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Mendocino County Today: Friday, April 25, 2014

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PHILO MAN KILLED THURSDAY AFTERNOON. Jorge Cervantes, 49, died Thursday afternoon a little after 4pm when the car he was riding in suddenly veered off Highway 128 not far from the Philo Grange. The white BMW overturned and Cervantes, thrown from the vehicle, was killed when the car landed on top of him. The driver of the BMW has been identified as Francisco Javier Perez, 25, of Boonville. Perez was arrested at the scene for gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of marijuana. Officer Kylar Adams of the CHP said that Perez is also believed to have been speeding.

UPDATE: The accident that took the life of Cervantes was not at the Grange. It was at Mile Marker 32 on 128, which is two miles southest of the junction with Highway 253, up the hill above CalFire. Cervantes and Perez are brothers.

ALSO: Friday morning at 8:19 a single vehicle rollover into the creek at 3.0 mm 253. Female driver somehow self extricated from the upside-down demolished vehicle and climbed the steep embankment to the road with apparently only minor injuries.

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Dare I say it? So much fuss and bother. I've come to think that legalization of marijuana is not necessarily a good thing. It is of course good for the economy in Colorado, pot merchants are making money hand over fist. Pot stores now have counting rooms like Vegas Casinos to process the mountains of cash coming in. 37% of which goes to the state as tax. No credit cards or checks accepted.

The Rocky mountains, skiing and New Age-y Boulder are not all there is to Colorado. Outside of the ski areas for the rich and the “yuppie” island of Boulder (known locally as 40 square miles surrounded by “reality”) the state is mostly like its neighbors Wyoming, Utah and Kansas. Quite right wing politically and culturally. Geographically, east of the mountain range, you might as well be in Kansas. Marijuana here doesn't mean anything like us idealistic old guys thought or dreamed in the 60s. It's just another intoxicant like alcohol bringing in huge tax money from greedy merchants. It was more fun when it was illegal, kind of spoils things to just walk into a shop and buy it over the counter. Used to be, you had to have a little courage or a touch of rebellion to get yourself some weed, to break the law. As Sly and the Family Stone put it, “All the Squares Go Home!”

Ethically diseased NJ Gov. Christie, opposed to legalization in his state, is wrong on his anti-pot rhetoric about Colorado lifestyle. He'd love most of it. But apparently all he knows about the state comes from tourist brochures. I've never been anywhere with so many cranky people. Yes, I've lived in Manhattan and there's at least some charm and character in the crankiness of New Yorkers. Pot wouldn't make anyone groovy or mellow in NJ, either. It would be wise-guys and rivers catching on fire as usual, just as Colorado is gun-totin' redneck as usual.

GunsignThis photo, from a store window, is more like the “real” Colorado. Would Texas be changed by legal pot? Most certainly not. I was there in the early 80's selling pakalolo from the Big Island, and can assure you that the belligerent nature of the locals was not changed by the buds one bit.

To be fair I did know one man in Marin County who tended to beat his wife if he had no marijuana to smoke. Another guy, a scientist and inventor, said he smoked pot to “lower his intelligence.” Some vanity in that, I thought, but it was honest. But in all this there was no discussion of legalization. No one cared. For the most part, anyone who wanted it and had some money, could get it anytime. Just like guns.

A word of warning about edible marijuana products (very popular so far in Denver). If it happens that the effect of eating cannabis is unpleasant — and it can be — there is no antidote. This is the only known drug effect that cannot be changed or reduced by application of another drug. Nothing cuts it. You just have to wait.

Even though it's been more than 30 years since I smoked pot, there's still a tiny soft spot for it as a symbol of simpler, more optimistic times. But with legalization, government's realization that it won't cause a revolution, official involvement with it as a mass commodity, and the devolution of the pot-head demographic (as pointed out in the editor's account of his visit to the 420 festival in Golden Gate Park), I'm left with not much but disappointment in the whole affair.

