Winnemem Wintu - The Journey to Justice

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Location: Redding, CA, United States

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Congressman Herger Step up or Stand Down on Health Care

As a tribal member of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, located in the Congressman's district in California, I am not surprised that Mr. Herger voted against reform of a system that has apparently contributed to his campaigns over the years. What is upsetting to me is that people of my Tribe and our fellow citizens of this nation where not truly represented by this man who's record of decisions made "on our behalf" has been so lopsided in favor of his own party's direction.
We have a chance for reform and assistance to many people living in this nation, for those who voted for this Act, we send our thanks and prayers that you can do what you are now promising the people of this nation. For those of you, like our own Congressman, I say take off the glasses that see only your party's pathway and use your heart, not your election funds to direct you to truly representing all the people.
We are not seen by the Congressman, he says he cannot help as there are Bureaus designed to assist us. Because of the failure of the government to live up to its own laws we cannot use Indian Health in our area but must travel over 3 hours to a clinic in Sacramento to have our elders and children see. I hope that with the passage of legislation like this we will have the health care we so desperately need.
I started with "step up or stand down": maybe what we need is for the Congressman to return to California and leave Washington to those who truly believe in the maxim "For the people and by the people."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I'm Back for awhile

I was looking at my blog page for the last month or so and it dawned on me that I need to get back on the horse and update what has been happening here in Winnemem Country.

We have all been working hard on the State's Water issues. The legislature is proposing some major moves that will be coming up for a vote very soon. Restore the Delta, EJCW, the Environmental Water Caucus and PCL have had their Capitol staff working night and day to ensure that ALL the interests of California are looked after. I suggest those of you who can to get in touch with your representatives and have them vote NO on the Steinberg water package: below, I have copied in Restore the Delta's comments on why and the number of the bill to vote FOR.

Here are 10 reasons why your representative should oppose the Steingberg Water Package, and all its potential ancillary bills, as well as the bond proposals.
1) The purported environmental benefits in SB x7 1 and SBx7 4 hinge on unfunded programs and unstaffed planning processes. There is no identified funding for the Delta Conservancy or the Delta Protection Council. Without identified funding, the restoration projects and consistency processes intended for Delta health will fall
behind the construction of facilities in the Delta paid for by beneficiaries. This repeats a cornerstone failure of CalFed. This creates a real risk of the infrastructure and water supply projects proceeding without environmental gains.

2)There is no assurance that a permit for any future Delta facility will accommodate the instream flow needs of fish. Public trust criteria are not proven tool for ensuring dedicated water for the environment Experienced water lawyers disagree whether the creation of public trust criteria compel the State Board to base apermit for a future Delta project on the public trust.
3)The bond allows public funds to be spent on required mitigation or necessary compliance with environmental regulation. Existing law requires beneficiaries to pay for those activities. This is a massive cost shift to taxpayers.
4) The Delta Stewardship Council holds no fee authority to carry out its mandate. Delta communities, most impacted by this legislation, would not have adequate representation.
5)The Delta Plan is not required to reduce state dependence on the Delta. The objectives for the Delta Plan do not include reducing state reliance on Delta exports. SB x7 1 only states that it's an intent of the state to reduce dependency.

6) The bill lacks sufficient oversight of the BDCP. The Council lacks the authority to ensure the project does not cause greater harm to the fragile Delta ecosystem.

7) One-third ($3 billion) of the SB 7x 2 funds above-ground storage, which is the least efficient way to increase water supplies.
8) Less than 3% of the funds in the bond would be dedicated to disadvantaged communities most in need of safe drinking water.
9) The proposed water conservation package lacks the enforceable goals needed to achieve 20% conservation by 2020.
10) A $9 billion bond will cost taxpayers about $600 million a year for 30 years. The state's debt service on bonds already authorized by the voters will grow to about 10% of the state's budget and will contribute to more state funding cuts for public safety, health, education, and environmental protection have been slashed to the bone. And the Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that the state will see $10 to $15 billion deficits each year until 2014. Even if a bond is delayed until 2015, we will just be at the beginning of financial recover and should not be piling up more debt.
There is one bill they should vote for however!
Delta Area Assembly Member Alsyon Huber, along with co-sponsor Senator Lois Wolk, have introduced AB 13 7x. This bill would require lawmakers to sign off on any canal, and it would require the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal adviser, the Legislative Analyst, to put together an economic feasibility study of the potential project. We commend Assembly Member Huber and Senator Wolk for pulling this piece of legislation together.
Tell your representatives to support AB 13 7x.

Additionally, the California Water Plan update in being put forth for public comment. Check out PCL's website for information on how the draft plan is misleading and includes references to things that will not happen regarding environmental justice and basic environmentally based issues.

The Tribal Communication Committee (a group of tribal people working on improving communication between the state and tribes will be co-hosting the Tribal Water Summit on November 4 and 5 in Sacramento. this convening was to have the Governor speak in person but I see that all we will get is a recorded message. Secretary Christman will be on hand as will heads of the major department within the state that deal with conservation and environmental issues. If you have not registered, get in touch with them to secure a seat at the "table" to at least here what we have to say.

This meeting will be followed on Friday with a conference at Chico state on "Sustainability". There will be presentations on a variety of issues related to this topic as well tribal concerns presented. Another "must see" event.

Also, keep your eyes open for information on NOAA and NMFS "Salmon Recovery Project". They, like many of us are looking at returning salmon to the rivers and streams above the impoundment dams (Shasta/Folsom). This fits in with the Winnemem effort to have the genetic stock taken from the McCloud/Baird hatchery, returned to us from New Zealand. Keep this in mind. We may need help funding this trip but rest assured we will get them back!

Well that's a lot to digest, thanks for checking in and email me if you have questions about these updates.

On a personal note, I hope that you have all enjoyed the Halloween season and are ready for the next series of holidays. As my friend Bill Jenkins said, be safe, watch out for your little ones and yourself (paraphrasing there Bill).

We have a lot of things coming at us in the new year and we need all of you ready to act.


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