Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Mar 21, 2015

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FORT BRAGG'S NEW POLICE CHIEF SPIED ON LA'S COMMIES

Millennial Moment – Investigation of LAPD Spy Unit Sought

SpyCase1

Dec. 11, 1982: David Johnston writes about the case of undercover LAPD Officer Fabian Lizarraga, who infiltrated the Revolutionary Communist Party and led protesters in a May Day march in 1980 that resulted in a fight with police and arrests of demonstrators.

Johnston also says that Lizarraga had sex “with a woman revolutionary” in hopes of getting information and was nearby when Damien Garcia, the man being investigated, was killed — allegedly by a member of the Primera Flats gang — at the Aliso Village Housing Project.

Lizarraga
Lizarraga

(Lizarraga also took a job in The Times circulation office in Whittier, but Johnston said that he never had the proper ID to gain access to the main buildings or the newsrooms. I can’t address what security was like in the late 1970s, but our current procedures didn’t begin until after 9/11).

In addition, Lt. Thomas Scheidecker of the LAPD’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division had opened an envelope sealed by court order containing information about LAPD infiltration of the radical group. In his defense, Scheidecker said his actions were “dumb” but explained that he was adding documents he deemed relevant.

Then in April 1982, Chief Daryl F. Gates asked Dist. Atty. John Van de Kamp to drop charges against the protesters accused of assaulting police officers.

“Gates’ letter came at a time when the focus of the case had turned from the conduct of the revolutionaries, who advocate the violent overthrow of the government, to the conduct of his department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division,” especially Lizarraga and Scheidecker, Johnston wrote.

Attorneys Robert Mann and Jeff Lipow, who were defending the demonstrators, said they wanted a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the LAPD’s conduct, especially whether the man suspected of killing Garcia had any sort of relationship with officers. The suspect, George Arellano, was in turn stabbed to death six weeks after Garcia was killed, Johnston said.

In January 1983, the Public Disorder Intelligence Division was abolished by the Police Commission. In January 1985, the commission voted not to take disciplinary action against top LAPD officials for the division’s conduct.

More about the Public Disorder Intelligence Division is here.

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THURSDAY'S DAY TIME MEETING to permit the great unwashed, formerly citizens, to render their opinions and criticisms of the proposed new Coast transfer station's EIR was brought to the two Boonville people who watched it by the invaluable Mendocino TV. The meeting was presided over by FB mayor Dave Turner. Councilman Lindy Peters who, until recently had worked as a consultant for Waste Managment, the garbage company presently serving much of Fort Bragg out of its Pudding Creek trash transfer station, scrupulously recused himself from listening to the public comment on the proposed new trash moving operation just off Highway 20 northeast of central Fort Bragg. He was elected to the city council long after the proposed transfer station kicked off. He said to avoid a legal conflict of interest he couldn't participate in the discussion or any votes on it until August 16th, but which time it will undoubtedly be an even doner deal than it is now.

FOUR SUPERVISORS ATTENDED — Dan Gjerde, Dan Hamburg, John McCowen, and Tom Woodhouse. Of those, I'd say three are in the bag for the new station with Woodhouse, a rookie supervisor with no evident ideas on any subject, likely to take his cues from his three big brothers. The fifth supervisor, Carrie Brown is also likely to be for it simply because it was a done deal some eight years ago when the County's lead trash bureaucrat, Mike Sweeney, decided that Highway 20 was going to be the location of the new trash transfer station and got it all moving to 20. The county, ever since, and rubber stamped every step of the way by Mike Sweeney's captive board of directors at the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority, has invested enough money and bureaucratic time in the Highway 20 site to make it their sole option.