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PS. What I chose not to say is that people stoned on pot are invariably boring. Talking stupid shit most of the time and thinking it's profound. Every stoner I know is like a lot of drunks I know. They think they're doing just swell but everyone else can see they're off. The drunks are distracted waiting to drink or are already distracted because they ARE drunk, and the stoners are just way slow in every way.— Jeff Costello

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THE OBSESSION demonstrated by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat over the trial of Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo really does seem obsessive. And excessive given the offense alleged. The PD has ignored lots of salacious scandals involving the locally eminent. Why the daily interest in this guy?

AS THE SF CHRON summarized the charges, “A female neighbor discovered the once-ascendant politician lurking outside her Santa Rosa home in only socks and underwear.” Carrillo apparently also made a half-hearted try to climb in the female neighbor's window where she and her two female roommates had been asleep. The young women armed themselves with kitchen knives as they called the cops. Carrillo was still standing outside in his Fruit of the Looms when the police arrived.

IF THE PERP had been anybody else, the episode would have ended with, at most, a citation and a stern instruction to the perp to go home and stay there. It would not have been mentioned in the newspaper, especially the Press Democrat newspaper, and that would have been the end of it.

BUT this perp was young, charismatic and Mexican-American politician. And here's where our opinions probably diverge.

WE WATCH THE PD CLOSELY. We think the paper demonstrates a consistent prurient interest in the screw-ups of ethnic minorities. The PD doesn't seem to miss a Bay Area shooting involving blacks or Mexicans, as if their Sonoma County readers depend on the PD for any news about the Bay Area.

CarrilloTestifiesWITH CARRILLO, we get wall to wall, front page coverage complete with half-hour videos every day of Carrillo sitting in the defendant’s chair. Nothing more will be revealed about the episode that we don't already know now that he has testified he was drunk and stoned and looking for love.

THE PD does zero investigative reporting of any kind, regurgitates press releases from cops and fire departments as if they were written by reporters, and treats the area’s dominant industry — Big Wine — as if it’s all just wonderful. A minor sex case involving a minor politician gets a couple of full-time reporters, a photographer and a video technician.

IN CASE YOU’VE FORGOTTEN, here’s what our Sonoma County correspondent suggested really happened in the Carrillo Affair:

A SONOMA COUNTY reader writes: “Come on. Doesn't anyone understand what was happening when Supervisor Efren Carrillo was caught ‘prowling’ with ‘sexual intent’ or planning some kind of burglary? Let's put on our thinking caps. Why on earth would someone be wandering around a lawn outside an apartment complex late at night? Hmmm. The answer of course is that he just left another woman's bedroom in a hurry when her husband came home. So when she heard the husband’s keys in the lock she immediately sent Carrillo out the window and kicked his shoes and pants under the bed and welcomed hubby home with open arms. Then, since Carrillo also probably knew the woman in the neighboring apartment, he knocked on her window so he could ask her to call a taxi for him. Hey! What would you do if you had left an apartment in a hurry with no shoes or pants and needed some help — discreetly. You'd probably knock on somebody's door or window hoping that they would be understanding and not ask too many questions. Clearly, that plan didn't work out and the supervisor was caught with his pants down. Of course none of that is a crime. I think they postponed any serious hearing for at least a month while they waited for the husband to forget about the incident when he came home and thinking, ‘Ohhhh — THAT explains why the bed was warm when I got home.’ The case would have been ‘cold’ by then. The husband wouldn't realize what had probably happened. I assume that when Efren bailed out of jail the woman he was with called him on her cellphone and told him she had thrown his pants and shoes in a dumpster. This kind of problem is not unusual for American politicians. It goes all the way back to George Washington and Ben Franklin. For example, there is a story about how George Washington caught pneumonia when he left a woman's house without adequate clothing one time. I'm sure that somehow Supervisor Carrillo will escape this mess with the assistance of Doug Bosco, his patron, and Bosco’s newspaper, the Press Democrat, which Bosco owns a large share of. I don't know if the PD would carry an ad offering a reward for the supervisor's pants and shoes — no questions asked. But I expect that the case will be orchestrated by Bosco and high profile Sonoma County defense attorney Chris Andrian. In a way I feel sorry for Supervisor Carrillo. He was just looking for help in an awkward situation and he got arrested for stalking and attempted burglary. Sheesh!”

