- Ham Canyon Fire
- Spring Weather
- Destructive Dope
- Greenhouse Deaths
- Paying the Toll
- UVMC Responds
- Landlord Injustice
- Marijuana Cleanup
- Public Radio Blues
- Sheila's Grievance
- Digging Up Dirt
- Police Reports
- White Collar People
- America is Doomed
- 12 Pages
- Internal DWR Memo
FIRST FIRE of the season broke out in Anderson Valley Tuesday afternoon about 4pm. The blaze was located in an area due west of the Anderson Valley Elementary School called Ham Canyon. It was described as a three-acre burn, cause not yet revealed. Temperatures in the Anderson Valley today (Tuesday) approached 100°.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Ham Canyon is a homestead site pioneered by a freed slave by the name of Daniel Jeans who also cleared the land for the first school in Anderson Valley now known as the Little Red School House Museum. Jeans' descendants — Jeans was married to a Native American from the Anderson Valley, a story in itself — lived in the valley until World War Two when the family's homestead was absorbed by the June Ranch.
HAM CANYON undoubtedly got its name from the Old Testament designation of black people as the sons of Ham, i.e., slaves. There were Boonville old timers alive as late as the early 1980s who recalled, as boys and girls, Daniel Jeans showing them his scarred back from heavy applications of the whip during his slave days. How Jeans came to Boonville is not known, but he probably had an association with a pioneer white family he'd known in the South, perhaps Missouri, where many of Anderson Valley's early settlers came from. Covelo, incidentally, became home to enough black immigrants in the latter half of the 19th century to prompt locals to designate an area of the town as a black neighborhood, assuredly in less sensitive terms.
IT'S WORSE than sad that so much Mendocino County history has been lost. The Jeans family saga alone is epic from what we know of it.
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK from NOAA for Northwest California:
Day one...today and tonight.
Another warm day is in store for NW Cal. Coastal temps will reach into the 70s while the interior repeats another day in the 90s. Southern Mendocino County will be the warmest area of NW Cal, pushing the upper 90s.
Days two through seven...Thursday through Tuesday.
A cooling trend will begin on Friday with a weak front crossing the area late in the weekend. Rain is likely for areas north of Cape Mendocino Sunday into Monday.
EXCELLENT account on the Mother Jones website by a pioneer HumCo pot grower about how the dream of back-to-the-land, grow-your-own self-sufficiency has become a hydra-headed, destructive monster. “From dawn to dusk, the woods roared grotesquely with bulldozers excavating underground bunkers or erecting huge wooden buildings beneath camo tarps, their walls lined with soundboard and insulation to thwart the thermal sensors from passing police choppers. This wasn’t paradise anymore. I’d fled the Sodom of the city only to find Gomorrah in the country.”
SPECIFIC VILLAINS INCLUDE: “Loggers, tweakers, corrupt city councils, Mr. Cop on the Take, Oaksterdam, elitist environmentalists, Earth First!, entitled ranchers, gun-toting greenhouse cartels … .” Read it here.
LOOKS LIKE the dope season is off to a murderous start, with two murders in Laytonville and a prediction from this on-line commenter: “This year's light-dep crop may get ugly. All the scenes are extremely visible from the air and from adjoining ridges. It's no secret you have many thousands of dollars worth of product right there for the taking. And so many loose operations…located near paved roads with multiple getaway routes…I'm surprised it's taken this long for armed thugs to figure it out.”
WHAT PROBABLY HAPPENED on Woodman Peak in Laytonville: Time for rampant speculation — two people are planting their greenhouse… nice setup with drip irrigation on timers and solar powered, heat activated fans — it's a cold spring day/evening — the farmers turn on the propane heater and work for hours and hours — doors and windows closed because of the cold night — farmers simply “fall asleep” from the carbon monoxide — automated grow setup continues to work as designed — partner comes up to enjoy the nice weather and finds the farmers. Dead.
