Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pace calls out Addington-Tucker attack on democratic process

It has long been KlamBlog's contention that it was wrong for federal and state bureaucrats, tribes, environmental and irrigation interests to conspire behind closed doors to determine the future of the Klamath River Basins Public Trust Resources. Worse still, the KBRA Water Deal seeks to establish that closed-door process as the manner in which the most important Public Trust Resources - water - will be managed going forward.

KlamBlog has also called attention to the fact that -  in the two years since the KBRA was signed - managing water via back room cronyism has resulted in regular cuts to river flows as well as to the yearly dewatering of Klamath wildlife refuges

The alternative we have advocated is for a new Klamath River Compact and a new Klamath Compact Commission which would have seats for tribes and counties as well as states and the feds. A new and properly empowered Klamath Compact Commission would coordinate water management under existing federal, state and local authorities and would oversee an open, democratic process for coordinating restoration strategies and allocating restoration funds.

Now KlamBlog's principle writer and editor Felice Pace has called out these undemocratic practices in a major article appearing in the on-line journal Counterpunch. In Political Theater of the Absurd in the Klamath Basin, Felice takes the Irrigation Elite's Greg Addington and the Karuk Tribe's Craig Tucker to task for suggesting that newly elected Klamath County Commissioners can not take Klamath County out of the KBRA. According to Felice, Addington and Tucker are seeking to turn the KBRA into a virtual Hotel California where - in the words of the Eagles classic song - “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

The Irrigation Elite's Men:  Klamath Water Users Association  
Executive Director Greg Addington (right) and Lawyer Paul Simmons (left) 

Read Felice's article in full at this link.

Connecting the dots

As part of monitoring how the media reports on Klamath River issues, KlamBlog follows several newspapers including the Klamath Falls based Herald and News. In recent months we've noticed an interesting juxtaposition of articles in that publication

On the one hand, the H&N regularly publishes news articles touting the economic development efforts of Klamath County leaders. Looking for economic salvation from the outside, these leaders have been courting corporations interested in turning wood into electricity. Biomass elctrical generation has become the mythical golden fleece for many of the West's rural forest counties. Many rural leaders hope fervently for a return to the good old days when salmon and clean water were sacrificed to maximize timber production. 

Juxtaposed with articles about economic development hopes are others announcing that the air in Klamath County is so bad that everyday folks must stop burning wood for heat. Klamath County already has the worst air in Oregon; just recently it was announced that the county also has the most unhealthy population. Local political leaders, however, seem to be wearing blinders; they fail to  connect the dots. 

Mount Shasta rises above unhealthy air in Klamath Falls Oregon 

While their citizens appear to be catching on (between fits of chronic coughing), Klamath County politicians - like most western rural political leaders - seem not to recognize that in today's world a clean, healthy environment is a key to a healthy population which is the key to a healthy economy. Quality of Life is the concept connecting them all.

Klamath County political leaders who want a healthy economy should spend less time chasing the next smokestack and more time figuring out how to improve the health of county citizens. Cleaner air is one obvious place to start.  

That reminds KlamBlog of yet another old tune from the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary - "When will they ever learn?"  

Stay tuned!

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