FOR THIS (or whatever it was), we need not only a “trial,” but wall to wall coverage of this grotesque trial by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat? And what possible reason would Carrillo and his attorney, alleged SoCo mastermind, Andrian, for taking it to a jury?

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POP-POP FIZZ-FIZZ: Making the requisite Haight Street trek last week with two out-of-town teenagers, our merry band of aspiring pranksters happened upon a nouveau old-timey storefront named The Fizzary. Stepping inside our eyes lit up: hundreds of obscure and “small batch” sodas, tonics and elixirs. The names alone are worth the (free) price of admission: Squamscot Sarsaparilla; G33K B33R Guarana Root Beer; Zuberfizz Durango Cane Sugar Vanilla Cream; Sprecher Puma; Mediolitro “Da Bamba” Mexibomber; Dimestore Pony; Flathead Lake White Grape; and my favorite name, Fukola Cola of the Family of Scary Skeleteens Bone Drinx.

Sugar water traditionalists need not panic, as the Fizzary stocks more pedestrian brands such as Boylan’s, Jarriots, San Pellegrino and even Jolt (whose old tagline was “All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine”).

After much hushed consultation, we decided on Original Grape Faygo (the brand preferred by Insane Clown Posse fans who call themselves Juggalos Insane bottled at the source in Detroit); a Boylan Root Beer; Looks Like Orange, Tastes Like Grape (featuring surreal giant eyeball/fried egg label); Kickapoo Joy Juice (“The Original Dogpatch Recipe”); and something called Spruce Beer, created by Empire Bottling Works in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Four of the five sodas tasted as expected: like carbonated ice cream pie. The Spruce Beer, however, had an overwhelming flavor of rotten pine mulch mixed with industrial solvent, and a memorable aftertaste of urinal cake with hints of Panzer exhaust. Undrinkable, the tasters all agreed.

But all the cane sugar had its effect, and we giddily drew up plans for our own line of swank, post-modern sodas. Coming soon to a store near you: Onramp, the Soda Inspired by Highway 101; and Olde Skool Obama-Ade, a bracing seltzer of Wall Street Piss fermented in the blood of Afghan children. Don’t let the quote from Martin Luther King on the label fool you: just one sip and you’ll never even miss Habeus Corpus. (ZA)

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I would be most interested to run a poll with one single question:

“If you knew that a civil war in Ukraine (Syria style or Libya style, with US-enforced no-fly zone) with support of US State Department and CIA would guarantee 25% increase in your personal stock portfolio and 15% increase in your home equity by the end of the year, would you support any necessary actions by US to start such a war?”

In my opinion 65 to 75% of all respondents would answer “YES.” (I mean the ones who still have stock portfolio and house).

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LUXURY BOXES. Why? Up until Magic Money set in, the best seats for everyone were close to the action. And every day working people could afford them. Even the better owners, Franklin Mieuli of the Warriors sat courtside in his Sherlock Holmes hat. Then it all got rich, and fans are either wealthy or they save up all year so they can be there.

THE NEW STADIUMS, as you know, have these hog heaven set asides for the captains of free enterprise. You see a lot of blank-faced young people striding in and out of them. I prefer the old-style debauchees, florid-faced drunks capable of every crime imaginable and some that aren't.

THE LUXURY BOXES have big chairs, private bathrooms and chair-side service. And they cost a lot of money to sit in, which is why the new stadiums have more and more of them. And more and more of them mean less seating for people much more likely to be real sports fans. And that seating for real sports fans is more and more expensive, so expensive real fans are getting priced out.

THE FORTY NINER'S new stadium 40 miles south of San Franciso features a bunch of luxury boxes — the sports equivalent of McMansions, and not to be too moralistic about it, only the truly impaired would desire either a seat in a luxury box or a McMansion.

TICKET PRICES at the Niner's new monument to gauche start at $340 for the cheapest seat in the house for the Seahawks game. By the time that game gets close, scalpers will have driven prices a lot higher.