A NUMBER OF ROAD 409 residents understandably spoke in favor of moving the present trash transfer station (there's another existing transfer station at Pudding Creek, which has been dismissed by Sweeney and Company as not viable) out of their neighborhood. The dump was placed on Road 409 because it was close to Fort Bragg and Mendocino but nobody lived there. The 409 people, few if any of whom pre-date the transfer station, pointed to the obvious drawbacks of locating a trash operation at the top of a now residential hill off a winding road — noise, litter, traffic hazards, smells. Sweeney, in a slick opening assessment of the EIR for the new $5 mil dump on 20 commissioned the EIR at a cool $200,000 to the taxpayers of Mendocino County. As a neighbor of the proposed facility, John Fremont, pointed out, “Pay me $200,000 and I'll tell you exactly what you want to hear, Mike.”

ONLY A COUPLE of speakers referred to the existing Pudding Creek transfer station operated by Waste Management as an alternative to a $5 million dump on Highway 20, and they spoke of it in possible conjunction with shipping Coast trash out on the Skunk Railroad. Whether or not the Skunk line could handle X-number of bins of trash a week is, at this time, a dubious proposition. The Skunk would need large capital investment to upgrade the track east of (Northspur?) but $5 million invested in the Skunk rather than a new trash facility would seem to be an investment more likely to be favored by most Coast residents.

I WAITED TO HEAR challenges to the EIR's math, especially its blithe assurance that the new station would have a number of environmental advantages, most of them achieved by a reduction of total haul-to-and-from-the-dump miles in the bigger trash transfer trucks that would haul the Coast's garbage outtahere. Smaller fossil footprint, you see. Nor was there any mention of the new station's mortgage: how was the thing going to be paid off? By, of course, higher rates to customers. An older woman, clearly a committed recycler, said her tiny amount of trash now costs her $80 a month to be hauled off.

THE PERSONS critical of the proposed Highway 20 site seemed to have the most substantial objections to the EIR. They pointed to the hazards a dump would present to Fort Bragg's water supply and noted the absence of any evaluation of the site as to its hydrology. The world famous Pygmy Forest would also be disrupted and its many visitors drawn to the Mendocino Coast would be greeted on the main entry to town with an industrial trash operation.

MEG ‘THE INEVITABLE’ COURTNEY was the final speaker. She, natch, was all for it without citing her specific reasons beyond her years on the Fort Bragg City Council and as one of the Council's reps to Sweeney's MSWMA board. Wherever things have gone terribly wrong — Fort Bragg, KZYX, garbage hauling — Meg is there with her merry thumbs up. Speaking off the cuff having not bothered to prepare, Meg implied her insider's status had revealed all the trump reasons why Highway 20 was the only possible site, the old “If you knew what I knew…”

IN FACT, the Skunk just might turn into a reliable hauler and there's really no reason the existing transfer station at Pudding Creek couldn't continue as the Coast transfer station.

REX GRESSET, preceding Ms. Courtney to the podium, and looking and sounding like an Old Testament prophet, resonated with the Boonville audience when he thundered that it had already been decided and that the only way to stop it was for opponents to get together, hire a lawyer and bring it down. Grumbles and rumbles greeted Gressett's presentation.

GRESSETT: “I apologize to all the people who are against the transfer station for speaking on your behalf. I am not beloved of all the people on this panel. God save us from our friends, as I sometimes have occasion to think. But I would like to say that we should not be under any illusions that these people are listening to what you are saying. These people are here because there is a $5 billion project and they are here to make money on it. When Mr. Lemos shows up you know that the professionals are in town. So I won't take a few minutes to totally refute his ridiculous carbon arguments. But you can win! We stopped them on the hotel. It's not going to happen. If you get together and put money in the bank — the good people of Fort Bragg spent 1500 bucks to stop the hotel. They got a lawyer and put it into it. This is bad judgment just like that was. Protecting the pygmy forests is an obvious thing. It's not my issue really. If you put yourself, if you get together and don't expect anything out of a group of people who have already made up their minds and if you're too -- if you won't see that you are going to lose! Because they have all this money they spent on all their planning process. They have it all together. This is not a forum for open discussion. But they want you to think it is. They are not even going to care. You can talk to people and you can weigh the arguments and Mr. Lemos shows up magically and somehow makes a professional pitch and so we don't have to worry about the people anymore. It's done! We've taken care of them. That's what this is for. But don't buy it. Get together. Stop this. You stop them on the hotel. You can stop them on that project down across the park. And you can stop them on this one if you care enough about it. We don't have to tear up our Pygmy Forest. Anything but that! Make them work. Get the best, finest most up-to-date modern transportation on earth because we love Mendocino County enough to do it. Don't let them with their money put in this great big huge belching monstrosity. Mr. Lemos: you should be ashamed of yourself sir!”

