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Coastal Voices: Action needed in park scandal

Here are excerpts from a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, President Pro Tem Steinberg, and Speaker Perez:

On behalf of the California State Parks Foundation, our 130,000 members statewide, and our 43-year history of enhancing, protecting and advocating for parks, I cannot convey enough how deeply shocked and dismayed we have been to learn of the irregularities that have surfaced from the Department of Parks and Recreation in the last several days.

The news of the unauthorized vacation buyout program, coupled with the discovery of more than $50 million in 12-year fund balances that should have been disclosed and directed to parks and recreation operations, has affected our members, our partners, and the public’s trust in our state park system.

Our state parks have been used as a political football in recent years and have been repeatedly held hostage to broader budget and policy fights. That context is neither justification nor an excuse for the scandals that have come out, but contributes in part to the current state of affairs affecting our state parks.

Letters to the Editor published Aug. 4, 2012

Sutter, board,doctors should rethink, seek common ground

Sutter Coast Hospital’s Board chairman gave community members at the Town Hall Meeting a handout explaining why the board voted for regionalization last November. Regionalization would dismantle our local Board of Trustees and turn our governance over to folks in the San Francisco and Santa Rosa area.  But what’s written on Sutter Coast’s home page makes more sense to me:  “... Our local governance structure means critical health care decisions are made by experts in our community who can respond to the local health and community needs.

Here’s how I read the board’s rationale:


Editor's Note: Wanted: passionate moderates

Frank McNamara is a survivor. He came home unscathed from the World War II bloodbath of Okinawa as a Navy Seabee. He emerged damp but unhurt from the Crescent City tidal waves of 1964 as a downtown merchant.

So when Frank, now 91, passes along a piece of writing and suggests it be shared with Triplicate readers, who am I to quibble? Especially when I agree.

In the July/August edition of AARP Bulletin, editor Jim Toedtman evokes the memories and motivations of four of our nation’s founding fathers, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

“In life these four great men did not like one another,” Toedtman wrote. “Journals of that time are full of their conniving and their bitter rivalries.

Coastal Voices: More reasons for hospital not to change

Here are excerpts from my presentation at Wednesday’s town hall about proposed hospital regionalization:

I would like to speak to you all from three perspectives.

First, as an attorney in the criminal justice system. We live and believe in a thing called due process, which basically means, you play fair and even and you don’t hide the ball. I’m offended because from what I’ve seen, Sutter Health has not played by those rules.

Our local Board of Directors voted to cede power to a board in San Francisco with no assurance of  a seat or any local input.

Editor's Note: DN has active bunch of Tea Partiers

Is Del Norte County Tea Party country?

More so than a lot of places, considering the electorate trends conservative and the local Tea Party seems more engaged than the local Democratic and Republican organizations when it comes to public events such as last Saturday’s parade of constitutional sheriffs.

About 250 people turned out at the fairgrounds as Del Norte Sheriff Dean Wilson played host to five of his colleagues in the latest regional rally for more local power in dealings with the state and federal governments. That’s a lot of folks willing to go inside and listen to speeches for three hours on a mostly blue-sky weekend.

Coastal Voices: Resighini stand on dam removal

The Resighini Rancheria is a small federally recognized tribe with a reservation at the top of the Klamath River estuary.

We are of Yurok ancestry. Our people have fished the Klamath River since time immemorial and we remain dependent on the bounty of the river, both for our sustenance and our spiritual well being.

The Resighini Rancheria favors removal of four Klamath Hydroelectric Project (KHP) dams, but strongly opposes the implementation of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) that is part of the government dam removal process. 

Editor's Note: Another tool for the trails

It’s easy to assume everyone knows we live in a hiker’s paradise on the North Coast. Gnarly groves of old-growth redwoods are just minutes away. Stretches of coastal trails merge the forests and the sea. Inland paths unveil even more of the incredible diversity collected here.

When I started writing the periodic Walk Your World columns, I feared I might be stating the obvious: Who does this guy think he is writing introductory stories about these places we’ve been going to for years?

Turns out there were plenty of people who didn’t know, or had forgotten, the basic facts about our plentiful world-class hiking trails. I’ve been amazed how many longtime residents have told me they tried this or that hike only after I wrote about it.

Editor's Note: I’ll never forget Waldo Canyon

Like newborns, wildfires are named before their accomplishments unfold. Thus the inferno that is consuming parts of western Colorado Springs will forever be known as the Waldo Canyon Fire.

That label alone was enough to grab my attention a few days ago, because Waldo Canyon’s seven-mile loop trail is where Laura and I fell in love with hiking. When we decided to spend every Saturday of the summer of 2006 walking our world, we inaugurated the campaign there. I vividly remember taking the first steps up a wooden stairway at the trailhead.

We’ve never stopped walking, and someday I hope we’ll return to where we got our start. But it won’t be the same.

Coastal Voices: Lessons from son’s ordeal on motorcycle

My son Daniel was recently involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. It was “man versus Hwy. 199 and the guard rail.”

It takes only one split second on that curvy road to have the turn overtake you. Before long he was propelled headfirst into the guard rail post, his helmet flew off his head and slid down the road along with his motorcycle, but where was my son? He was evidently propelled into the air over the guard rail, flying 15 feet before hitting a tree and dropping to the ground. His buddies pulled him back to the road and called 911.

Coastal Voices: Dam removal critics off base

The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement calls on the secretary of the interior to make a decision on whether to remove four Klamath River dams based on a foundation of scientific findings. That is why more than 100 experts on my team, including biologists, engineers, economists, hydrologists, and others, have been developing and sharing new scientific information for the past two years.

In developing this information, my team used the universal principles of the scientific method to produce 50 new reports: literature review, hypothesis (assumption) testing, data collection and analysis, and publication of peer-reviewed, publicly available reports which are available at Klamath

Restoration.gov. Our team summarized these findings in an overview report that received a second layer of peer review from six independent experts.

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