Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015

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ATTENTION FORT BRAGG

FB Mayor Dave Turner, writing to a constituent, said Monday:

"We are putting the CDBG ‘Forgivable Loan’ for Old Coast Hotel under Conduct of Business so we can have a full discussion. CDBG allows  us to make some loans forgivable (usually they are low interest but  when paid back to the city we can use for other CDBG qualified uses) if certain  conditions are met. This will be the final action required of City Council for release  of the CDBG funding for this activity. This will be on the April 13th meeting".

SO "we can have a full discussion" then go ahead and buy the Old Coast Hotel with public money and convert it to dubious purpose indeed.

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ON DEEP SOUTH STATE STREET, visitors to the Mendocino County seat are greeted by “Welcome To Ukiah — Home of Masonite.” Masonite's been gone for what? 30 years?

UkiahMasonite

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OUR OFFICE is upstairs in the old Farrer Building, central Boonville. It's one of the oldest structures in the Anderson Valley where, back in the day, our floor, now divided into office space but retaining its original floorboards, many a merry community dance was held and as many court cases, including a fratricide. A local Cain killed his Abel, feeding him to the hogs. The hogs did a pretty thorough job recycling the corpse but left a telltale shirt remnant. The downstairs was a general store and feed and grain. On late afternoons, with the sun sinking in the ancient shadows of the Coast mountains, you can almost hear the old structure whisper its stories.

THE FARRER, lately owned by Johnny Schmitt of the Boonville Hotel, goes back a hundred years. It holds up pretty well for its age, but it does need occasional spot surgery of the type it appeared would begin just this Monday morning. There was a small stack of plywood out back, and we saw two mma's men walking around in tool belts. (Mma is cop code for Mexican Male Adult.) We assumed the wood was for the roof. Then we learned it was meant to shore up the floor at the crucial and excellent Mosswood Market, a coffee shop and bakery on the ground floor below our staggering enterprise, America's Last Newspaper.

THE FLOOR CARPENTERS are all set to begin a couple days work when a guy from Mendocino County's Planning and Building Department shows up and says, “Hold it. You need a permit. No work until you've got the permit.” This is the same Planning and Building Department that says Glen Ricard's pile of unoccupied kindling at the south end of town, abandoned now for forty years, isn't decayed enough to abate. And the same building department that says frost fans are ok because they're covered by the county's Right To Farm ordinance.

CONCLUSION: Massive, ongoing fire and safety hazards like Ricard's are fine with Planning and Building, and the sacrificed midnight to 8am slumber of more than a thousand residents of Anderson Valley in the name of Big Grape is simply an adjunct of Farmer John's milk cows. But improvement of a thriving small business? Shut it down. If Boonville had a supervisor we might have someone to complain to, but he's preoccupied with finding out why Building 7 collapsed.

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CALLING ALL CRACKPOTS

Dear Editor,

I would like to invite all to visit the newly created Anderson Valley Vaccine Information Center website at AVVI.info.

There you will find current information on vaccines as well as manufactures ingredients contained in each vaccine prescribed by the Center for Disease Control. Currently, the CDC recommends 14 vaccines of 49 doses for children to age six and 69 doses by age 18.

The website includes current news around the country, both mainstream and alternative, so parents and families can educate themselves to make informed decisions on this most important subject.

In the past month alone there have been bills introduced in state legislatures in Texas, Oregon and California to make mandatory vaccination laws for all children come next fall if they wish attend public or private schools. Additionally, last week, the Federal government has opened a public comment period as to their proposing new law(s) making mandatory vaccination for adults as well.

Jamie Lee

Philo

ED NOTE: Please, for the sake of your children and everyone else's, talk to a credentialed medical doctor before you enter the lunatic morass of thoroughly discredited cyber “experts.” What's next? Midnight drums and the rattling of chickenbones as the cure for cancer? PS. Here's a faster way for you non-vaccinators and other borderline smoosh heads to run a reality check on yourselves: All of you who passed high school chemistry raise your hands. Hmmm. That's what I thought.

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

As for this reader, I am eating a form of gruel every morning with quinoa flakes and ground flaxseed. Only because I read where this 109 year old lady in some Scandinavian country swears by it.

