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Protecting our Environmental Resources
Updated: 20 hours 34 min ago

Save our Sonoma Neighborhoods (S.O.S.) has alot to say about the Graton project

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 10:30
LOCAL GROUPS ORGANZING for sensible regulations… SOS, No Pot on Purvine

Neighbors all over the county object to industrial grows in neighborhoods. Will Graton be the next collateral damaged neighborhood to this industry?

From SOS: Sonoma County has shown that they lack the tools and resources to administer their cannabis program and protect their citizens. It should cease and desist in all permitting until it can do so. If those tools and resources to protect citizens don’t exist, don’t have commercial cannabis in Sonoma County. Dispensaries can buy it elsewhere.  The ongoing environmental catastrophe of marijuana cultivation (Bioscience) June 14, 2018 High Time for Conservation:

Adding the Environment to the Debate on Marijuana Liberalization The liberalization of marijuana policies, including the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, is sweeping the United States and other countries. Marijuana cultivation can have significant negative collateral effects on the environment that are often unknown or overlooked. Read More…

________________ Big Tobacco 2.0 Big Marijuana Coming to Sonoma County ________________ Phase 1: PROGRESS! The Sonoma County Cannabis Ordinance has been sent back for revision thanks to the letters and phone calls from our members.

For Phase 2, we need to ensure that our policy changes – to protect rural homeowners – are adopted by the Board of Supervisors. We also need to be prepared for possible litigation or ballot measure. We are a citizens group of volunteers. All donations are applied 100% to cover the substantial costs associated with advocacy for rural Sonoma County homeowners. Please click on the Donate button. Any amounts are appreciated. We are in this campaign for the long haul and that is what it will take for us to succeed. Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Group

SOS NEIGHBORHOODS Is a commercial Pot Grow coming to your neighborhood?

Destroying your neighborhood is just a formality in many cases. No notification, no review, no hearings, no environmental impact study…

What Other Jurisdictions are Doing Most Bay Area cities and counties have banned commercial cultivation. Why does Sonoma County promote it? What’s in it for you? SOS POLICY POSITION SOS Neighborhoods Policy Positions

Listed in priority order, Save our Sonoma Neighborhoods urges the electorate and the Board of Supervisors to support the following Sonoma County policy changes:

1) All commercial marijuana cultivation should be restricted to industrial zoning or other comparable centralized zones only. Commercial marijuana cultivation does not belong in neighborhoods, regardless of their zoning. It should be relegated to industrial-zoned or similar areas where it does not jeopardize the health general welfare, and safety of residents and can be properly monitored, regulated and contained by the County.

2) The County must immediately STOP issuing marijuana permits until the Sonoma County Ordinance is revised. The current Ordinance is fatally flawed, and the county must stop issuing new permits until the Supervisors can amend it to reflect community concerns over due process, water use, utility services, odor, public health and safety. Issuing more permits exacerbates these problems and creates vested interest among marijuana growers in conflict to incumbent interest of County residents.

3) Ministerial marijuana cultivation permits should not be allowed. The community demands due process to raise compatibility issues before the County, without a public ballot or a hearing process, determines whether a commercial marijuana grow is compatible with a neighborhood and surrounding environment.

4) The County must cap the number of marijuana cultivation permits issued. Marijuana permits must be limited to prevent concentration and oversupply in the County. In addition to the cumulative environmental impact, this presents a problem for public safety. The county should have published target of permits and supply to allow for the proper planning of supporting services.  The county should not allow a condition to exist which inadvertently supports growers who supply the black market to other states and should avoid becoming a target for federal enforcement activities.

5) Disband the Cannabis Advisory Group (CAG). The current Cannabis Advisory Group (CAG) is so biased towards promoting marijuana operations that its recommendations lack credibility and cannot be allowed to continue. Many members have conflicts of interest from their pending cultivation applications, or their representation of cultivators as lawyers or consultants. Their conflicts of interest violate the public trust by making self-serving recommendations and are an embarrassment to good government. If the supervisors need an advisory group, it should be reconstituted to have equal representation from citizens who are not in the marijuana industry.

6) Sonoma County taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize the Marijuana industry through land conservation property tax relief.  The state of California stopped Williamson Act subvention payments to counties in 2010 placing the entire burden on Sonoma County taxpayers.  We believe that it is inappropriate to force Sonoma County property taxpayers, who have not voted, to subsidize marijuana operations.

Here we go Again… Home Invasion Number 5

Manhunt on for 2 suspects in cannabis-related Santa Rosa home invasion robbery A manhunt is underway for at least two armed men who barged into a home on the southwestern outskirts of Santa Rosa Wednesday morning, tied up a male resident and made off with an unknown amount of cannabis. Just before 9:30 a.m., one…

Can you believe Sonoma County is still bending over backwards to bring large scale commercial pot cultivation to the County????? Ask yourself WHY? Then ask the Board of Supervisors
You may have voted for legalization of cannabis, but

Did you vote for SWAT Teams in your rural neighborhood?

We are Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods and we don’t think so.

East coast home invaders brutalize innocent neighbor’s of former pot farm, kicking in doors and robbing and victimizing residents. Reporters attribute spate of criminal activity to county’s “open arms approach “ to commercial marijuana .

3 More Suspects Arrested In Petaluma Home Invasion Robberies IS THIS THE SONOMA  COUNTY YOU WANT TO LIVE IN?

No that’s not the rancher next door looking for a stray cow. They are searching your neighborhood for 4 murder suspects who just invaded 3 of your NEIGHBORS homes.

And less we forget, 1 month ago…Two innocent people shot, one person killed in dual Santa Rosa home invasions where, again East Coast criminals invade Sonoma residents looking for Pot and Cash.

Do We need this?

“Witnesses in the first shooting described a terrifying scene. Five masked intruders kicked in the front door, setting off an alarm system at the modest home and jolting awake the entire household — a married couple and their three children, ages 9, 14 and 18.One of the masked suspects fired a gunshot into the ceiling and shoved the 18-year-old into a laundry room, tying her wrists together with duct tape. Then they started making demands.”

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Friends of the Earth Action Endorses Candidates in Races Across the Country

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:49
Friends of the Earth Action Endorses Candidates in Races Across the Country

 

WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth Action today announced its endorsement of [number] gubernatorial, statewide, U.S. House and Senate candidates around the nation, moving the organization’s support behind candidates ready to protect our planet and resist the corruption of Donald Trump’s administration.

“These progressive candidates will fight for people and the planet and are a reflection of the American values that have been betrayed under Trump,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action. “We proudly endorse these candidates who inspire hope in a progressive tomorrow.”

A complete list of Friends of the Earth Action’s endorsements follows:

Governors:

  • Andrew Gillum – Florida
  • Stacey Abrams – Georgia
  • Paulette Jordan – Idaho
  • Ben Jealous – Maryland
  • Christine Hallquist – Vermont

U.S. Senate

  • Zak Ringelstein – Maine
  • Elizabeth Warren – Massachusetts
  • Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
  • Bernie Sanders – Vermont
  • Tammy Baldwin – Wisconsin

U.S. House

  • Ammar Campa-Najjar – California 50th District
  • Ayanna Pressley – Massachusetts 7th District
  • Rashida Tlaib – Michigan 13th District
  • Ilhan Omar – Minnesota 5th District
  • Kara Eastman – Nebraska 2nd District
  • Deb Haaland – New Mexico 1st District
  • Antonio Delgado – New York 19th District
  • Dana Balter – New York 24th District
  • Nydia Velazquez – New York 7th District
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – New York 14th District
  • Scott Wallace – Pennsylvania 1st District
  • Jess King – Pennsylvania 11th District
  • Leslie Cockburn – Virginia 5th District
  • Pramila Jayapal – Washington 7th District
  • Mark Pocan – Wisconsin 2nd District

Statewide and Local Races

  • Christa Yoakum – Nebraska Public Service Commission
  • Steve Fischmann – New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
  • Stephanie Garcia Richards – Land Commissioner of New Mexico
  • Anita Earls – North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Katy Eymann – Coos County (Oregon) Commission
### More than a non-profit news outlet, a galvanizing force for those who believe in a better world.

