Saturday, August 31, 2013

Part 2--Thoughts about the Council Work Session of August 29, 3013

[Edited previous post and split it into two parts, added material about the 2004 forced resignation of Public Works Director Dick Fleming to the end of this part, 8/31/13. Again, if the YouTube videos don't play, just click on the link above them. Updated 9/2/13 & 9/3/13]

Councilor Dorrah did a good job of getting the Council to focus momentarily on need to keep cows out of the watershed in order to protect our drinking water and exemption from filtration, but here's the problem. A few Councilors called the meeting, not to address the problem of cows in the watershed, not to solve how we got into a crisis that has caused Baker City to endure hundreds of illnesses and serious financial pain, not to talk about how staff has kept information about so many relevant and pressing problems from us, not to talk about the apparent lack of qualifications held by any staff member, or their incompetence in protecting our watershed over the last several years, but apparently only to talk about how some Councilors are uncomfortable about how other Councilors refer to staff when speaking or writing about the problem.

This video contains the gist of that self-righteous discussion, which took up an almost unendurable portion of the meeting:

After the meeting, I told Council that my opinion was:
Anyway, I  appreciated Dennis' reporting to the Council what he found and did about it , otherwise the meeting WOULD HAVE BEEN A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME!

Guess what--Council etiquette on intra-Council emails ISN'T THE PROBLEM. Don't make yourselves the issue! YOU'RE NOT! hate to watch Councilors of equal station lecture each other on their values and tell others how to act, while completely ignoring a major problem--The staff doesn't tell you what you need to know and they are not taking care of business. If everyone just keeps on being polite to each other, after a three year record of incompetence, the citizens are going to get screwed again!   The problem is not Council etiquette on email, the problem is that Public Works is not communicating with upper staff and Council, the Public works Director should still be a secretary and be replaced by an engineer, and that specifically, PW didn't tell Council twice about major problems in the watershed.  ENOUGH ALREADY!

The Council is elected by the people to take care of the problem for the people, not to serve the sensibilities of staff and sensitive Councilors.
Yes, I'm frustrated, and I think others are too.
[More background: Section X(B) of the Baker City Watershed Management Plan states:
B) Personnel Education/Experience:

(1) Minimum education of key personnel in Watershed Management:

(a) Director of Public Works minimum qualifications: Graduation from a four year college or university with specialization in civil engineering and three years of progressive responsible professional experience in public works administration including supervisory capacity; or any combination of experience and education that demonstrates provision of the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed above.
Additionally, please view this YouTube video which shows Mayor Langrell discussing the need to keep cattle out of the watershed and the fact that he had just learned that morning that Public Works was supposed to build a new fence back in the spring of 2012 to keep the cattle out and was wondering if they might want to move that up in their priorities. Here's the link:

8:27:13 Baker City Council Meeting--Mayor Langrell on cattle fence that was not not built ]
                  Michelle Owen responding to Mayor on unbuilt cattle fence

Now Back to Councilor Button's response:
What you missed, Chris, was that we asked for the meeting to discuss council activities that were happening behind the screen of privacy.  At various times, individual councilors (who were most likely communicating among themselves) have been conducting policy without the consent or approval of a majority.  We either have representative democracy or we don't.  Looking out for the "people" includes preserving our form of government.  If an individual or a minority can inflict major change on the administration of government without the knowledge of the public, then we would be accused of dishonesty or being asleep at the wheel.  Minority rule is not acceptable. 
Some of us believe that the affect of losing our city manager and some primary staff right now would be a serious setback to the progress of what we can accomplish in the next year.  It would be a huge diversion from focus on solving our immediate crisis, and could spark another year or two of community conflict.   Worse, it would be a setback to the proper function and rule of government. We are trying to get beyond political manipulation to an era of cooperation between reasonable and honest council members who put the community above personal animosities and power politics.  It is not just about feelings, but about your rights as a citizen to expect all members of government to respect the law and process of representative democracy. 
I think the cryptosporidium crisis is being used for political purposes, and the process of minority rule was kicked into gear months ago. What you saw was a polite attempt to speak reason to all parties without being part of the polarization and factionalism that is growing once again.    Some times you have to fight two or more battles at once when that is forced upon you. The interconnections are not always clear, but it is debilitating and distracting from unity of purpose. Some times, the right thing to do is to fight with one hand tied behind your back to set the example you want others to follow.  The bottom line holds. Minority rule is not acceptable.  We are not a dictatorship, and all parties owe it to the public to be open and honest about what they are doing.  Others can pretend they do not know why we called the meeting.  They can continue to hide what they have been doing.  If they succeed, we all bear the consequences. 
My opinion in response was:

Clair, I appreciate that you have responded, but without any specifics, it is impossible for me to evaluate your argument. 
How are individuals or a small minority "conducting policy without the consent or approval of a majority?"  What minority rule?  Nothing has changed, there has been no open discussion of the role of staff in helping to create the crisis and current predicament, let alone holding anyone accountable. If anything has been consistently hidden, it is accountability. 
What "major change on the administration of government" has been afflicted?  You won't even address the incredible communication problems that have kept Council and the public they are supposed to represent in the dark for three years. Again, Nothing has changed. 
I for one would not call for a change in City Manager, but it seems clear that the Public Works Director and one of her staff members bear a good deal of responsibility for our incredibly serious crypto crisis due to their failure to communicate known problems to the City Manager (either that, or Kee is a liar), Council and public for three years and for a negligently lackadaisical attitude. You, the rest of the Council, and Mike should have also known that the Public Works Director was unqualified [by the standards of the Watershed Management Plan when she was put in that position] to serve in that position and she has overseen  three years of incompetent response to a serious threat. Would you like to characterize my concerns as political?  Look at the facts.  Not only that, why don't you start talking about the facts instead of diverting attention to some conspiracy of political manipulation?

No one is indispensable and there are backup certified personnel in the water department as well as an engineer on staff. This problem started when Gilham got rid of a good engineer and put Tim "Scenic Vista" Collins in charge and then Gilham's secretary, Owen, replaced Collins.  For the Council not to rectify the situation by suggesting changes in staff, after the damage that has been done to our community, would be akin to criminal negligence. Mike Kee wasn't elected, Council was, and they can replace him if he doesn't correct a situation that led to the Crypto Crisis.
I haven't received a response from Councilor Button, but Councilor Dorrah noted that:
not only are we not supposed to voice negative opinions publicly or by email, we are not to voice them directly either. 

Sounds like the classic dysfunctional family to me.

OK, so I'll never get a response from a Councilor again. Well, they don't normally respond anyway, and I thought it would provide a needed window into what was  going on.  Their votes, and statements at Council meetings are quite revealing enough in any event. If one becomes a Councilor, they should know that their views should properly be open to all their constituents. After all, as Councilor Button might say, we wouldn't want anything to occur "behind the screen of privacy."