Plus not having a husband. (Check).

I get the bulk of my information from reading the LA Times and the NY Times in the morning (once the ex’s wife has dropped them off), and I check out Informationclearinghouse, Truthdig, Whatreallyhappened and Rense then on to Voltairenet and the ukguardian and I’ll check out the Intercept to see if Greenwald has posted anything interesting. The open thread at Crooksandliars is usually fun in the late evening. Obviously I’m a Kunstler fan.

As a matter of fact, C&L will probably have an open thread live stream of Netanyahu’s speech tomorrow around 11 a.m. EST. Should be a loud of laughs! Many are hoping a contingent of Code Pinkers will bust in and make a scene during the speech.

I only watch Fox if I know Hannity is going to be interviewing Rand Paul. I enjoy watching Hannity squirm at all the anti-imperialism chat from Paul.

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YES, LIB LABS, THERE ARE REPUBLICANS IN UKIAH

Republicans to Meet in Fort Bragg

The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, March 14, 2015, 10:00 AM. 12:00 Noon at the Moura Senior Housing Project, Community Center, 400 South St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437. For further information contact: Evelyn Hayman, (707) 948-6467 or go to www.mendocountygop.net.

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WHERE'S LINDY? The popular long-time dj at KMFB and Fort Bragg City Councilman explains:

"For those of you wondering why I am not on the radio any longer, station owner "Hoot" Hooten laid me off due to financial reasons. He is really struggling and could no longer afford my salary. There were no hard feelings. If things pick-up in advertising, as they should with the Giants coming on soon, I may be back on-the-air. Thanks to all the listeners who made it possible for me to get- up early every morning for the last 32 years and attempt to deliver a quality morning show. You inspired me to always try and do my best. Now I can delve in to politics a bit more and try to do the best I can to make Fort Bragg a great place to live for all of us, young and old alike. Thank you for all the kind words over the years. It means a lot to me now."

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EUREKA AVERAGED A TEMPERATURE OF 52.2F over the last three months, hot enough to erase the previous warmest winter record of 52.0F tallied in 1939-40. The US National Weather Service has been collecting temperature data Eureka since 1886. During those 129 years, no winter has been warmer than this one.

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OUR VERY OWN REBECCA JOHNSON HEADS NORTH
New work in Portland.

There is always a first, a review of my press release! I like this one.

It’s not often that an artist statement on a press release damn near makes you weep. But Rebecca Johnson’s description of her paintings of old barns is so lyrical, it could have been a poem. “I use salvaged boards to build my paintings,” she begins. “The boards have a memory. When I paint I can hear the wind blow across open fields. Dust motes float in the shafts of light between the board and battens, I see swallows swoop from mud nests high in the rafters and eaves... Patterns in the weathered wood read like a map of the past; one can sense the history of the tree and a way of life come and gone.” After reading a paragraph that rhapsodic, you really have to hope the paintings themselves don’t suck. Through March 28.

http://www.wweek.com/portland/event-209929-rebecca_johnson_barns.html

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RECORD LOW SNOW PACK

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3607995-181/californias-snow-survey-could-be

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FireStation1912

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SAUSALITO VS. THE DREDGE

Houseboat War 1.5 (1974-75)

A yellow dredge sat scuttled in Richardson Bay. less than 100 yards south of the Napa St. pier, and about the same distance from the shoreline and the Sausalito Cruising Club.  It was a barge with huge steel tanks for floatation, a wooden deck and 2-story superstructure.

For anyone who might not know, a dredge is a very large piece of marine equipment, more or less a waterborne earth mover.  Its purpose is to remove large amounts of sea, bay or river bed for the purpose of creating channels in relatively shallow water to accommodate deep-draft vessels.  Think Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel, way bigger, on a barge.  The lower part of the superstructure still contained most of the machinery that operated the 120-ft. boom, which still hung out over the bay supported by its steel cables.  The upper part, formerly a pilot house and living quarters, was empty.

Joe Tate had lived on the dredge for a short period, and so had Greg Myers, who came away with the nickname “Dredge,” which stuck.  Captain Dredge became a notorious waterfront character.