Common Dreams provides daily news and opinion from around the globe, but our deeper mission is to be a galvanizing force for the millions of brave people around the world who believe in a more sustainable, just, and beautiful world — and are committed to achieving it. Funded solely by our readers and allies who believe in our mission, if you can support our work today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Won’t Exist.

$15 $27$50 $100Other

Friends of the Earth Action provides extra political muscle on legislative battles here in the U.S. to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, which is part of a network of affiliates in 76 nations around the world. Friends of the Earth Action and its affiliated PAC make thoughtful political endorsements, provide direct support to candidates and place environmentalists in the field on critical campaigns.

Out of towners host meeting to convince Graton neighbors their industrial cannabis project is great

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:09
graton cannabis grow poster Out of towners host meeting to convince Graton neighbors their industrial cannabis project is great FROM (FAW) Friends of Atascadero Wetlands: There are several actions to take at this point. First familiarize yourself with the issue with this link to the plans: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A24ee04ba-59a1-4c19-b2bc-8a867bee1dc8 This is a link to all the documentation that goes with the plans: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A3df39599-7c1d-4f88-8f49-d09e1518dc01 The planner will now create a report that he will submit to Permit Sonoma and then a public hearing before the Planning Commission will be scheduled. Send comments to: srosen@migcom.com Finally, there is a pdf flyer attached that you can print in color or black and white and hand out to neighbors or on the trail. The applicants will be lobbying Saturday 10-2 with cookies and a table at the farm gate at the end of Railroad Street. Feel free to stop by and let them know how you feel about their proposal.

8.5X11 Poster Final 4

 

Sonoma County supervisors OK recreational cannabis sales but limit pot growing

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:48

Out of towners creating angst in Graton……meeting to be held in Graton on Saturday to convince locals to approve industrial operation next to wetlands, water scarce area, public trails, child day care center and neighborhood.


Sonoma County supervisors OK recreational cannabis sales but limit pot growing

JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | October 16, 2018, 7:45PM

Expand

Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday voted to allow recreational sales to begin at marijuana dispensaries as early as mid-November and limited most pot-growing farms to properties at least 10 acres or larger.

The size requirement eliminates more than 5,100 properties previously eligible for cannabis cultivation, county staff said.

This action and other rules for the newly regulated cannabis industry are the latest in a series of amendments to the ordinance governing marijuana cultivation, sales, production and other commercial activities outside city limits. This process began nearly two years ago to establish local regulations for a cannabis industry that previously operated either in the black market or under the state’s loosely defined medical marijuana laws.

But the most pressing issue that emerged during Tuesday’s meeting was not on the agenda for county supervisors to consider: A newly proposed cannabis cultivation project near a portion of the West County Regional Trail in Graton. The proposal drew about two dozen residents from the unincorporated community north of Sebastopol who expressed outrage by the prospect of a large marijuana farm in the bucolic community and adjacent to the regional park bicycle thoroughfare.

“It’s the scale and location of the operation I’m opposed to,” said Joe Howard, a resident on Railroad Street, a dead-end lane where the project is proposed. “I voted for cultivation in Sonoma County where appropriate.”

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said she was surprised to learn setbacks required between cannabis operations and parks don’t apply to the county’s trail system for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“Sometimes applications bring up policy concerns and we can address that through policy solutions,” Hopkins said.

The outcry echoed complaints from other areas of the county where people establishing cannabis farms — in the open for the first time — are met with neighbors balking at the smell and public safety considerations that come with the plant, still illegal under federal law.

Continues here

The ultimate “I don’t give a damn do you….” Trump administration mulls plan to turn West Coast military bases into coal export ports

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:38
SWAMP WATCH Since when is paying back political donors “national security”? Forest Gump, “you can’t fix stupid”. Daily Kos: Trump administration mulls plan to turn West Coast military bases into coal export ports

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, Team Trump comes up with a new plan so incredibly ridiculous and malevolent that it actually manages to surprise you. This time, it’s a new proposal to use West Coast military bases as … government-run coal export centers.

No, really. Because West Coast states have put steep environmental requirements on new would-be coal terminals, the Trump Administration proposal is, Eff it, we’ll just start our own coal ports on military bases where nobody can do a damn thing about it! The almost comically crooked Ryan Zinke, still heading the Interior Department mostly because twenty other Trump scandals have overwhelmed his own in recent months, is bold in attempting to justify it as a national security concern.

“I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California,” Zinke said. “But also, it’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities.”

So every U.S. naval officer on the West Coast will have to show up to work each day with a bucket of coal to put on the pile, or something, lest our nation be imperiled by a lack of coal elsewhere in the world? Not quite; the first site being mentioned is the mostly abandoned Naval Air Facility Adak in the Aleutian Islands, but Zinke suggests it’s only the first of several to be used up and down the Pacific coast. The other planned sites are as of yet undisclosed.

There are approximately fifty reasons why this is Deeply And Amazingly Stupid and will probably not go anywhere, unless Ryan Zinke and cohorts go to some rather amazing lengths to force it into being out of pure spite. The first is that there are very few suitable sites to begin with; deep-water ports are difficult to come by on the West Coast. The second is that you would have to get the flippin’ coal to the military bases to begin with, which presumably still means sending enormous amounts of rail traffic through places that will still want a say in how that happens. The third is that the long-term export market for coal continues to look quite grim, even if Ryan Zinke and his coal-state buddies commandeer American military bases as free real estate for shipping the stuff. This would be a stopgap at best, a way to squeeze a few more pennies out of an industry doomed to extinction by free-market forces, regardless of what Trump’s allies do.

Also, setting aside the astonishing corruption of it all, the glib merger of military and corporate interests represented by such a move would be, ahem, astonishing, even in this climate.

Nonetheless, there seems to be genuine interest in this plan among Republicans of the coal-producing states, partly as sop to a still-powerful lobbying industry, and partly as a way to screw with less-Republican states just for the sake of doing so.

“That might be, for example, retired military facilities or other places where we would be able to use those for exports — frankly, to get around some of the unreasonable obstacles that have been thrown up,” [Wyoming Republican and personification of malevolence Liz Cheney] said.

Wyoming and Montana Republicans may be playing the long game here: Temporarily obstructed from selling coal through western ports, Plan B will be to screw the planet so severely as to make the Pacific Ocean come to them, Rocky Mountains or no. The notion that Trump, Zinke, and the rest of the corrupt crew could manage to repurpose coastal military bases as coal export centers without facing a wave of coastal voter opposition that would strip every last remaining local Republican from power for approximately Forever, however, is a dicey one. The Republican Party is running out of Americans it can afford to piss off.

Comments and original article:

 

Food & Water Watch Sues over water bill, “We’re suing in CA over shady $11B water deal!”

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:30
Food & Water Watch Sues: “We’re suing in CA over shady $11B water deal!”

For over five years, we’ve been fighting every step of the way, with you by our side, to stop Jerry Brown from making Californians pay for his massive water tunnels that will mainly benefit corporate agribusinesses.

And even though Governor Brown colluded with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to approve an $11 billion downpayment for the tunnels earlier this year, the fight isn’t over.

Not only is Metropolitan’s funding committment for the Delta tunnels a huge waste of SoCal resident dollars — it’s also illegal. That’s why we’re suing the Metropolitan Water District.

Give to Food & Water Watch today to fuel our legal fight against Brown’s shady corporate water tunnels scheme!