All the handwringing about a possible shakeup in Public Works seems a little odd when you contrast it with the forced resignation (more like a summary execution) of Public Works Director Dick Fleming back in April of 2004.
The April 5, 2004 Baker City Herald article quotes Fleming as saying "I did not receive any explanation" I really don't know" when asked why City Manager Gilham asked him to resign. 

In addition to cutting the city's payroll, Gilham told the Baker City Herald at the time that:
"Gillham said he sought Fleming's resignation "not so much for performance reasons as work style:
"I like to move at a more aggressive pace, to see more action in certain areas"
Gilham said he was comfortable moving Collins into the public works job because he believes the job requires management skills, but not necessarily technical ones.
 Say what? So he gets rid of an engineer as Public Works Director, which is what the Watershed Plan asks for, and puts then City Attorney Tim Collins in charge? About two years later, Michelle Owen, who I am told had worked for the city in secretarial positions for three years, lastly as City Recorder, was appointed Director of Public Works. I was also told that prior to that she was a checker at Albertsons.  Unfortunately, Ms. Owen's professional and educational qualifications pertaining to civil engineering, and any certifications, do not turn up in any of the annual watershed reports, as required. 

While Mr. Gilham gave some rather odd reasons for his summary execution of Dick Fleming, I have heard that it may have had something to do with a letter he sent to Scenic Vista developer Steven Jones almost a year earlier.

In the April 21, 2003 letter from then Baker City Public Works Director Dick Flaming to Scenic Vista developer Steven Jones, Fleming detailed problems he had with the construction of the Scenic Vista water tanks and other aspects of agreements between the developer and the city.

The City Attorney at the time, Tim Collins, went ahead and accepted the improvements in the subdivision, including the water tanks, a little over three months later, on July 31, 2003. This act made Baker City responsible for the tanks that the state and Mr. Fleming had problems with.

Mr. Fleming was asked to resign less that a year later, April 2004, by then City Manager Jerry Gilham.

Mr. Tim Collins has had a home in the very small (7 homes?) subdivision for about 6 years, and in 2012, the city was forced to pay to replace and upgrade the faulty tanks to the tune of nearly $200,000.

One last item.

In the 2010 Watershed Management Report, dated September 29, 2010, Water Supervisor Larry McBroom wrote that:
In accordance with EPA and DHS, the City is currently sampling raw surface water for Cryptosporidium and Giardia for the long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Treatment Rule. As of this date, lab reports are all negative for Crypto and Giardia. 
We learned later that crypto had been found in the Baker City Water supply as early as April of 2010. If he didn't know about the positive test, who did?

Part 1--Thoughts about the Council Work Session of August 29, 3013

[Edited and split into two parts, added material about the 2004 forced resignation of Public Works Director Dick Fleming to Part 2, 8/31/13. Again, if the YouTube videos don't play, just click on the link above them.]

Councilor Dorrah says he found more cows in the watershed yesterday, a day after Thursday's Council Work Session where he informed staff and Council that cows were still getting in, but hey, who cares. . . . . After all, Don Foster, the relevant rancher/permittee, assured us in a letter to the editor in the Baker City Herald on August 28, 2013 that:

"These are three-wire drift fences designed so game can jump then, but good enough to turn cattle. Maintenance is not the responsibility of the city or the Forest Service. It is the responsibility of the permittee — yours truly — who grazes the cattle. Being responsible for the fence maintenance, as well as the cattle grazing, I can tell you this: The fencing was done. The cattle, during the time of this crypto outbreak, were in the California Gulch pasture. They are now in the Blue Canyon/Auburn area with some that have drifted north to Elk Creek. While three pair did briefly enter the watershed last week below the diversion they were removed quickly since when I got the call I was nearby and horseback. The fence where they entered was fixed immediately. I have what I consider a good relationship with the city water folks. If they see cattle, or signs of cattle, I respond as soon as possible.  . . . .My family takes our ranch duties and work seriously."
Too bad the city rarely informs the Forest Service of cattle trespass on the watershed, with whom we are told they also have a "good relationship."

The Council work session agenda of August 29, 2013 states under item 3, that the sole purpose was a "Discussion of Council/Staff Relations. I was under the impression that the subject might have something to do with the fact that city staff has seemingly, according to council videos, minutes and personal emails, repeatedly, over a three year period, not reported important facts to the Council, the City Manager, or the public.  I thought that their lack of communication within that apparent relationship, including not informing Council and the public for over a year (March 2010 to November 2011) about the fact that crypto had been found in our water, that they had known since at least 2011 that cows were gaining entry into our watershed, that we were supposed to have a fence installed in in the watershed by the spring of 2012, and that City Manager Kee said he didn't know on August 15, 2013 whether cows had been in our watershed, might be a matter of discussion.  How wrong I was!

Thankfully, Councilor Dennid Dorrah stepped up at the beginning of the meeting to tell Council that during his visits to the watershed over the last week, cows were still in the watershed, in the pasture they were not scheduled to be in, and that the fence to keep them out was in deplorable condition. He actually went up there with his own materials and labor to try to repair the fence during that time to try and keep them out. This after city staff, the Forest Service, and the permittee were informed of the problem!

Here is his presentation, part one:
Councilor Dorrah on Cows He Found In & next to the Watershed 083013

In the video above, Councilor Dennis Dorrah shares information with Council about trips he took this last week to the Elk Creek area of the Baker City Watershed. He relates that even after recent events showing that cows were getting into the watershed that cows are STILL getting in through a poorly maintained fence, are still in the pasture adjacent to the watershed where they are not supposed to be, and that he counted 19 cows in the wrong pasture next to the watershed. On his own initiative, he took fencing materials up to repair a section of leaky fence that runs for about a hundred yards east of the allotment fence gate. His investigation revealed a calf in the allotment (calves are more likely to carry Cryptosporidium parvum which can cause human disease when it gets into the water supply) and then asked for immediate action to put in a good fence in place to keep cows out of the watershed so that we do not face the possibility of another drinking water crisis next spring or summer. He reminded everyone that keeping our water filtration exemption depends upon us making every effort to keep cattle out of the watershed.

He also provided Council with photographs of the fence where he says cows could and did gain access, a photo of two cow/calf pairs just outside the watershed after a calf came back out, and a photo of the repairs he had made:
This is the place where Councilor Dorrah said the calf got in and got out. He noted the lower wire is anywhere from 26 to 36 inches above the ground, and will raise higher when an animal goes underneath. Note bent lower wires.

                    Cows near watershed fence.
There are two cows and two calves outside the watershed fence in this grainy closeup picture. Councilor Dorrah reported that one of the calves was inside the watershed originally, but when he went down to run him out, he charged back to mama who was outside the watershed fence. 

