Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
As I See It
by Pat Ratliff, Klamath CourierMay 10, 2006
Civic Proud. I know, you're thinking I meant to say civic pride.
I didn't, although there's not much difference between the two.
I mean it to say pride in the past tense, and I don't think prided is a word.
Anyway, I got a large dose of civic proud Wednesday night in Coos Bay.
County Commish Bill Brown took a group of seven people over to meet with elected officials and fishermen, and offer support for the fishermen, plus talk about the Klamath Project to them.
Bill Brown, Senator Doug Whitsett, Dan Keppen, Bill Ransom, Rick Woodley, Lani Hickey and Ron Hathaway all made the trip, and let me tell you, the job they did was super. I am proud to say I knew them back when they were mere mortals, but they've moved way beyond that to me now.
Remember the old movie the magnificent seven? I was going to make a cheesy reference to that movie, and the seven who went to Coos Bay, but on second thought I don't think I will. I also don't want anyone to think I'm making comparisons between Bill Brown and Yul Brenner, as Bill has much more hair.
The meeting was beyond what anyone would have expected. Very informative, with lots of civil discussion from both sides of the podium, it was what you hope all meetings will be like, but never are.
Starting off with sound problems, the group was not able to show the new BOR dvd, but that was the only bad part about the whole meeting.
Each member had time to either give a presentation or answer questions from the audience. Many times two or more of them worked together on giving a complete answer to a single question.
They spoke, they listened, they made suggestions and altogether gave a perfect representation of the Project. I wasn't the only one amazed, as many of the fishermen kept commenting to me on how great a job they were doing.
The four hour meeting finally ended at 10 p.m. but, no one really seemed to want it to end. It felt more like a party ending at your best friend's home but you really don't want to leave.
The meeting was called historic, monumental and even just 'a hell of a meeting', and it was all of that.
The locals did great, and I for one had a lot of pride that night watching them. I know you would have also.
On another note, the Governor will have his second Salmon Summit Friday, May 12, in Newport from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. at the City Hall. Fishermen are hoping to have a large presence there and would like to ask any farmers who could add to their ranks to please attend.
The fishermen are in a horrible, desperate position. They were hoping to get some immediate money as relief, but have since found out that won't be happening. Many are nearly broke from last year's shortened season.
The government is pulling its usual wait and see game. They have no concept of urgent or immediate. If they were trying to put the fishermen completely out of business forever, they couldn't do a better job of it.
They have their boats sitting at the docks, but can't use them, and still have large moorage fees they must continue paying. They can't just pull their boats out of the water; that ruins a boat if left for very long.
On top of family, medical bills, car and house payments and every other day to day living expense, they have to pay moorage and maintain those boats. The continual rusting and decay of boats and everything in them doesn't stop just because they have to stop fishing.
I remember well a number of fishermen coming over to the basin in 2001 to try and support the people of the Klamath Basin in our hour of need. I hope some, if not many here can find it in their hearts to go to Newport and stand shoulder to shoulder with the fishermen.
They are good, honest, hardworking people who don't deserve what the government is doing to them.
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