We found that the approved Metropolitan funding violates taxpayer protection provisions in Propositions 26 and 13 of California’s constitution.1

Proposition 26 makes it unconstitutional for water ratepayers and taxpayers to subsidize out-of-district water users — including agribusinesses — and Proposition 13 requires a two-thirds approval from voters before property taxes can be raised — which is exactly what Metropolitan plans on doing in addition to rate hikes! 

Metropolitan’s financing blatantly violates Prop 26 by sticking Southern Californians with most of the bill for Brown’s multi-billion dollar tunnels project that will mainly benefit corporate agribusinesses in Kern County.

Donate to support our ongoing fight against Brown’s backhand attempts to force the cost of his corporate water tunnels on California residents!

Californians deserve real water solutions, not corporate schemes proposed by sell-out politicians.

Invalidating the funding secured by Metropolitan will be a massive blow to the financial viability of the project. Help us win this legal battle so we can try to bury this project once and for all!

From our fights in the California legislature to protect people from water shutoffs to our fight in the courts, we look forward to continue working with you to disrupt corporate water schemes and ensure that Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable water.

Donate to fuel our legal fight!

Onward together,

Adam Scow
California Director
Food & Water Watch

1. Watchdogs Sue Methropolitan Water District Over Delta Tunnel Financing, Maven’s Notebook, September 10, 2018.

We’ll never take money from the corporations that got us into this mess. Not one cent. 
Food & Water Watch is powered by people like YOU. Donate

Jim Woods SB 901 and PD endorsement

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:14

Note: PD is also endorsing Prop 3 water bond, one of the very few in the state supporting Prop 3 boondoggle on taxpayers which will short change education, health and more.

PD Staff

I was not surprised, but was disappointed, with the PD’s support for
Jim Wood, et al, for (in your words) for delivering the goods in
wildfire response (with the approval of SB 901)
My disappointment arises from some misplaced expectation that PD
staff would actually put some effort into assessing the issue of what
goods were actually delivered.

The forest management aspect of SB 901 was written and supported by
industry that allows for the cutting of larger trees that are not a
source of fuel ladder or load causing wildfire threat.  With
questions of how really to manage wildfire fuel load reduction – the
issue is quite open as to what resources are to be expended, where
they will be expended, and how this is to be managed and paid
for.  In my mind (and it will probably be proven to be) this is just
another government screw up – due haste and a lack of study and
planning (supported by experts) that is needed.

Funds supporting such operations are not necessarily in place.  The
State (it is not clear which agency – Calfire or the Air Resources
Board) must complete GHG analysis before funds are available.
And…the “mandated” 200 million to be spent each year needs to be
parceled out across the State.

Additionally, as I had mentioned, any such fuel load reduction work
in fire prone chaparral/grassland/mixed conifer areas would need to
be periodic – as there is rapid regeneration in these areas. Any such
work will need to be assessed and managed so as not to produce
negative water quality effects – flooding and erosion. Little effort is being put into community planning for areas of
wildfire risk. There are many areas that already developed in such
wildfire risk areas.  The idea of protecting these areas with
greenbelts is economically and physically impossible.  There is not
enough money to support Greenbelts and they will provide little help
in the face of a moving fire pushed by 70 mph winds. So what goods were actually delivered and will anything effective
really occur?  Possibly the PD might look into that question.   Do
your research – before you report.

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group

Mom’s Across America: No Safe Levels

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:48
Mom’s Across America and Food Integrity Now have been on a mission to test levels of glyphosate in our food and environment. Here is their latest release of wine residues. There are no safe levels. Gallo, Barefoot and Sutter Home had highest rates. Please visit their websites to see all the products tested in professional labs and their results. https://foodintegritynow.org/no-safe-levels/ Welcome to No Safe Levels. This page was created to assist you in understanding why there are no safe levels of glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp), and it’s other generic brands such as Ranger Pro and Rodeo, in your food, drink or water. Studies have shown that small amounts of glyphosate at even I part per trillion (1 ppt) which is the equivalent of 1 drop in 22 olympic-sized swimming pools, was shown in a study to cause the growth of breast cancer cells, and 1 part per billion (1 ppb) of glyphosate was shown in a study to cause kidney and liver damage, reproductive damage, and other ill health effects. Glyphosate has been shown in a study to cause fatty liver disease at very low levels. Again, there are NO SAFE LEVELS. Over 3188 foods tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency compiled by Tony Mitra in the book “Poison Foods of North America” show us that the highest contamination of glyphosate (Roundup herbicide) is not in GMO corn and soy as we would expect, but in numerous non GMO crops that are commonly found in “healthy” foods such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free foods. These non-organic foods are highly contaminated with this carcinogen, neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and antibiotic that causes liver disease because glyphosate herbicides are often sprayed as a drying agent on grains, beans and legume crops. Test Results of Wine

WINE

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for full pdf report of wine testing.

 

Prop. 3 promises more California water projects.

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:11
Prop. 3 promises more California water projects. Too bad so many are the wrong projects By The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board September 24, 2018 05:00 AM The Friant-Kern Canal is sinking as part of the San Joaquin Valley floor collapse because of excessive groundwater pumping during the drought. Proposition 3 includes money to repair the canal. Craig Kohlruss Fresno Bee We must do more to protect the future of California’s water, but that doesn’t mean just pumping in more money without making sure the investments will have widespread benefits for the public. Proposition 3 – the $8.9 billion bond on the Nov. 6 ballot – fails that test. Voters should say “no.” The measure promises money for quite a few local agencies, nonprofits, private water companies and others, which is great for them. It’s not clear, however, that these are the projects that California needs most right now, or that they couldn’t get the money elsewhere. For example, clean drinking water is an urgent issue , with more than 1 million Californians potentially exposed to unsafe water. But Proposition 3 isn’t the solution. Only $750 million is specifically aimed at safe drinking water and wastewater disposal in poor communities, mainly in the Central Valley. Another big strike against Proposition 3: It doesn’t call for as much oversight as many previous statewide water bond issues. For instance, the California Water Commission required storage projects seeking money from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond approved in 2014, to prove they had public benefits, such as flood control, recreation and environmental improvements. While supporters of the Sites reservoir and other projects chafed, it made their proposals stronger. By contrast, the Proposition 3 money would continuously flow into more than a dozen different state departments, which would pass on the dollars in the form of grants, according to the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office . Opponents, led by the Sierra Club, make a compelling case that Proposition 3 amounts to “pay to play.” Some beneficiaries – including a who’s who of agriculture companies and trade associations – are the biggest contributors to “yes” campaign committees, which have raised well more than $4 million so far. And although he isn’t publicizing his opposition, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is among the critics of Proposition 3 because of what his office calls a lack of oversight, an absence of statewide priorities and a surplus of special interest projects for Central Valley agriculture. Besides the bonds, the measure also would directly benefit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Contra Costa Water District, the San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority and the state Department of Water Resources by giving them state cap-and-trade revenue to offset higher electricity costs. The LAO says that could total tens of millions of dollars a year. Since 2000, voters have approved about $3 1 billion in general obligation bonds for water and environmental projects, the LAO says. As of June, about one-third was still available, including $4 billion that was in Proposition 68, approved by voters in June and put together by the Legislature after public hearings. Proposition 3 would authorize general obligation bonds that would be repaid out of the state’s general fund. If all the bonds are sold, it would take an average of $430 million a year for 40 years to pay them off. Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made it a priority to reduce the state’s debt and put money into reserves to prepare for the next recession, is staying neutral on this measure. Jerry Meral, a former Brown administration water official, crafted Proposition 3. He says Proposition 68 didn’t go far enough, and says that opponents are trying to pit agriculture against urban water users and environmental groups. The measure divides the money into six major categories: watersheds and water quality; water supply; fish and wildlife habitat; water infrastructure; groundwater; and flood protection. There are important projects on the list, including $750 million to repair the federal Madera and Friant-Kern canals, so it’s understandable why many Central Valley groups back Proposition 3. But this is not how water spending should be done in California. While the state’s water politics and finances are immensely complicated, they come down to who pays and who benefits. On Proposition 3, all taxpayers would have to repay the bonds. But the list of beneficiaries is far smaller – not enough to deserve voters’ support. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/election-endorsements/article218816280.html

Chronicle recommends: No on state Prop. 3

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:01
Chronicle recommends: No on state Prop. 3

Chronicle editorial board Sep. 10, 2018 Updated: Sep. 10, 2018 1:52 p.m.        