RECOMMENDED READING: Paying the Toll — Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge by Louise Nelson Dyble. The Bridge was paid off in 1971, but as we know, tolls not only continue to be collected, they've gone steadily up. Using this oft-lamented fact as your starting point, Ms. Dyble's remarkable book carefully and clearly lays out the first really, really, really thorough history of the iconic span that we have. And by page 200 you know why Bridge tolls will always be with us.
THE AUTHOR is a first-rate scholar. No exaggeration, she must have gone through tens of thousands of documents, and she does not make a single assertion that is not backed up by a citation.
SHE WAS NOT encouraged in her research. The contemporary Bridge authority made it tough for her to get access to the archive, a scattered archive at that. But the professor persisted and we have a history most of us don't know.
I READ a lot of California history, and I think I've read most of the books on the Bridge, but I discovered I didn't know nothin' from nothin' until Paying the Toll. I knew that the Bridge District grew into a much larger operation, a “transit empire,” which is why we'll be paying exorbitant transit fees for eternity to cross a bridge whose directors sold the thing on a promise that it would simply become part of the state's transportation network, with no tolls. Now I know why.
DYBLE'S INTRODUCTION is called “Agency Run Amok,” which her research confirms from the very conception of the span until the bureaucratic monster it is today. Really, what could be simpler? “Folks, you pass these bonds, we'll get this sucker built, and when it's paid for you get to drive across absolutely free of charge.” Didn't happen. Won't happen, and here are the grisly details.
MENDOCINO COUNTY AUTHORITIES — Mendo comprises part of the Bridge District, come off as downright sagacious for perhaps the first time in the county's long, bumbling history. In 1926, the Mendo Grand Jury said, “We're out of this bridge deal if we're going to be taxed to fund it,” and the supervisors voted to pull out because membership in an association to build the Bridge involving taxation should be put to a popular vote. From that point forward, a political movement for the passage of bonds became the strategy, ultimately successful, that got it done.
IT ALL LIMPED FORWARD and Mendocino County climbed back aboard, although the timber and ranch people convinced a friendly outback judge — Is there any other kind when power must be appeased? — that they would not benefit from a bridge and Mendo's part of the Golden Gate Bridge was drawn in such a way that it basically runs up the Russian River Valley while excluding areas of the county east and west of Ukiah.
PAYING THE TOLL is a heckuva interesting read. The AVA gives it our 5 Star, two thumbs up, super dooper approval.
Official Statement Regarding Covered California Anthem Blue Cross Pathways PPO
An article was published in today's Ukiah Daily Journal about Covered California Blue Cross Individual Pathway PPO insurance plans and its impact on patients in our clinics and hospital. Many of the facts included in the article were inaccurate. So, it is our intent to clarify the facts and make you are aware of our next steps. The attached statement helps to provide answers to many of the questions being asked by patients.
All of us at Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital and Ukiah Valley Medical Center and our clinics are committed to helping patients receive access to quality care. We are making sure our physicians and staff are well versed on this issue so they can address questions from patients. We are also reaching out directly to affected patients who are enrolled in these plans and who sought services at the clinics during the affected timeframe from January 1, 2014 - April 1, 2014. In turn, Blue Cross is also re-issuing an accurate list of providers that do have contracts under this plan.
As many of you are aware, this situation is not exclusive to Ukiah. It is happening in many other communities throughout California. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation works toward a resolution.
Nick Bejarano, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, Ukiah Valley Medical Center Regional Corporate Development and Communications Manager, Ukiah
LANDLORD TENANT RELATIONS, Boonville, Ca. May, 2014:
Injustice in AV
On February 3rd, 2014, after five days of no water (something that had happened repeatedly over the past two years), Jeanine asked her landlords for a water plan.
That evening they served her with an eviction notice.
Apparently the landlords didn't believe another human had the right to water. Or to a place to live. They didn't care that they were violating at least two California Civil Codes (persistent mice invasions and mold were also an issue in the unit). All they wanted was for Jeanine, a model tenant who paid her rent meticulously each month, invested her own money into repairs and improvements, to get the hell out.
