Director of Fish and Wildlife, can be sacrificed during a drought to supply subsidized water to subsidized corporate agribusiness interests irrigating toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley!

“So, the State and Federal Government are lifting pumping restrictions to send all the rainfall to unsustainable agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley, but DWR (the Department of Water Resources) is poised to install drought barriers that will harm North Delta farms and the salmon fishery,” responded Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “I guess the government sees no need for the estuary.”

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and board member of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and Restore the Delta, said the decision to increase Delta exports occurs within the context of decades of violations of state and federal laws protecting fish and ecosystems by the same state and federal agencies entrusted to protect them.

“The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have chaperoned the decline of fish species for 30 years,” said Jennings. “I have little confidence in their claims that they are taking care of the fish. Every year they assure us that they are protecting fish and then the population levels continue to crash.”

Jennings also emphasized that the state and federal governments didn’t mention that Delta salinity standards have already been violated this month. Nor did they acknowledge that more restrictive water standards at Jersey Point, Vernalis and Old and Middle rivers on the Delta went into effect on April 1. Nor did they mention that new standards would go into effect in the Delta at a number of locations on April 15.

“The absurdity is that the Delta water quality standards and biological opinions protecting endangered Chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and green sturgeon took into account critically dry years like this – and they casually discard the law when industrial agriculture screams for them to ship more water south. The fish always take the hit from the way the state and federal projects are managed,” said Jennings.

The steep decline of Delta fish species is documented by the the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fall midwater trawl surveys, initiated in 1967. They reveal that the population abundance of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad declined 95.6%, 99.6%, 99.8%, 97.8%, 90.9%, respectively, between 1967 and 2013 (

Here's a transcript of the media call, courtesy of Maven’s Notebook: The entire transcript is an appalling example of political double-talk and scientific misconduct by state and federal officials bowing before corporate agribusiness.


  1. Alexia King April 7, 2014

    Im a born and raised Mendocino resident. I’m armed with nothing more than a high school education and a love for the environment and my town. I love this paper but it makes me so mad. It informs me of all the injustice in this small town and in the world. My first reaction is to vandalize the people that you speak about. The people that get to make there own rules and ship all of our water away. What can someone like me do for change? What can I do without going to jail. I want change but it feels hopeless. What can we do? I would like to participate but sitting on the phone all day being kept on hold isn’t my idea of change.

  2. Bill Pilgrim April 7, 2014

    Last Thursday the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva condemned the US for its increasing criminalization of the homeless, calling it “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that violates international human rights treaty obligations. But you didn’t read about it in the corporate media. Our society is profoundly sick, and will continue to deteriorate until the degradation is so widespread and visible that many people will finally revolt.
    ( “from the land of sky blue waters” = Hamm’s)

  3. Michael Slaughter April 7, 2014

    Land of Sky Blue Waters beer–that was Hamm’s.

    The summer of 1961 I spent as a camp counselor at a boys’ camp outside Ely, Minn. Another counselor and I would buy Hamm’s in town and, back at camp, stash the beer in the lake. Then as the sun got low in the sky and the Purkinje Effect would start to take hold, we would paddle a canor to our now-chilled stash and enjoy the sunset, hove to in the Boundary Waters.

  4. Bruce Anderson April 7, 2014

    Take heart, my child. There are millions of us as frustrated as you are with the injustice enveloping US, and as soon as we reach critical mass, and we will reach it soon, there will be no escape for the Bad People. We know who they are, and we know where they live.

    • Harvey Reading April 7, 2014

      I’ve been hoping for that for decades but fear that people have become so addicted to the status-quo, their addiction fed by the media, lying politicians at all levels of guvamint, the Chamber of Commerce, churches, and Hollywood, that there is no hope.

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