After the first houseboat war, it became clear that our free ride at the Gate 5 & 6 waterfront  - thanks to the magnanimity of Don Arques, the freethinking owner of the Marinship property - was ending.  Our little utopian anarchy, besides being a thorn in the side of established law and order, was situated on prime Marin County waterfront.  A lot of perfectly good and very expensive real estate was going to waste.

When Joe acquired the Richmond, a 65-ft. tugboat and began converting it to sail, he needed a place to tie it up in deeper water than at Gate 6, where the ebbing tides left everything sitting on the mud at least once a day.  He moved it to the Dredge.  Thus began a mini-exodus from Gate 6.  Some of the crew of the intended future voyage of the Richmond were the first to relocate.  I acquired a vintage wood cabin cruiser, more appropriate for the less-sheltered open water at the dredge than the little plywood houseboat I had been living in, and named the boat Turkey of the Sea.  Jeremy and Marcia brought the H&R Block, a reasonably seaworthy craft, the origin of whose name I can't quite recall.

Not long after came Dean Puchalski and his family, and Salty and Marla, each bringing in big barges.   We were beginning to take up space on the bay, which did not go unnoticed by the powers-that-were in Sausalito.

Joe rigged an underwater power cord, connected it somewhere on shore and the Dredge had pirated electricity.  We were now living “for free” and creating an “eyesore” not under the protection of a beneficent shipbuilder and cattle rancher, but in open water close to downtown.  As if that weren't enough, Salty brought in a crane barge and began lifting boats out of the water to do bottom and structural repairs.

Meanwhile life went on at the Dredge.  The population increased.  At least two babies were home-delivered there, and we had big communal dinners in the upstairs space on the main structure.  That is, until Michael Woodstock moved his family into it.

At some point, the City of Sausalito took action, making it illegal to “moor a vessel in the waters of Dunphy Park” (newly created behind the Cruising Club on property that had been a vacant lot).  It was a vague designation that although aimed at us, by necessity included any vessel at all, even visiting yachts.  The new ordinance required a permit.

So Dean went to City Hall looking to get himself a permit.  Right around then we received a summons, en masse, to appear in court and face charges of violating the new law.  Joe Tate engaged Carl Shapiro, the brilliant lawyer from San Anselmo to represent us.  Shapiro was known as a “public interest” attorney, experienced in battling corporate and bureaucratic powers.

When our day in court arrived, a rare storm was blowing from the south, and large swells building up from Oakland and beyond were playing havoc with some of our boats.  We had to scramble to secure several of them exposed to this weather, and we arrived at the Marin County Civic Center late for our inquisition.

Our explanation of being delayed by the storm conditions was met with denials from the Sausalito city attorney, who reported “mild” rain and wind ashore, where no one had to deal with four and five-ft. swells coming up the bay. On land it just seemed like a windy, rainy day.  This general ignorance of life on the water was common but was now working directly against us. With the judge already suspecting us of being liars, the city attorney began his questioning.

Sausalito's attorney was a weasel-like little fellow, ill-suited to his job.  He used an intimidation technique that was likely taught at  second- and third-rate law schools and almost embarrassingly transparent.  The idea was to knock the defendant off balance with an attempt to make him doubt his own identity.

“Mr., uh, Costello, is it?”

The hoped-for reaction was something like, Hmm, let me think about that for a minute, maybe I'm really someone else and don't even know it.

He did the same with every single one of the Dredge people.

When Dean Puchalski took the stand and the city attorney opened his questioning with, “Mr. umm, Puchalski, is it?”  He badly mispronounced  “Puchalski” and Dean interrupted to correct him (“Poo-hall-ski”).  At this point the judge interrupted to say, “Well now, I grew up in a Polish neighborhood and never heard such a pronunciation,” suggesting that Dean didn't know how to say his own name.  Things were not looking so good. But it was Dean's testimony, led by Carl Shapiro, that turned the tide in our favor.

Carl Shapiro: ”Did you apply for a permit to moor a vessel in the waters of Dunphy Park, Mr. Puchalski?”

Dean Puchalski: “I went to city hall and asked for an application.”

Shapiro: “And did you get one?”