California voters may be wondering why they are looking at an $8.9 billion water bond on the Nov. 6 ballot. They may be asking: Didn’t we just approve a $4 billion bond in June? Why are our elected officials coming back for more?

The short answer: They aren’t.

Unlike the recently passed bond, Proposition 3 did not go through the legislative process. Its $430 million in annual spending commitments over the next four decades will not need to go through the annual legislative budgeting cycle to ensure that the funds are going where the voters intended. This scheme was devised as an initiative that is being funded, in part, by individuals and entities that are going to be receiving a share of the bond money. The pay-to-play aspect in itself should give voters ample reason to reject Prop. 3.

There are also good policy reasons to vote no.

One of the egregious examples cited by the Sierra Club, which opposes the initiative, is the $750 million for repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal. As the environmental organization noted, the damage was caused by subsidence caused by overpumping of aquifers. Such costs are traditionally covered by the beneficiaries. Instead, Prop. 3 shifts the burden to taxpayers.

As the Sierra Club acknowledged, the measure does include some worthwhile projects to ensure safe drinking water, habitat protection and watershed and fisheries improvements. But it also could result in funding of new or raised dams and agribusiness subsidies that many environmentalists loathe.

Voters defeated a similarly constructed pay-to-pay scheme by the architect of this measure, Gerald Meral, in 2002. That scheme (Proposition 51, rejected by 58.2 percent) would have diverted 30 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue from vehicle sales and leases into a fund distributed outside the normal budgeting process, showering largesse on big contributors to the campaign.

This is no way to spend taxpayer dollars. Voters should reject Prop. 3 on both principle and substance.

Occupy Sonoma County film showing The Reluctant Radical Thurs. Nov. 8, 7 PM Arlene Francis Center

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 09:36

Occupy Sonoma County film showing The Reluctant Radical Thurs. Nov. 8, 7 PM Arlene Francis Center\

The Arlene Francis Center presents an Occupy Sonoma County showing of

The Reluctant Radical
Thursday, November 8, 7-9 PM
Arlene Francis Center
99 6th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Free with donations welcome

If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary?
THE RELUCTANT RADICAL follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change.
The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling­­ even if that means breaking the law.

Join our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/470513523437282
For more information contact OccupySonomaCounty.org or call 707-877-6650 (website contact is preferred)

Occupy Sonoma County embraces the egalitarian, deep democracy principles of the Occupy Movement with a regional strategy for effectively organizing countywide social justice campaigns that are globally relevant.

To remove a secondary email address reply to this email with the word ‘duplicate’ in the subject line.
To be removed from the OSC mailing list, reply to this email with the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line and include a brief explanation such as ‘moved away’.

 

 

Pork would rain from water bond

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 09:26
PD supporting this because of wine industry over pumping here? This bill make taxpayers subsidize water over use by big ag. “The Fresno Bee and Santa Rosa Press Democrat are the only major newspapers with a “thumbs up” on Proposition 3, with the latter acknowledging that it is a close call. I assume that the Bakersfield Californian will also endorse Proposition 3. How could it not? Kern County is at the receiving end of the Friant-Kern Canal, a canal out of alignment because of overpumping by area farmers, who not averse to taxpayer subsidies either. ”      CAPITOL JOURNAL Pork would rain from water bond

george.skelton@latimes.com

PROPOSITION 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot would authorize the largest water bond in California history, $8.9 billion. It offers a nice gift for almost everyone, especially eastern San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Katie Falkenberg Los Angeles Times)

GEORGE SKELTON in sacramento:

Call it a Christmas tree or a candy shop, Proposition 3 has a nice gift for almost everyone, especially eastern San Joaquin Valley farmers.

The Nov. 6 ballot initiative would authorize the largest water bond in California history, $8.9 billion. Add in $8.4 billion for interest payments and the total reaches $17.3 billion. That’s $430 million annually for 40 years.

Proposition 3 is the product of a classic pay-to-play operation. It’s probably not what Gov. Hiram Johnson envisioned when he and Progressive reformers created California’s direct democracy system more than a century ago.

Those reforms included the initiative, referendum and recall. The idea was to empower citizens to fight special interests — not to provide the interests with another tool to buy themselves public benefits.

Under pay to play, an initiative creator shops his draft proposal to interest groups, trolling for financial backing. Interests that donate to the cost of collecting voter signatures and the election campaign usually buy themselves a share of the initiative’s benefits. It’s a good investment. Roughly 80% of state bond measures pass.

There’s also a version of pay to play in every legislative body in America. It’s old-fashioned pork barrel politics, a sort of “pay to vote” extortion. A legislator demands a special carve-out for his district in exchange for his vote.

In 2009, the California Legislature passed a water bond so bloated with pork that lawmakers were too embarrassed and fearful to even place it on the ballot. It totaled $11.1 billion and was saturated with such extraneous lard as bike trails, “watershed education centers” and money for a Lake Tahoe water taxi.

Finally in 2014, the Legislature — motivated by common sense and a devastating drought — passed a more modest, relatively pork-free $7.5-billion water bond that voters overwhelmingly approved.

Last year, the Legislature passed a water and parks bond — held down to $4.1 billion by Gov. Jerry Brown — and voters approved it in June.

Neither the governor nor the Legislature thought a third water bond in four years was practical or prudent. But Jerry Meral, a veteran water expert, environmentalist and pay-to-play practitioner, thought otherwise and devised Proposition 3.

The campaign had raised $4.7 million as of Oct. 1. There has been no opposition money.

Agriculture has been a major bankroller — nut orchards, fruit trees, dairies, rice.

Also kicking in big have been bird hunters and watchers — Ducks Unlimited, the California Waterfowl Assn. — and the California Wildlife Foundation. Some wetlands would be restored under the proposal.

Environmentalists are split. The Nature Conservancy supports the measure. The Sierra Club opposes it.

“A lot of the money is going to a few big farming interests in the Central Valley,” asserts Kathryn Phillips, the Sierra Club director in California.

Opponents are especially bothered by a $750-million expenditure to repair the federally owned Friant-Kern and Madera canals between Fresno and Bakersfield.

Two problems, critics say:

First, the canals aren’t working right because they’ve sunk. And the land has sunk because farmers have over-pumped groundwater, causing major subsidence. Growers caused their own problem. Now they want the whole state to pony up to solve it.

Historically, water projects are funded on the basis of beneficiary pay. Water users pay through their monthly bills. Proposition 3 would undo that policy for these two broken canals.

Second problem: The federal government owns the canals and should be responsible for fixing them — not the state.

“In the age of Trump, California taxpayers are going to fix a federal project? It’s just mind-boggling,” says Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), who wrote the cleaned-up $7.5-billion water bond in 2014 and strongly opposes Proposition 3.

Meral answers: “The federal government has been a little bit missing in action in California. It will be an unmitigated catastrophe if those canals aren’t fixed. We just can’t let them go. An agricultural water supply means we have a food supply.”

Not just “we” have the supply, however. California growers export much of their produce overseas. Maybe the whole world should kick in with repair dough if all Californians are expected to.