COURTNEY, took a shot at the passionate Gressett as she took the podium, harrumphing, “Well, that's a hard act to follow.”

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DAVID GURNEY WRITES:

On the calendar - Monday, Mar. 23, 6:00 PM, Town Hall, Fort Bragg — Come participate in what promises to be a very interesting and informative City Council meeting, deciding the fate of Hare Creek and Todd Point regions, at the southern gate of Fort Bragg. Arrive early for a decent seat.

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ANNEMARIE WEIBEL WRITES:

Here are some of the e-mail addresses for local officials concerned with Fort Bragg’s Hare Creek Center project.

You can contact

  • Marie Jones, Community Development Director <mjones@fortbragg.com>
  • Linda Ruffing, City Manager <lruffing@fortbragg.com>
  • Jared Huffman, Congressman <wesley.labat@mail.house.gov>
  • Dan Gjerde, 4th District Mendocino County Supervisor, <gjerde@co.mendocino.ca.us>

Council Members:

  • Dave Turner, Mayor <davet@flobeds.com>
  • Lindy Peters <LPeters2@fortbragg.com>
  • Michael Cimolino <MCimolino@fortbragg.com>
  • Scott Deitz <sdeitz@fortbragg.com>
  • Doug Hammerstrom <dhammerstrom@fortbragg.com>

All correspondence should be copied to Bob Merrill, California Coastal Commission <bob.merrill@coastal.ca.gov>

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AV FOODSHED NEWS

From our Boonville Winter Market vendors about tomorrow:

  • Judy Nelson - I'll be there.
  • Keeper Trout - Natural Products of Boonville will be there with some lion's mane mushrooms.
  • Nancy Mayer - I will be at the market this Saturday with plant starts: tomatoes, herbs, cauliflower and broccoli.

And probably more, in front of the Boonville General Store, Sat Mar 21, 10-12:30, rain or shine.

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Those who would like to help with the planning and outreach for the AV Foodshed Goat Festival, planned for Sat Apr 25 at the Fairgrounds in Boonville, in conjunction with the AV Unity Club Wildflower Show, can get in touch with Jim Devine at 496 8725 or avgoats@gmail.com.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 20, 2015

Adams, Allen, Ball
Adams, Allen, Ball

MARANDA ADAMS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DUSTIN ALLEN, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance.

MARTIN BALL, Ukiah. Domestic assault, probation revocation.

Barajas, Goyette-Spalliero, Harris, Mabery
Barajas, Goyette-Spalliero, Harris, Mabery

JOSE BARAJAS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

VINCENT GOYETTE-SPALLIERO, Fort Bragg. Domesic assault, assault with deadly not a gun.

TYRONE HARRIS, Stockton/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

CHAD MABERY, Willits. Drunk in public.

Nelson, Perry, Wharton
Nelson, Perry, Wharton

THERON NELSON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

KEVIN PERRY, Willits. Pot possession for sale, suspended license.

GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

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BOONTLING CLASSIC 2015

The thirty-third annual Boontling Classic 5K Footrace will be held on Sunday, May 3rd, at 10:00 am. The 3.1 mile event will begin and end at the Anderson Valley Elementary School.

Runners and walkers of all ages are encouraged to participate. This is truly a “user-friendly” race. Lots of children, some as young as five years old, have started their running careers at the Boontling Classic. Likewise, every year many senior runners and walkers come to enjoy the upbeat atmosphere with fun, healthy exercise.