A portion of fence that Councilor Dorrah repaired with new fence posts and wire:

Councilor Dorrah described this as "an area where cattle WERE crossing. The top wire WAS twenty-six inches above the ground. I, with a helper, put in four posts and ran two new strands of barbed wire above the existing fence (which I was able to raise some on the new posts). It held pretty good.....bent but not broken when cattle tried to cross there at their favorite spot."

The Council then responded to Councilor Dorrah's concerns in the following video (description just below video):
Councilor Dorrah on Cows in Watershed Part 2 with Council & Staff Response 082913
Council responds to Councilor Dennis Dorrah's request for quick action on building a new fence to protect watershed from trespass cattle.  City Manager Kee informs Council that most recent results were received and that they are negative for crypto. My questions from an earlier blog are: 
Why weren't City Manager Kee, the Councilors, and the citizens of Baker City more aware of the fact  that Public Works Department personnel have known about cows getting into the watershed for over two years? Why didn't we know that the Department of Public works told the state Drinking Water Program on November 18, 2011, less than two weeks after we were told about the crypto in our water supply, that:"In order to better protect the Elk Creek Diversion Intake we will be constructing new fence next spring [Spring of 2012--over a year ago] along the boundaries of the city owned 40 acre parcel. The new fencing will prevent any livestock from entering into the city property. 
Similarly, why weren't we all, including City Manager Mike Kee, informed early on that the Watershed Management report from March 4, 2013 stated: "Also the City has purchased materials to construct a barb wire fence around 40 acres of City owned land surrounding the Elk Creek Diversion. This fence will provide a barrier for cattle ranging in the close proximity. Currently there is a meandering range allotment fence that extends for miles. This fence protects the Elk Creek Watershed and is in good repair most of the time, but there have been incidents where cattle have found their way to the wrong side of the fence. The new fence will protect the diversion and approximately 1/4 mile ofthe Elk Creek riparian zone from stray cattle." The promised fence was never built. So, given that safe drinking water is of fundamental importance to the healthy functioning and economic prosperity of a city, and given that Public Works knew that cows were regularly trespassing on the watershed around Elk Creek, why wasn't the plan to build that fence in the spring of 2012 followed?  I was told by a person at the state level that "the fencing project was not undertaken due to time/manpower limitations." Well, during that time, our resources in time and manpower were being spent on expanding the irrigation pond at the golf course and on Resort Street under-grounding of utilities. (See the Weekly Reports for the period in question.) 
To continue the description of the discussion in the above video: During this Council session, City Manager Mike Kee tells Council that: "We had a meeting with the Forest Service yesterday and talked about allotments, uh, to see what we can do, and it's not that cattle can't be in there now, it's that the Ranger has the discretion to put cattle on any of the allotments--it's all up to the Ranger--and the Ranger doesn't have any concern that those cattle are on the allotment [that is not the impression I got from talking to Wallowa-Whitman range supervisors, maybe he/she didn't have concerns about cattle being on the allotment, but he/she did have concerns about them being in the wrong pasture.] . . . . and [garbled] I don't think it is as immediate as ah Councilor Dorrah--. . . but, so uh I didn't answer the question. . . . uh, if it's thousands of dollars to build a new fence . . . we'll just divert the money to build a new fence."  After more talk, Councilor Dorrah says "Well, again, my issue is, we've gotta get the cattle out of there now . . . period.  And I think there is something to be said for having some fence in place, . . . ." Mike Kee says there has been talk with the epidemiologists of picking up some of the cow pies along the creek.  It goes on, and on, but Councilor Button says about the fence that there is no "ironclad guarantee that cattle won't get through it." Couldn't agree more, but we need to try.

It is worth noting that when Councilor Dorrah went down to repair fence again the day after this discussion, that he heard several cows bellowing inside the watershed down near the Elk Creek diversion, which, thankfully, is not currently being used. He patched three more sections of fence (three posts, one each between existing posts), but believes it is "an exercise in futility." "The worst WAS the fifty feet between posts and he could lift the bottom wire four feet above the ground and push top wire down to two feet above the ground." "Definitely need a little more than some maintenance up there."
[See part 2 herePart 2--Thoughts about the Council Work Session of August 29, 3013]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Are the Perennial Pinocchios of the Corporate Military State Ginning Up Another War Crime?

[Edited 8/29/13]
Is it Deja Vu all over again?

The mainstream media has been busily reporting the opinions of any Syria war hawk they can get their hands on to repeat every sort of wildly unsupported claim by government sources stating that Syria has gassed their own people, and that so-called "humanitarian intervention" is legal under international law. We recall that while it is forbidden for Syria to defend itself against Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, Turkish, and western supported extremist rebels fighting alongside of al Qaeda in a sectarian civil war, it is apparently just fine for the Egyptian military and police forces to shoot down a thousand peaceful Muslim Brotherhood protestors in cold-blood on the streets of Cairo. Ditto for Bahrain and the other Arab Monarchies we support.

Talk of the "International Community" in the mainstream media (like NBC, CNN, NPR and the like), a term which really just means the US and some colonial Western European countries (certainly not including the large and populous countries of Russia, China, Iran the rest of Asia, and the many countries in Africa or South America), actually being representative of world opinion is as bogus as the three dollar bill. And while the media is sorely interested in whether the militaristic US corporate surveillance state (can you say neoFascist?) will find support from Israel and Western European "allies," they rarely mention whether our government has the support of the American public, which it appears they do not have. After all, with the earnest help of the mainstream media, our government has time and time again lied us into foreign adventures that we ultimately do not support, but which we have to pay for in blood, money, or both. As George Carlin said, they don't give a shit about you--they don't care about you. "But nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care."

So the Obama administration comments, from "war hero" Secretary of State John Kerry have been presented as saying that the US believes that Syria used chemical weapons. My reading of the statement does not indicate that he actually said that. However, Jay Carney said on CNN that there is little doubt that the Syrian regime was responsible, and that "Allowing the use of chemical weapons on a significant scale to take place without a response would present a significant challenge to or threat to the United States' national security," What threat to national security would that be? He also promised that the Obama administration would release "a US intelligence report" later this week. Say what? OK, we are going to attack but the evidence will have to wait? Something like Colin Powell's address to the UN establishing that Iraq had WMD which turned out to be false? Hell, the mainstream media has all but insisted that Syria is responsible and that to protect our "credibility" about "red lines" we will attack in response, even without scrutinizable evidence. Credibility?

