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Indybay Feature

A Plaintiffs LBAM Explanation

by Jeffrey Paul Vance
As a former resident of Santa Cruz and a plaintiff against the Federal Government because of the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) spraying which took place there, I'd like to clarify a couple issues regarding how and why this program came about.
First of all, there is no "State of Emergency" regarding this issue. A State of Emergency is constitutionally an executive prerogative and in this context can only be declared by the Governors' Office and they haven't and don't plan to and you can call their press office and find out for yourselves if you don't believe me.

This (quote/unquote) state of emergency is being bandied about in order to explain why there hasn't been adequate health and environmental review, and it originated from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) directors' own mouth at a public meeting and has since been accepted as fact. It is a fact he said it, it is not a fact the Governor declared one.

During the lead up to the spraying, what director Kowamuras' office did was to issue numerous proclamations in the form of press releases which temporarily altered government code in order for him to cobble together enough authority to pull off this program in lieu of the proper authority. Governor Schwarzenegger could have issued a State of Emergency but he didn't, instead he allowed an unelected state government department head to alter the government code by fiat in order to obtain the legal right to spray untested chemicals on a civilian population.

Why did it go this way? Well first of all for an event to raise to a "State of Emergency" it must pose an immediate danger to both person and property. Since the moth, in of itself does not pose a threat to "person", (being neither poisonous nor venomous), it simply didn't meet the legal requirements. It just would not have stood up under the legal scrutiny that was well anticipated.

Secondly, under a "State of Emergency" there are protocols to be followed, namely that another half dozen agencies would have been automatically brought into the process like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services. These two agencies alone could not have allowed a plan like this to go forward because it lacked the necessary assurances that an Environmental Impact Report and Human Health monitoring would have provided. They were simply, purposely left out of the loop.

But by far the most disconcerting aspect of this plan is that it was the hysteria of a "War on Terror" which made it all possible in the first place. Fast-tracked legislation and the curved-spines of certain public officials and agencies ensured that an emergency was concocted for the protection of commerce over the safety and concerns of ordinary citizens. What we are left with is the ongoing colossal failure of our government to fulfill its primary and fundamental function, to secure its people from the threat of harm.

Jeffrey Paul Vance
Red Bluff, CA
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Comments (Hide Comments)
by Mim
Dear Mr. Vance,
Thank you for clarifying this important fact about the supposed emergency. From your article, I now understand that the governor never declared an official emergency, and that this was simply a phrase used by A.G. Kawamura.

The amount of disinformation that has been accidentally and intentionally disseminated in this egregious crisis of human health and rights has served to make so many Californians unclear as to how all of this started in the first place.

We will blog about your statement of clarification at and join you in your outrage over our governor's failure to put human health ahead of the profits and schemes of dangerous special interest groups.

People seeking further accurate information about the unforgivable actions of our government and the CDFA should be visiting on a daily basis. We sure are.
by Tim Rumford
Thanks for filling in a few gaps regarding the facts of the contrived illegal state of emergency. If we allow this to occur in one of the most liberal areas in America, they can spray anything over us by simply crying emergency. If we give up this right, we could loose it forever. Our democracy further erodes in every level of government from City, State and Federal. At what point do we no longer really have one? How many of our constitutional rights do we have to give up for the financial gains of a few before the very idea of a constitution and basic rights become meaningless? Good Job thanks.
Tim R
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