from October 2011, Government
by: Tom Mallams, President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
KLAMATH OFF-PROJECT WATER USERS ASSOCIATION
October 25, 2011
Honorable, Secretary Ken Salazar,
Department of Interior
I am writing this letter to inform you of a very disturbing public meeting I attended on September 26, 2011, in Chiloquin, Oregon. This public meeting was funded by the Department of Interior, through Upper Klamath Water Users Association,(UKWUA), Klamath Water and Power Authority(KWAPA) and Klamath Basin Power Alliance, (KBPA). The published intention of this meeting was to sign up “interested” irrigators in the so called “affordable power”, hoped for in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement,(KBRA), and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement,(KHSA).
“...It was a kid, smiling, at the lunch table – he had a quesadilIa, some carrots, a half an apple, a carton of milk. I thought it was a great picture... It wasn’t lobster tail and chocolate mousse. It was a simple meal designed to address a basic problem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing free food for a hungry kid. Not one single thing...” — Steve Miller (Thumbs up, Sat., 10/22)
I’m glad the American tax-payer could spare nearly $27 Billion dollars to bring a smile to the Herald and News’ outlook.
But, Miller’s smiley face and a happy heart come at an enormous expense. The question any good editorial journalist ought to be asking is, “Is the federal government the most efficient machine to accomplish the task?”
As I wrote last week, when we ask the wrong question we most often get the wrong answer. As with the "jobs problem" — in Klamath County as well as nationwide — the problem our country faces is not the lack of jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. The problem is NOT jobs. The lack of jobs are a mere symptom of the real problem.
The real problem lies in the fact that we have an economy that is stuck in the mud and sliding backwards quickly. It's like we're slipping down the side of a muddy bank towards the abyss in slow motion. These are the things nightmares are made of — except what makes this worse is we are awake while this is all happening and it's all too real.
Yet our President is focused on creating jobs. And when the President is focused on the wrong issue, so often follows the nation. We are so far off course that now others are coming up with "job solutions" or "job fixes". This is meaningless, and worse very dangerous. For example, U. S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of the famous Reverend Jesse Jackson, is now proposing that the Federal Government hire all 15 million unemployed people for around $40,000/year.
The KBRA is an odd document. First we don't know who wrote it.1 For something that is being used as the baseline to craft legislation by Senator Merkley, shouldn't we know who actually wrote the darn thing? It's as if from the heavens this document descended on its own (no need for a Moses to carry it down) and different groups all said in unison "This is good. Let's make it law."
Second, the groups that are in support of the KBRA are really a minority in this community. They are well funded (thanks to public grant money — our tax dollars at work) and they make lots of noise in the paper, but they are the minority. The KBRA supporters would have you believe that if you add up the tribes, the farmers, the environmentalists and the fishermen you get a majority opinion. Really all you get are several special interest groups wanting the same thing — a leftist agenda. Even that isn't necessarily true. On the whole farmers do not support this document, but since the Klamath Water Users Association is pro-KBRA, you are to believe a majority of farmers are for it as well.
Finally (and this is the biggie), what in the world does the purchase of the Mazama Tree Farm and then gifting it to the Klamath Tribes have anything to do about fish restoration in the Klamath river? (As a side note, calling 90,000 acres a "farm" is like calling a Ferrari a commuter car.) Stop for a moment and think about this. How do you connect purchasing 90,000 plus acres of private timber land, then giving it to the Klamath Tribes to help restore fish habitat 50-250 miles away? The quick answer is you can't.
Who Pays for the Flowers?
Klamath County Commissioner Hukill announced building of a Veteran’s Long-Term Care Facility here in Klamath County as one of her main goals during her time in office. While this sounds like a noble project, let's take a moment to examine whether the idea is benefits the county or not. Here are a few thoughts:
Is a Long-Term Home for Veterans really needed here?
While a veteran's facility would be a nice feather in the county's cap and would bring people into the area to visit those who are in the facility, I wonder whether this should really be a top priority project that County government should be pursuing. I haven't seen any grass roots effort clamoring for such a facility. I don't see sick veterans lining the streets looking for long-term care treatment. Seems to me this isn't really a pressing need. I could be wrong, but again, this doesn't appear like something that should be occupying top of mind for Mrs. Hukill.