[Update 8/29/13:  On Tueday the PBS "Newshour" featured these links, all of which tend to support a strike, except for the part about Americans being wary, which confused the issue by showing a photo of a child supporting intervention:


White House Debates Best Way to Punish, Prevent Syrian Chemical Arms Use

If the U.S. doesn't wait for the U.N. to finish inspecting the alleged chemical weapons attack site in Syria before taking action, it may still rely on those findings in building an international case. Margaret Warner joins Judy Woodruff to discuss how the White House continues to consult allies and consider military action.
On Wednesday night, President Obama appeared on the show, saying that the administration has concluded that Syria is responsible for the attack, but then follows with a big "if" i.e., "if that's so" then "consequences." The administration seems to be purposefully giving out mixed signals. Did Syria do it or didn't they?
We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe the opposition possessed nuclear weapons of that—or, chemical weapons of that sort. We do not believe that given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government, in fact, carried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences. So, we are consulting with our allies. We’re consulting with the international community. And, you know, I have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable. [Emphasis added]
Looks like he's covering all the bases. End update]

CNN also reported that "Vice President Joe Biden made clear the administration's view of who was to blame, telling the American Legion that "there is no doubt who is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons -- the Syrian regime" and that Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel says "we're ready to go."

CNN followed up with an OP-ED by Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, stating:
This week, the world is learning that on August 21, Syria's Assad regime attacked civilians living on the outskirts of Damascus, killing at least 355 of them, including many small children. According to Vice President Joe Biden, there is "no doubt" that chemical weapons were used by the regime -- and not, as the Assad government has claimed, by rebel forces.
NPRs John Hockenberry, on his 8/28/13 "The Takeaway" program (download link), one of the more dependably propagandistic of the NPR offerings, offered us two former government officials, Kurt Volker, a former CIA analyst, former staff member for warmonger John McCain, McCain Institute employee, investment bank lobbyist, and United States Permanent Representative to NATO, as well as Phyllis E. Oakley, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. No sources that would argue the case against an attack on Syria, of course! Volker presented a completely false analysis for a "substantial response" that included "to deter the future use of chemical weapons" and a defense of the phony "humanitarian" concept of the "responsibility to protect" as being legal under international law, an argument which simply provides cover for reckless inhumane killing and destruction under the illegal model of the unjustified NATO wars on Serbia and Libya. The message was that international law really didn't matter if the US and their European allies think they would like to attack any country they disagree with, even if they don't present convincing evidence of actual threat, need, legality or national interest.

When one considers the unnecessary wars and attacks we have inflicted on other nations we disagree with, and who do not submit to our dictates, I often consider the costs in terms of blood and treasure. Aside from the moral questions of the loss of innocent lives and reducing countries to a subsistence level of living within the rubble, one needs to think about what we have actually gained from our aggression and how those resources spent on war could have been put to productive use at home. "a single Tomahawk cruise missile costs US$1,410,000." Three of them could provide Baker City with a modern UV water treatment facility. During the war on Libya alone (didn't that turn out great!) we used at least 161 of them. The Navy alone purchases 195 of them every year. (One suspects that they need to burn up a number of cruise missiles every year to keep the "defense" industries humming for the elite stockholders.)

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on NPR, NBC, CNN, and etc. for good information about the Syrian civil war because we have the internet.

Here are a few articles questioning the narrative that has been presented by the mainstream media.

The articles by Stephen Gowans are full of logic (god forbid) and fairly comprehensive (See also the links within the article):

Never Mind Whether Obama’s Red Line Has Been Crossed—Is It Even Legitimate?
August 28, 2013

By Stephen Gowans
US officials say they’re convinced that the Syrian government gassed its own people. This might mean something, if US officials weren’t notoriously bad at getting the facts straight. In 1998, the Pentagon flattened a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant with a cruise missile, because US officials said they were convinced it was a site for manufacturing chemical weapons (CW). In turns out the plant made pills. In 1999, Serbia and parts of Montenegro were bombed by US and NATO warplanes for 78 days because US officials said they were convinced the Milosevic government was carrying out a genocide in Kosovo. They were wrong. Over a million Iraqis were sanctioned, bombed and invaded into early graves by the United States and its British subaltern because the officials of both countries said they were convinced the Iraqi government was hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Wrong again. The weapons Iraq was said to be hiding, but had destroyed, had only a tiny fraction of the mass destructive power of the weapons in the arsenals of the US and UK militaries, which didn’t call their weapons WMD, but “deterrents” and “guarantors of our national security.” The Libyan government was ultimately toppled by NATO warplanes because US, French and British officials said they were convinced Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi was about to commit genocide. Gaddafi had neither the means nor intention to do so. Yet another spectacular error. 
In making the point that Washington has waged unprovoked wars on the basis of faulty intelligence at best, but far more likely contrived intelligence and sheer deception, we mustn’t implicitly accept the idea that the United States has the right and obligation to outrage the sovereignty of any country it wishes because the country’s government has crossed a red line the United States has unilaterally established. In doing so, we become locked in a framework of the US ruling class’s making, accepting its claim to have a moral right to assume the role of global rule-maker, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner—in other words, the planet’s autocrat. 
Accepting this framework could limit the questions we ask, making us miss important ones. When is an intervention legitimate, and when is it not? Is intervention to punish a country for using a class of weapons in a civil war legitimate? If not, why even talk about whether the trigger for intervention has been pulled if the trigger is invalid? Why talk about whether Obama’s red line has been crossed, rather than whether Obama’s red line is even legitimate? Why are the United States’ massively destructive weapons not called WMD while Syria’s not so massively destructive weapons are? If the Americans, British, French, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, and Israelis have a right (de jure or de facto) to have nuclear weapons as a deterrent, why not the North Koreans?

Diana Johnstone eloquently pointed out in Counterpunch yesterday that, “There are many ways of killing people in a civil war. Selecting one as a trigger for US intervention serves primarily to give rebels an excellent reason to carry out a ‘false flag’ operation that will bring NATO into the war they are losing.” [1] True. But we could also note, There are many ways of killing people in a civil war. Why single out CW? It can’t be because they’re uniquely destructive or gruesome. All the deaths due to reported use of chemical agents in Syria are dwarfed by the number of deaths due to other weapons. And dying by gas is no more gruesome than evisceration by an al-Qaeda rebel or having your head blown off by a Saudi-supplied RPG.
Part of the answer, I think, for why CW have been singled out is because Washington can’t single out the Syrian government for using violence to put down a rebellion. That’s because the United States’ satellites, the ruling generals in Egypt, and the Arab royal dictators, are using violence in Egypt and Bahrain to put down rebellions there. To punish the Syrian government for using violence to defend itself against a rebellion is a tough sell, given that Washington’s friends are doing the same in their own countries.  . . . .
We should ask, Why is it not wrong for the United States and the United Kingdom to use sanctions of mass destruction to kill over a million Iraqis, and conventional bombs and missiles of mass destruction, along with depleted uranium, to invade Iraq, when it is wrong to use CW to kill a few hundred people (which, for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere, there is no proof, open to examination, that the Syrian government used, and cogent reasons to believe it didn’t)? We should also ask, Is there not something morally grotesque about the United States and the United Kingdom planning to use their own WMD to punish Syria for the deaths of a few hundred people through CW, when the Anglo-American alliance used sanctions of mass destruction and weapons of mass destruction against Iraq, on contrived grounds, producing vastly more deaths and engendering a humanitarian catastrophe on an immense scale? Isn’t this even more grotesque considering that the evidence points more strongly to the alleged gassing incident being the work of the opposition, allied to the United States, than the Syrian government?

