On September 23, Native American Tribal members joined environmental groups in a protest on the north end of the Willits Bypass highway project. Protestors entered the construction zone north of town in the early morning hours, stopping the fast and furious flow of dirt-filled, double-belly dump trucks that have been working from dawn to dusk to cover the wetlands and archeological sites the activists seek to protect.
Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations, as well as to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels. One of the largest private water brokers in the U.S., the Resnick holding company Roll International makes millions of dollars in profits off marketing subsidized public water back to the public.
On August 29, the California Coastal Commission on August 29 sent a letter to the developer of the Monterey Bay Shores Resort, Ed Ghandour, informing him his response to the requirements of the conditional Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was deficient. The Coastal Commission tentatively approved the development in April, after years of opposition from environmental groups. Monterey Bay Shores is planned to be built along a pristine stretch of coastal dunes in Sand City, and at risk is a population of Western snowy plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.
On September 22
, former BART Police Deputy Chief Dan Hartwig will be called to account in federal court for his role in targeting and arresting independent journalist David Morse during a “No Justice No BART” protest at the Powell Street BART station three years ago. Morse was the only credentialed journalist who was handcuffed, arrested, and held in police custody for several hours, while other reporters with and without credentials were all released without citation from a police encirclement.
UPDATE: Verdict in BART PD Trial, September 29:
The jury in US District Court found that — despite BART Deputy Chief Fairow ordering a flier be created identifying Dave Id as a subject for police focus during the 9/8/11 Powell Street station protest, despite BART police discussing arresting Dave Id at a planning meeting prior to the protest (even though all officers who testified said Dave Id had never committed a crime at a previous protest), and despite Deputy Chief Hartwig choosing Dave Id to be very first person arrested when all other journalists were released from a police kettle — Deputy Chief Hartwig did not retaliate against Dave Id for his hundreds of critical reports on BART police. Dave Id and Indybay strongly disagree.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
On August 27, over 200 Tribal Members and Leaders, river advocates and politicians attended a day of celebration on the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam. It was a day that the Bureau of Reclamation designated as a “Multicultural Day,“ so the Hoopa Valley Tribe organized an event to demonstrate the impacts of water diversion on their culture and the river communities.
Environmental groups filed a legal petition on August 26 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.