Posted by: Jan | August 1, 2013

Where’s the Press Coverage?


If you want to help get more press coverage, one member suggests Letters to the Editor. See “How to get your Letters to the Editor Published” at the bottom of this post.

Because the citizens of the Delta are protesting and marching – yet where’s the Press?

After the Hood Fire Chief attended a town meeting where Melissa Terry (who is with the North Delta Water Agency and also sits on the board of the Bay Area & Delta Conservation Plan) told Hood residents how their livelihoods would be greatly impacted by the tunnels, the Chief wanted as many “Stop the Tunnel” signs as possible on the roads leading to Courtland for the Courtland Pear Fair last weekend.

Barbara Daly from Clarksburg manned a booth for STCDA at the Courtland Pear Fair Sunday (thanks again, Barbara!) and said that the people coming into the Fair had seen all the road signs and were full of questions like “What Tunnels?” Our booth and the Restore the Delta’s booth were next to each other and the crowds kept both booths busy all day. Barbara said it was amazing how many people living in that area had no idea about the tunnels or the imminent effect they would have on their lives.

Yet Courtland, Clarksburg, Hood farmers and people who have been following the BDCP plans feel like they are living in “ground zero.” Their quiet, scenic farming communities are where the BDCP is planning to build the massive, multi-story pumping stations and forebay. Family farmers are being threatened with eminent domain. The construction will block farm roads, keeping farmers from getting to market. What are now scenic views will instead be of the hugh industrial structures. Tunnel muck ponds will destroy their pear orchards. As Barbara said, “If the tunnels go through, that will be the end of the Pear Fairs.”

Gene Beley has posted a video taken during the Courtland Pear Fair last weekend (snaps below taken from his video).

The town came together to build floats. They gathered up “Save the Tunnel” signs and made their own to decorate floats and wave in the parade. Check out the video. It looks like about half of the parade was devoted to stopping the tunnels including the Restore the Delta coffin pulled by a specter. But the only thing I’ve seen in the press about the community uprising is a small paragraph in Vacaville’s “The Reporter”. I liked the title, Delta Residents Hit the Streets, but only one real paragraph was devoted to the community protest and the rest about CalTrans removing “Stop the Tunnel” signs illegally.

A community parading to stop the tunnels looks like big news to me. This isn’t a standard protest – this is a real-life community event overtaken by the fear of what these tunnels are about to do to their community and their way of life.

When will the press start covering what these tunnels are going to do to the Delta Communities? The tunnel proponents’ marketing campaign leads people to believe it’s a fish versus farmers battle and the BDCP is the only way to insure clean drinking water to LA and Silicon Valley while saving the fish. Even people living in the affected areas are often unaware of the true tunnel impacts.

We were very happy the Discovery Bay on the bus to Sacramento made the 6 O’clock News in Sacramento thanks to Melinda Meza who lives in Discovery Bay and is a KCRA Sacramento Channel 3 reporter. However, I haven’t seen any follow-on in the press. People massing to go to Sacramento to protest, community events overtaken by the concern about what this huge tunnel project is going to do and yet there is very little press coverage.

Where is the hard-hitting investigative reporting asking: “What are you going to do for people whose farms are taken away by eminent domain, for communities who face economic turndown during this tunnel construction project, for people whose home values will be affected?” Or ask the obvious: “Those are great goals but are they doable without fresh water?” Or better still: “Who will really profit primarily from this boondoggle?”

Where are Woodward and Bernstein?

How can we get more press coverage? One of our press-knowledgable members says we should get more Letters to the Editor in major newspapers.

How to get your Letters to the Editor Published

Here are hints from the SF Chronicle’s Editor on how to get letters to the editor accepted. One thing he looks for is the opportunity for personal perspectives that force readers with very different life experiences to consider another viewpoint. Read his hints.

Then send them off. Here are Links to Newsletters – Where to send your Letter to the Editor with information about maximum number of words, etc.

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Responses

  1. The biggest problem is newspapers and TV stations today don’t do much investigative reporting. Their budgets, like everyone else’s, are more limited and some are trying to just exist. The newspaper I owned for 16 years in Morgan Hill and sold in 2005 is already out of business! I noted early on that my own children did not read newspapers when they were growing up. That is actually one way to foretell the future. We are losing the Fourth Estate that is an important part of our democracy. Because I’m now retired, I have the time to devote to doing more than some of the big newspapers and TV stations for Central Valley Times that does both digital online print with embedded video stories. Today I’m headed for the water meeting in Fresno and to see if I can do man on the street type interviews in farm towns to get feedback from the common man on what they think about the twin tunnels. I feel lucky to have a front seat in history for another big story at age 73. Another old fashioned guy at 80 who is doing a good job is Burt Wilson in Sacramento. A young guy doing a fantastic job is Dan Bacher. He’s sounded the alarm about people like Catherine Rheis-Boyd, who is the chief operating officer of Western States Petroleum. She is their darling because she managed to do away with a lot of regulations in sensitive ocean oil drilling areas. She now has a seat on the California State Fish and Wildlife Board and is one of Governor Brown’s secret weapons for doing away with a lot of regulations there for the Delta and other areas, I’m sure.

    When a government agency dumps 40,000 pages on citizens, don’t expect newspapers and TV stations to read them any more than your own friends and neighbors. I’ve been plowing through Chapter 15 on boating and recreation. Try to focus on even one chapter of interest like this first to be shocked out of your minds on what our state and federal government is trying to do to its citizens. Thirty years ago I told someone that some day the U.S. would become more like Russia and Russia would be more like the U.S. Although Russia seems to be sliding backwards towards the Stalin days with Putin as its leader, have I missed the mark much for the U.S.?

    • Great insight and you are certainly right about Dan Bacher, Gene. Just read a very informative article by him linking the tunnels to fracking and exposing why the state isn’t as concerned about their cost as on ewould think they should be. Oil money! http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/01/18740778.php

      He’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

  2. I sent an e-male to the Disco bay Press, about only one picture about the buss ride to Sac. I explained that this is the most important thing that will effect our community. There should be news every week in this paper.
    There response was Ahhh. Tim McCabe

    • Good job, Tim. Let’s reach out to the bigger newspapers on the list also. Silicon Valley and Sacramento and even LA need a better perspective on the human factor in this tunnel construction destruction and muck.

      I saw that Jerry Meral is now referring to toxic tunnel muck as just “dirt” that can be put to some beneficial use. Either the BDCP Chapter 5 is all wrong or Meral is. I need to post about that!


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