by: Tom Mallams, President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
KLAMATH OFF-PROJECT WATER USERS ASSOCIATION
October 25, 2011
Honorable, Secretary Ken Salazar,
Department of Interior
I am writing this letter to inform you of a very disturbing public meeting I attended on September 26, 2011, in Chiloquin, Oregon. This public meeting was funded by the Department of Interior, through Upper Klamath Water Users Association,(UKWUA), Klamath Water and Power Authority(KWAPA) and Klamath Basin Power Alliance, (KBPA). The published intention of this meeting was to sign up “interested” irrigators in the so called “affordable power”, hoped for in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement,(KBRA), and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement,(KHSA).
“...It was a kid, smiling, at the lunch table – he had a quesadilIa, some carrots, a half an apple, a carton of milk. I thought it was a great picture... It wasn’t lobster tail and chocolate mousse. It was a simple meal designed to address a basic problem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing free food for a hungry kid. Not one single thing...” — Steve Miller (Thumbs up, Sat., 10/22)
I’m glad the American tax-payer could spare nearly $27 Billion dollars to bring a smile to the Herald and News’ outlook.
But, Miller’s smiley face and a happy heart come at an enormous expense. The question any good editorial journalist ought to be asking is, “Is the federal government the most efficient machine to accomplish the task?”
As I wrote last week, when we ask the wrong question we most often get the wrong answer. As with the "jobs problem" — in Klamath County as well as nationwide — the problem our country faces is not the lack of jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. The problem is NOT jobs. The lack of jobs are a mere symptom of the real problem.
The real problem lies in the fact that we have an economy that is stuck in the mud and sliding backwards quickly. It's like we're slipping down the side of a muddy bank towards the abyss in slow motion. These are the things nightmares are made of — except what makes this worse is we are awake while this is all happening and it's all too real.
Yet our President is focused on creating jobs. And when the President is focused on the wrong issue, so often follows the nation. We are so far off course that now others are coming up with "job solutions" or "job fixes". This is meaningless, and worse very dangerous. For example, U. S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of the famous Reverend Jesse Jackson, is now proposing that the Federal Government hire all 15 million unemployed people for around $40,000/year.
The KBRA is an odd document. First we don't know who wrote it.1 For something that is being used as the baseline to craft legislation by Senator Merkley, shouldn't we know who actually wrote the darn thing? It's as if from the heavens this document descended on its own (no need for a Moses to carry it down) and different groups all said in unison "This is good. Let's make it law."
Second, the groups that are in support of the KBRA are really a minority in this community. They are well funded (thanks to public grant money — our tax dollars at work) and they make lots of noise in the paper, but they are the minority. The KBRA supporters would have you believe that if you add up the tribes, the farmers, the environmentalists and the fishermen you get a majority opinion. Really all you get are several special interest groups wanting the same thing — a leftist agenda. Even that isn't necessarily true. On the whole farmers do not support this document, but since the Klamath Water Users Association is pro-KBRA, you are to believe a majority of farmers are for it as well.
Finally (and this is the biggie), what in the world does the purchase of the Mazama Tree Farm and then gifting it to the Klamath Tribes have anything to do about fish restoration in the Klamath river? (As a side note, calling 90,000 acres a "farm" is like calling a Ferrari a commuter car.) Stop for a moment and think about this. How do you connect purchasing 90,000 plus acres of private timber land, then giving it to the Klamath Tribes to help restore fish habitat 50-250 miles away? The quick answer is you can't.
Who Pays for the Flowers?
Klamath County Commissioner Hukill announced building of a Veteran’s Long-Term Care Facility here in Klamath County as one of her main goals during her time in office. While this sounds like a noble project, let's take a moment to examine whether the idea is benefits the county or not. Here are a few thoughts:
Is a Long-Term Home for Veterans really needed here?
