The Myths, Lies and Deceptions Behind the Klamath Basin Agreements
By Lawrence A. Kogan
The Desired Implementation of the Klamath Basin Agreements
Klamath Basin groups claiming to represent the majority of Klamath Basin residents, such as the Klamath Water Users Association (“KWUA”) and the Family Farm Alliance (“FFA”), have long perpetuated the myth that the Klamath Basin Agreements will benefit ALL Basin residents. The evidence clearly shows that these groups will stop at nothing to keep this fraudulent narrative alive.
The Basin Agreements include: 1) the now-defunct Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (“KBRA”), originally executed by these and other parties in 2010, but which expired on January 1, 2016 because Congress refused to ratify it; 2) the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (“KHSA”), originally executed by these and other parties in 2010, but which they renegotiated and subsequently amended pursuant to secret meetings on April 6, 2016 after Congress refused to ratify it by January 1, 2016; 3) the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (“UKBCA”), originally executed by the tribes in 2014, which the parties are currently renegotiating; 4) the new Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement, executed by the parties pursuant to secret meetings on April 6, 2016 in an effort to resurrect portions of the now- defunct KBRA; and 5) the Wyden-Merkley Amendment (S.A. 3288) to the U.S. Senate Energy bill (S.2012) currently being evaluated by a U.S. House-Senate conference committee, which, if passed and enacted into law, would appropriate congressional monies to support certain activities in which local farmers would engage to fulfill the objectives of these agreements, as well as, specially designated irrigation-related monies (federal subsidies) to financially reward those supporting farmers.
The British Exit, or Brexit, from the European Union shocked the world on Thursday evening. Even a few years ago the idea of the EU’s largest economic member leaving the European Union was only left to pub-talks in rural English neighborhoods — and that was only after a few good pints.
51.8% of England decided enough was enough and voted to leave the “comfort and security” of the European Union. But why? Upon examination the ideas our jolly ol' friends from across the pond took to heart are the very same ideas that founded America.
1. Sovereignty and Self-Governance: The British were tired of being told by far away officials that they could not influence one way or another what their immigration policy was going to be, what regulations they had to adhere to, what trade restrictions must be followed towards those outside the union, and so forth. In other words the Brits were tired of aristocrats on the continent telling them what they could and could not do. Sound familiar? Is that not what we want for ourselves here in Klamath and Lake Counties? To have more power locally rather than bureaucrats and politicians in DC and Salem deciding what we can and can not do with our land, our water, our timber, our agriculture? The American project is about local governance which enables real accountability, not centralized control without accountability.
Proponents of Dam Removal along the Klamath river continue to promise peace and prosperity if they get their way. But if you think about it, just the opposite will occur. Here are a few key points to consider:
Dam Removal will limit our ability to control water flow
Without the four dams along the Klamath river, water, once released from the Upper Klamath Lake head-gates, will flow uninterrupted into the Pacific. This means it will require more water from the Upper Klamath Lake in order to maintain stream flow levels. The end result is less water for local farmers and ranchers. Moreover, by removing the Keno dam, the ability to send water back into the Klamath Reclamation Project, is impossible.
Dam Removal will increase electric rates
During a time when many are struggling to make ends meet, unnecessarily increasing our cost of living is the last thing we need. The Klamath river dams provide the most affordable, most efficient and most consistent power to Basin residents. Removing this resource will only send electric rates for all rate payers higher, much higher.
If you have not voted yet, you still have time to fill out your ballot. At this point DO NOT mail it but drop it off at the County Clerk’s office by 8pm tomorrow night.
Even if you don’t know who to vote for Dog Catcher Position #15, you should still vote for those people you do know and want to support.
Three of those people that should be on your list are: Tom Mallams, Dennis Linthicum and Werner Reschke.
On our ballots this May you will find Measure 18-105, which will make the production, access and distribution of marijuana/cannabis far more readily available to the general public in Klamath County.
All of the anonymous blog writers at KlamathNews.net urge a strong No vote on 18-105. If passed, there is nothing this ballot measure will do but make a few people a little richer while sending more of our citizens into a downward spiral of despair. Is that what we have now become? A people who are willing to profit and prey on the weakest among us in order to make a few bucks?
In addition, ask any of the three Sheriff’s candidates if they are in favor of this measure. See if they think crime will go up or down with the passage of 18-105. If you think the Sheriff’s budget is stretched thin now, just wait!
We are gearing up for another election year in Klamath County. One of the new phrases you may hear by those running for public office (whether it be city council or county commissioner) is “Economic Development”. Economic Development is such a positive sounding term. When someone running for office says it most think, “This is a wonderful person who wants to help our economy.” However, if you think a little more, you have to ask yourself, “What do they really mean?”
To be frank, Economic Development is another leftist term — or at least one that has been cooped by the central planners. When someone running for office (or in office) refers to “Economic Development” what they mean is that they want to use tax payer dollars to lure a particular industry or business to Klamath. More often than not that industry or business will personally or politically benefit the public official in some fashion (a form of crony capitalism). The other problem with this approach is that there is no way a few government officials can possibly know of all the options and all the opportunities in the county in which to make the best decision. So by definition, the best they can do is make a decision that is less than the best. Often times government directed Economic Development is simply a waste of tax payer dollars, because there is no penalty for risks taken — it is not their money and they’ll get another stash of tax dollars next year — and without risk, decision making becomes very skewed or warped.
