Tag Archives: fish kill

Arnold to Raise Money for a Fish and Job killer

[UPDATE] Almost as soon as I posted this Arnold announced the fundraiser will be rescheduled to Sept. 19. Doesn’t change the basic issue though.

Not content with firing 20,000 state workers and jeopardizing the wages of thousands more, and apparently unconcerned that the lack of a state budget might further harm California’s already reeling economy, Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to Portland on Thursday to raise money for Republican US Senator Gordon Smith.

The fundraiser is a slap in the face to Californians, and not just because Arnold is abandoning the budget stalemate. Gordon Smith played a central role in the salmon crisis that has crippled the California fishing industry and imperiled the jobs of thousands.

In 2002 Smith conspired with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to divert water from the Klamath River to farmers in southern Oregon experiencing dry conditions, in order to shore up Smith’s rural base. Cheney convened a “God squad” that overrode endangered species protections in order to make the water diversion for nakedly political purposes – still one of the boldest and most destructive anti-environment moves of the entire Bush era.

The result was an ongoing catastrophe for the Pacific Coast salmon fishery. The diversion caused a massive die-off of salmon in the Klamath River in 2002, but the effects have been long-lasting. Salmon numbers have been so slow to recover that salmon fishing was severely restricted in 2007. Here in 2008, of course, the ENTIRE west coast salmon fishery has been closed, an unprecedented event. While the issues in the Sacramento Delta were a primary motivator behind the total closure, the ongoing weakness of the Klamath fishery, dating to the 2002 fish kill, is a contributing factor.

Gordon Smith is unrepentant  about his role in the fish kill:

Sen. Gordon Smith said Tuesday that he has no regrets about the diversion of water from the Klamath River that was intended to protect fish but instead went to farmers….

“I am not here to make any apologies,” said Smith, who faces re-election next year. “I am proud to fight for the farmers or any group of Americans whom the federal government says has no standing, no water. I just find that offensive.”…

I am not sorry for fighting for farmers. I have a responsibility for humankind.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has his own responsibility – to Californians and their jobs. To Californians who have been devastated by the salmon crisis, from Yurok and Hoopa peoples living along the Klamath whose traditional rights have been eroded, to the fishermen in towns like Fort Bragg and Monterey whose livelihoods have been put at risk so Gordon Smith could score points with a few farmers in southern Oregon.

Arnold’s attendance at the fundraiser is a slap at his fellow Californians. And while it’s not likely that we can convince him to cancel the event, we can fight back by donating to Jeff Merkley, the progressive Democrat running against Smith. Merkley has said that he will help save the salmon by preferencing science, not crass politics. It’s a better position for us Californians than the fish and job killing of Gordon Smith that our own governor is now helping enable.

Non-Election Related Open Thread

There actually are some things going on outside the primaries, here’s what’s piqued my interest the past few days:

• Matt Stoller has more on the Barbara Boxer/climate change bill debacle.  What hurts the most is that she shut down any debate on the left flank, called progressive groups like Friends of the Earth “defeatists,” and pressed forward with a muddled bill that rewards polluting industries without doing the work necessary to provide pushback from the inevitable corporate-funded conservative narratives.  I wish she’d just pull it before she causes lasting damage; we’d be in a much better position next year to get something legitimate passed.

• Here’s a very good profile in The Nation of almost-a-Congressional candidate Lawrence Lessig and his “Change Congress” movement.  I’m kind of waiting for the innovative steps to get this done, but Lessig is a sharp guy.  He’s giving the keynote address at Netroots Nation next month.

• There’s an LA Times exploration of the various health care-related bills moving through the legislature.  They’re all fairly small-bore but I think they will improve the situation out here, by eliminating rescission, mandating that insurers spend 85% of premium revenue on treatment, and including more procedures in baseline coverage, like maternity.  As long as we have the insurance system, we need to do what we can to make sure it’s not as thieving as possible.

• There’s a new Field Poll on Arnold and the legislature out today that is a cavalcade of bad news – the right track/wrong track numbers are 22/68, the Governor’s approval rating is down to 41%, and the legislature is at 30%.  Californians don’t like their government right now.  Some leadership might solve the problem.

• The salmon are dying in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta because of ammonia runoff from sewage treatment plants, and purifying the Delta could cost up to $1 billion.

• Here’s another personal story of how the foreclosure crisis is hurting individuals, this one in the Central Valley town of Merced.  It’s impacting practically the entire economy of the town.  Just another example of the mess we’re in from over-speculation and lax oversight of the financial industry.