Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County

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by Darren Smith : jonthanturley – excerpt

Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.

The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.

I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider…(more)

How much damage can the government do before the public reacts? It appears we had two good outcomes in two states this week that prove when the public protests buildings casting shadows on parks and forced use of poisons on organic farms the government sometimes still listens.

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SF plan for natural areas likely to draw fire

By Lizzie Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

A comprehensive new plan for San Francisco’s natural areas could anger dog lovers, golfers and nature lovers in one swoop, while protecting delicate habitats and endangered species.

The plan — originally proposed in 2006 — will review the biology and geology of the Recreation and Park Department’s 32 natural areas and trails, including Twin Peaks, Bernal Heights and Mount Davidson. It will also outline maintenance and capital improvements within those areas for the next 20 years. The Recreation and Park Commission and the Planning Commission will vote on the document Thursday.

The biggest impacts that could come are changes in urban forestry management, the removal of off-leash dog areas in sensitive environmental areas and the rejiggering of Sharp Park’s golf course — changes with which the various groups will probably be unhappy… (more)

The public comments for on this EIR lasted for over 6 hours. This is  major project that is highly controversial. Thousands or trees are planned for removal, that will release tons of carbon into the air. People anticipate a lot of herbicides will be used and that this will go into the ground water that is now being mixed into the drinking water. More details can come later. Comments welcome.

There is no money for any of this according to the proponents of the Natural Resources Plan. This is a big messy project that will get approved and then swept under the rug until someone comes up with money and the contract will be approved and then the public will hear about it. That is what happens with these large broad plans.

How Does Preservation Address Social Welfare Issues?

CEQA protects and provides for what the loss of the public’s trust in politicians has done to the public realm in urban areas.

For example:

  • protecting and preserving renovating and restoring essential housing, open-space, parks, libraries, community and cultural locations.
  • asserting that the best and most green-environmental concerns in terms of urban infill, CEQA, and AB32 and other legislation, requires more sound analysis of preservation based alternatives focused on preservation based principles.
  • balances the need to build and expand with a tempered view that protects and enhances our past, our connection to past issues, ideas, places, people, buildings and spaces….

COMMENTS BY AARON GOODMAN

Chuck Nevius is big into gentrification these days. He thinks it’s a dandy thing and “no longer a dirty word,” says the even longtime residents of the Mission love it, and has a nice photo of a person walking in Dogpatch, where two really cool dive bars just shut down — thanks to the gentrification that’s such a great thing. Nevius quotes Randy Shaw, who has a bizarre statement:

In the ’70s and ’80s there was massive displacement of residents in the Haight, Noe Valley and the Castro,” says Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. “But now you are seeing a massive influx of upper-income people into previously unoccupied areas.”

What? “Previously unoccupied?” Like the Mission and Soma and Dogpatch? Unoccupied by the wealthy, maybe, but there are people living in almost every square inch of San Francisco, and in some parts of town, they are low-income people, and richer people force them out. That’s happening on the same scale today that it did in the 1980s, except worse: In the 80s, if you were priced out of the Haight or Noe Valley or the Castro you could move to the Western Addition or the Mission or Soma. Now prices are so high everywhere in town that your only move is out of San Francisco altogether.

And while ol’ Chuck does admit there are downsides, he seems to think that somehow you can move wealthier people and more upscale establishments into existing lower-income areas without anything bad happening, as long as you respect “the delicate balancing act.”

But it isn’t a balancing act at all — it’s a zero-sum game. There’s finite space in this city, and when when something or someone comes in, something or someone has to leave. (Yes, you could build a lot more housing, but nobody’s building housing for working-class people.) But you can’t build more storefronts on Valencia or Mission; force out the existing community serving businesses and they have no place else to go.

San Francisco has failed spectacularly at the fundamental challenge facing a city under this kind of pressure. First, before you allow more  development, more up-scaling, more of what C.W. Nevius loves, you have to protect existing vulnerable populations. That’s not a balancing act; that’s a mandate. If you don’t do it, you lose the character of the city and San Francisco becomes another sterile, corporate community.

Jesus. Why is this so hard to understand? I’ve lived through it several times, these booms that people like Mayor Lee and Nevius always celebrate, and every time, the pattern has been the same, the city has been damaged, and community institutions have been lost. I’m not one of those preservationists opposed to all change, but again: First protect existing vulnerable populations.