So she did.
And because she couldn't find a better place to live in Anderson Valley, the Anderson Valley Ambulance service lost a volunteer driver. Hendy Woods State Parks lost their interpretive talk specialist. Local businesses lost a regular patron.
All because some stingy out-of-towners could get away with violating the Golden Rule.
Jeanine Pfeiffer, Philo
THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT announced Tuesday that a local, state and federal task force is removing by helicopter hundreds of pounds of trash and debris from eradicated marijuana gardens from the Southern Humboldt, Northern Mendo Outlaw Zone. The cleanup, which began Tuesday, and continues through Wednesday, is hauling mounds of grower-slob crap to a Leggett focal point. BLM officials said the crapola includes irrigation lines, camping gear and trash that has been collected over the last six months from a mere four mega-slob illegal gro sites in the South Fort Eel and Elkhorn wilderness areas and the Little Dann Management Area. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Eel River Recovery Project and the California National Guard participated in the removal effort, BLM officials said.
PUBLIC RADIO BLUES
FROM: "Liz Helenchild" <email@example.com>
Mon, 12 May 2014
Esteemed & treasured KZ's,
To quote that roots reggae band Third World: One Cold Vibe Couldn't Stop Dis Ya Boogie.
To quote Norman de Vall:
“Democracy has never been easy and right now KZYX is secretive, lacks transparency and lacks democratic principles and policies. But that is not a reason to risk losing it. This is not the time to either strike or boycott. Now is the time to contribute for change.”
My musings, as a music programmer waiting my turn at pledge driving Thur afternoon, are:
Bottom line, our community needs to keep the KZYX signal on air despite our differences. It is essential to support the pledge drive, i.e., tune in, subscribe, re-up membership, kick down challenges, urge our friends to do likewise, etc. Stay connected, keep talking to each other. Courteous discourse is the key. Patience is grace. Publicity of any stripe at least keeps folks focusing on the subject. Criticism presented in a civil matter is not to be feared & can be helpful. It's easier & more dramatic, alas, to tear down than to create a complex structure.
Just sayin', Liz Helenchild, Fort Bragg
* * *
BETH BOSK RESPONDS: "Esteemed KZ's"? Are you kidding? Why are you cowering, Liz? Why aren't you exerting some seniority?
There is no bottom line here. No means to designate contributions. No oversight of any money spent. The last splurge went not into a proficient, competent news department as promised, but into staff salaries so fractured in the paperwork no member or programmer knows who is making what.
Steffen is a pig. Coate is paranoid. Mary is an alcoholic. The president of the KZYX Board of Directors lives off of monies made manufacturing gadgets for nuclear reactor plants. And she represents the so-called 5th District on the Board.
Kisslinger never learned how to edit a phone interview, so he doesn't do any. He reads the Press Democrat over the air and gets paid for that. The less skill you have, the more money you get at KZYX.
Shit happens and it is time the programmers stepped in and cleaned up the shop. There are a hundred of you. Most of the local programming is excellent. Why aren't you stepping in to stop the bleeding of membership monies. 400 + Mendocino County locals, many if not most of them have transferred their pledge dollars to KMUD. (Could one reason be: the physician who hosts the medical show admits he doesn't know how to pronounce 'Cannabinoids' and proceeds to dis cannabis farmers the few times the subject comes up on his show—reflecting the staff's prejudices.
It is very much the time for local programmers to resist the direction of this staff. When is enough, enough for you as a programmer to intervene. If you can't organize—unionize even—then start talking about showing up enmass at the next Board Meeting to air your trepidations. You are not listening to enough Sweet Honey on the Rock.
