Lake County Community Rights Education
A somewhat belated Happy New Year from LakeCRE!We also want to update you on several important developments as they relate to Community Rights here in Lake County and elsewhere.
Last year Big Ag was reduced to stealing the election that they couldn't win in Oregon. Sadly, the courts determined that there was no way to count the improperly discarded Portland area votes that would have pushed Measure 92, Oregon's labeling initiative, to victory.
In California, Big Ag sneaked language into a completely unrelated health insurance-related bill which prohibits cities and counties from passing their own laws on seed saving, contamination prevention and food supply safety. According to the Legislative Counsel's Digest, AB2470, as passed, "would also prohibit a city, county or district, including a charter city or county, from adopting or enforcing an ordinance on or after January 1, 2015, that regulates plants, crops, or seeds without the consent of the secretary." (This refers to the Calif Dept of Food and Ag Secretary, currently Karen Ross.)
Read carefully - there are two Karens here and I've tried to make it obvious who is who. Karen Hudson, a Sonoma County activist who has been working tirelessly on education and labeling, spoke with the Calif Dept of Food and Ag Secretary's assistant. The assistant told Hudson that they will be coming out with an interpretation and possibly amending the wording to read invasive plants. Karen recommended we send letters and make phone calls. However, Ross was appointed by Gov. Brown after having been Chief of Staff for Tom Vilsack, so from past experience we know that it's debatable how responsive this agency will be. Here's the link to contact info for CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and Taylor Roschen, the CDFA Legislative Manager.
On a very positive note, voters in Humboldt County passed Measure P in November with a landslide 59%, which bans the growing of genetically engineered crops in the county. This occurred before the end of the year, too, so it is not affected by AB2470.
It's now clear that with every election, whether the measure passes or fails, more voters become aware of the environmental, economic and health dangers of genetically engineered crops. People are also becoming more aware of the issues of food sovereignty and "corporate rights" vs. local sovereignty.
A bit of good news was that on the other side of the country, an Anti-Corruption initiative passed in Tallahassee, FL. We'll be watching to see how much positive (or negative!) impact the law ends up having on their city, whether it stands up in court, whether it can stop the flow of dark money, and, of course, whether we should consider this type of law in Lake County, too.
So far in 2015 there are a couple of exciting local developments. The biggest one is that the horrible situation with California Water System's water rate gouging in Lucerne is finally seeing the light of day. Craig Bach, the spokesperson for Lucerne Friends of Locally Owned water has been on KPFZ several times. He is an articulate, rational and professional advocate for his community. Leah DeAnda of the Record Bee has also reported on Lucerne and CWS's latest demand for a large rate increase and the California Public Utility Commission's completely predictable failure to do anything but protect CWS and their shareholders' investments. Here is a link to her latest story.
And speaking of links, LakeCRE now finally has a website! It's pretty bare bones at this point, but please take a look:
Please also check out Paul Cienfuego's website, Jane Anne Morris's Democracy Theme Park and the others for an amazing wealth of news and discussion of community rights. We will be adding more updates, categories and links on a regular basis.
The LakeCRE Team