Letters to the editor published June 7, 2014

By Del Norte Triplicate Readers June 10, 2014 04:28 pm

Resighini Tribal Council opposes Senate bill

The Resighini Rancheria of Yurok Indians located at the mouth of the Klamath River, joins with other Klamath Basin Tribes who are not signatories to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) in opposition to Senate Bill S.2016, introduced in the Senate by Oregon senators Wyden and Merkley, and California senators Feinstein and Boxer. S.2016 is a bill to extinguish priority treaty water rights of Indian tribes.

 

We were excluded from participating in the settlement talks leading to the KHSA and the KBRA because we were steadfast in our position that in order to restore a natural balance to the Klamath River Basin, Paciļ¬Corp’s obsolete hydro dams had to be removed from the Klamath River. Our position was and is supported by the findings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

S.2016 will effectively terminate our priority water rights in favor of PacifCorp and irrigators. The chinook, coho and other species of fish and wildlife will disappear forever if S.2016 becomes law. For more than 50 years we have been fighting various parties and governments for our water rights and for the survival of the salmon runs. Up to now we have had the support of the federal government under its trust responsibility to the tribes. We will no longer have that support. With never having had a voice in the proceedings, and again without representation, our rights under law now stand threatened by the very government that is legally bound to protect them.

We are optimistic that Congress will refuse to surrender our rights for the benefit of a corporation and certain irrigators.

Resighini Rancheria Tribal Council,

Klamath

Sheriff’s politicization is anti-democratic

Let’s get this straight. First, Sheriff Dean Wilson has proudly made a point of politicizing the Sheriff’s Office, using his position as the armed leader of the armed Sheriff’s department to relentlessly push his political agenda on issues having nothing to do with law enforcement. He has also repeatedly made clear he will enforce laws that are in line with his political positions and won’t enforce some laws not in line with his political positions (e.g., gun control).

Second, Sheriff Wilson’s politics include the importance of privatizing publicly administered entities.

Third, Wilson’s wife is on a committee considering privatizing Del Norte’s Solid Waste Management Authority.

Fourth, the privatization of the Solid Waste Management Authority fits firmly within Sheriff Wilson’s political agenda.

Fifth, Sheriff Wilson accuses the head of the Solid Waste Management Authority of embezzlement.

Am I the only person in Del Norte County concerned about this apparent conflict of interest on Sheriff Wilson’s part? This is precisely why it’s socially destructive to have a sheriff who uses his position as an armed enforcer of laws to push his political agenda (and even worse, by his own admission, a person who is a selective enforcer of laws).

I’m saying nothing about the guilt or innocence of the head of the Solid Waste Management Authority. I know nothing about him. I’m saying that Sheriff Wilson’s routine and proud use of his armed position to push his political agenda creates an apparent conflict of interest and destroys any possibility of not having that apparent conflict of interest on any investigations even remotely associated with his political agenda.

This is a terrible thing for him to do to our community (and for our community to allow to happen) for at least two reasons. The first is that it destroys public discourse, as those who disagree with him may be intimidated into silence, for fear he’ll use his position to destroy their lives. The second is that it destroys our county’s ability to enforce even the laws Wilson agrees with, as he himself has proudly introduced the possibility that his enforcement of the law could be politically motivated. Both of these kill any possibility of robust democracy and show why it is profoundly wrong, antidemocratic, and socially destructive for a sheriff — any sheriff — to not be impartial but instead to use an armed law enforcement position to push a political agenda.

Derrick Jensen, 

Crescent City