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Fisherman Schools Hannity on CA Water Problems

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 21, 2009

Hannity blamed the high unemployment rate in the San Joaquin Valley on the lack of water for farmers, and blamed that solely on the delta smelt lawsuits.

Near the end of the show, he had on his usual Intended Liberal Victim, for whom he could reserve such deep journalistic questions as "And I just want to know: How did you get your priorities so screwed up in life? What happened to you?"

But the Intended Victim, a fellow named Zeke Grader of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, actually bit back, pointing out how callous and indifferent Hannity was toward the plight of the people on the coast who have traditionally made their livings by fishing salmon, both commercially and recreationally.

Neiwert also goes on to add that Bush-era water policy, from the
decisions early in the administration by Bush and Cheney to restrict water releases in the Klamath basin to help southern Oregon farmers (and resulting in one of the largest salmon kills in West Coast history) to agreeing to export more water from the Delta at the expense of fisheries.

As I've written about here at Calitics, the water problems in the Delta and the Valley are caused by contracts written during wet years to ensure greater delivery of supplies to unsustainable land use policies in the southern San Joaquin Valley and in Southern California. The water crisis we face is not just analogous to, but fundamentally related to, the housing bubble and its collapse. Water managers wrote checks mother nature could not cash - just as the housing bubble collapsed when borrowers were unable to service the debts, the water bubble collapsed when Mother Nature was unable to provide the water to "pay" the contracts written under the Bush administration.

The Valley is experiencing the effects of both the housing crisis and the water crisis. But the solution should not be, as Hannity demands, cramming down Monterey fishermen to refloat a Modesto or a Moreno Valley bubble.

Farmworkers and fishermen have more in common than conservatives would have them believe. They both need sustainable water policy to survive. And that is in turn in the best interests of all Californians.

by: Robert Cruickshank
Sat Sep 19, 2009 at 10:55:37 AM PDT
Web Link

Comments (19)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I know Hannity oversimplifies as do all commentators, but you do to, Mr Cruickshank Water law is California history, and those laws fully comprehend that there will be wet and dry years, and how the flow would be apportioned under all circumstances. Then along comes the Endangered Species Act, one of the most suicidal acts on the books. For the sake of a creature neither endangered nor particularly threatened as a species, contracts that were years in writing were canceled with the rap of a gavel and the opening of a switch. As for the salmon return, one can only wonder what that would have been were it not for the millions of hatchery salmon killed in another silly decision. Fishermen who cooperate with the enemies of the water contract are analogous to Kapos who worked for the privilege of going to the ovens last. Fishers, you have a wild and scenic river withdrawn from use by people, and their yield was little different than from the controlled rivers.

Posted by the truth
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm

global warming = shorter winters = less rain in California = drought and forest fires

Posted by the real truth
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm

drought and forest fires = too many illegals in the forest fighting over pot & starting fires.
less rain in California = the reality of seasonal life in california.
shorter winters = not on my calendar, reminder to look at ancient hippy calendar
global warming = a hoax

Now this: Web Link

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Natural California is a desert, the green is an artifact. Mess with the system that made California bloom and the desert will come back quick. Monterrey fisherman, how's your sardine catch lately?

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:06 am

My friend, on the East Coast, told me that she bet there was a Salmon Fisherman's Union-type organization behind this manufactured smelt "problem" and the shutting of the waters, and told me to "follow the money"...I laughed..but she was right!

We are supposed to feel sorry for the Salmon Union Fisheries and Fishermen who want to undo years of contract law and use the "environmentalists" as useful idiots to their gains, but NOT feel for the people who have now lost their farms and all the people starving as a result.


Don't get me wrong, if the salmon workers truly believe that their industry is in trouble, I understand the pain, and would have supported a solution that didn't hurt anyone else.

However, I side on the predictable, law-driven side in this case, and that is with the farmers. They counted on years of law to sustain their businesses, only to have it overturned by the bang of a gavel, as Walter said. Abuse of law, in my opinion, and another absurd "unintended consequence" much crueller and more difficult to resolve than had the water not been cut off.

BTW, blaming "Bush era water policies" cracks me up. You think that Bush and his Admin had anything to do with California water battles? You think it hasn't been all California politics?

Posted by conservative
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:08 am

Robert...why do you think "conservatives" don't understand that both fishers and farmers need water to survive? What a silly thing to say. Most reasonable people would want a solution that benefits both sides....and that would be the "conservative" solution ie the one that does the least damage in the long run.