— beth bosk
* * *
NOT FAIR. Not fair to call KZYX's program director Mary Aigner an alcoholic because you might have policy differences with her and, besides which, so what? The woman is omni-present at the station's Philo fortress, so if she's knocking back shots on or off the job she certainly can't be accused of not showing up. Doubt that ol' Aig, a Madam Dafarge personality type, is a drunk, and let's try to keep the criticism within some kinda reasonable bounds here.
THE ONGOING PROB at KZYX is a paranoid management style that creates difficulties for itself where none need exist. The cadre of management insiders, which always includes a supine board of directors, maintains an enemies list that goes back to the station's dubious founding as the retroactively paid work of a hustler called Sean Donovan. But a quarter century of idiocy is not insurmountable! Nothing wrong with the place that intelligent management wouldn't solve, but intelligent has never been what the place is about.
Thank you for giving me your personal email address as I am not confident that my emails through the website are getting through to the full Board. I think the idea of having Stuart Campbell direct the emails is resulting in screening emails with a response, not from the full Board but by one or two Directors. The process is not clear to me. The following is a letter that I will deliver to the Board at the Annual Membership meeting. I have attempted to not dampen the festive atmosphere with a confrontation but I have been unable to get what I consider to be a fair and thoughtful evaluation of my grievance.
Could you send a copy to the other Directors as I would like them to be fully aware of the information provided before the meeting. I will have copies for all of the new Board at the meeting.
To the KZYX&Z Board of Directors:
I have requested a formal grievance hearing before the Board through the KZYX website on the important issue of being excluded from volunteer service as stated in the Board Policy of Non-Cash Alternative Membership.
Unfortunately, I believe this request was not relayed to the full Board for a discussion and decision as the email response I received from Director Courtney stated that I did not have a "right" to volunteer. I strongly disagree.
In responding to my inquiry, she also stated that no vote was taken by the Board in October 2013 regarding my request that the Board review the decision of the GM in not allowing me to answer phones during the pledge drive. However, when I stopped into the Philo studio during the pledge drive, I was told by Courtney that the Board "had decided" that I could not volunteer for that drive because of "my assertiveness" and that staff ( presumably Mary Aigner) felt uncomfortable by my presence.
My email response that in a telephone conversation with GM, John Coate I was told that he would try to find another way for me to serve other than by answering phones, went unanswered.
I remind the Board that I have a ten year history of volunteer service to the station prior to my exclusion by the GM.
I am asking the Board now, who on the Board made this decision and how was it made?
In the interest of transparency, a matter as important as granting absolute power to the GM to exclude people from a volunteer membership, should not be the subject of an online discussion, away from the watchful eyes of the public.
Additionally, the website states that volunteer service is open to all. Authority to exclude anyone from membership, volunteer or otherwise, is also not mentioned or granted in the station's Bylaws.
If the Board should decide to vote on this matter, I would like a written response as to how each Board member voted and the reasons for their vote.
I would like to state that my action of recording the Program Director's statement that I was not being allowed to answer phones due to what I had written in a local newspaper was done as a protection of my 1st Constitutional right to free speech. Contrary to what John Coate has stated, this action is not illegal as it was done in a public part of the Philo studio (the room in which the phones are placed) and in front of a third party.
This is not the first experience I have had with exclusion as I was also relieved of my volunteer reporter status in June 2008 by former News Director, Paul Hanson for an opinion I expressed in the AVA. I find the situation contrary to the spirit of a community public radio station. In my case, I have proof that such an action by management is also illegal.
I am trying to trying to deal with this problem internally by working within the structure of Board governance.
If not granted a hearing before the Board (which I believe I am entitled to as the Board of Directors are the representatives of the members), then as an alternative I am formally requesting the subject of "Authority to exclude prospective volunteers from Non Cash Alternative Membership" be placed on the July 2014 Board agenda for a full discussion and comment by both Board members and the public.
I believe what is now an unwritten policy must be considered for formalization into a written policy with boundaries clearly defined as to what constitutes threatening behavior.
This is a dark area that needs exposure to the light of a full transparent discussion to prevent the abuse and misuse by management and staff towards anyone who opposes this tactic of an authoritarian, intolerant approach to a different perspective.