Meanwhile, one of Washington’s servile friends, the royal dictator, King Abdullah of Jordan, has called for a peaceful settlement of Syria’s civil war. Abdullah’s hypocrisy is stunning. He has turned Jordanian territory over to the CIA and Saudis as a center for training Syrian rebels and distributing weapons to the Syrian opposition. Hardly a contribution to a peaceful settlement. [2] 
Turkey, which once maintained a vast prison house of nations that included the Arabs, says it will join other former colonial powers, France and Britain, in the campaign to punish Syria. The Syrian government, it should be stressed, remains part of a movement of Arab national emancipation and colonial liberation. Unlike the US Communist Party and other leftists who make conspicuous displays of turning up their noses at the Syrian government, I’m happy to recognize the role it plays in the movement for Arab emancipation, and regard it as progressive. I measure no movement for emancipation against utopian standards, . . . . The servile Arab League, from which the legitimate government of Syria has been ejected, and which has settled comfortably into the role of US puppet, is not so concerned about emancipation, and the same leftists who publicly revile the Syrian government are not so concerned about showing their distaste for the reactionary Arab regimes, all friends of the West.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reported today that according to a June poll it sponsored with NBC News, US public opinion is opposed to a military intervention to respond to “the Syrian government’s killing of protesters and civilians.” Only 15 percent of respondents backed a US military intervention. The newspaper didn’t say whether respondents were asked if they favored US military intervention in response to the Egyptian military’s killing of protesters and civilians in Egypt, or Bahrain’s royal dictatorship killing of protesters and civilians in Bahrain, although we can be pretty certain they weren’t. Within the ruling class framework of acceptable thought, punishing allies for doing what enemies are punished for, is unthinkable. It could be said that the poll results are irrelevant, because the survey question didn’t ask about CW. That’s true, but even if the CW question had been posed, the poll results would still be irrelevant. US state officials don’t make decisions on the basis of public opinion, and aren’t particularly swayed by it. The taking and presenting of public opinion polls simply create the illusion that public opinion matters in the formulation of US foreign policy. It doesn’t. What matters are the interests of major investors, bankers and the top executives of America’s largest corporations, and the opinions of the members of the power elite that represent them. And what matters to them is securing more markets, labor and natural resources for US capital to exploit and plunder by toppling governments that insist on using these for their own country’s development and people’s welfare, rather than for the enrichment of Wall Street investment bankers and the expansion of corporate America’s profit margins. Syria’s crime isn’t to have used CW (and it’s unlikely it did), but to have insisted on political and economic independence.
See also: 

Syria has the right to use chemical weapons, but there’s no proof, or reason to believe, it has   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013--Democracy Now!
As Strikes on Syria Loom, Is U.S. Ignoring a Diplomatic Track That Could Prevent More Violence?
The Obama administration says military action in Syria would be aimed at responding to chemical attacks, not seeking regime change, but critics say similar claims were made at the outset of the NATO intervention in Libya. "There is no military solution," says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. "Extra assaults from the United States are going to make the situation worse, put Syrian civilians at greater risk, and not provide protection." . . . .

PHYLLIS BENNIS: Well, you know, the decision to go to the Security Council, that the British are doing today, is, as you mentioned earlier, guaranteed to get a veto, certainly by Russia, likely by China, as well, although it’s conceivable China could abstain, but they’re likely to veto. They may not even get nine sufficient votes.
But what’s dangerous here is that the United Nations Charter, which is the fundamental component of international law governing issues of war and peace, is very, very clear on what constitutes the legal use of military force. There is no question that having used chemical weapons—whoever used it—is a huge war crime. It’s a specific violation of the chemical weapons treaty. It’s also a war crime or potentially even a crime against humanity. The problem is, we don’t know yet who is responsible.
The U.S. is hinting that it may use the Kosovo precedent of 1999 as a way to get around the prohibition—the absolute prohibition—on using military force unless it is immediate self-defense, which no one in Washington is claiming that the use of these horrible weapons in Syria somehow threatens the United States—so that’s off the table—or that the Security Council agrees, which we know is not going to happen. The Kosovo precedent basically said in 1999, "We know we can’t get support from the Security Council, Russia will veto; therefore, we won’t ask the Security Council, we’ll ask the NATO high command." So they went to NATO, and, what a surprise, the NATO high command said, "Yes, we approve the use of military force in Kosovo."  
Now, the problem is twofold. One, NATO is a military structure. It’s like a hammer and a nail. If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you’re NATO, everything looks like it requires a military response. The other problem is legal. There is simply no legal justification that says that the NATO high command or any other organization has the right to determine the legality of the use of force other than the U.N. Security Council. So if that is the justification, it will stand in complete violation of international law.


CONFIRMED: US Claims Against Syria - There is no Evidence

By Tony Cartalucci
August 28, 2013 "Information Clearing House - The Wall Street Journal has confirmed what many suspected, that the West's so-called "evidence" of the latest alleged "chemical attacks" in Syria, pinned on the Syrian government are fabrications spun up from the West's own dubious intelligence agencies. 
The Wall Street Journal reveals that the US is citing claims from Israel's Mossad intelligence agency fed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a repeat of the fabrications that led up to the Iraq War, the Libyan War, and have been used now for 3 years to justify continued support of extremists operating within and along Syria's borders. 
Wall Street Journal's article, "U.S., Allies Prepare to Act as Syria Intelligence Mounts," states:

One crucial piece of the emerging case came from Israeli spy services, which provided the Central Intelligence Agency with intelligence from inside an elite special Syrian unit that oversees Mr. Assad's chemical weapons, Arab diplomats said. The intelligence, which the CIA was able to verify, showed that certain types of chemical weapons were moved in advance to the same Damascus suburbs where the attack allegedly took place a week ago, Arab diplomats said.

Both Mossad and the CIA are clearly compromised in terms of objectivity and legitimacy. Neither exists nor is expected to provide impartial evidence, but rather to facilitate by all means necessary the self-serving agendas, interests, and objectives of their respective governments. 
That both Israel and the United States, as far back as 2007 have openly conspired together to overthrow the government of Syria through a carefully engineered sectarian bloodbath, discredits entirely their respective intelligence agencies. This is precisely why an impartial, objective third-party investigation has been called for by the international community and agreed upon by the Syrian government - a third-party investigation the US has now urged to be canceled ahead of its planned military strikes. [It is worth remembering that technically, Israel and Syria, while reaching a ceasefire agreement after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, are still at war, and that Israel still occupies and transfers its citizens to the illegally held Golan Heights, which was taken from Syria in the 1967 war. Chris]
The Wall Street Journal reports:

In an email on Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice told U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and other top officials that the U.N. mission was pointless because the chemical weapons evidence already was conclusive, officials said. The U.S. privately urged the U.N. to pull the inspectors out, setting the stage for President Barack Obama to possibly move forward with a military response, officials said.
The US then, not Syria, is attempting a coverup, with fabrications in place from discredited, compromised intelligence sources and the threat of impending military strikes that would endanger the UN inspection team's safety should they fail to end their investigation and withdraw.