Actually, there are many good things on this loaded Christmas tree — money for purifying water for drinking, flood protection, dam repairs, recycling, desalination and habitat restoration.

An expenditure I especially like is $80 million to finally tear down Matilija Dam on the Ventura River near Ojai. It was built when I was a kid. My steelhead-fishing dad predicted it would silt up. Steelhead runs soon ceased because the oceangoing trout lost their spawning beds. And the reservoir sure enough filled up with silt and became utterly useless.

The question is whether all these projects are needed right now and are cost-effective. There seemed to be no prioritizing.

“It’s garbage — nothing but pet projects,” Rendon says. “It’s the old way of doing business. Cynical politics, what people don’t like.”

In the other legislative chamber, however, state Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) supports the measure. Her district would make out well under Proposition 3. “It will increase reliable water supply in my district and across the state,” Atkins said in an email to me.

One crucial flaw in the initiative is that the Legislature would have no say over the bond program’s operation. No legislative oversight. The money would be spent unchecked by state agencies.

 

Voters should resist Proposition 3. And the next Legislature should devise a more modest plan with less candy.

 

george.skelton@latimes.com

 

 

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Newsom on Prop 3: Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 18:45
We agree with a growing number of environmental groups who oppose Prop 3. There is not enough oversight of funds and too little for conservation and environmental action. See “No on Prop 3”. Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected

By

If Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is elected governor as expected, he’ll keep building the state’s two contentious public works projects: the bullet train and twin water tunnels. But he’ll scale back both.

He’ll be more cautious, realistic and practical about the super-expensive projects than termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.

Newsom will concentrate on completing a high-speed rail line from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The southern half of the ambitious project, from the valley into Los Angeles, will be delayed until the initial line proves to be financially feasible and can attract more money from taxpayers or private investors.

As for the embattled water project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Newsom will try to reduce its size to one tunnel. That would ease northern fears of a Southern California water grab.

The Democratic front-runner and his underdog rival, Republican businessman John Cox, competed in a debate Monday. But the train, tunnels and other vital state issues weren’t raised. So I called Newsom and he phoned back.

I also called and emailed Cox, but neither the candidate nor his staff responded. He previously has said he’d kill both big projects.

Who won the debate? No one. The event was so obscure it might as well not have happened. Unfortunately, it will be the only gubernatorial debate before election day. Tough luck for voters, who want to hear more from the candidates.

Newsom is adhering to the front-runners’ common playbook: Minimize debates and don’t give your underdog opponent a free public forum. And don’t risk a debate when you could say something really stupid and lose votes.

This debate wasn’t even televised. It was on public radio at 10 o’clock in the morning — after the rush when commuters might have been listening — on a Monday, Columbus Day. The radio station, KQED in San Francisco, made the debate available statewide for any broadcaster that wanted it.

More from George Skelton »

Cox shouldn’t complain. He could have had a televised debate in primetime but screwed up. CNN wanted to host a Q&A and Newsom initially agreed. But Cox demanded that the questions be limited to certain subjects. Newsom objected. And CNN pulled out.

The sole debate can be summarized this way: Newsom repeatedly accused Cox of being a lackey for “Trump and Trumpism.” Cox consistently charged that Newsom had “been in government 16 years and hasn’t done much.”

Actually, not doing much if anything is the official job description for lieutenant governor. Newsom also was San Francisco’s mayor for seven years, and Cox blamed him for the city’s homeless problem. Of course, homelessness is rampant in cities all over California where Newsom was never mayor.

Times reporters Phil Willon and Dakota Smith wrote a comprehensive story about the debate in Tuesday’s paper and you can look that up. I wanted to ask the candidates questions that weren’t asked. Newsom agreed, Cox didn’t.

Coverage of California politics »

On the $77-billion bullet train, which is way behind schedule with a ticket price more than double original projections: The plan a few years ago was “unrealistic and we weren’t being honest and transparent about the project,” Newsom told me. But he thinks that has changed.

He’s optimistic that the line from the San Joaquin Valley to Silicon Valley can be built. That would allow tech workers to live affordably in Merced or Modesto and commute to well-paying jobs near San Jose.

“It’s not a train to nowhere,” Newsom said. “It’s insulting to suggest the Central Valley is nowhere. This is an economic development project, connecting the fastest growing and most dynamic economic regions in the country. That project is achievable and realistic.

“The second phase [boring through the Tehachapi Mountains to Los Angeles] is an open-ended question.”

On the $17-billion monstrous twin tunnels under the delta that would siphon fresh Sacramento River water into aqueducts headed mainly to Southern California, Newsom said:

“I’d like to see a more modest proposal, but I’m not going to walk away. Doing nothing is not an option…. The status quo is not helping salmon.”

How modest? “A single tunnel.” With less capacity, he continued, northerners might have some “trust” that the dominant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wouldn’t get too greedy.

“Mark my word,” Newsom said. “If I’m [elected], this is going to be on my front burner from Day 1. I’m going to come in with a fresh set of ideas on both projects.”

full article

 

ECHOWATCH: Glyphosate Sprayed on GMO Crops Linked to Lake Erie’s Toxic

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 18:16

Russian River has suffered from toxic algae blooms also. California Dept. of Pesticide Regulations shows Sonoma County using 77, 788 pounds of concentrated glyphosate (Round Up) in 2015.

“Our research is finding that Roundup is getting into the watershed at peak farming application times, particularly in the spring,” McKay said.

Approximately 1,000 metric tonnes (about 2.2 million pounds) of Roundup is applied in the Lake Erie watershed per year, and it is being detected in adjacent waterways particularly in the spring, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted from McKay and Bullerjahn’s study.”

Glyphosate Sprayed on GMO Crops Linked to Lake Erie’s Toxic

by Loraine Chow

 

A dead fish surrounded by algae in Lake Erie during a record-setting algae bloom in 2011. Tom Archer / NOAA

Glyphosate, the controversial main ingredient in Monsanto‘s Roundup and other herbicides, is being connected to Lake Erie’s troubling algae blooms, which has fouled drinking water and suffocated and killed marine life in recent years.

Phosphorus—attributed to farm runoff carried by the Maumee River—has long been identified as a leading culprit feeding the excessive blooms in the western Lake Erie basin. Now, according to a new study from chemistry professor Christopher Spiese, a significant correlation has been established between the increased use of glyphosate to the percentage of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in the runoff.

As No-Till Farmer observed from the study, DRP loads in Lake Erie increased in the mid-1990s at the same time that farmers began the widespread cultivation of crops genetically engineered to withstand multiple applications of Roundup.

“For every acre of Roundup Ready soybeans and corn that you plant, it works out to be about one-third of a pound of P [phosphorus] coming down the Maumee,” Spiese told the agricultural publication.

Here’s how the team came to the conclusion, as No-Till Farmer reported:

Through his own and others’ research, Spiese found that depending on the types of metal in the soil, glyphosate does release P. For example, when glyphosate is applied to soil containing iron oxide-hydroxide, P is immediately released. But almost nothing is removed when it’s an iron oxide material.

Finally, Spiese took soil samples all over the Maumee watershed, applied P to them and then sprayed glyphosate to see how much P was released vs. soil that wasn’t sprayed with glyphosate after 24 hours. He saw desorption occurred all over the watershed, but certain areas were higher than others, specifically in the southeastern corner.

Based on the average two glyphosate applications growers make every year, Spiese estimates that overall, 20-25 percent of the DRP runoff is caused by glyphosate. But depending on the location within the watershed, that percentage could be much lower or much greater.

“Some of those sites, it’s less than a percent. Other sites it’s almost 100 percent,” he says.