FOR THREE GRAND you can sit in the “Champions Club” section at the 50-yard line. I ask you, are these adults selling and buying these things?

SEASON TICKETS at Santa Clara start at $1,595, with, according to the Chron, “416 on StubHub as of Thursday morning.”

THE LOOMING Goodbye to Candlestick affair will feature Paul McCartney, plus Joe Montana and Dan Marino in an exhibition touch game. I wonder if it ever occurs to organizers of sports-related events that there are probably lots of us who wouldn't walk across the street to watch Paul McCartney if he were playing for free. But to sell out the event here comes the Beetle.

FRANKLY, I feel like a kind of martyr. I sat through countless Giants games at Candlestick, shivering in the fog and wind with three or four thousand other diehards. I always figured that since I'd gone to the effort to get to the ballpark I was sticking it out to the end. Some of those ends were close to midnight. I think people like me deserve a five dollar seats in perpetuity.

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WRECKAGE From Wooden Steamship Crushed By Ship Carrying Immigrants In 1888 Is Found Under The Golden Gate Bridge

by Jessica Jerreat

The wreckage of a wooden steamship carrying 106 passengers, which sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888, has been found.

More than a century after the City of Chester was nearly sliced in half by a ship twice its size, sonar has located the boat 216ft below the surface.

The wreckage from the bay's second-worst maritime disaster was found as oceanographers charted shipping channels before the America's Cup.

On the day the Chester sank, killing 16 people including two children and three crew members, a dense fog was filling the bay.

The Chester was carrying passengers from San Francisco to Eureka when it collided with a large immigrant ship.

More than a century after it sank, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team has found the resting place of the doomed ship.

The sonar showed the wreck's hull rising about 18ft from the sea bed, and clearly reveals the gash in the hull which caused it to sink.

When researchers looked into the background of the crash, they found tons of newspaper articles and transcripts of testimony from the accident investigation.

Delgado said newspapers at the time put much of the blame for the deaths on the crew of the immigrant steamer, the Oceanic, which survived the ordeal with a few dents in its hull.

Yet, NOAA scientists say much of the newspaper coverage failed to include witness accounts of heroism, and that the official investigation faulted the Chester's skipper with the accident.

'The papers initially reacted, talking about the tragedy and accusations that the Chinese crew stood by and let people drown,' Delgado said.

'But what happens is you start to see things also come out ... countering that. Some leaped in water to save a drowning child.'

'History is made up of a lot of people who never made it into the books,' Delgado told NBC Bay Area.

'Same with this shipwreck. It was filled with everyday people who got into a situation beyond their control.'

A thick fog was covering the bay on the morning of August 22, when the Chester set off, but research showed the seas were calm.

But there was a big incoming tide, which created a rip current off Fort Point near the mouth of the bay, which affected the Chester's ability to move quickly.

The two ships spotted each other when they were about a half-mile apart but failed to reverse their engines in time.

The Oceanic's bow went 10ft into the hull of the Chester, and the Oceanic's captain kept some momentum in the ship to keep the hole plugged in an effort to give people a chance to escape.

However, five or six minutes later, the Chester was gone.

'The Oceanic crew was up on the bow reaching down to survivors on the Chester, lifting them on the deck,' Robert Schwemmer, NOAA's West Coast regional maritime heritage coordinator, said.

'After the collision, in five or six minutes, the Oceanic crew went on to save a lot of people.'

The sinking was the second worst maritime disaster in the Bay, after the Rio de Jeneiro struck rocks on the way into port in 1901, exploded and sank with the loss of 130 people.

No attempt will be made to raise the ship but a display with the Chester's history and new images will open at San Francisco's Chrissy Field, which looks over the spot where the ship went down in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

(Courtesy, The London Daily Mail)

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NPR — Can't Hear You

I don't know if you heard about this - but it's a big deal: National Public Radio has been accepting money from the Fracking Industry lately and it's been influencing their coverage. Our friends at Environmental Action have been tracking this ugly story and campaigning to put an end to this disturbing trend. They're planning an awesome action in DC this week to show NPR they know what's going on, and they're going to stop it. We know that money warping our best public institutions is an issue you care deeply about, whether it's fracking, Big Oil or the megabanks. Can you join us and Environmental Action in letting NPR know that it's time to step the frack back from fracking money?