Ribbons will be awarded to the top three finishers in twenty age divisions, as well as plaques to the fastest man and woman. Also there will be a terrific drawing for prizes after the race. With so many items donated by our generous local businesses everybody has a great chance to go home a winner.

Once again, the Boontling Classic will be partnered with the annual Anderson Valley Elementary School’s “Day of the Child” celebration, which will start right after the race. This family-centered event will feature games, music and food. Everyone is welcome to stay for a healthy, fun-filled afternoon.

So whether you are six or sixty be sure to mark May 3rd on your calendar for a full day of enjoyment. Boontling Classic registration forms are available by phoning or emailing race director Mike McDonald at (707) 621-2701, flick@mcn.org

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AFTER AGREEING TO A MEAGER $100,000 settlement for gross violations of the law, vintner Paul Hobbs is once again violating his agreements by spraying while children are present. I will be attending a 3:30 meeting today and gathering photos. There is a barn sale in front of Hobbs Watertrough vineyard this weekend where comments will be available. — Shepherd Bliss, 707-829-8185

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CITY OF POINT ARENA REGULAR MEETING AGENDA MARCH 24, 2015

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/bc749f75-32e8-4b55-b8b8-d0e87927dee3

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REUNION

About 20 years ago, I was teaching a third grade class at PS 30X in the Bronx. The school was located in a very poor neighborhood in the Bronx called Mott Haven. Among my students was a beautiful little girl named S. She had been in my friend Jennifer’s class in 2nd grade, and I would frequently confer with Jennifer to make sure I was being nice to her.

She was also a favorite of the Chapter One remedial reading teacher, Rita Zarenski. The three of us played a little game every day when Rita came to pick up S. I would tell Rita that S was too attached to me to run off with other teachers, whereby S would run to Rita and hug her with a big display of affection; or I’d hide S just before Rita was scheduled to pick her up, but S would run out of her hiding place when she heard me tell Rita she was absent.

Like many of the children at PS 30, Genesis often came to school hungry in the mornings. I would call the cafeteria and send S to get something to eat. There were indications of problems at home: S came to school without doing her homework and without an explanation of why she didn’t do it. She was smart and had always been a good student. Jennifer, Rita, and I talked to S about the problem, but she would not tell us anything.

One day S disappeared. She stopped coming to school and we were unable to make contact with her family. Until recently, none of us at PS 30 had ever heard from Genesis again.

The story "Cocoa" which I sent you a while ago was in part inspired by S’s disappearance.

Then, by chance, S saw one of my on-line articles and recently wrote: Hello Mr. Bedrock it’s [S]. I hope you remember me! You were one of the people who in a way taught me to open my eyes to my own thoughts and beliefs even if others didn’t agree. I remember you always giving us the choice whether or not to stand and say the pledge regardless of how old or what grade we were in. I hope you see this and email me. I would love to know how you are!

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I’ve responded:

S:

Are you the beautiful little girl from Tegucigalpa who broke her teachers’ hearts by disappearing without saying goodbye to us? Jennifer, Rita, Laurie, and I — and all the teachers that knew and loved you were very worried.

I guess you’re no longer a little girl, but rather a young woman. I’d love to know about you.

I’m retired. I still live in New Jersey with a cat named Calliope. I write, translate articles from Spanish to English, ride my bicycle, read a lot, and think about all the amazing people — like you — whom I met when I was teaching.

One of my stories, “Cocoa”, was about an older schoolgirl who disappears. It was in part inspired by you, in part by the Thandie Newton character in a movie called Flirting. If you wish, I’ll send it to you.

If you find the time, I’d love to know about what happened to you then and what’s happening to you now. I’m very glad you wrote.

Affectionately,

Louis S. Bedrock

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PS. was not the only child who disappeared during my time at PS 30. It was a tough place to work. Kids we had known, taught, and grown to love, had babies when they were 13 or 14, became drug dealers, went to jail, or died. A few survived and even became successful. Most did not.