Puchalski:  “No, they didn't have any.”

Shapiro: “Had they run out of copies?”

Puchalski: “I don't know.  The clerk didn't seem to know what I was talking about.”

Shapiro called one or another bureaucrat from city hall and asked to see a copy of the permit to moor a vessel in the waters of Dunphy Park.  Nobody could produce one, and it quickly came to light that such a permit did not actually exist.  Under oath, the flustered, red-faced city attorney was forced to admit this.

Given no other choice, the judge dismissed the case.   The war was far from over, but we had won this battle and bought some time.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 3, 2015

Correll, Estrella, Fitch, Ford
Correll, Estrella, Fitch, Ford

SANDON CORRELL, Ukiah. DUI with priors.

MIGUEL ESTRELLA, Fort Bragg. Four or more DUIs.

FREDERIC FITCH, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

EUGENE FORD, Willits. Resisting arrest, probation revocation.

Kiesel, Pollard, Rardon, Shoonmaker
Kiesel, Pollard, Rardon, Shoonmaker

JACOB KIESEL, Willits. Pot cultivation/possession for sale.

JACQUELINE POLLARD, Fort Bragg. Possession of controlled substance, possession of switchblade in vehicle.

JOHN RARDON, Willits. Pot cultivation/possession for sale.

GABRIEL SHOONMAKER, Ukiah. Grand theft.

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URBAN WILDLIFE FEATURED IN WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL

Films on bears and raccoons explore adaptation and coexistence

On Friday, March 6, at 7 pm the 3rd evening of the 9th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival Tour takes place at the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue with two films, "Bears of the Last Frontier" and "Raccoon Nation, Part 1." We have invaded wild habitats with our cities and development and we hike, camp, ride and kayak into the wilderness, but what happens when bears and raccoons reverse the process and invade our habitat?

BlackBear

In "Bears of the Last Frontier" (60 min.), ecologist Chris Morgan begins by exploring the world of black bears caught in the crossroads of urban development in Anchorage and the Alaskan wilderness. Some bears are so comfortable living in urban surroundings that their primary habitat is a golf course. In residential areas bears frequently raid garbage bins and bird feeders for easy snacks. Morgan then heads north to Denali National Park, where bears get by on a diet of thousands of berries a day and grizzlies share the enormous park with foxes, wolves, and moose.

"Raccoon Nation, Part 1" (20 min.) follows scientists from around the world as they share their thoughts and work to explore an interesting scientific question: Are human beings, in an effort to outwit raccoons, actually helping to make them smarter and unwittingly contributing to their evolutionary success?

The evening begins at 6:15 pm with live folk music by Steve Hahm and Sid Bishop. The films begin at 7 pm.The Wildlife Film Festival will play on consecutive Fridays through March 27. Tickets are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the door for a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children. A series ticket for all evenings is $50. Films are appropriate for older children, but parental discretion is recommended.

Proceeds from the film festival are an important funding source for the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), a special program of the Ukiah Unified School District that provides outdoor environmental education program to over 2,000 students a year. For a full program of the film series and more information about the RVOEP visit its website, www.rvoep.org. To find out more about RVOEP, contact Maureen Taylor, Education Coordinator, at 489-0227.

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AMERICANA NIGHT

At the Cloverdale Arts Alliance

On Thursday, March 19, the Cloverdale Arts Alliance is pleased to present Americana Night with the sounds of The Easy Leaves Duo. The Easy Leaves, songwriters Kevin Carducci and Sage Fifield, formed north of the Golden Gate in 2008. Their sound is a personal distillation of American music, based on the styles they connect with and all the songs and sounds they've been saturated with. The finest filters on this still are songs written with painstaking attention to detail and dynamic intricate vocal harmonies. They're melodic, lyric-driven (catchy-as-all-hell) compositions pinned with the syncopated rhythm of two acoustic instruments, guitar and upright bass.

These concerts are a chance to experience exceptional acoustically oriented Americana roots music in a warm and intimate environment at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery. Americana is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues.