Previous studies have tied glyphosate to the phosphorous fueling Lake Erie’s blue-green algae. In 2009, Ohio Sea Grant researchers, Drs. R. Michael McKay and George Bullerjahn of Bowling Green State University, found that glyphosate could only be detected in the lake at certain times of year—after crops are planted.

“Our research is finding that Roundup is getting into the watershed at peak farming application times, particularly in the spring,” McKay said.

Approximately 1,000 metric tonnes (about 2.2 million pounds) of Roundup is applied in the Lake Erie watershed per year, and it is being detected in adjacent waterways particularly in the spring, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted from McKay and Bullerjahn’s study.

The researchers also found that the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in the lake are capable of using phosophonates.

Harmful Lake Erie blooms have increased at record levels over the last decade, according to the U.S. EPA and are expected to become more common due to warmer temperatures and heavy rainfall that feed algae growth. The toxic algae rob oxygen from the waters creating dead zones where fish and other marine life are unable to survive. The algae is also a threat to humans—swallowing it can cause health problems such as rashes, vomiting, numbness and difficulty breathing.

In February this year, the U.S. and Canada announced a goal to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering affected areas of Lake Erie by a total of 40 percent by 2025.

“It turns out that many cyanobacteria present in Lake Erie have the genes allowing the uptake of phosphonates, and these cyanobacteria can grow using glyphosate and other phosphonates as a sole source of phosphorus,” Bullerjahn said.

Eyeing Landmark Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case, Vietnam Demands Monsanto Be Held Liable Over Agent Orange

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 18:00
Eyeing Landmark Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case, Vietnam Demands Monsanto Be Held Liable Over Agent Orange

“We believe Monsanto should be responsible for compensating Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange for the damages caused by the company’s herbicides”

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

19 Comments

A man wears a shirt calling for justice for Agent Orange victims during the March Against Monsanto in San Francisco on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

In the wake of a U.S. court ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to man who says its weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer, Vietnam has called on the agrichemical giant to pay reparations to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

“This case is a precedent that rejects previous arguments that the herbicides supplied to the U.S. military by Monsanto and other U.S. chemical companies during the Vietnam War are not harmful to people’s health,” spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Phuong Tra said to reporters last week.

“We believe Monsanto should be responsible for compensating Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange for the damages caused by the company’s herbicides,” she said.

Monsanto, now a unit of Bayer, was one of the manufacturers of Agent Orange. The U.S. dumped roughly 45 million liters of the notorious compound, which contained dioxin, on Vietnam during the war, unleashing “a slow-onset disaster whose devastating economic, health, and ecological impacts … are still being felt today.”  With its long-lasting impacts on the Vietnamese, as well as U.S. service-members, it’s been called “one of the most tragic legacies of the war.”  

Viet Nam News reported Sunday that the Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), which is working for justice on behalf of roughly 3 million Vietnamese affected by the chemical warfare, is also hopeful given the new verdict.

“No matter how difficult and prolonged this case might be, we won’t ever give up on it, for the sake of the millions of Vietnamese victims,” said Quách Thành Vinh, VAVA’s chief of office and director of liaison lawyers office.

Former U.S. school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who’s suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, secured his legal victory against Monsanto on Aug. 10. CNN reported that the ruling “could set a massive precedent for thousands of other cases claiming Monsanto’s famous herbicide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Monsanto has said it is appealing the verdict.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Board of Supervisors and cannabis regulations hearing tomorrow, Oct. 13th

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:34
It’s official (for now). We get two minutes at the podium according to Clerk Darin Bartow. Time your presentations. Need to get it in the public record for possible future litigation so have a paper copy to turn in.

Neighborhoods unite on cannabis grow impacts to their neighborhoods.  Hearing is tomorrow in the Board of Supervisors hearing. Be sure and fill out a speaker card if you want to be heard.

Neighbors have alot of points. Here are some to consider.

EVALUATION OF CANNABIS LAND USE ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS – 10/16/18

 

          Hold a public hearing and at the conclusion of the hearing:

1. Adopt an Ordinance amending Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code to allow adult use cannabis businesses, enhance neighborhood compatibility (addressing this issue is noticeably absent in the Staff document), harmonize with State cannabis laws where appropriate, and make other minor amendments.

2. Adopt a Resolution finding the Ordinance is consistent with the General Plan and Area Plans and determining exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act. The redline document is very flawed. Please refer to Debby Eppstein’s analysis for details. There are glaring omissions. For example, the definition of “sensitive spots” which neighborhood groups had asked to be clarified and expanded to “places where children gather” so as to include school bus stops and the like has been truncated. Pre-schools have been dropped from the definition altogether.

   As directed by the Board of Supervisors and recommended by the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee and the Planning Commission, the County proposes to amend the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance to accomplish the following:

1. Require a minimum lot size of 10 acres for all commercial cannabis cultivation operations in agricultural and resource zones (LIA, LEA, DA, and RRD);

      Support. No ministerial permits should be entertained for cannabis cultivation. ZP’s should not appear in the table/chart. Certainly, no-one will be applying for a ministerial permit to only grow medical marijuana. It does not pencil out. Will this flaw in the application process be a method for growers to pretend they are growing for medical and in the chaos of this transition period successfully sell product to the adult use market? How will it be determined that all the product goes only to medical? Effectively monitoring and enforcing this process will measurably impact the County’s workload.

2. Add new setback of 600 feet from schools for indoor cultivation in agricultural and resource zones; Support, and add language to include all areas where children are present.

 

  1. Allow reduction to the setback from public parks with a use permit (discretionary permit) under certain circumstances;   No change should be    made to the current ordinance re: setbacks from public parks. Retain the   measurements from property line of the park to the property line of the parcel. Oppose the addition of an optional means to reduce the setback through a use permit. The use permit process would require additional analysis and time of a department that already has a 40% vacancy. The project planner, presumably, would make a judgement when asked to ascertain an “equivalent physical separation” …surely a subjective, ill-defined and time-consuming task. Moreover, the final decision could vary from planner to planner.

It would be more appropriate for the Regional Parks Director to examine the application beforehand and do a pre-evaluation before the grower is deep into the permit process. It is inappropriate for Regional Parks to have input only at the end during the referral process. It is also unfair to the applicant. Everyone knows that the grower and Staff will devise “mitigations” that correct and support the project after it has reached that stage. Please note two glaring omissions: The issue of odor is not listed as one of the items to be considered nor is the issue of who will speak for the State parks addressed. Furthermore, many of our parks are accessed by roads that do not meet the fire safe requirements; thus postponing a more thorough analysis of this setback reduction option should be in Phase 2 where the issue of fire safe roads will be studied.

This proposed amendment is not of immediate concern and could easily be moved into Phase 2 giving time for more study and refinement of the flaws in this amendment.

4.  Allow adult use/recreational cannabis operations with a use permit (discretionary permit), including dispensaries; No opinion

  1. Extend the term of new cannabis permits to 5 years with a use permit (discretionary permit);  Oppose. Until the Ordinance is revised to an acceptable manner and all controls in place to manage cultivating operations, permit terms should not be extended. This proposal will only lead to confusion as the ordinance evolves and is revised.  Having long term permits right now will lead to permits with varying requirements. Early permits very well could be based on soon to be defunct code and law. County Staff may end up with different code applied to different permits. Once the Ordinance is revised there may very well be changes in setbacks, adjacency, and concentration parameters. A multi-year permit would either prevent implementation of neighborhood compatibility issues or would cause revocation of such a multi-year permit, being unfair to growers.

The current renewal process is not at all onerous. The Cannabis Program Director estimates it takes as little as three months and only requires filling out a form, a visit from a planner and modest fees. Only if there is a change in the project, would additional reports need to be done.