The Wall Street Journal also reiterated that the US is planning to fully sidestep the UN Security Council and proceed with its partners unilaterally:

...if the U.S. chose to strike, it would do so with allies and without the U.N., in order to sidestep an expected Russian veto.
The US proceeds now with absolute disregard for international law, all but declaring it has no intention of providing credible evidence of its accusations against the Syrian government. It is a rush to war with all the hallmarks of dangerous desperation as the West's proxy forces collapse before the Syrian military. Western military leaders must consider the strategic tenants and historical examples regarding the dangers and folly of haste and imprudence in war - especially war fought to protect special interests and political agendas rather than to defend territory.

The populations of the West must likewise consider what benefits they have garnered from the last decade of military conquest their leaders have indulged in. Crumbling economies gutted to feed the preservation of special interests and the growing domestic security apparatuses to keep these interests safe from both domestic and foreign dissent are problems that will only grow more acute. 
Outside of the West, in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran, leaders must consider a future where Western special interests can invade with impunity, without public support, or even the tenuous semblance of justification being necessary.

This article was originally published at Land Destroyer

In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe


After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation. 

The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day. 

In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.  . . . .  Dan Kastesza, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and a former adviser to the White House on chemical and biological weapons proliferation, told IPS the team will not be looking for traces of the nerve gas sarin in blood samples but rather chemicals produced when sarin degrades. 
But Kastesza said that once samples arrive at laboratories, specialists could make a determination “in a day or two” about whether a nerve agent or other chemical weapons had been used. 
The real reason for the Obama administration’s hostility toward the U.N. investigation appears to be the fear that the Syrian government’s decision to allow the team access to the area indicates that it knows that U.N. investigators will not find evidence of a nerve gas attack. 
The administration’s effort to discredit the investigation recalls the George W. Bush administration’s rejection of the position of U.N. inspectors in 2002 and 2003 after they found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the administration’s refusal to give inspectors more time to fully rule out the existence of an active Iraqi WMD programme. 
In both cases, the administration had made up its mind to go to war and wanted no information that could contradict that policy to arise.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baker City Council Moving Forward with UV Treatment Plan

[Edited & Updated 8/28/13]

The Baker City Council is Moving Forward with a UV treatment Plan.

Despite objections from Roger Coles and Mike Downing, the Baker City Council, after hearing a presentation from Dave Leland, Interim Administrator, Center for Health Protection, of the Oregon Health Authority, decided to move forward with plans to install UV treatment of our water supply in order to deal with the Cryptosporidium problem.

Mr. Leland explained that UV treatment was acceptable as long as we implement improved measures to protect the watershed, especially from the number one threat: cows. "Sure, UV is still an option" as long as we meet the federal criteria, but that a more "robust" watershed control program would be needed. He noted that cattle are "implicated over and over again" in studies that have been conducted. He also said that cattle are around our watershed, but that is not the case in the other three Oregon cities that have been allowed to pursue options other than filtration. The easy access by cattle to our watershed is the difference, and he asked Council "How do we reduce the opportunities for cattle" to get into our watershed. If those opportunities can be significantly reduced, he noted "UV is still an option." He later stated that "Robust watershed protection will have to be in place with UV protection."

Councilor Mosier was tentatively in favor of UV but wanted more information with adequate time for study. Councilor Button was cautious, but more or less in favor of UV due to cost advantages. Mayor Langrell and Councilor Dorrah were clearly in favor for cost effectiveness reasons as long as wells could be found for backup to cover any problems that develop in the watershed. Councilor Johnson reminded all of the need for assurances and City Manager Mike Kee stated that if we manage the watershed correctly that we will be in compliance.

There was much more discussion, but in the end, the "consensus" was that  we should continue to pursue proven UV treatment due to the cost advantages, while also actively finding more wells to backup the ASR well and a rehabilitated second backup well at the golf course, in case of catastrophic fire or other problems in the watershed.

More to follow, but for now, we are good with the affordable UV option as long as we show that we can protect our relatively clean watershed from intrusion by cattle or other serious threats.

My letter to Council:

I appreciate the caution of some because it is a big decision and the future is not known. I expect that with global climate change that we might expect a major fire in the watershed at some point in the future. However, if we utilize the ASR well, the "golf course well," and one or two more good producing wells, as Mike and others have proposed, we can live through such an event with safe, clean water. I believe the critical point to be understood from the information provided by Mr. Leland, and apparently understood by you, is that we need to take protection of the watershed seriously, and keep cows out, as envisioned by the original plan. As I believe Mike noted, it is a good time to revisit and create a new, effective, Watershed Management Plan.
With an effective enforceable plan, proceeding with UV and wells should provide safe, affordable drinking water well into the future for our small, sustainable town. 
I might add that my understanding is that the Forest Service was not notified of the most recent cattle trespass, so, if true, and I believe it is, there is plenty of room for improved communication--both to upper city management, Council, and the Forest Service.

Also, the new engineer was impressive as a knowledgeable communicator when given his small chance. 
Hope I'm not being overbearing and out of place--just an opinion from a citizen who has tried to be informed. 
Thank you all for your efforts to understand and find solutions.
On the issue of the city water specialist communicating with the Forest Service when cows get in the watershed, I was told that the Forest Service had not received a single call from the city about cattle trespass during the last three summers. They do receive some calls from the grazing permittee or Forest Service employees when cows have gotten in, but did not receive a call from the permittee or the city concerning the most recent trespass.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Some Cryptic Aspects of the Crypto Outbreak, Part 2: The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry

[Updated & edited, YouTube links added, 8/27/13]

Plans?  What plans?

At the August 13, 2013 Council meeting, Baker City Public Works Director Michelle Owen mentioned that "regaining public trust" was one of the thoughts guiding the city's plan to restore safe water service. You may recall that some of that public trust was lost back in November 2011, when the Baker City Council and city residents discovered that Cryptosporidium had first been found in the water supply over a year before, but somehow they were not informed of that fact. The plan to notify the Council of pathogens in our water didn't work out too well and the City has never completely explained what happened. Neither are we aware of any consequences for any city employees involved. Once lost, public trust can be hard to regain, but especially so when that trust is tested repeatedly.
                           Elk Creek Diversion

Last Friday's Baker City Herald article (Experts help determine cause of outbreak 8/23/13) seemed to provide some assurance that the city had a handle on things, with it's two large photos of government scientists and our water specialist in action to help solve the cause of our crypto crisis. Don't worry, everything is under control--look at all that expertise at work! They are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of how such a well managed and protected city watershed could be hit with one of the larger US Cryptosporidium outbreaks in recent years--years in which we focused on the remarkable technological improvements in Cryptosporidium detection while stalling on making decisions about which wonderful water treatment technology we would use to provide us with solutions. Years, I might add, when some didn't always follow, or follow up on the plans.