The Cloverdale Arts Alliance is located at 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd. Tickets are $10 for Cloverdale Arts Alliance members and $15 for non-members. Doors open at 7:00 pm; music from 7:30 — 9:30 pm. Americana Nighttakes place the third Thursday of each month from October through May.

To receive reserved seating privileges purchase advance tickets online at www.cloverdaleartsalliance.org or at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance during normal business hours. Tickets are available at the door.

Americana Night is a program of the Cloverdale Arts Alliance, a non-profit arts organization bringing cultural arts to northern Sonoma County. Other CAA programs include Friday Night Live at the Plaza, Art Gallery, Sculpture Trail, THE Jazz Club, Writers' Workshop, Music Workshops, Discovering Art Series, Art Classes, Dance Classes, Wine Appreciation Workshops, and Special Events.

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ISLAND OF SOULS

Billy was born within sight of the shipyard

First son of a riveter's son

And Billy was raised as the ship grew a shadow

Her great hull would blot out the light of the sun

 

And six days a week he would watch his poor father

A working man live like a slave

He'd drink every night and he'd dream of a future,

Of money he never would save

 

And Billy would cry when he thought of the future

 

Soon came a day when the bottle was broken

They launched the great ship out to sea

He felt he'd been left on a desolate shore

To a future he desperately wanted to flee

 

What else was there for a ship-builder's son

A new ship to be built, new work to be done

 

One day he dreamed of the ship in the world

It would carry his father and he

To a place they would never be found

To a place far away from this town

 

Trapped in the cage of the skeleton ship

All the workmen suspended like flies

Caught in the flare of acetylene light

A working man works till the industry dies

 

And Billy would cry when he thought of the future

 

Then what they call an industrial accident

Crushed those it couldn't forgive

They brought Billy's father back home in an ambulance

A brass watch, a cheque, maybe three weeks to live

 

What else was there for a riveter's son

A new ship to be built, new work to be done

 

That night he dreamed of the ship in the world

It would carry his father and he

To a place they could never be found

To a place far away from this town,

A Newcastle ship without coals

They would sail to the island of souls

 

--Gordon Sumner (Sting)

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CRAIG — THE LATEST

Editor: How It Is With Me

Good morning everyone, I have just finished a bagel breakfast at San Francisco's Green Tortoise Hostel, and am sending out this email to clarify my current circumstances. Most essentially, I am still on the west coast, because I have possible tax obligations in regard to recent inherited money. So, I need to stick around here until all of the forms are received, and I have filed and (perhaps) paid whatever I might owe. After this is accomplished, I am socially "unobligated".     It is my conclusion that a Washington D.C. beltway action is necessary to counteract the ignorant, worldwide-power-crazy governmental machine. And what could be more appropriate in this dark phase of Kali Yuga, than a ritualistic vehicular circumambulation around the heart of the visionless, environmentally disinterested, legislative absurdity?     Beyond the co-creation of this moveable living theater of light on the beltway, I have no plans whatsoever. I am at this time inviting others to join with me, to form a spiritual affinity group, and after that, we may go where we need to go, and do what we need to do.

Craig Louis Stehr, March 3, 2015

Email: CraigStehr@inbox.com

Snail mail: P.O. Box 809, Berkeley, CA 94701-0809

Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

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THE BEACH LIVES ON

Six A.M. and the air is cool

Broadway's silent though

Vesuvio's is already busy

City Lights opens at ten

Chinatown never sleeps

Fish merchants at work

While the Buddhist monks

Bow on and on and on and on

Italian coffee percolates

Green Tortoise Hostel offers

Affordable rates, breakfast at

Seven thirty A.M. complimentary.

The topless clubs are closed

Caffe Latte cups are bottomless

Birds on Washington Square statues

Watch churchgoers going, going, gone!

North Beach lives on, and on, and on

For the Beats and for your smile too.

--Craig Louis Stehr

2.III.'15

San Francisco

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TEEN TECH WEEK

(March 10th -March 14th)

Altered Books, Tuesday, March 10th 3-4:30pm

Minecraft Build-Off, Wed. March 11th 2-6pm

Texting Challenges for Teens, Friday March 13th 3pm

Insurgent party, Saturday March 14th 4-7:30 pm

Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers. Celebrate with the “Libraries are for Making...theme during YALSA’s Teen Tech Week March 8-14, 2015.