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SAVE ST. PAUL'S

St. Paul’s Community United Methodist Church in Point Arena is seeking donations for a restoration project that includes everything from painting to re-roofing, with a $50,000 budget.

The church is the oldest religious building in Point Arena and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1867, Methodists founded the first Christian congregation in Point Arena and built a church on the site in 1874.

In 1906, the church and the neighboring public school burned during the great earthquake. The replacement building is the one familiar to coastal residents today.

“It is a church, yes, but it is also a community resource as a gathering place and home to many community groups and functions,” said Pastor Debbra Lysek.

“Now we are asking for some donations from the community. We are asking for painters, paint equipment, scaffolding, a pressure washer, an airless sprayer and, of course, those with the expertise to augment our effort,” she said. Kelly-Moore Paint has donated some paint for the project.

The church is also looking for financial donations. Donations can be made at West America Bank in Gualala, Redwood Coast Credit Union in Point Arena, or at the church.

“The tentative work date for starting this project is May 5,” Lysek said. To volunteer or for more information, call the church at (707) 882-2074 or call Rufus Savage-Friedman at (707) 882-1906.

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deFeure

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50TH ANNIVERSARY ANTI-WAR TEACH-INS AT SONOMA STATE

includes Laurel Krause of Fort Bragg

This day of events is specifically about war - and how our government gets people to go and agree to war - but it's close enough to the militarization issue to be of interest to some of you. And it is part of larger Social Justice Week in which other groups will be presenting on other days - PACH, for instance - I've attached the poster for the week. This is what the Peace & Justice Center and Veterans for Peace have organized - goes on all day! This month is the 50th anniversary of the first teach-ins against the Vietnam War on college campuses. The Peace & Justice Center and Veterans for Peace are collaborating on remembering that war and drawing the connections to the wars the U.S. has started in this century. This is part of Social Justice Week at Sonoma State. The teach-ins will take place next week, Wednesday, March 25th. Please join us.

10:00 to 11:45 a.m. - Teach-in #1 - The Vietnam War and Beyond

  • "Lucki" Allen - Vietnam vet
  • Paul Cox - Vietnam vet
  • Lisa Ling - Post-9/11 vet
  • Geoff Millard - Post-9/11 vet
  • Lee Swenson - Vietnam era peace activist

Noon to 1:30 p.m. - Poetry and Stories from Veterans and Activists

  • "Lucki" Allen - Vietnam vet
  • Pauline Laurent - Vietnam war widow
  • Martin Lesinski - Vietnam vet
  • Lisa Ling - Post-9/11 vet
  • Clare Morris - Vietnam era peace activist
  • Scott Morrison - Vietnam era vet (songs)
  • Ted Sexauer - Vietnam vet
  • Peter Tracy - Vietnam vet (songs)

1:45 to 3:15 p.m. - PTSD, Moral Injury and the Costs of War

  • PTSD: Bill Simon
  • Moral Injury: Shepherd Bliss, Fred Ptucha
  • Cost of war: Paul Cox, Tom Meier

3:30 to 5:15 p.m. - Teach-in #2 - The Vietnam War and Beyond

  • Paul Cox - Vietnam vet
  • Jacob Crabtree - Post-9/11 vet
  • Laurel Krause - Vietnam era, sister of woman killed at Kent State
  • Lisa Ling - Post-9/11 vet
  • Geoff Millard - Post-9/11 vet
  • Lee Swenson - Vietnam era peace activist

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Post-9/11 Wars and Protest

  • Jacob Crabtree - Post-9/11 vet
  • Lisa Ling - Post-9/11 vet
  • Geoff Millard - Post-9/11 vet
  • Janet Weil - Code Pink
  • Lynda Williams - anti-nuclear activist

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The Cooperage, Room 3, Sonoma State University

Also, we're showing two movies on Friday the 27th in International Hall #104

1:45 to 3:30 p.m. - Sir! No Sir!