Thanks, John Sellers, The Other 98%

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When we took 40,000 signatures to our meeting with NPR executives a few weeks ago, they said they were shocked to hear that the millions of dollars they accept from the fracking industry might be tainting their coverage. The Ombudsman and CEO promised to personally look into the issue.* They lied. Which isn't surprising when you consider that not telling the truth about fracking has become something of a habit at NPR. Just last week another NPR reporter went on a special trip to report about how fracking is so awesome because it's allowing a resurgence of chemical manufacturing in Cancer Alley.** Sign here if you've had it with NPR taking money from the fracking industry and then repeating their talking points. We'll deliver your name on a live broadcast beamed into NPR's headquarters so they can't ignore us. NPR's been bought — lock, stock and microphones — by the fracking industry. And it's clear that if we want to change the coverage, we're going to have to treat its staff as a hostile witness. We have to make them listen because they don't want to hear the truth about fracking. So we're taking our message back to D.C. and we're going to beam a live signal into NPR's office. Will you sign on in support, so we can tell NPR you want them to tell the truth about fracking? I still believe in NPR. I think there are good reporters in there that want to tell the truth about fracking. So, just like America used to beam western music and news into soviet-occupied Europe, we're going take our message of truth and beam it directly into NPR's headquarters on the FM band. These frackers may have bought the mouthpiece of NPR, but if anyone inside has a heart and ears, they wont be able to shut us out. After all, that's what public radio is supposed to be about — the people speak on issues of national concern. National Public Radio hears, investigates and reports the truth. And the truth is all we've ever needed to beat the frackers.

Pump up the volume, Drew and the team at Environmental Action * Environmental Action, What Happened at NPR, December 18, 2013. **

Jackie Northam, German Chemical Giant BASF Benefits From Cheap U.S. Natural Gas, Morning Edition March 26, 2014. Other 98% Action is fighting the stranglehold that corporations have on our democracy. Like what we do? Make a $5 donation to support us.

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Dear Editor,

The Supremes have descended from their ivory tower on Mount Olympus to effectively render the goal of racial equality through affirmative action dead. Unfortunately, this is not their only action against minorities. The lack of concern by Chief Justice Roberts and his fellow conservatives over the Jim Crow laws that are being enacted in states controlled by the GOP is appalling. His scolding of Justice Sotomayor was pathetic and by.a person that went to a private school, Harvard College and Harvard Law School, cushy job at a D. C. law firm and spending a good part of his time on the public dole of the federal judiciary system. He doesn't have a clue about the overt and covert racism in this country. If there is to be a stop to this creeping racism by the states and the supremes racial minorites, the poor, and the marginalized need to get out and vote. Perhaps the time has come for a march on the Supreme Court. In peace,

Jim Updegraff, Sacramento

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To the Editor:

In response to the “Stop trying to stop Costco” letter to the editor on April 11. Take a drive down State Street from Boonville Road to the “Forks.” Count the number of empty storefronts. You speak fondly about Friedman's and Home Depot. Remember Ukiah Valley Lumber with their good product and knowledgeable staff? Envision all the sales that Costco will shift from our local economy. Think of the tire stores going out of business in Fort Bragg, Willits, and not just Ukiah. Will you buy a vacuum cleaner on State Street or whatever brand is stocked at Costco? Who will fix your Costco purchased vacuum cleaner, stereo, camera, computer?

I disagree with many of your assertions. I disagree that Ukiah will not survive unless we let some of these big box stores in. I disagree that Ukiah is losing money “because in order to shop, we are forced to go to Santa Rosa.”

The rest of the letter is more sycophant blather. Finally you threaten to move to another town, would you like help packing?