Altered Books - On Tuesday, March 10th from 3-5pm, we’ll be using old books as our canvas to create new works of art. Visual journals, erasure poems, and book sculptures are a few examples of altered books.

We’ll present our very first Minecraft Build-Off Competition for Young Adults (aged 11-18) on Wednesday, March 11th from 2-6pm. The build-off will incorporate STE(A)M learning methods through playing and building in Minecraft. Registration is required: 467-6434 or carrm@co.mendocino.ca.us This event is sponsored by YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) and Best Buy through a Teen Tech Week grant.

Texting Challenges for Teens - Teens are invited to participate in texting challenges on Friday, March 13th at 3pm. There will be small prizes awarded for speed, agility and creativity.

Insurgent party - Teen Tech Week will end with a pre- Insurgent release party on Saturday, March 14th from 4-7:30pm. Watch Divergent (PG-13) in costume & get sorted into factions. Enter our costume contest for your chance to win cool prizes. We will have food and refreshments sponsored by Friends of the Ukiah Library. 105 N Main St. Ukiah CA

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WATER BOARD CHIEF ADMITS HE WAS 'JUST WRONG’

by Dan Bacher

It is rare when a public official admits when he/she does something wrong. It's even rarer when a state water official serving the administration of Governor Jerry Brown admits they did something wrong.

But that's exactly what happened in Sacramento on Wednesday, February 18, when Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the controversial agency overseeing California water, claimed he was “mistaken” last year when he approved emergency actions that harmed imperiled Delta smelt, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and other fish species.

"At a 12-hour hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday, Tom Howard, executive officer of the State Water Resources Control Board, made clear the impact of the severe drought on people," according to Alex Breitler in the Stockton Record on February 19. (http://www.recordnet.com/article/20150219/NEWS/150219563)

"But he also said he was 'just wrong' when he concluded last year that temporarily changing the rules to keep more water in reservoirs would not cause unreasonable harm to the environment. Despite that admission, Howard approved many of the same emergency changes this year, such as reducing flows through the Delta to hold back more water in upstream reservoirs," Breitler said.

"He denied, however, a request by state and federal water agencies to also increase water exports from the south Delta under certain conditions. Wednesday’s meeting was to gather comments on that decision and other aspects of the emergency rule changes," noted Breitler.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), responded to the water official's "mea culpa" by pointing out the hypocrisy of Howard making his admission while proposing to do the same thing again.

"He admitted he was wrong last year in assessing the impacts to fish - and so now he is proposing to do it again," said Jennings.

In his presentation to the water board, Jennings pointed out how the water board's decisions in 2013 and 2014 have brought Delta smelt and other fish species to the edge of extinction. (http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2015/02/21/cspa_jennings_tucp_presentation.pdf)

"In early 2013, we predicted what would happen if the Board failed to enforce standards," said Jennings. "The result? In the fall midwater trawl survey, Delta smelt abundance dropped by 57%, striped bass by 44%, and salmon were hammered."

"In early 2014, we predicted what would happen if you adopted the TUCP (Temporary Urgency Change Petition)," Jennings told the board. "The result? Delta smelt dropped another 50% (and the spring Kodiak survey by 84%) longfin smelt dropped by 90%, and 95% percent of the winter-run Chinook salmon were killed."

"Today, we're telling you that, if the TUCP is adopted, disaster is likely as species may be pushed over the brink into a death-spiral of extinction," Jennings warned.

Environmentalists, fishermen, Delta residents, water agency officials, growers and farmworkers packed the hearing room into the evening. A public comment period followed reports by agency and water board staff, elected officials and panels made up of growers, the Friant Water Authority users, the water contractors, San Joaquin County and Delta interests, and environmental NGOs.

Jennings spoke on the first environmental NGO panel including the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), AquaAlliance and Restore the Delta. Representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Bay Institute spoke on the second environmental NGO panel.

The board made no decision at the hearing, since its purpose was to gather information and public comment to advise issuing an order. Board members indicated at the end of the hearing that they wanted more information before issuing an order, perhaps in March.