Thank you for your attention. I await your response.
Respectfully, Sheila Dawn Tracy, Comptche
DIGGING UP DIRT
To The Editor:
According to Phil Frisbee, as reported in the Willits News, Caltrans plans to dig up 100,000 cubic yards of soil from the south end of Willits and dump it on the wetlands on the north end of town. They intend to start "as soon as site conditions allow." This translates to: "As soon as that muddy, old wetlands dries up enough to support heavy equipment, we are going to take steps to kill it."
However, that one hundred thousand cubic yards of dirt from the south end of Willits is just the beginning. Caltrans has another nine hundred thousand cubic yards they want to dig up from the old Apache mill site north of town. That's 21 times as much as the 40,000 cubic yards they already took from that site before they got their permit yanked.
Last year, the County Planning Department had issued a permit to take dirt from the old mill site, but they were hit with a lawsuit, saying the dirt was likely polluted with toxic chemicals. Old mill sites generally are. Whoops! They took it back, saying they had issued the permit "in error."
Using dirt from the mill site had been County Supervisor John Pinches' idea, and he didn't want to give it up. He argued that, if County Planning wasn't going to grant a permit, the Supes could just issue one themselves. Not to worry. The Planning Department had changed their minds again (likely, under pressure). Now they assured the County Supervisors that, "no significant environmental impacts would result from the proposed project that cannot be adequately mitigated through the conditions of approval."
Dan Hamburg wasn't convinced, but the other Supes were. On March 25th they voted, four to one, to approve the use permit without requiring an Environmental Impact Report. .What could possibly go wrong?
If they can't get the dirt from the mill site, or if there is any "significant delay," Frisbee threatens that Caltrans will take the dirt from Oil Well Hill clear cutting about ten acres of relatively pristine forest on a steep hillside and exposing all that slippery soil to landslides. Rumor has it that their contractor is threatening to bail out of the deal, both because of landslide danger and because they don't want the liability of having hundreds of semi trucks pulling out on to a two lane highway at night on a blind curve.
But one way or another, Caltrans wants their dirt.
So, how much dirt are we talking about here? Let's see 900 thousand plus 100 thousand is a flat one million cubic yards of dirt. Each cubic yard contains 27 cubic feet. That's 27 million cubic feet.
That's a lot of dirt.
To put it into perspective: if you were to dig a ditch one foot deep by one foot wide, that ditch would be over 5,000 miles long. It would stretch from here to New York City and back all the way to Salt Lake City. That's how much dirt they plan to dig up and haul and dump on Little Lake Valley to build an elevated highway and to bury a wetland.
It just boggles the mind.
Tom Fristoe, Willits
POLICE CALLS AS OF WEDNESDAY MORNING
SHIRTLESS DRUNKEN MAN IN YARD -- Caller in the 700 block of Orr Street reported at 12:45 a.m. Friday that a man without a shirt was drunk and yelling in his yard. An officer responded but the man had left.
DAUGHTER BITTEN -- Caller in the 200 block of North State Street reported at 1:10 a.m. Friday that his daughter was assaulted and bitten by a woman wearing a red mini skirt and no shoes. An officer responded but no prosecution was desired.
MAN SCREAMING IN THE CREEK -- Caller in the 700 block of Sidnie Court reported at 2:39 a.m. Friday that a man was screaming in the creek. An officer responded but the man was gone.
DRUG ACTIVITY -- Caller on Joseph Street reported at 10:01 am. Friday that drug activity and other suspicious things were going on in the neighborhood and requested extra patrols.
FIGHT -- An officer responded to Ukiah High School at 11:22 a.m. Friday and arrested three male students for fighting, two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 1:20 p.m. Friday and arrested a 40-year-old Fort Bragg woman for shoplifting.