While a veteran's facility would be a nice feather in the county's cap and would bring people into the area to visit those who are in the facility, I wonder whether this should really be a top priority project that County government should be pursuing. I haven't seen any grass roots effort clamoring for such a facility. I don't see sick veterans lining the streets looking for long-term care treatment. Seems to me this isn't really a pressing need. I could be wrong, but again, this doesn't appear like something that should be occupying top of mind for Mrs. Hukill.
For the next 60 days the government is accepting public comments on the draft EIR/EIS document. Make your voice heard. We're certain many outsider environmentalists (New Hamshire, Southern California and the like) are making their opinions known — for Dam Removal. Let's give them some inside the Basin feedback — what we want to happen to dams that impact us directly.
All that is required is your email address, subject and comment. We suggest you give your city and state as well so the government is aware of comments made inside the Basin versus those outside.
That's what has me puzzled about Pacific Power, like any other business, needs to generate more revenue than incurred expenses to survive. It is in the business of making electricity and then selling that at a profit (selling electricity for MORE than it costs to produce). And yet if you put in a solar power array, Pacific Power is willing to pay you 4-5x the going rate to buy that electricity. What? Yeah, that's what I think. Who in their right mind would pay 5x the going rate to buy something that they make below the market rate.
Is electricity generated by solar panels more powerful than electricity generated by coal or hyrdo? Of course not. Matter of fact solar is far less efficient than either of those by a magnitude. Yet Pacific Power is paying solar "farms" 4-5x the going rate. Not only why, but how do they do that and stay in business?
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” You may have learned this lesson in grade school when someone wanted a different story to be read than the one you wanted. Or maybe at home when a sibling got to choose a different television show than you wanted to watch that evening. Their opinion ruled the day and you had to live with it.
However, the problem is that not all opinions are equal. Moreover, some opinions are downright dangerous.
When someone chose a different story or television show than the ones you preferred, there was adult supervision. They weren't allowed to choose anything, but only certain things within a safe range. The opinion of some that “green is the best color”, while others claim that “orange is the best color” is certainly up for debate. But when it comes to matters of public policy the stakes are considerably higher, and something else must come into play — truth.
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to visit an old fashioned car show. The Klamath Kruise is an annual favorite — gazing upon all those old restored cars and trucks as if they just rolled off the assembly line. It's a lot of fun looking, hearing, smelling and remembering (and wondering) what it was like "back then".
But when it comes to nature, can it be restored, like a 1952 Studebaker? Can nature be rolled back the way it was 50 years ago? How about people, can we be restored? Now thinking about it, can cars really be restored? In the case of cars, they are a non-living, man-made creation. Therefore the answer is yes, cars can be restored because all the parts can be swapped out with originals. But with living organisms, such as people and nature, restoration is not quite that simple. While face lifts, hair regrowth, tummy tucks and botox try to roll back the clock, it's a mere illusion. After the procedure is done, we are still the same age, no matter what we've had "altered" to try and say otherwise. In the end reality rules the day. The same can be said about nature. It is silly to think we can roll back the sands of time and pretend it is 1911 by removing this or adding that. It is 2011 and nature has adapted and moved on. Moreover, nature is such a complex set of systems, sub-systems and super-systems, the idea that humans can alter something and restore nature back to what it was 100 years ago is a very utopian notion.
In the latest round of debates concerning the Federal Budget and Debt Ceiling, President Obama said we need a "balanced approach". The President claimed in order to solve the government shortfall we need to cut spending and raise revenue. This is the only sensible approach.
Additionally, Mr. Obama mentioned we need "shared sacrifice". But what does that exactly mean? The term stems back to World War II when the country, on whole, had to give up certain amenities in order to help win the war. The idea is if everyone gives a little, it adds up to a lot and great good can come of this. Liberals love this concept.
However, that's not what Mr. Obama is asking for. When he talks of shared sacrifice he would like to raise tax rates on those making above $250,000 a year (including businesses). Notice he is not demanding everyone contribute a little more, just those over making $250,000 a year. The President's idea is that the "millionaires and billionaires" can afford to give more and strongly suggests they have a moral obligation to do so. They ought to give more for the greater good. This is what is fair.