Fishermen, Delta leaders protest plan to exterminate salmon

On Tuesday afternoon, Delta fishermen and community leaders held a news conference outside the State Water Resources Control Board meeting and announced they have filed protests against the Board for its January 27, 2015 Notice of Temporary Change Petitions (TUCP). They said granting the petitions will weaken Delta outflow and water quality standards to the point of extinction for Delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon this year.

You can listen to an audio of the conference at: http://bit.ly/1L8cnyB

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “The State Water Resources Control Board is in a difficult position. The Westlands Water District and other powerful agribusiness interests are pushing to press the Water Board into giving them every last drop of water during this drought."

"Senator Feinstein and the usual list of Central Valley Congressional Reps are using their Federal positions to intrude on issues that are supposed to be settled at the State level – all for the benefit of these growers in three of California’s 58 drought stricken counties. Yet, the TUCP as written by the Water Board is suspending standards that were too weak to begin with to protect fisheries, putting coastal, and Bay-Delta fisheries at immediate risk," she stated.

According to Barrigan-Parrilla, the Board's action, "Lowered Delta outflow for purpose of managing the ecosystems and salinity control - bad for fish, good for invasive species, helps storage by reducing how much water the projects spend from upstream reservoirs to keep salt out of the Delta."

RTD's protest focuses on the following:

The public interest in this matter concerns the protection of fish species, salinity control in the Delta, water supplies, and ecosystem conditions that prioritize a Bay-Delta estuary that continues to be fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable in drought years as well as wet. 

Droughts are recurrent and predictable weather patterns in California. Droughts are not emergencies, except when our water agencies fail to manage for their recurrence. 

Current water quality objectives give a green light to the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation to gamble that each water year will be normal to wet: they prioritize upstream storage for exports to south of Delta storage, resulting in a “beggar-thy-neighbor” competition pitting against each other exports, salinity control, fish protection, and ecosystem-protective outflows. Dry-year south of Delta export demands put the Board in the difficult role of a veritable God Squad with immediate power over the Delta’s endangered fish. 

This situation is preventable and state and federal agencies failed to prevent it. 

Water rights attorney and C-WIN Board Member Mike Jackson warned of the tremendous environmental and economic damage that would result from approval of the Temporary Urgency Change Petitions.

"Evidently after the Bureau of Reclamation’s killing of 95% of the endangered winter-run salmon last year, the Federal government has decided to propose a much worse water plan for 2015," said Jackson. "It’s a much more complicated plan, but if it is approved by the California Water Board it may send both the endangered salmon and Delta smelt to extinction. We will find out soon if the Governor’s office intervenes with the Water Board to help finish off the fish.”

“Once again, Senator Feinstein (D-Westlands) favors big agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley over the economic and environmental needs of the people who live in the Bay-Delta Estuary," said Jackson. "Commercial salmon fishing is a $1.5 billion economy, Delta farming a $5.2 billion economy, and of course there are the millions of people who live in communities surrounding the estuary. With this drought, we are poised to lose Delta smelt, Winter-run salmon, and steelhead as these fisheries are collapsing."

"Where is Senator Feinstein's concern for the people of the estuary?” Jackson asked.

Just blocks away, record low numbers of steelhead show...

The board meeting took place as just blocks away, the worst-ever run of steelhead continued to trickle into the American River, Sacramento's imperiled urban jewel.

The Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova has trapped a total of only 111 fish to date. In a good year, the hatchery would have already trapped thousands of steelhead.

The previous record low was 200 steelhead in the early 1990s, but this run looks like it will be well below that disastrous return. The peak of the run is over and increasingly fewer fish are expected to return to the hatchery while the ladder remains open.

During 2013 and early 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation drained Folsom to a record low level of 17 percent of capacity in order to export water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies and big oil companies. The Bureau did this in spite of it being a record drought year. Nimbus Dam releases were reduced to 500 cfs during most of the steelhead season last year.

“The steelhead died for a noble cause - almonds," quipped CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings.

“The reason why American River steelhead are in collapse is the same reason why Delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass and other fish are down to less than 1 percent of their historic levels – overpumping of Delta water,” said Jennings.

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