CHILD DESERTION -- Caller in the 1000 block of Low Gap Road reported at 2:14 p.m. Friday that a student who lives in Willits was kicked off the school bus and returned to the school because the child's mother did not have a car or any way to come pick him up. An officer responded and took a report for child desertion.
MAN URINATING ON LAWN -- Caller in the 200 block of Washo Drive reported at 4:19 p.m. Friday that a man had urinated on a front lawn. An officer responded and advised the caller to call again if the man returned.
CARDS STOLEN -- Caller from Sword and Board on North State Street reported at 4:28 p.m. Friday that about $2,000 worth of game cards were stolen about three weeks prior.
GRAFFITI -- Caller at Todd Grove Park reported at 7:35 a.m. Saturday finding graffiti in the park. An officer responded and took a report.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Kohl's on North Orchard Avenue at 3:49 p.m. Saturday and arrested a 48-year-old man for shoplifting. He was cited and released.
FOUND RABBIT -- An officer responded to the 700 block of Apple Avenue at 3:53 p.m. Saturday and took a rabbit there to the county animal shelter.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Kohl's on North Orchard Avenue at 8:29 p.m. Saturday and arrested an 18-year-old Lakeport man for shoplifting. He was cited and released.
RAPE -- Caller in the 1200 block of North State Street reported at 11:56 p.m. Saturday that a woman was reporting she had been raped. The incident was determined to have occurred outside the city limits.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
DUI ARREST -- An officer stopped a vehicle in the 900 block of North Main Street at 10:52 p.m. Friday and arrested Jared Wetherington, 39, on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was cited and released.
LARGE ANIMAL IN TREE -- Caller in the 100 block of Minnesota Avenue reported at 12:10 a.m. Saturday that a large animal was up a tree in a backyard, and the caller believed it was attacking another animal. An officer checked the area but did not find anything.
SON SNEAKED OUT OF HOUSE -- Caller in the 900 block of North Main Street reported at 12:57 a.m. Saturday that the caller's 13-year-old son sneaked out of the house and was in a car with two adult women he wasn't allowed to be with. An officer responded and took a report. At 1:44 a.m., he arrested a 25-year-old woman for being drunk in public and for possession of stolen property, and Maria Ornelas Salme Llamas, 26, on suspicion of driving under the influence.
KIDS SPRAY PAINTING -- Caller at the corner of West Spruce and West streets reported at 6:11 p.m. Saturday that two people were spray painting in the middle of the street. An officer responded and determined it was kids using chalk.
The sad souls in the waiting room of the serious
eye-doctor clinic, scared shitless, like I was
clutching a hand, sure that a bad diagnosis was
going to result with them cutting off my head.
— Bill Bradd
THE WHITE-COLLAR PEOPLE slipped quietly into modern society. Whatever history they have had is a history without events; whatever common interests they have do not lead to unity; whatever future they have will not be of their own making.
— C. Wright Mills
AMERICA IS DOOMED: EXAMPLE NO. 1,645,756.
Subject: Heavy Metal Parking Lot
This is a pretty funny little doc about morons going to a heavy metal concert.
I've been a reader of your paper for decades, and a subscriber for the last few — no newstands in Lake County... I read the paper and hope you will NOT go to an only on-line publication. I very much enjoy the 12 page format and the "fingerprints" from your layout — a little rough around the edges is fine with me; esp the clip and cribbed art in the margins, not unlike the bits in the margins of "Old Skool" Mad Magazine. A couple of things — I might have missed it, but never saw anything about the paper going to 10 pages. I'd like to cast my vote for 12 pages and say that I would pay double if that's what it took. The new font is easier on the eyes, and the printing looks darker — great for these soon to be AARP eyes of mine. I do miss the artwork, occasional tpyp.... you get the idea. Hell, Bruce — you could pick any single column in your paper and it has more news that the whole of the Press Bureaucrat or the S.F. Chronic Ill. How about running a house ad soliciting donations for going back to 12 pages, or supplying free scrips to those you deem worthy? Set it up on paypal. I would certainly donate. Do you sell back issues? Please let me know how much they are. How about running a house ad for them as well? I'll bet folks would like to add to their home library of piss and vinegar. While I do think you're full of shit a fair amount of the time, I think we hate the same people, so it all evens out. Keep fanning the flames!