In this documentary, celebrities such as Jane Fonda join their voices with veterans and soldiers to recount the largely suppressed antiwar movement that occurred within the United States military over the course of the Vietnam War. Using archival news footage and contemporary interviews with Vietnam veterans, the film discusses the G.I.s' growing distrust of the war and details the U.S. Army's swift, severe and often secret response to the expression of antiwar sentiments within its ranks.

3:30 to 5:15 p.m. - Why We Fight

Since World War II, the United States has been almost constantly involved in combat, active participants in a string of wars fought entirely on foreign shores. Eugene Jarecki's documentary examines this phenomenon outside of partisan bickering; thoughtfully exploring what Eisenhower called "the business of war." Speaking to veterans of wars in Vietnam and Iraq, as well as military experts and journalists, the film discusses defense spending, foreign policy and the military-industrial complex.

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REFORM, NOT REV

To all,

It has been implied by some that my candidacy for the at-large seat for the board of directors at Mendocino County Public Broadcasting is part of some type of conspiracy to impose radical change at KZYX. I write to assure you that this is not the case.

My entire platform revolves around the notion that a board member should respect and abide by the policies and procedures passed by previous boards. None of my ideas are new, the only "changes" I would make at MCPB would be to help the current board do just that.

Some of the policies that are currently standing, but have not been enforced, are the implementation of a Finance Committee and an Election Committee. I also believe the board should institute the Programming Advisory Council, a policy passed in 2009.

I look forward to working with current staff to ensure that these policies are implemented in such a way that the vision of past policy makers reflects the needs of the current membership. It is my belief that all of the stations issues should be rectified through public discussion and free and fair elections, without recourse to intervention from Federal or State agencies.

Above all, if you are a member, please vote! You must have your ballots in by March 31st. If you have not yet received a ballot, contact elections@kzyx.org.

Sincerely,

Doug McKenty, Elk

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HIGH LEVELS OF ARSENIC IN “CHEAP” WINES?

Lawsuit filed.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/3692712-181/lawsuit-claims-arsenic-levels-high

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lawsuit-claims-high-levels-arsenic-found-some-california-made-win/

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CALIFORNIA'S “WATER DONOR COUNTIES”

by Will Parrish

The Humboldt and Trinity County boards of supervisors have recently issued a trickle of outrage concerning their status as Central Valley agribusiness' water vassals. In letters this past January to Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as US Rep. Jared Huffman, each group described their jurisdictions as “a water donor county.”

“[S]ince 1964 Trinity County has contributed more than 46 million acre-feet from the Trinity Basin to the Central Valley [emphasis in original],” reads the Trinity County version. “Simply put, to the Central Valley Project and other water recipients like the San Luis Unit (SLU), we are a water donor county.”

The purpose of the letters, as the TrinCo supes put it, was to “request full participation in Congressional drought talks to address the impacts caused by massive export of Trinity Basin water supplies.” Owing to the miracle of modern hydrologic engineering, the US Bureau of Reclamation has exported as much as 90 percent of the Trinity River's annual flow to Central Valley almond farms and melon lots, as well as suburbs from Redding to Riverside. Their HumCo counterparts used even more pointed language.

“The regulatory and programmatic 'taking' of [Trinity River] water in the form of diversions has significantly impacted the North Coast economy, commercial and sport fishing industry, harmed the economic, social and cultural values for three local Native American Tribes, and shuttered local small coastal towns,” reads the letter signed by Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace. “The people of the North Coast experience the pain of those diversions every day – and have since 1964.”

At issue are the Trinity-Klamath River system's storied fisheries, which have been decimated by Trinity Dam's very existence, the highest earthen dam in the world at the time of its construction (the Trinity is the Klamath River's largest tributary). The river is home to the largest remaining wild salmon run in California. Among other superlatives, it also include one of the most prolific Steelhead trout runs in the Lower 48 and the world's largest green sturgeon population.