While we long to look on the bright side, there are reasons to question the rosy picture of effective action and competence presented by the Herald and city staff. Here are some questions they could ask for example:

Why did it take a citizen, me, to get two Councilors interested in going out to see if cattle had been getting into the watershed, if, as we found out later, cattle had been getting into the watershed for at least a few years? Why did City Manager Kee, after I had asked him in an August 11, 2013 email if he would like to go with me to look for cattle sign, tell me on the 13th that "We have walked the drainage a couple of times and have no immediate plans to go back out." Why, after I asked him "Has the city ever found cows in the watershed near Elk Creek?" did he tell me on August 15th that "I don’t know if cows have ever been seen in Elk Creek."? The state and Centers for Disease Control employees took cattle fecal samples on Thursday, August 22, even though the newer ones had apparently been there for a week or more on the 19th, and many others for weeks or years. When were state epidemiologists and Centers for Disease Control employees informed of cattle fecal material from this and previous years being present inside the watershed near the Elk Creek diversion and on upstream? Public Works Director Owen told Councilors at the August 13, 2013 meeting that the state had collected elk fecal samples at Elk Creek, but made no mention of cows or of them collecting fecal material from cattle.
      Relatively recent "cow pies"seen strewn along road near Elk Creek diversion on 8/19/13

Why weren't City Manager Kee, the Councilors, and the citizens of Baker City more aware of the fact  that Public Works Department personnel have known about cows getting into the watershed for over two years? Why didn't we know that the Department of Public works told the state Drinking Water Program on November 18, 2011, less than two weeks after we were told about the crypto in our water supply, that:

In order to better protect the Elk Creek Diversion Intake we will be constructing new fence next spring [Spring of 2012--over a year ago] along the boundaries of the city owned 40 acre parcel. The new fencing will prevent any livestock from entering into the city property. [Emphasis added]
Similarly, why weren't we all, including City Manager Mike Kee, informed early on that the Watershed Management report from March 4, 2013 stated:
Also the City has purchased materials to construct a barb wire fence around 40 acres of City owned land surrounding the Elk Creek Diversion. This fence will provide a barrier for cattle ranging in the close proximity. Currently there is a meandering range allotment fence that extends for miles. This fence protects the Elk Creek Watershed and is in good repair most of the time, but there have been incidents where cattle have found their way to the wrong side of the fence. The new fence will protect the diversion and approximately 1/4 mile ofthe Elk Creek riparian zone from stray cattle. [Emphasis added]
The promised fence was never built. So, given that safe drinking water is of fundamental importance to the healthy functioning and economic prosperity of a city, and given that Public Works knew that cows were regularly trespassing on the watershed around Elk Creek, why wasn't the plan to build that fence in the spring of 2012 followed?  I was told by a person at the state level that "the fencing project was not undertaken due to time/manpower limitations." Well, during that time, our resources in time and manpower were being spent on expanding the irrigation pond at the golf course and on Resort Street under-grounding of utilities. (See the Weekly Reports for the period in question.) Like Marshall McComb, a local resident told me recently: "Holy Cow!"
Sacred cows still near watershed and in wrong pasture a week or more after cows were discovered in watershed.

                 Baker City's well watered golf course

The March 27, 2012 Council meeting discussed a perceived need to change the work on the golf course connection from the $3500 back flow valve agreed upon a year earlier to a $50,000 expansion and sealing of the irrigation pond with associated delivery pipe and other infrastructure. At the meeting, Finance Director Jeanie Dexter reminds the Council that the golf course fund is in a deficit situation to the tune of $52,000 already (assuming $20,000 was going to be spent on a backflow device and $80,000 to be transferred from LAMP fund)), and that even with the $80,000 that the Council could make available to the golf course, there would only be $28,000 in additional funding left from the $80,000 to use for the project.

Why, at that March 27, 2012 Council meetingafter Councilor Roger Coles asked about the backup drinking water well at the golf course, was he told that it had been inoperable for a year

Why did much of the Council initially ignore that fact, waiting for the golf course operator to twice insist that he needed it for backup before even thinking about it?  

Given that Public Works Director Owen then told Council that "the well issue can be worked out through the water fund . . . as opposed to the golf course fund . . . .," Why is that well still inoperable one year and five months later, in the middle of a crisis during which we are discussing trying to find additional clean water sources? (See August 13, 2013 video clip here)

       Water Level Gauge for Inoperable Backup Well at Golf Course

The 2012 Watershed Management Report states:

Diversions used for collection of surface water are monitored by City Personnel on a regular basis throughout the year (weather pennitting) as part of our operations. Several observations were made ofunauthorized entry in the Watershed using trail cameras. This information was then given to the USFS law enforcement officials.
Watershed security remains a high priority and the City may continue to monitor points of entry to identify unauthorized entry by using trail cameras.
Apparently they have the trail camera photos, what do they show?  

We often look to technology to save us while forgetting that the human element plays at least as large a part in how well our systems function as technology. Humans have to follow plans that have been developed to make our technologically enhanced systems function properly, and supervisors, as well as others in the regulatory framework, need to make sure those plans are being followed. In our case, if the plans were followed up on, we might not even be talking about the need for a technologically complex and expensive filtration system for the watershed. 

So here's the plan--it's an old one but has important sections that have not been taken seriously.

In trying to understand this recent, destructive and debilitating crypto problem within our watershed I asked the city for our Watershed Management Plan which is required by state law. I asked for it last week and after I received it I was told by the city that they then had posted it on the city website. I could not easily find it, but I'm sure it is there somewhere. In addition to having requirements, it has interesting historical documents within it, one of which is a 1904 Presidential proclamation establishing our "protected" watershed.

