The most divisive issue in Klamath County is the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. You will be hard pressed to find someone who either doesn't know anything about it or doesn't have an opinion about it — well except Congressman Greg Walden.
In both 2010 and 2012, three county commissioners were not re-elected because they stood for the KBRA — Elliott, Switzer and Hukill. They were replaced by three commissioners who stand strongly opposed to the KBRA — Linthicum, Mallams and Bellet. State Representative Bill Girard was elected in 2010. He was anti-KBRA. His 2012 replacement, Gail Whitsett is also publicly against the KBRA, while her opponent was a big supporter for it (he lost). Then there is the State Senate seat held by Doug Whitsett — and as you guessed it — he too is against the implementation of the KBRA.
Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore...
2001. We all remember it well. Klamath irrigators were cut off in the heart of the growing season. Potato farmers lost their crops, some grain farmers made it, others didn't and pastures for livestock went dry. Green quickly tuned to brown as the water was shut off.
The KBRA was written in reaction to this calamity. The KBRA is supposed to "bring people together" and solve the problem at the local community level. Well that is the propaganda drivel proponents often spew. I have no problem with the local community fixing its own problems. But that's not what is happening. According to the KBRA, in order for the local community to fix those problems, the Federal Government must fund the buy back of Tribal lands, must fund dam removal on the Klamath and set aside a fund to help farmers survive when Klamath enters a low water year. If you ask me, there is nothing local about that at all. It is mostly Federal. The only "local" part is who receives funding.
That said, the KBRA is really built on a false premise — and that premise is that in 2001 Upper Klamath Lake did not have enough water to meet the needs of biological opinions for fish in the lake, fish in the river and irrigators in the basin. So a judge cut the irrigators off — based on faulty science. That's right, later it was found the data used by the judge was incorrect. Had the judge been given accurate data the water to irrigators would have flowed as it has every year since the projects began.
Like so many battles ongoing in our society the Klamath water struggle is simply (beneath the spiritual level anyway) an issue of Left vs. Right, Competing Marxisms vs. Capitalism, oppression vs. freedom.
The mind set of those who cut our irrigation water off and continue to fiendishly dominate it hasn’t changed. The mind set of some of those affected by the 2001 water cut off has changed however. To them the bad guys are now the ones who were the victims then and continue to resist those same scandalous forces now. Some say that a change of that nature may indicate that they have actually taken on the perspective of the aggressor. That new worldview may have been adopted for any number of reasons, many of which could well have been good and noble in the beginning.
The veiled essence of that regressive Progressive perspective is captured in a You Tube video titled; “Occupy Cascadia Documentary”. After viewing such you may start to understand why it was that a May 30, 2013 rally was held some six + hours away from Klamath Falls in Portland, Oregon. The event was organized to thank Senator Ron Wyden for his support of the KBRA/KHSA. As some may know, Portland is the political heart and soul of Cascadia. And no, K Falls isn’t a yarnhead controlled commune locale yet, so an assembly as such would not come off quite so well appreciated here - local newspaper coverage aside.
If you have read this blog for any time, you have quickly come to realize that none of us here are fans of the KBRA. We have philosophical differences that quickly lead to practical differences in how to solve the problem. And what is the problem? There (apparently) is not enough water in the Basin to support fish, farmers and native American traditions.
Since there is not enough water, a political solution was dreamed up by the KBRA geniuses. Here are some highlights:
- 92,000 acres are given to the Klamath Tribes (also known as the Mazama Tree Farm) funded by taxpayer money.
- Hydroelectric Dams are removed along the Klamath River (paid for in great part by the tax payer).
- Subsidies are issued to Klamath farmers in low water years when they won't be given water (think Welfare for Farmers)
Again this is a political solution. It doesn't recognize that when dams are removed along the Klamath river it will take more water to maintain river levels minimums required by biological opinions — in other words, less water in the lake and less water available for Klamath farmers. That seems backwards, doesn't it? But that is what political solutions do: they remove reality from the equation and use taxpayer money to pacify people who might otherwise object.
What is it that most of us do not like about politicians? Is it that we can't pin them down? Is it that they are often squishy on things we think are easy to define? What is it that makes us hopping mad at them? There's one word why politicians are so disliked in modern America. That one word is dishonesty.
We Americans are a forgiving lot. We will put up with almost anything. But one thing we won't stand for is being made a fool. We won't let someone get away with deceiving us. However, that is exactly what Congressman Walden did during his past two trips to Klamath County. During his Town Hall Meeting at OIT in February and again during a fund raiser in April, Mr. Walden trumpeted the fact that he helped put in place the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. What he told everyone the bill did was to stop paying congress if they didn't pass a budget this year. The Senate hasn't passed a budget in nearly four years. This would ensure Congress did, so the two Chambers could go to conference and produce the first budget in four years.
Sounds like a good bill right? Who would be against something as simple as that? Look, if we don't do our job, we shouldn't get paid either. It was a common sense, no-brainer, easy bill to be for — and you know what? The Senate did pass a budget. But here's the problem... there has not been any conference. There still is no budget. Moreover that's not all the bill contained. According to Representative Justin Amash’s Facebook page:
A group called, Voters for Fiscal Responsibility filed a petition last Friday at the Klamath County Clerk's office to recall Dennis Linthicum as county commissioner. Sherri Biggs of Malin Oregon filed the petition on behalf of the group. Voters for Fiscal Responsibility claim that they have become frustrated with all three commissioners and as soon as Tom Mallams and Jim Bellet are eligible for recall, a similar effort will be made on their behalf.
This effort seems like déjà vu all over again. In 2011 Chuck Collins filed a similar petition to recall Commissioners Switzer and Hukill. We wrote about that in the following two articles:
What makes this so familiar is that the action and the reason for the recall is the same, but we just have different actors involved. It is as if Ms. Biggs is channeling Mr. Collins.
If you read the Herald and News today it has two Letters to the Editor by Michael J. Fitzgerald and Dan Keppen. While both are well written, both miss the point of those opposed to the Klamath Schools Bond measure. Whether ignorance or arrogance, they are missing the point.
The main point they are missing, and it is a very important one, is that Klamath Schools receive approximately $100 million (that's $100,000,000.00) each year. That's a lot of money, especially in our sparsely populated county. Both Fitzgerald and Keppen ignore this fact. It's as if they believe every penny of this money is wisely spent or that we shouldn't count this money when it comes to buildings and maintenance. Why not? Good question.
Suppose you were a generous parent and you gave your son a weekly allowanceof $100. At the end of the end of the week your son comes to you in a panic and says, "Hey, look, I'm out of money and I'm out of gas. I can't drive anywhere! Can you give me an extra $30 this week? I'll pay you back... I just need to put some gas in the tank." What would your first response be?
A recent Letter to the Editor and a radio ad campaign by the Citizens for Klamath Schools PAC take direct aim at Dennis Linthicum, by launching several personal attacks. Isn't it interesting that when someone opposes the Left (increasing taxes to solve a problem) that the person who stands up against these “elites” who “know what’s best for you” is personally attacked? Well it should be no surprise. Rule #13 in Communist Saul Alinsky's handbook, Rules for Radicals, states:
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Note: This article has been updated. Thanks to a reader (Ed) who pointed our chart original chart was incorrect.
The wise book states that you can tell where a person’s heart is by seeing where their treasure is also. Below is a chart to help you understand who exactly is supporting the Citizens for Klamath Schools PAC.