PG&E Supervisor Gets “Physical” With Blogger’s Camera

I attended the PG&E meeting in Durham regarding the Midway trees to be cut down.  During the informal discussions with PG&E employees, North Valley Supervisor, Randy Ernenwein, shoved his hand over my camera when I attempted to take his photo. But I got his pic anyway, see below.

PG&E Supervisor shoves his hand over my camera.

PG&E Supervisor shoves his hand over my camera.

PG&E North Valley Division Supervisor, Randy Ernenweir

PG&E North Valley Division Supervisor, Randy Ernenweir

I remember this guy from the PG&E massacre of the beautiful, 120 year old trees in front of the historic Oroville cemetery.  He was one of the workers who seemed to be (in my opinion) laughing and smirking at the Save Oroville Trees people behind the fence PG&E put up around the trees (and the people.) How can we trust PG&E when they hire guys like this?

PG&E employees on the outside of the fence.

PG&E employees on the outside of the fence.

Save Oroville Trees people and the trees on the inside of the fence.

Save Oroville Trees people and the trees on the inside of the fence.

Beautiful old trees in front of Oroville Cemetery

Beautiful old trees in front of Oroville Cemetery before the massacre

After the massacre. Heritage Tree gone forever.

After the massacre. Heritage Tree gone forever.

Don’t let this happen again in Chico or anywhere else in Butte County. Please attend the meeting this evening at Patrick Ranch Museum, 5:00pm, on the Midway between Chico and Durham.  Give PG&E a piece of your mind!

Two Wacky Schemes to “Store” Water – Please Attend This Meeting

The California Water Commission will hold a public meeting “to provide information on the Water Storage Investment Program” on Monday, April 13th, 5:30, Elks Lodge, 1705 Manzanita Place, Chico.

Because the majority of the people of California voted for Prop. 1, the Water Bond, in the last election, we now have 2 wacky schemes that, supposedly, will help us get through the current and future drought conditions.

Scheme #1 Build the “off stream” Sites Reservoir over in Glenn/Colusa counties. This scheme will depend on pumping water out of the Sacramento River, dumping it into existing irrigation canals and pumping it up hill to the “reservoir.” The billions spent on this wacky scheme would be better put to use by using it, for example, to restore our wetlands. Wetlands are much more efficient at storing water than big holes in the ground that leak, are subject to evaporation and clogging silt, engulf valleys, are expensive to maintain and dry up during droughts.

Oroville Dam pumps sticking out of water.

Oroville Dam pumps sticking out of water.

San Luis Reservoir in San Joaquin Valley.

San Luis Reservoir in San Joaquin Valley.

 Sacramento River

Sacramento River

Scheme #2 is the most wacky and dastardly.  I’m no expert but, from what I’ve been able to learn, this is the gist of it: In dry years, big rice farmers would pump huge amounts of ground water to flood their rice fields, with the goal of totally draining the Tuscan Aquifer dry, which would, supposedly, create an empty space for “below-ground water storage.”  The rice farmers would then be free to make lots of $$ by selling their allotment of Sacramento River water to the “farmers” down in the San Joaquin Valley so they can irrigate their puny, desert almond orchards, while productive almond growers up here watch their wells go dry. 

San Joaquin Valley "almond orchard"

San Joaquin Valley “almond orchard”

Almond orchard along the Midway near Chico

Almond orchard along the Midway near Chico

Then, in “wet years,” the rice farmers would flood their fields with Sacramento River water, which, supposedly, would seep down into the Tuscan Aquifer and refill it. 

Rice field in Sacramento Valley

Rice field in Sacramento Valley

Rice silos in Richvale

Rice silos in Richvale

Doug LaMalfa, U.S. House of Reps., District 1 and rice farmer

Doug LaMalfa, U.S. House of Reps., District 1 and rice farmer

They sell water.

They sell water.

The Delta Mendota water canal - how our water is "transferred."

The Delta Mendota water canal – how our water is “transferred.”

It might be the only strategy left for southern California, where they’ve already wiped out their aquifers,  but are we willing to sacrifice one of the only intact, natural aquifers left in California to such a wacky scheme?  I have questions:  Does anyone really know what will happen when this precious water resource is totally drained?  Will the whole water system collapse? What, exactly, is a “wet year”?  And who would have access to this “stored” water?  Wildlife?  Valley Oaks? Small, organic family farmers?  Urban dwellers?  Local fruit and nut farmers?  And——– what if there isn’t another wet year for a long, long time?

If you have question too, please attend this meeting.