Humberto Fernandez, Ukiah

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by Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown issued a proclamation on April 21 celebrating “John Muir Day” - at the same time he is fast-tracking the construction of the environmentally-destructive peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento -San Joaquin River Delta and promoting the expansion of fracking in California.

“John Muir (1838-1914) was a giant of a man,” Brown proclaimed. “His vision of the pristine landscape as a source of spiritual renewal has become central to our understanding of the relationship between humanity and nature.”

“In addition to his scientific discoveries, engineering innovations and writings that still inspire us today, Muir’s advocacy was instrumental in the creation of the National Park System, one of the world’s great ecological treasures,” Brown continued.

“Today, as a way to honor Muir’s teachings and help keep his legacy alive, I suggest a visit to one of California’s public open spaces—national park, state park or any other unspoiled wilderness—which he strived so zealously to preserve,” said Brown.

While Brown celebrated Muir's legacy, the record to date in his third term as governor is hardly one that Muir would approve. Brown has signed several good environmental bills, including a bill limiting the number of crab pots used by commercial fishermen and the Human Right to Water bill package, both bills that Arnold Schwarzenegger repeatedly vetoed.

However, on the biggest and most controversial issues regarding our oceans, estuaries and freshwater resources, including water exports, fish restoration, the peripheral tunnels, marine protection and fracking, Brown has been firmly on the side of corporate interests that seek to privatize and exploit public trust resources.

First, the Governor presided over record water exports out of the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, and a record fish kill at the state and federal pumps in 2011. The export total was 6,678,000 acre-feet of water in 2011, 208,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,470,000 acre-feet set in 2005.

A record number of 8,989,639 native Sacramento splittail were “salvaged” in the Delta pumps in order to ship these record amounts of water to southern California and corporate agribusiness. The average annual splittail “salvage” number is 1,201,585 fish, according to the Bay Institute’s report, Collateral Damage,

By comparison, the average salvage total for all species combined is 9,237,444 fish, including splittail, striped bass, threadfin shad, largemouth bass, American shad and largemouth bass, as well as imperiled Sacramento River chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt, green sturgeon, and longfin smelt.

“Salvage numbers drastically underestimate the actual impact,” the report emphasized. “Although the exact numbers are uncertain, it is clear that tens of millions of fish are killed each year, and only a small fraction of this is reflected in the salvage numbers that are reported.” One study of “pre-screen loss” estimated that as many as 19 of every 20 fish perished before being counted (Castillo, 2010).

Brown has continued to pursue water export policies that resulted in the second lowest population levels of Delta smelt and American shad on record in the DFW’s 2013 fall midwater trawl survey, as well as the third lowest striped bass, eighth lowest longfin smelt, and fifth lowest threadfin shad indices.

Populations of Delta smelt are down 98.9%, striped bass 99.6%, longfin smelt 99.7%, American shad 89.1%, threadfin shad 98.1% and splittail 99.4% from 1967, the first years that the survey was conducted, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA.) Steelhead and winter-run salmon are down 91.7% and 95.5%, respectively. (

These fish have declined dramatically because of massive water exports out of the Bay-Delta Estuary, combined with poor management of upstream dam operations, declining water quality and invasive species.

Killing record numbers of fish, exporting record amounts of water from the Delta, and driving steelhead, winter-run Chinook salmon and Delta and longfin smelt to the edge of extinction are actions that John Muir would vociferously condemn, not celebrate.

Second, the Governor has fast-tracked the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to export more water to corporate agribusiness, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations and Southern California water privateers. If built, this canal will likely result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

The project will devastate the Bay-Delta Estuary, the most significant estuary on the West Coast, resulting in tremendous damage to coastal halibut, striped bass, leopard shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, halibut, leopard, rockfish, lingcod and other fish populations.

The construction of the tunnels will only spread the carnage of fish that takes place daily at the Delta pumps from the South Delta to the Sacramento River, the main migratory path for chinook salmon, steelhead, striped bass, American shad and other fish.

How can we expect the state water contractors, who have failed to fund the installation of state-of-the art fish screens on the current Delta pumps as required under the CalFed decision, to fund state-of-the-art fish screens for the new intakes for the canal/tunnel to reduce fish mortality?