What is important and would be lost if the five year permit is adopted, is the ability of the County to ensure there is tax compliance and code compliance. Do we really want to put such considerations off for a five year period? The State has a one year license term. Currently 50% of Sonoma County growers do not have a State License and cannot sell product legally. Do not make a bad situation worse. Align with State.

  1. Allow changes to the permit holder and/or operator for all cannabis land use permits (similar to other land use permits) and require notification in the event of a change; Revision No. 20170501-1    Oppose. Continue 1-year permits with easy administrative renewal for cultivators who do not have neighborhood or code enforcement issues, allowing an easy path for good growers and easy removal of problem growers. Transfer of permits is forbidden in the State regulations. This is analogous to liquor or medical licenses, which clearly and rightly are not able to be transferred with the premises. How will the transfer take place if there has been a change in the Ordinance? Will all transfers be considered “grandfathered” to the earlier ordinance or will the new ordinance revision be applied? This will just lead to selling permits, no matter how the County words it. Again, it will require further oversight that will stretch County Staff.
  1.  Allow 25% additional area for propagation to support onsite cultivation with a use permit;   Oppose. The additional 25% allowance should be put on hold. The County will eventually move to tax by dry weight or sales and the end result of a decision now will be that the grower has 25% more cultivation space. Recommend no additional change at this time and revisit when taxes are accessed differently.

NOTE: Expanding growing by allowing 25% more for propagation is a significant expansion of the scope of the program. The prior CEQA exemption was based on the theory that permitting of commercial cannabis in the County would not increase impacts because the County would merely be transitioning existing grows. That is not what has occurred. There has been an expansion and the environmental benefit of reducing impacts from illegal grows has not occurred. Allowing a categorical exemption for the amendment at hand may be a violation of CEQA because increased growing will have a significant impact on the environment. The current discretionary permit process is already inadequate to examine cumulative and regional impacts. Increasing the impacts by 25% is irresponsible.

8.     Harmonize definitions and ordinance language to align with state law and emergency state regulations including adding new license types, which will not be taxed, and amending definitions;    Oppose. Wait for state law to become permanent before addressing alignment. Since State is still revising their own laws and regulations, any changes made now may have to be readdressed again. Staff uses a “pick and choose” method for what should or should not align with the State. We need to harmonize with State regs on felony convictions and the wording on when inspections can occur. County regs can always be stricter than State.

  1. Allow up to nine centralized processing facilities on agricultural land with a use permit (discretionary permit); How did the modest proposal from Supervisor Gorin to create ONE  pilot project morph into a monster? Even Staff did not recommend County wide pilot projects and limited it to Planning Area 9. Planning Commissioners in a burst of enthusiasm and because of a dislike of having the project limited to a certain area, changed the dimensions arbitrarily and capriciously came up with the number “9” as the recommended amount. Check the minutes or video of that meeting or ask an observer.
  2. Eliminate the 24 hour notification requirement for inspections and monitoring of permitted operations. No qualifying language should be inserted here. State regs allow inspections at any time. County wants Code Enforcement to be able to notify before a visit for safety reasons; everyone wants these workers to be safe.  Yet, neighbors live next to these properties. What about their ongoing safety concerns?
  3. Amend other zoning code language for consistency and clarification. Be careful what is “simplified”.

 

Industrial cannabis site proposed for Graton in wetlands, water scarce area along public trail

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 10:43
Impacts to neighbors: decrease in property values, impact on wetlands, groundwater depletion, chemical pollution from pesticides, safety issues,  loss of rural character, crime. Friends and Neighbors:
Please open the link below for drawings of a proposed cannabis growing and processing facility planned for the west side of the “pumpkin patch” along the West County Trail just south of Graton. This mammoth project calls for 18 greenhouses, 30 parking spaces, 8′ high perimeter fencing, 12 water tanks, 2 buildings (5050 sq. ft.), a security station, camera surveillance, outdoor grow, nighttime lighting – all accessed by narrow Railroad St. https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A24ee04ba-59a1-4c19-b2bc-8a867bee1dc8

Neighbors all over the county have w been objecting to industrial cannabis grows in neighborhoods. Will Graton be the next sacrifice or will supervisors step up?

Additionally, new cannabis regulations are being considered at theBoard of Supervisors meeting next Tuesday, 10/16 at 9:15 amat 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa. Although this meeting does not address this project specifically, you can still voice your concerns about it, since the agenda lists the item as pertaining to neighborhood compatibility with cannabis operations. We encourage you to go if you can, or to send an email to the Supervisors (see below). The subject should be: UPC18-0044/2595 Railroad St. address it to:
lynda.hopkins@sonoma-county.org
James.Gore@sonoma-county.org and cc it to:
shirlee.zane@sonoma-county.org
David.Rabbitt@sonoma-county.org
Susan.Gorin@sonoma-county.org
scottd@mig.com The point is to show the human cost of their cannabis policies on neighborhoods. There are impacts of putting a manufacturing facility on an ag zoned parcel. If you are a neighbor, or if you are concerned about your quality of life being downgraded, or your property values plummeting, speak up. This kind of development belongs in commercial areas along transportation corridors where security gates, lights and kiosks are a regular occurrence, not on the edge of a village adjacent to wetlands, a creek and a walking/biking trail. Don’t threaten, but be sincere about how concerned you are. If you want to stop or reduce this, then this is very important to contact the Supervisors before they make an irreversible decision about policy pertaining to cannabis operations.

World Bank Quits Coal in Kosovo, Renewables Cheaper

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:57
Fossil fuel companies, the future is renewable and you chose to stay the course with fossil fuels. BAD DECISION! “This decision by the World Bank recognizes several key truths,” John Coequyt, Sierra Club’s global climate policy director, said in the press release. “First, the public doesn’t want dirty coal. Second, coal is a bad investment, because clean energy is cheaper than coal in places all over the world. Third, if we want to curb the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis, we have to move off coal immediately.” World Bank Quits Coal in Kosovo, Renewables Cheaper

The World Bank has withdrawn its support for a planned 500-megawatt coal plant in Kosovo because it cannot compete with renewable energy on price, president Jim Yong Kim said Wednesday.

The power plant was the last coal project being considered for financing by the World Bank.

“We have made a very firm decision not to go forward with the coal power plant because we are required by our by-laws to go with the lowest cost option, and renewables have now come below the cost of coal,” Kim said (skip to the 55:03 mark in this video). “So without question, we are not going to do that.”

The remarks were made during the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund meetings in Bali, Indonesia

The World Bank provides financial, advisory and technical support to developing countries. In December, the Washington-based lender announced at the One Planet climate summit it will “no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.” The move was also aimed at helping countries meet their emissions reduction pledges made at the 2015 Paris climate talks.

Kosovo’s government announced in 2015 that it had signed an agreement with the World Bank and U.S. company ContourGlobal to build the facility, according to Climate Home News.

It is not clear how the government will proceed with the plant now that it no longer has the World Bank’s backing, Reuters reported. Kosovo has the fifth largest lignite reserves in the world and most of its electricity is produced in two aging coal-fired plants.

The Sierra Club praised the bank’s move. Lignite, also known as brown coal, is considered one of the dirtiest fossil fuels. The Sierra Club said in a press release that lignite coal is responsible for hundreds of premature deaths, tens of thousands of new cases of childhood respiratory diseases and costs millions in healthcare each year.

Developers have already proposed wind, solar and battery solutions that could provide the same amount of power at a lower cost and with less deadly pollution, the group added.

A January report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that renewables have emerged as an increasingly competitive way to meet new power generation needs, and is expected to be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels in just a few years.

“This decision by the World Bank recognizes several key truths,” John Coequyt, Sierra Club’s global climate policy director, said in the press release. “First, the public doesn’t want dirty coal. Second, coal is a bad investment, because clean energy is cheaper than coal in places all over the world. Third, if we want to curb the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis, we have to move off coal immediately.”