In the 2013-14 rain year, the Trinity Reservoir received only 340,000 acre-feet of natural run-off. Nevertheless, the US Bureau of Reclamation nevertheless diverted 595,000 acre feet to Sacramento and San Joaquin valley water contractors (an acre-foot is approximately 325,800 gallons) Last year, thousands of Lower Klamath River salmon likely would have died from a mass wasting disease, as occurred in 2002, had the Bureau of Reclamation not released “emergency” water from the reservoir at the height of summer. The gill rot disease that kills the salmon is caused by warm water temperatures and low flows.

The TrinCo and HumCo supes are rightfully concerned that drought legislation being shepherded by perennially big business-friendly US Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other Congressional reps to benefit San Joaquin Valley farmers, who profit handsomely from the Trinity's water, could deal a huge blow to the river's wildlife and the people who depend on it for their livelihoods. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) has announced that a bi-partisan bill that would increase “operational flexibility” for federal water projects in California, thereby further increasing water deliveries to agribusiness, will soon be unveiled.

The situation for North Coast people, fish, and other critters would quickly go from disastrous to even more disastrous.

“At this point, there's nothing legally that would limit the ability of the Bureau of Reclamation to flat-out drain the Trinity Lake down to a mud puddle,” the California Water Impact Network's Tom Stokely, a former Trinity County planner and noted Trinity River expert, told me.

Humboldt County was promised 50,000 acre feet annually from the Trinity Reservoir as part of the 1955 legislation that mandated the reservoir's construction, which is a big part of the county supes' beef with the federal government's water management. The Bureau of Reclamation has never provided HumCo with this comparatively modest allocation, which is a mere eight percent of what it shipped to the Central Valley last year.

When it comes to “water donors” in California, few counties have proved more munificent than the county immediately to Humboldt's south. Whereas HumCo's supes have raised a minor fuss about their county's vassalage, Mendo's official representatives have permitted Sonoma County to help themselves to most of the upper Russian River's water at no cost ever since Lake Mendocino was constructed in the late-'50s. (The late Joe Scaramella, uncle of this publication's managing editor, was the only supervisor to vote against this arrangement). Sonoma County also gets free rein to the waters of upper Dry Creek.

Sonoma County sells the water to Marin County, particularly the dry towns of Northern Marin, for pure gain, the sales product costing nothing more but the pipes and valves to shunt it across the so-called Petaluma Gap to Novato. The Sonoma County water business, overseen by Sonoma County supervisors, is that rare public bureaucracy that turns hefty annual profits.

In 2017, a federal commission will begin reviewing an application by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to re-license its Potter Valley Project, which includes the mile-long tunnel that diverts Eel water to the Russian River's east branch. It's a safe bet Mendo's supervisors will not use the relicensing process to try to leverage a new arrangement.

Of course, the Russian River's abundant water supply is enabled by the Eel River diversion, and the mainstem Eel's “county of origin” is actually Mendo's even-more-impoverished eastern neighbor, the County of Lake. The Eel region has never been compensated for its diverted water. Yet, when it comes to restorative justice, the people with the greatest claim are the original people of the area, the indigenous groups who still depend on these river's fish for their cultural survival.

Hoopa Valley tribal member Dania Colegrove is a member of the Klamath Justice Coalition, a grassroots organization made up of Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk tribal members, as well as non-indigenous residents of the Klamath River system. The group has used direct action and other forms of grassroots organizing to challenge their river's ongoing expropriation for several years, including conducting a protest at the Bureau of Reclamation's Sacramento office last August that led to the Bureau's decision to release water down the Trinity to prevent a salmon die-off.

“Two days ago, I caught eel at the river's mouth and brought it home to feed my family,” Colegrove told me. “Two weeks ago, I harvested willow by the river. Last week, our family ate sturgeon from the river. The river is still our lifeblood. Without the water, we don't exist.”

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Meanwhile, to quote a March 12 story in the Los Angeles Times by Jay Famliglietti: "As our 'wet' season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too."

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For reference, here are the letters sent from:

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