Thursday, June 13, 2002
Judge Refuses to Overturn Ban on Water Credit Transfers A Superior Court judge has denied Peninsula cities'' initial attempt to throw out a ban on water credit transfers.
In May, six Peninsula cities, led by Seaside, filed a lawsuit against the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), contending that the water district violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it banned all water credit transfers back in February.
The lawsuit, jointly filed by Seaside, Carmel, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Sand City, also asked the court to set aside the ban until the district conducts an environmental review.
In a six-word ruling, issued June 7, Superior Court Judge Robert O''Farrell responded to the request for a "temporary restraining order" on the water credit transfer ban: "Petitioners'' appeal for stay is denied," he wrote.
At press time, Seaside City Manager Daniel Keen had not seen the ruling, but said that "the denial of the stay would not surprise me.
"But that doesn''t settle nor does it refute the other issue, which is you have to follow CEQA. We''re hopeful the judge rules in our favor in the other decision."
Water Board member Molly Erickson, however, says she''s confident that the judge will ultimately throw out the cities'' lawsuit.
"This is vindication that the judge has recognized, for several reasons, that the water district acted appropriately [in banning water credit transfers]," she says. "I''m confident that the case will be dismissed.
"The lawsuit by the cities has nothing to do with protecting the environment."
Water board members who voted to eliminate the water transfers, along with MPWMD Attorney David Laredo, have repeatedly said that the ban does not require an environmental study under state law.
State Appoints Committee to Work on Marine Protection
The California Department of Fish & Game has announced the appointment of 103 citizens to formulate plans for marine protection zones in state waters from Mexico to Oregon.
Seven working groups, based geographically, are tasked with proposing a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within three miles of shore. A group of 15 was picked to represent the Monterey Bay area.
The creation of the committees is based on requirements of the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act.
With some nearshore fisheries thought to be in decline, California already has numerous MPAs where some or all fish species are protected. The state hopes to form a web of these protected areas in state waters.
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is currently undergoing a management plan review that examines all uses within its boundaries -from kelp harvesting to fishing to use of waverunners. Federally designated Sanctuaries elsewhere in the country, such as in the Florida Keys, have set aside protected areas where fishing is prohibited. The intention of these zones is to let habitat and fisheries thrive free from extractive use. There has been significant pressure from environmental groups to install federally-mandated protected zones in the MBNMS.
Under the state efforts, fifteen people have been chosen to represent the Monterey Region, which stretches from Pt. Año Nuevo, north of Santa Cruz, to Pt. Sur, south of Carmel. Each member represents different aspects of the constituencies that live and work in or near the ocean.
Among the 15 local representatives are Steve Schieblauer, Monterey''s city harbor master; Kaitilin Gaffney of the environmental group Ocean Conservancy; and Mike Ricketts, one of the three representatives for commercial fishing.
The Monterey Region group will hold its first meeting on July 18.
Panetta Panelists Discuss Choice Between Freedom and Security
General Barry McCaffrey will join former congressman Lee Hamilton and former FBI director William Sessions to discuss "Tracking the Terrorists-Balancing our Nation''s Security & Freedoms" as part of the Leon Panetta Lecture Series, sponsored by the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy.
The panelists will talk about increased pressure on the FBI and other government intelligence agencies regarding terrorist activities, and how that pressure could jeopardize some of the basic freedoms that Americans have.
The panelists are also likely to deal with recent reports that the American intelligence system broke down in the months leading up to the attacks.
"Serious questions are being raised today about the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share important information, to analyze, and coordinate field reports, and to find the terrorists before they strike," Panetta says.
Jessica Lyons, Andrew Scutro, Justin Adler