Smash the State, John Moorhead, Red Heart Ranch, Finley, CA
PS: Several months ago you gave props to Gordon Johnson, back when he was a KZYX News Whore. He's up in Arcata/Eureka playing Tuba for the Marching Lumberjacks and working in Humco Public Health Dept. I send him some of my old copies of your fish wrapper.
ED NOTE: Yours is the consensus opinion, and by golly just this week we're back at 12, and we'll stay at 12 if I have to rent my dentures! The Post Office continues to be a major drain. They charge more and more money and deliver less, and of necessity we have to depend on them. Last week's paper, dispatched from Boonville 6 days ago, still hasn't reached San Francisco. Points east? Typically two-to-three weeks. The Pony Express took, what? three days to get a letter from Frisco to New York City?
INTERNAL MEMO REVEALS 'THE FIX IS IN' ON DELTA TUNNEL PLAN
DWR creates two new divisions to implement BDCP
by Dan Bacher
Advocates for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Central Valley salmon and openness and transparency in government have often stated that the "fix is in" on Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnel plan.
Their contention that the process is rigged and unjustly manipulated by state officials and water contractors was only confirmed in a May 6 memorandum sent to Department of Water Resources (DWR) staff from DWR Director Mark Cowin indicating that the Brown administration is stepping up its efforts to fast-track the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.
Cowin said two new organizations will be established within the agency to implement the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan — a DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (DCE) — beginning June 1.
"While many milestones remain before a positive decision to implement BDCP is achieved, DWR must begin to prepare to carry out its critical role in the implementation phase of this important project, should a conclusion be reached to move forward," said Cowin. "To this end, we are establishing two new DWR organizations beginning June 1, 2014 — the DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (known as the DCE)."
"Undoubtedly, a number of questions will arise about how these two structures will mesh with our existing organization at DWR, and we will be working with you all to elicit your questions and develop solutions together. I look forward to your continued support as we enter into this exciting phase of the BDCP which will shape the future of Delta ecological restoration and water project operations," Cowin concluded.
Delta advocates criticized the memo for being the latest in a series of actions taken by the Brown administration to rush the construction of the peripheral tunnels before permitting of the process is complete — and before any financial plan or agreement to pay for the tunnels, estimated to cost $67 billion or more, is in place.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, "Permitting is not complete. There is no financial plan or agreement. The Implementing Agreement will not be released to the public until after the public comment period on the BDCP and its EIR/S is complete."
"Yet, DWR is moving forward to implement the project?" she asked. "They are trying to steamroll Delta communities which will be harmed by the impacts, and the people of California who will be stuck paying the bill for the boondoggle."
Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), after reading the memorandum, said, "It sounds to me like DWR is going ahead full steam, facts or lack of facts be damned. They have no idea what the project looks like because they have not been able to do the drilling tests because the Delta landowners have won their lawsuits. So they (DWR) have no idea what problems they may face with tunnel construction; they have no real idea of the costs…only guesses."
"It sounds to me like the same thing the Third District Court said about paper water in our Monterey Agreement case…they are going on 'a wish and a prayer!'" she stated.
"And where in the State Water Project (SWP) contracts does it allow DWR to collect funds from the contractors for this BDCP/Twin Tunnel planning, as this is not maintenance but a huge new project?" asked Krieger.
Nancy Vogel, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Water Resources and former reporter for the Sacramento Bee and LA Times, confirmed that Cowin had sent out the memo, but couldn't answer several questions posed to her by the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT).