Small, organic, family farmers at the Farmers' Market

Small, organic, family farmers at the Farmers’ Market

Small, organic farmer loads up his truck for the Farmers' Market

Small, organic farmer loads up his truck for the Farmers’ Market

Chico Avenues neighborhood as seen from on top of Enloe building

Urban dwellers, Chico Avenues neighborhood

_MG_9922MallardPair

Mallard pair on Chico Creek, Bidwell Park

Young Valley Oaks, Bidwell Park, One Mile

Young Valley Oaks, Bidwell Park, One Mile

Valley Oaks, Bidwell Park

Valley Oaks, Bidwell Park

Nutall's Woodpecker on Valley Oak, Bidwell Park

Nuttall’s Woodpecker on Valley Oak, Bidwell Park

Valley Oak, south side of Sutter Buttes

Valley Oak, south side of Sutter Buttes

Pounding water flows over fish ladder at One MIle in Bidwell Park.

Pounding water flows over fish ladder at One MIle in Bidwell Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gilkyson and Gerber Get New Fan

When I heard that KZFR was sponsoring a concert at the Chico Women’s Club last Friday night, featuring Eliza Gilkyson along with Nina Gerber, I’d never heard Eliza Gilkyson’s music before.  But I got interested when I learned that she played acoustic folk music and was nominated for a Grammy Award.  And when a friend told me that Nina Gerber was going to accompany Eliza on guitar and that she had played with Kate Wolf’s band I thought, “I’m going!”

Being a photographer, I took photos of the two women, Eliza Gilkyson in color, thereby capturing something of the warmth of her voice and lyrics, and Nina Gerber in black and white because I thought the neutral colors would better show the intensity of her concentration on the guitar – the combination resulting in a sound that can never be adequately duplicated.

The song I liked best was Fast Freight by Eliza’s father, singer and songwriter, Terry Gilkyson. Perhaps I gravitate toward train sounds because I grew up adjacent to a San Fernando Valley railroad track or because of the long railroad journeys to Denver for summer vacations.  Now, in Chico, I hear the distant sound of a late-night train as it passes through town telling me, “If you go you can’t come back.”

Nina Gerber and Eliza Gilkyson

Nina Gerber (left) and Eliza Gilkyson

 

Eliza Gilkyson

Eliza Gilkyson

 

_MG_4455Eliza

_MG_4476Eliza

_MG_4474Eliza

Nina Gerber

Nina Gerber

_MG_4457Nina

_MG_4477Nina

Nina playing “bottle neck” slide.

 

_MG_4456Nina

 

Nina and her dot, Tootsie.

Nina and her dog, Tootsie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

People Cited, Trees Cut

Once again, the Save Oroville Trees people gathered in the early morning darkness in front of the Oroville Cemetery. It was a last effort to save their Heritage Trees. To make sure law, order, and safety prevailed, the “authorities” called for the following city forces to be present: Oroville police, Oroville fire dept. and paramedics.  PG&E hired some rent-a-cops, traffic control guys, a fence crew and, of course, a large crew of out of town tree cutters.  Many PG&E officials were on hand.

Eleven people were handcuffed, cited and released. One woman, however, chose to go back into the fenced-off area and lay down under one of the trees. She was arrested and taken to the county jail.

By the time this blogger went home at 5:00PM, nine trees still stood – but with all their upper limbs lopped off.  You could hardly call them trees anymore, let alone Heritage Trees.

_MG_4135 #1

_MG_4137 #2

Woman chains herself to a tree.

Woman chains herself to a tree.

Dave climbs up into a tree again.

Dave climbs up into a tree again.

People start getting cited.

People start getting cited and removed from fenced area around the trees.

Caroline gets cited and escorted out of fenced area around the trees.

Elderly gentleman with cane gets cited.

_MG_4194 #!2

Handicapped man cited and removed.

Handicapped man is cited and removed.

A woman cries before being cited and removed.

_MG_4204 #9

A mother is handcuffed and removed along with her daughter.

A mother is handcuffed and removed along with her son.

Al talks to his wife while from up in one of the trees.

Al talks to his wife from up in one of the trees.

Oroville City Administrator, Randy Murphy, comes down and surveys the standoff between people and PG&E.

Oroville City Administrator, Randy Murphy, comes down to check out the standoff between people and PG&E.

Bill goes limp and is carried out of fenced area.

Bill goes limp and is carried out of fenced area.

Woman returns to fenced-off area and is arrested.

Woman returns to fenced-off area and is arrested.

PG&E workers huddle.

PG&E workers huddle.

The name of out of town tree crew.

The name of out of town tree crew.