Posted by Unemployed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm

There is so much unemployment in the central valley because there are far too many migrant workers. Those that came here illegally should return to where they came from. Unemployment is everywhere in California it's not just confined to the Central Valley.

Co-ho Salmon populations have been descimated by population growth and years of polution in Northern California and Oregon's river systems.

Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:42 pm

"You think that Bush and his Admin had anything to do with California water battles? You think it hasn't been all California politics?"

You think the Federal government ain't involved in CA water? Hoo, hoo, hee, hee, haw, haw, HAWWWW! Start by checking out the Reclamation Act of 1902, then move on to the Westlands Water District, then stay on the money trail.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Web Link incredible exchange between McClintock and Salazar on the crisis with our farmers..

Please watch.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

That is a great clip, is McClintock running for Gov this time? he should, he is really on the ball, 40% unemployment and the bread basket of America brought to its knees to save a few smelt, maybe save a few smelt, in the Delta is an outrage.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

What is the dollar value of the total Salmon catch in their best year?
What is the value of the Central Valley harvest in the worst year?

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Call me crazy I am sure some will ( to speak in Yoda-talk) ..I really hope that one day McClintock runs for President of the USA. I think he will have to skip over California in the process, given that I doubt sincerely that California will ever elect him governor or even Senator. He is far too libertarian and fiscally sharp for California's automatic "more government" reflex. But the rest of the country might love him.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

This is a serious matter, 40% unemployment and the crippling of the major agricultural area in the US to may be save a few smelts.

Smelts are not an endangered species, farmers in the Central Valley are an endangered species, like the trees on California Avenue in Palo Alto, when they are gone, they are gone.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Zeke Grader, the fisherman, didn't teach Hannity anything. Grader looked foolish and militant about protecting the Delta Smelt. He didn't have any goodwill towards the many families who have lost or are about to lose their farms in California. These farms grow the food that you and I eat. I don't want to have to now purchase food from outside of the U.S. because individuals like Grader have confused priorities. I'm with Hannity - turn the water on now.

Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Smelt are an important part of the diet of more than salmon; they are prey for striped bass, bluefish, and several bird and marine mammal species. When you destroy one link in the food chain you almost always affect more that one link above it. Basic.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Peter, when you put fish above people, causing people to choose between taking charity or starving....THAT is basic.

You are on the wrong side in this in all ways. The "environmentalists" ( ie Salmon Fishery Unions/Democrats) went too far on this ...

Results count, and America is seeing what the results of the left are...Don't think you really want to chalk this up as a "success" do you?

Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Perspective, what you're missing is that we're part of that chain. If the chain is disrupted, we (humans) suffer. There are ways to balance the effects of water scarcity and people are trying to work that out now. In many cases, farmers have not necessarily been the most parsimonious in their use of water.

Neither have the rest of us. I can cite people with wasteful watering practices, uncovered swimming pools, outsized lawns, and the like. Some of our industries have polluted the water we have, and we have significant pollution from naturally occurring substances like mercury. Surprisingly, many golf courses have seen the light and are at least trying to do better.

Walter was right, much of the state was/is a desert; the problem lies in the fact that we refuse to accept that and have been, and continue to be, spendthrift in our use of water. We are not alone in this; just look at Las Vegas, a water-wasting mistake of epic scale.

In the end, this is about people and jobs.

Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:42 am

Peter, what you are missing is that people are starving from your belief that giving them water would disrupt the "chain". That "chain" is not built on survival of eco, but linked through dollars. Follow the money.

If it were you starving, losing your farm, uprooting your family and yourself, having lost it all.....would you believe that it was worth it for not killing something that was nowhere near "endangered"? Hell, would you believe it was worth it if it WERE on the "endangered" list, considering so many critters are on that list who are not at all endangered? Like the Polar Bear? Would you really trust your life to these bureacrats?

I doubt it.

Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Perspective, what Hannity and his ilk do is grab a complex situation that looks like it could generate outrage, reduce it to simple, worse-case, black-and-white terms – little fish v. people – and scream about it. He also sets up an illogical choice – little fish or people – ignoring the possibility that there are other, but more complex and nuanced, solutions to be found. You consistently choose to embrace illogic like Hannity’s.

As I said, “There are ways to balance the effects of water scarcity and people are trying to work that out now.” The people trying to figure this out know far more about both sides of the problem that either you or Hannity.

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