The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative has come to to the North Coast, skirting the laws and making up the rules as they go. The MLPAI obeys the law only as they see fit, all the while being held accountable to none that they break. It's the opposite of real democracy, where the will of the people is the motivator for change, where public officials are charged with the duty to carry out that will, and are held accountable when they break the law.
The MLPAI seeks to take control of large areas of the coast, supposedly to regulate fishing and food gathering, in a state where fishing is already so tightly regulated that for most of the year a local coastal resident cannot go out on the ocean to catch a fish. These new closed areas will allow the take of fish and marine life for so-called research purposes, but what constitutes research is not clearly defined. The privileged few will be allowed to take fish to supply large commercial aquariums, owned by the very people who sponsored and funded the initiative. A gross conflict of interest exists that so far has not been addressed.
The MLPAI is led by privately funded public relations and policy experts, masquerading as a true public agency. The staff are funded by multi-billion dollar private foundations that conceal the amount, sources and distribution of their funds. Money is being channeled through the director and managers of this program to individuals and local government entities, without public scrutiny or accountability. Bribery and coercion have become commonplace.
The MLPAI administrators laud themselves for their “transparency,” but corruption always seeks to be invisible. Lies and deception are by their very nature "transparent.” The transparency of which they speak is that of the bullet proof glass in the armored car that will carry away the legacy of a once free ocean, and the rights of the people guaranteed in Article 1, Section 25 of the California Constitution. Theirs is the transparency of the thick glass walls of the corporate funded aquariums. It’s the transparency of the invisible lines of money, power, and real estate interests, who desire ownership and control of the ocean for their own benefit. When the truth is revealed, the lies that concealed it will always be revealed as "transparent."
The legitimate concerns over the MLPAI are many. Concerns about public-private graft and the corruption of democratic process. Concerns that pie-in-the-sky solutions based junk science will not yield desired results, even after we have been bamboozled into giving up our free rights to open ocean access. Concerns that issues influencing the marine environment beyond fishing are not being addressed, and that blaming fishing for the problems our oceans are facing is a smokescreen for corporate takeover and control of the oceans. Concerns about flagrant conflicts of interest. Concerns of political subterfuge, where back room deals are being made to trade off the ocean in exchange for the waters of Northern California rivers. Concerns that oil and energy interests are backing the initiative. Concerns that the corporate powers who funded the MLPAI process with tens of millions of dollars of private money will inevitably want their pay-off in the end.
The MLPAI is an Enron style scam that is being perpetrated on the unsuspecting people of California, and has coerced those opposing it into taking part against their better judgement. It has cynically taken advantage of the efforts of well meaning scientists and environmentalists to take part in a flawed process that is already generating junk science to prove the necessity of a solution to problem that does not exist. The MLPAI has corrupted the very idea of science, seeking to prove unsound hypotheses with insufficient data in an effort to blame fishing access as the cause for the collapse of marine ecosystems, and proposing to take away fishing rights in areas that are already not being fished, all the while ignoring the real problems of ocean ecology.
Many miles of the California Coast are already closed behind the gates of private property, effectively making the issue of marine protected areas a moot point. To take away access in more huge areas and turn it over to corporate interests will, in the long run, have the opposite of the intended effect. The ocean is a public trust and a public commons, not to be relegated to private dominance and control as is being done with the MLPAI.
With the implementation of the MLPAI, we have been told that we are just giving up small parts of our ocean, that we are sacrificing just a little chunk of our constitutional rights, whether we like it or not, to this public-private partnership. We have been told that the killing of a blue whale by the MLPAI's unlicensed and illegally operating sonar mapping vessel was just an accident, for which they are not responsible. We are told that the Brown Act and Bagley-Keene laws do not apply to them. We are told that armed guards at all their official meetings and workshops to stifle public outrage and opposition is standard operating procedure.
As this illegal act is forced upon us, we are losing not only just a little bit of our once free ocean, we are also sacrificing some of the very principles and decency upon which this nation was founded.
Fort Bragg, CA