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1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieNot long ago I penned a commentary about our water supply and stated that we weren’t getting enough water down here because of a little fish in the Sacramento Delta area called, appropriately enough, the Delta smelt.

So guess what? I got an email from Steve Martarano, a public affairs specialist at the Bay-Delta Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento. He rightfully corrects my error, stating that the reason the water wasn’t coming south wasn’t because of the Delta smelt. There have been no restrictions this year because of the little grunion-sized fish, he said.

Instead we can blame the pumping restrictions on a much larger fish and a California state regulation for water quality, D-1641.

That much larger fish is the salmon. He could have said “Jerry Brown” and been just as right.

Once again it was a case of what we in the southern part of the formerly Great State of California hear about those radical folks up north. I remember a news program down here that was all about protecting the Delta smelt over people needing water.

I only wrote what I knew based on the facts I had on hand. No big deal. I just didn’t know about the salmon being the reason.

The endangered Delta smelt: Not to blame for our water shortage THIS year. Photo: State and Federal Contractors Water Agency.

The endangered Delta smelt: Not to blame for our water shortage THIS year. Photo: State and Federal Contractors Water Agency.

Big fish don’t make the news stories about our water supply because they are, well, big fish. Let a little critter stop a major project by us humans, and the next thing you know, we have twenty-seven-eleven whacko environmental organizations jumping up and down and demanding we save it.

I know the Delta smelt really exists, but I’ve not seen one. People go grunion hunting at the beach and spend the night waiting on an elusive little fish … which seems seldom to show up. But I know they exist. I’ve caught a few back in the day.

What is it we have here in the Santa Clara River? The unarmored threespine stickleback fish? I’ll bet they don’t taste like a grunion. Looking at our river, I think about all we’ll see is the extremely rare California rainbow catfish.

Once thought to be extinct, it has been seen in recent weeks, posing as a political candidate all over our fair and formerly Great State of California. Like the candidates, it does tend to become quite odoriferous when taken from its wild environs.

So once again, I’ve been corrected, and rightfully so. I’m sure all of the lovely Delta smelt will be happy about not having to shoulder the blame for our water shortage here in the better, southern part of this land.

Of course, considering the political party politics in that big mansion Jerry has in the capital, I’m really surprised the problem wasn’t blamed on George W. Bush. That seems to be the common practice of that party for the past six years.

Speaking of Mr. Moonbeam, did all y’all notice he signed the bill banning plastic bags in California? You can always recognize someone who hasn’t had to carry groceries up a couple of flights of stairs from the car. Just how any paper bags can you carry at once?

And guess what, you environmental folks? Paper bags come from trees. Now even more will be needed for the bags for trash. Looks like 2015 will be a great year for folks who make chain saws. Got to grow those jobs. Do they even consider how many paper bags are going into the trash when this goes into effect next year?

Do they even care?

All of you folks in the unincorporated parts of the SCV can laugh at us inside Santa Clarita city limits. Paper decomposes and makes more methane than plastic. Use paper bags because it will make the dumps more money. Now that is a great, self-sustaining concept, don’t you know.

Is Jerry hoping for an environmental award? He spreads a lot of natural “methane” anyway. Will it get worse when the new guy gets elected? What do you think about that, Tony and Steve?

There are a couple of pages on Facebook that will get pretty boring once the election is over. A couple of the bloggers have complained about the smell coming from those pages. I claim a Chiquita nose reaction to those pages: Move along, folks, no smells here.

So let me see – Delta smelt apology, check. Recognize the salmon and a regulation, check. Blame the politicians for not thinking of ways to correct our water woes? You betcha.

Maybe we’ll have to use those banned plastic bags to carry water to other parts of human civilization. Now that’s a great conservation idea.

But I keep reverting to one of the best ways to save water: Always, without fail, shower with a friend.

Or better yet, “Save a smelt and a salmon, too – Find a friend and share a shower.”

That is a great mission profile, don’t you think?

Carry on.

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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4 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Great column, Darryl
    By passing the plastic bag ban, the politicians are saying that we are not smart enough to handle plastic bags.

    Hmmm…. This is coming from career politicians who cannot balance a budget, are bought and sold by the highest bidder and lying is how they make a living.

    It is always in the name of… fill in the blank, save the whales, save the birdies, save mother earth, save the one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater.

    The reality is that it is in the name of who pays the politicians the most money. So do not believe them, kiddies, thgey are just fooling you again

  2. Wish I could get back the five minutes of my life I spent reading this poorly researched article. Example: The governor of California does not have an official “governor’s mansion.” (There is an historic governor’s mansion.)

  3. Natalie Tate says:

    Mr. Manzer, thank you for enlightening me… I found this interesting and the last paragraph seems to be in line with what your are discussing.

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/12159-kick-curbside-recycling-to-the-curb

    “The wind is up in the canyon… No smell here today!” :D

  4. Susie Evans says:

    Thank you!

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