The CVBT reported, "Nancy Vogel, chief spokeswoman for DWR, says she does not know how much of the existing DWR budget, including money and staff, will be diverted to the two offices; what prompted the decision to move forward with the two offices or how many additional staff have been or will be hired to staff the offices. (http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=25822)
As the Brown administration continues to rush the construction of the twin tunnels, opposition to the project by a coalition of family farmers, Indian Tribes, fishing groups, environmental organizations, Delta residents and elected officials continues to grow.
The public review and comment period for the Draft BDCP and BDCP Draft EIR/EIS will run through June 13, 2014. Restore the Delta will host a "Public Comment Party" to complete more than one hundred citizens comments against the environmentally destructive peripheral tunnels on May 13, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Reserve at Spanos Park, Mt. Diablo Room 6301 W. Eight Mile Rd. in Stockton.
Refreshments will be provided. RSVP and letter writing information, language translators or childcare can be arranged: contact stina [at] restorethedelta.org or call (209) 475-9550. (RSVP is encouraged, but not required.)
The water diverted from the Sacramento River through the tunnels would go to corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County, and Southern California water agencies. The construction of the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Below is the memo:
State of California California Natural Resources Agency
M e m o r a n d u m
Date: May 6, 2014
To: All DWR Employees
From: Department of Water Resources
Subject: Establishment of the DWR BDCP Office and the DHCCP Design and Construction Enterprise
As many of you are keenly aware, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been deeply engaged in the development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) since 2006. Several DWR offices and divisions are currently working on BDCP, either as part of the Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP) or as part of the planning and analysis of the overall BDCP program.
We are approaching a critical juncture for BDCP as the planning phase reaches completion, State and federal resource agencies consider permitting decisions, and a more detailed financing plan is developed. While many milestones remain before a positive decision to implement BDCP is achieved, DWR must begin to prepare to carry out its critical role in the implementation phase of this important project, should a conclusion be reached to move forward. To this end, we are establishing two new DWR organizations beginning June 1, 2014 — the DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (known as the DCE).
First, a new BDCP Office will be established within the Executive Division. The initial focus will be the completion of the conservation plan while providing early coordination and transition to implementation of BDCP conservation measures 2 through 22, including, for example, tidal marsh restoration, Yolo Bypass fishery enhancement and urban stormwater treatment. This team will work to plan, manage, and integrate coordination among DWR’s various divisions involved with development of BDCP and initiate preliminary evaluations needed to implement BDCP. In addition, this team will play an important role in agency and stakeholder engagement needed to complete the plan. To help facilitate the completion of BDCP, including the needed close coordination with the Governor’s Office and the State administration, the office will initially be led by the Chief Deputy Director.
This office will lay the foundation for the implementation of BDCP, and once the BDCP is finalized, that work will be merged into the formal BDCP Implementation Office as is defined in Chapter 7 of the BDCP. This organization will likely be a multi-agency effort involving DWR or supported by DWR.
Second, a Delta Conveyance Facility Design and Construction Enterprise (DCE) will be established within the Department as a new program to support activities associated with design and construction of conservation measure 1, the Delta Conveyance facilities. The mission of this enterprise is intended to be limited to this singular focus, and the life span of the enterprise will be limited to the time necessary to complete construction of these facilities. The organizational structure and staffing of the DCE is envisioned to be somewhat unique in comparison to a typical DWR organization. It will be managed by a Program Manager under contract to DWR, and will be staffed by highly qualified individuals from within DWR, participating regional and local public water agencies, and private consulting firms. As part of DWR, it will have the capacity to issue contracts for consulting services as well as construction, using DWR’s authority and in keeping with all applicable State contracting statutes. Initially the DCE will be located in the Bonderson Building, but it is anticipated that it will move to another location to accommodate the growth needed to complete the design and construction of the conveyance facilities.
Undoubtedly, a number of questions will arise about how these two structures will mesh with our existing organization at DWR, and we will be working with you all to elicit your questions and develop solutions together. I look forward to your continued support as we enter into this exciting phase of the BDCP which will shape the future of Delta ecological restoration and water project operations.
Mark W. Cowin