PG&E don't waste time - 3 trees get cut at the same time.

PG&E didn’t waste time – 3 trees get cut at the same time.

One person said the cracking of the limbs "sounded like breaking bones."

One person said the cracking of the limbs “sounded like bones breaking.”

_MG_4312BigTreeBodiesChainsawed

_MG_4269StickTree

Heritage Tree gone forever.

Heritage Tree,  gone forever.

 

 

 

 

 

How Do We Measure What We’ve Lost?

Some losses are painfully easy to measure – getting laid off from one’s job, the death of a loved one, or the decline of mental and physical capacities as we grow older.

But how do we measure the incremental, bit-by-bit loss of the natural world? By the number of glasses of polluted water no longer fit to drink? By the number of acres of open space and prime farmland paved over for residential development and shopping malls? By the number of animal and plant species that have disappeared from the face of the Earth forever? Or do we measure the number of corporations that lied to us when they promised not to harm the environment? Or by some city council members who voted to sell off their cities’ natural resources? Or by the carbon released back into the atmosphere when a 4ft diameter tree is cut down?

And how do we measure the loss of 240 trees lining the streets of Oroville? As for me, I measure such loss by the lengths to which a small band of people will go to save even a single tree, and by the tears cried by an older gentlemen back home, in the kitchen, telling his wife about the 4 trees lining the Oroville Cemetery that he saw PG&E cut down.

[Below is the story, in photos, of the Oroville trees and their human protectors.]

_MG_3675

Jan. 6,  I travel to Oroville to check out the trees.

 

_MG_3652

Jan 26

 

_MG_3661

Jan. 6,  I measure the 4 foot diameter tree cut down by PG&E before people can organize.

_MG_3645

Jan 6

 

King Industries' 300 year old Valley Oak - in the path of PG&E too.

Jan 6   King Industries’ 300 year old Valley Oak – down the road from the cemetery trees, in the path of PG&E too.

_MG_3695

Jan. 6    King Industries Valley Oak, private property

Jan. 12th, Save Our Trees goes to court with their attorney, Richard Harriman.PG&E wins Temporary Restraining Order against the people.

Jan. 12th  Save Our Trees (SOT) people go to court with their attorney, Richard Harriman.  PG&E wins Temporary Restraining Order against the people. SOT will eventually go to court 2 more times.

5:00AM,

Jan.26th, 5:00A.M.   I get a call from the people. PG&E arrive to cut the trees down.

_MG_3904

Jan 26th

PG&E puts up fence around the trees and the people guarding the trees.

Jan. 26   PG&E puts up fence around the trees and the people guarding the trees.

The people and the trees appeared to be imprisoned.

Jan. 26    The people and the trees appeared to be imprisoned.

A mournful sound.

Jan. 26   A mournful sound.

In the early morning darkness the people gathered for pep talks.

 Jan 26   In the early morning cold and darkness the people gathered to encourage each other.

_MG_3933

Jan 26

 

Some of the Save Oroville Trees people try and stay warm.

Jan. 26  Save Oroville Trees people try to stay warm.

_MG_3981

Jan. 26

 

Dave goes up into the tree.

Jan. 26  Dave goes up into the tree.

_MG_3980

Jan 26

 

_MG_3988

Jan. 26

 

_MG_3972

Jan 26

 

The people discuss risking arrest with the police.

Jan 26  The people discuss risking arrest with the police.

Stand-off between PG&E and the people.

Jan 26  Stand-off between PG&E and the people.

_MG_4018

Jan. 26, late afternoon, when only a few people are still at the site, PG&E cut down 4 of the trees.

 

Al Cartwright jumps the fence. PG&E calls the police and Al is handcuffed, cited and released.

Jan 26, late afternoon.  Al Cartwright jumps the fence to try and save the rest of the trees. PG&E calls the police and Al is handcuffed, cited and released. Nine trees remain.

_MG_4022

Jan 27.   After PG&E cuts down 4 of the 13 heritage trees the day before the people set up camp all night to protect the remaining 9 trees.

_MG_4030

Jan 27

Allen Young and Bill Bynum, part of the core members of SOT.

Allen Young and Bill Bynum, part of the core members of SOT.

_MG_4007

Jan. 27

Epilog:  As of 1/30/15, the last 9 trees are still standing and the people are still standing in front of them. However, I got word PG&E will return on Monday, Feb. 2, 6:00a.m. to cut them down. Please show up if you can to stand in solidarity with the trees and the people.

Chico and Paradise people beware!  PG&E has plans to cut down trees in your towns too.