And who is going to pay for the project, a pork barrel boondoggle that could cost over $67 billion?

Would Muir support the “Brown Water Plan,” as Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of Winnemem Wintu Tribe describes it? Would Muir, or any authentic environmental leader for that matter, back a budget-busting and Delta-draining project that would cause enormous environmental devastation? I don't think so!

Third, Brown has forged ahead with the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” in California. These “marine protected areas” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling and spills, military testing, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

The so-called “marine protected areas” that went into effect on the Southern California coast on January 1, 2012 and on the North Coast on December 19, 2012 were created under the helm of a big oil lobbyist. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and a relentless advocate for new offshore drilling, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the weakening of California's environmental laws, served as the Chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast that oversaw the implementation of these alleged “Yosemites of the Sea.”

Again, you can bet that John Muir wouldn't support a privately funded greenwashing process, overseen by an oil industry lobbyist and other corporate operatives, that fails to provide comprehensive marine protection. Muir would undoubtedly be appalled by the use of the term “Yosemites of the Sea” to describe these “no fishing” zones.

Fourth, Governor Brown backs the expansion of fracking in California. On September 20, 2013, he signed Senator Fran Pavley’s “green light for fracking” bill, Senate Billl 4.

Right after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senator Pavley's Senate Bill 4 on September 20, 2013, the same Reheis-Boyd who oversaw fake “marine protection” in Southern California praised the legislation for providing an “environmental platform” for the expansion of fracking in California (

“With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy production technologies in the country,” said Reheis-Boyd. “While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation.” (

Governor Jerry Brown has become known as “Big Oil Brown” because of his subservience to the oil industry. Robert Gammon, East Bay Express reporter, revealed that before Governor Brown signed Senator Fran Pavley’s 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. (

And these aren’t the only abysmal environmental policies that Brown has pursued.

Brown has also backed the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) that allows Northern Hemisphere polluters to buy forest carbon offset credits from the global South. Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, usually in low income neighborhoods populated by people of color.

“Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples,” said Goldtooth. “The policy privatizes the air we breath. Commodifies the clouds. Buys and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the sacred.” (

Finally, Brown has is doing nothing to stop Sierra Pacific Industries from clear cutting forests, destroying wildlife habitat, and contributing to climate change.

For more information on Governor Jerry Brown's 10 worst environmental policies, including his administration's plan to bulldoze a section of the Ballona Wetlands in Southern California under the guise of “habitat restoration,” go to:

Governor Jerry Brown is fast-tracking the peripheral tunnels, continues to drive salmon and Delta fish towards extinction, embraced Schwarzenegger's corrupt MLPA Initiative and is promoting many other environmentally destructive policies. Yet he hypocritically issues a proclamation honoring “John Muir Day.”

Hey Jerry, why don't you really honor Muir's legacy by abandoning the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels - and by forcing the water contractors to pay for state of art fish screens on the Delta pumps that that were mandated by the CalFed process over 10 years ago? And how about backing a ban on fracking in California?

A proclamation and visiting a state park is nice, but action on these and other issues is what we really need.

For the complete John Muir Day proclamation, go to:


  1. Harvey Reading April 25, 2014

    Re: Question of the Day. More likely that 95-99 percent would answer yes.

  2. Harvey Reading April 25, 2014

    “When we took 40,000 signatures to our meeting with NPR executives a few weeks ago, they said they were shocked to hear that the millions of dollars they accept from the fracking industry might be tainting their coverage.”

    Hell, the NPR/PBS consortium is, and has never been any better than the corporates. It’s the same propaganda, only enunciated more slowly. They always give the government take on issues, like the horrid coverage of Ukraine (and PBS promotes and glorifies neoliberalism with the sickening Kid$ Biz). Democracy Now! is a little better, but a few years ago, when Amy got off on how someone in government had been in violation of WTO “rules”, I tuned her out. Like the rest, Amy has to watch her bottom line, and what she peddles has to be taken with a grain, a very large grain, of salt. Turn off the damned box.

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