Related Articles Around the Web

Clear cutting for vineyards without permit…..

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:33

Martin Ray Winery is at it again. Neighbors are not happy!  This is a project that is clearing for vineyards ahead of the application process that would be necessary for a winery or structure (Use Permit) – so it hasn’t hit our “radar”.  No Use Permit is necessary for vineyards.  Since there is a wine processing and sales facility nearby – they may intend to use it.

However, neighbors are on full alert and trying to find out what can be done to preserve the waterway.  I don’t have information on how required setbacks are being protected, but hope someone at the county will know.Among others, Riverkeeper is “on” this and sent a letter (see below from Bob Legge) to Permit Sonoma asking for clarification.  Stay tuned on that. The Ag Commissioner’s office may have more knowledge than Permitting.   The North Coast Water Quality Control Board has been made aware of it. I know Senator McGuire’s office is paying attention to this project as well, but don’t know what is happening there.

This has relevance to expectations for VESCO’s protections, and the regulations being developed by the NCWQCB.

RUSSIAN RIVER KEEPER:

I am investigating some pre-vineyard clearing practices at the new Martin Ray Winery expansion site. Mr. Courtney Benham recently purchased and is now developing a 33 acre site at 2410 Laguna Road (see photos attached).

There are absolutely no sediment and erosion control Best Management Practices on a parcel that drains directly into the Lower Laguna De Santa Rosa.  I estimate the heavy soil disturbance at 3 acres or more currently.

Can you tell me what, if any, permits Mr Benham has applied for through the Ag Commissioner’s Office?

Can you recommend a contact at PRMD if this is under their jurisdiction? My understanding is that this will be developed as a “new plant” vineyard so I am eager to learn how your office deals with these and other issues (riparian removal on a blue water stream, heritage oak removal, etc.) 

Best regards, 

Bob Legge
Policy Director
PO Box 1335
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-1958
bob@russianriverkeeper.org

 

Bad zombie project is back…..Roblar Road Quarry redux Oct. 16 at 1:40 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:19
How to make a horrible project even worse…ignore CEQA, destroy wetlands/creeks allow huge trucks on narrow rural roads and cause even worse traffic. Permit Sonoma are you kidding? Supervisors Gore and Rabbitt are up for re-election. Modifications being requested include to:  1) Revise the design for a traffic signal at Stony Point and Roblar Road  2) Modify the required Roblar Road width from 40 feet to 32 feet for 1.6 miles west of the quarry access  3) Allow realignment and reconstruction of 930 feet of Americano Creek to accommodate road widening and allow riparian and wetland encroachment or enhancement. 

NOTICE:

The Roblar Road Quarry was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2010 with more than 180 Conditions of Approval for the quarry’s development and operation. 

CARRQ appealed this decision in court but lost our appeal in 2014. Since then, CARRQ was not aware of activity surrounding the quarry’s development until August 2016 when the first of two applications to modify some of the Conditions of Approval were submitted by the developer to PRMD (Planning Resource Managment Development – now Permit Sonoma).  A revised application was submitted in September 2016.

Sonoma County PRMD has agreed to reopen the EIR and allow the developer to propose changing 3 conditions of approval, which he had agreed to in 2010, because they are not convenient! This is an abuse of CEQA at best and flies in the face of the community, CARRQ (Citizens Advocating for Roblar Rural Quality), City of Petaluma, and City of Cotati who fought to ensure the impacts of the quarry would be properly mitigated. So much for the process of public input. 

The developer wishes to physically move the impaired Americano Creek, which feeds into the endangered Estero Americano Watershed, narrow improvements to Roblar Road beyond safe standards endangering all who use Roblar Road, and augment signaling requirements at Roblar and Stony Point. 

If possible, please show up on October 16 at a scheduled public hearing to voice your opinion to the Board of Supervisors. Public comments are due by October 29th. For those who wish, CARRQ will be distributing talking points shortly. Go to www.CARRQ.org for a history of the development and follow CARRQ on Facebook. 

Please see the published public notice below:

In response to an application by the developer of the Roblar Road Quarry (7601 and 7175 Roblar Road, Petaluma), Sonoma County has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental impact Report (SEIR) to modify/change several Conditions of Approval for the quarry. The Board of Supervisors approved the quarry in 2010, and actions are now being taken to begin work on developing the site. Some of the requested modifications may affect public safety given the condition of Roblar Road and the potential for substantial truck traffic on Roblar Road. 

Modifications being requested include to: 

1) Revise the design for a traffic signal at Stony Point and Roblar Road 

2) Modify the required Roblar Road width from 40 feet to 32 feet for 1.6 miles west of the quarry access 

3) Allow realignment and reconstruction of 930 feet of Americano Creek to accommodate road widening and allow riparian and wetland encroachment or enhancement. 

The SEIR is online at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Planning/Significant-EIRs/ and available at the Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa Central libraries. The public comment period runs through Oct. 29. Written comments must be received by that date no later than 5:00 p.m.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 1:40 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 102 A, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa.

For more information, contact Chris Seppeler at chris.seppeler@sonoma-county.org or Blake Hillegas at blake.hillegas@sonoma-county.org.

The Roblar Road Quarry was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2010 with more than 180 Conditions of Approval for the quarry’s development and operation. 

CARRQ appealed this decision in court but lost our appeal in 2014. Since then, CARRQ was not aware of activity surrounding the quarry’s development until August 2016 when the first of two applications to modify some of the Conditions of Approval were submitted by the developer to PRMD (Planning Resource Managment Development – now Permit Sonoma).  A revised application was submitted in September 2016.

Sonoma County PRMD has agreed to reopen the EIR and allow the developer to propose changing 3 conditions of approval, which he had agreed to in 2010, because they are not convenient! This is an abuse of CEQA at best and flies in the face of the community, CARRQ (Citizens Advocating for Roblar Rural Quality), City of Petaluma, and City of Cotati who fought to ensure the impacts of the quarry would be properly mitigated. So much for the process of public input.  The developer wishes to physically move the impaired Americano Creek, which feeds into the endangered Estero Americano Watershed, narrow improvements to Roblar Road beyond safe standards endangering all who use Roblar Road, and augment signaling requirements at Roblar and Stony Point. 

If possible, please show up on October 16 at a scheduled public hearing to voice your opinion to the Board of Supervisors. Public comments are due by October 29th. For those who wish, CARRQ will be distributing talking points shortly. Go to www.CARRQ.org for a history of the development and follow CARRQ on Facebook. 

Please see the published public notice below:

In response to an application by the developer of the Roblar Road Quarry (7601 and 7175 Roblar Road, Petaluma), Sonoma County has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental impact Report (SEIR) to modify/change several Conditions of Approval for the quarry. The Board of Supervisors approved the quarry in 2010, and actions are now being taken to begin work on developing the site. Some of the requested modifications may affect public safety given the condition of Roblar Road and the potential for substantial truck traffic on Roblar Road. 

Will the supervisors do the bidding of big business or support the community that is dead set against this? Gore and Rabbitt are up for re-election. How will they vote?

Modifications being requested include to:  1) Revise the design for a traffic signal at Stony Point and Roblar Road  2) Modify the required Roblar Road width from 40 feet to 32 feet for 1.6 miles west of the quarry access  3) Allow realignment and reconstruction of 930 feet of Americano Creek to accommodate road widening and allow riparian and wetland encroachment or enhancement. 

The SEIR is online at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Planning/Significant-EIRs/ and available at the Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa Central libraries. The public comment period runs through Oct. 29. Written comments must be received by that date no later than 5:00 p.m.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 1:40 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 102 A, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa.

For more information, contact Chris Seppeler at chris.seppeler@sonoma-county.org or Blake Hillegas at blake.hillegas@sonoma-county.org.

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