Among other things, the Watershed Management Plan states or requires the following (Emphasis Added):
*The goal of the Baker City Watershed Management Plan is to maintain or improve the present quantity and quality of the raw water of the Watershed, and to ensure the water quality is maintained at or above the level set by the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWIR) to avoid filtration.
*The City was notified by the Oregon Health Division by a letter dated July 26, 1991, that the City can meet all the criteria for exemption to filtration.
*Big game management will be directed toward maintaining proper herd levels of deer and elk which are compatible with water quality criteria. Animal population will be controlled to not degrade the water quality in the Watershed.
*Livestock: Livestock will not be allowed within the boundaries of the Watershed. Preventative measures will be used if needed to prevent animals from trespassing into the Watershed. 
*No grazing of livestock in the Watershed is permitted.
*If the turbidity is a wide spread or long lasting problem, the system will be switched from surface water to ground water by using one or both of the City's two deep wells which have a combined capacity of approximately 2,800 GPM, which exceeds the water demand in the spring of the year .. the time when the turbidity is most likely to occur. Even during periods of high demand, it is adequate with some rationing. [These two wells are the ASR well, (presently functioning), and the well in the golf course parking lot (hasn't functioned for years).]
*Annual Report   
B) Personnel Education/Experience:(1) Minimum education of key personnel in Watershed Management: 
 (a) Director of Public Works minimum qualifications: Graduation from a four year college or university with specialization in civil engineering and three years of progressive responsible professional experience in public works administration including supervisory capacity; or any combination of experience and education that demonstrates provision of the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed above.   
(b) Water Supervisor minimum qualifications: Five years experience in water maintenance and water and sewer construction work, with one year in a supervisory capacity; certified to Class Two as water treatment operator, water distribution operator, within two years of appointment as supervisor; or any combination of experience and educational training that demonstrates provision of the knowledge, skill, and abilities listed above. 
(c) Water Specialist minimum qualifications: Three years experience in the operation and maintenance of water treatment plant; supplemented by special coursework in water treatment operation; or any combination of education and experience which demonstrates provision of the knowledge, skill, and ability listed above; Water Treatment II Classification or successful certification within one year from date of appointment or within next State of Oregon certification testing cycle.
*An annual written report will be made and submitted to the State of Oregon Health Department with a copy to Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, headquarters, no later than January 15th of each year [Now October 10 per OAR 333-061-0040(1)(E)(B)(i).]. At minimum the report will include the following:
. . . . 
B) Key Individuals & Qualifications: A list of all key individuals responsible for theWatershed. The list will include their education, experience and training relating to theirability to operate the Watershed. 
 Zones of Influence: This includes lands adjacent to the Watershed which will affect or be affected by management of the Watershed. Zones of Influence mayor may not drain into the Watershed, but management of the resources and activities in these zones will be done in such a manner as to reflect the standards of management desired within the Watershed.  . . . .
Zones of Influence: A Zone of Influence exists outside the boundaries of the Watershed which could have a substantial impact on the water quality produced within the boundaries of the Watershed. 
The areas designated as Zones of Influence lying within the National Forest boundaries will be managed with Best Management Practices (BMP) and as prescribed in the Watershed Management Plan. No activities will be allowed in the Zones of Influence which will have an adverse impact on the water quality or quantity. Special attention will be given to the use of any herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals to assure no contamination is allowed to occur which would affect the water quality within the boundary of the Watershed. Also, special attention will be given to any grazing permits given within the Zones of Influence to ensure that livestock will not stray into the Watershed.   . . . .
Nothing in this MOD shall be construed as obligatory of either party to expend funds, nor involve the United States or the City in any contracts or other obligation for future payment of monies in excess of appropriations authorized by law.
Here are some of the Baker City Watershed Management Reports that I have been able to obtain. Note that all appear to be late, most do not include the qualifications of the Director of Public Works and some do not include the qualifications the Water Supervisor, as required by the Baker City Water Management Plan. The 2012 and 2011 reports show that the Public works staff were aware of cattle getting into the watershed and of their unmet plans to build a fence to keep them out. My emails and interactions with the City Manager and Councilors indicate that that they too did not know that cattle were getting into the watershed around the times when testing and Cryptosporidium disease outbreaks showed that cryptosporidium was in the watershed. I do not know whether they knew or didn't know, I only know that they did not indicate to me that they knew. I also do not know whether cattle are the cause of our Cryptosporidium outbreak, and because of the way things were handled, we may never know exactly what the cause was. If the state had known ASAP that fresh cattle fecal material was found in the watershed, they might have been able to get better samples to genotype. Perhaps if the state had returned my call prior to their trip on August 22, they would have asked myself and Councilor Dorrah to show them where the freshest samples were located. Instead, they asked the Herald to tag along to provide PR.

Baker City 2012 Watershed Management Report

Baker City 2011 Watershed Management Report

Baker City 2007 Watershed Management Report

I'll add more reports if I can get them, but the last Public Works Director who may have met the requirements for pubic works director laid down in the Watershed Management Plan was probably Dick Fleming, who was asked to resign by City Manager Jerry Gilham in April of 2004. He was after all a professional engineer.
So, the best laid schemes of mice and men will often go awry,
And I know for sure, that there is too, more than meets the eye.
People may pose and politics will play,
But it's often education that saves the day.
"the best laid schemes of mice and men will often go awry" is from To a Mouse, a poem by Robert Burns, 1786, the rest from yours truly.
Perhaps if the city would have published their plans and Annual Watershed Reports on the website earlier and explained them at City Council meetings, some of us would have had a clearer picture of the dangers we faced, and would have asked some relevant questions when they could have made a difference.

I might add that Council priorities play a big part in how things turn out.  We needed attention to basic infrastructure for fundamental priorities, like watershed management, water quality and water treatment for all citizens, but we got Council attention and scarce resources spent on the needs of relatively few golfers and the owners of property around the golf course, as well as to the needs of businesses on Resort Street, and their fans inside and outside of local government, who wanted underground utilities there. They also approved paying off $25,000 of a $61,000, 2002 airport facilities project debt while using $36,256 on "loan" from the equipment and vehicle fund to refinance the rest. The golf course has generally received significant subsidies from the city since the ill-advised creation of the "back nine" about a decade ago, and both the golf course and the under-grounding of utilities on Resort Street have soaked up funding, as well as city worker time and equipment, when we should have been expending those resources on protecting against known threats in the watershed.

Baker City's well watered, and not very well used, golf course as seen in reflection from clubhouse window

Beyond what I've posted previously, above are some of the documents, circumstances, and facts, surrounding the history leading up to our crypto crisis, and it currently is the best I can do. You can use these findings as you will. I have already forgotten some important points, but will add them and the two relevant YouTube Council videos as I can (done).

There is a Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday night at 7 PM (8/27/13), and two state representatives will be there to discuss our options. 

Forgot to add that the state epidemiologist, Emelio De Bess, confirmed late Friday, when I was finally able to talk with him,  that the species of Cryptosporidium found in the human fecal samples was Cryptosporidium parvum, and they were all of the same genotype. They will compare that species and genotype to the species and genotype found in the other fecal samples they have collected so far from water and animals. Hopefully, the cattle fecal samples he collected will be from the younger animals and be in good enough condition for molecular analysis. He wasn't sure if the sample they have from the 913 crypto collected in the water sample from Elk Creek earlier will be in good enough condition to genotype for comparison to the human fecal samples already genotyped because the staining of the slide may have made that impossible. He is hopeful, and did not say what happened to the rest of the sample, if there was any left.