The answer to this dilema is to bring in “economic experts”. In Klamath’s case these experts wear the name KCEDA (Klamath County Economic Development Association). This private organization raises money by extracting tax dollars directly from the city, the county and through grants offered by state and federal agencies. For instance in 2016 Klamath County will give KCEDA around $200,000. For what purpose? Economic Development. And what is that? Anything KCEDA needs it to be. Since KCEDA are not elected officials they can spend the money virtually anyway they want. What’s more KCEDA is not directly held accountable by tax payers for their results (or more often the lack of results). In essence, our tax dollars pay people to run around trying to recruit new business to our area. When one does come (whether through the efforts of KCEDA or not) KCEDA will run in front of the cameras to take as much credit as possible.
Does it? Does government have enough money and resources to do what it needs to do? That question is the fundamental issue behind each new tax levy and each new ballot measure where government asks the citizens for more money.
First it is important to think about need verses want. What is it we citizens need government to do, as opposed to, what do some want government to do? Much too much of what Federal, State and Local government does is not for the real needs of its citizens, but rather for the wants of special interests. These special interests have cleverly disguised their interest as a public concern and then tricked tax payers into funding their venture. Did we need to rebuild Henley elementary or KU? No, the buildings were just fine. They are old, but they certainly functioned. No one was dying in them. No one was getting sick, and no one injured. But the real-estate/construction/public-union/government sector drool over such public building projects because they funnel money from your pocket to theirs at inflated, government mandated, wages. Is it nicer to drive by a new school building rather than an old one. Sure. But does it educate our children any better? No. And there is a prime example between need and want. The real need is to educate our children. The want is to do it in the best and most expensive buildings in the county. Do children win? No. Do the special interests win? Yes. And special interests win all while fooling the public that we now have “better schools”.
Second, why should government continue to get more and more of our tax dollars? When your income increases, did you know that the amount of money you send to government also increases? So when wages in Klamath County go up, government already gets more money — at the same rate of the citizenry it serves. Likewise, when income goes down, money to the government decreases accordingly. Why then when incomes decrease should government continue spending at the same levels or higher? Why should government be given more money when the rest of us are doing with less?
What if one day $10,000,000.00 fell from the sky and appeared on Main Street between the Court House and Government Building? Immediately the police are called in, surrounding the large bundle of cash,... waiting for the County Commissioners and City Council to decide how best to utilize this gift from heaven for the local community.
One choice would be to allocate the money to City and County Government. Some of the money could go towards budget-starved agencies to help with any revenue shortfalls. Some of the money could be used for economic development (promoting tourism, attracting businesses to move to the area) and community efforts such as better parks, better streets, a few more police officers and emergency personnel. Also the money could be used to solarize certain government buildings, helping our city and county move towards a sustainable green zone.
The other choice would be to divide the money up among the citizens of Klamath County and let them determine how best it should be used.
Which way is best? Which way would help us grow our local economic pie? Which way would be better for economic growth and stability of our community? Which way will deliver money in the most efficient manner to the goods and services that the citizens of Klamath County value most?
This past Sunday, front and center, was a puff-piece for “Yes! on 18-104” — the current Fire District 1 bond measure. If you read the piece you would be left with any wonder that a sane person would be opposed to this wonderful spend of tax payer dollars or that there was anyone opposed to the bond measure.
This is the socialist-left at full-speed. There is not a recent tax measure that these editors have opposed or have given fair and balanced coverage. The editors at the Herald and News are pro-tax-and-spend socialists and use the paper’s power and influence to effect the thinking of people in the Basin — and it has been working for quite some time now.
For those asleep during the summer, it is time to wake up and take notice that another business is closing its doors in Klamath Falls. If JELD-WEN officially moving its headquarters to Charlotte, NC for a more business friendly environment wasn’t enough, now Haggen is closing its two stores in town. What? Haggen, when did they come to Klamath Falls?
Earlier this year Safeway and Albertsons merged into one company. The merger was approved by the FTC only if they would sell off 146 of their combined stores. Haggen won that bid to purchase those stores and went from an 18 chain grocery store to 164 overnight. Talk about a growth spurt. In Klamath Falls both Safeway locations were converted into Haggen stores. However, within months of Haggen’s acquisition, Haggen was losing money — and a lot of it. Haggen needed to borrow $25 million to weather their cash flow problems, which increased their total debt to $270 million. Did Haggen bite off more than it could chew?
What Went Wrong
After Haggen took control of their new stores, Haggen immediately incurred losses in several of those stores. Local customers either did not know the brand Haggen or thought it was too pricey compared to the previous occupant. There was an error assuming business would continue as usual. Clearly this was not the case everywhere. An outside consulting firm was brought in to do some analysis. They found stores fell into two groups: core and non-core. Core stores were profitable. Non-core stores were losing money. The non-core store loses occurred because of either a lack of traffic (revenue) or they were too costly to support. Some non-core stores were also in remote locations where Haggen did not have efficient distribution. The Klamath Falls stores most likely fell into both categories and easily made it to the Haggen chopping block.