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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 9, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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May 9, 2001

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Record, Reporter Wednesday, May 9, 2001 U In HI iSthe COORDINATED MANAGEMENT lifeblood of the but is of in earth's we learned in accumu- falls back and eventually ocean. wa- is often over- is National this opportuni- ty to pause and consider tion program, funded by thefected by erosion. Eroded lower elevation. The ground- groundwater. Groundwater is U.S. Environmental Protec- stream channels, especiallywater level in the channel is found in aquifers. Most tion Agency. The insert hasones that flow through mead- also lowered to the elevation aquifers are replenished by excerpts from the program'sows, generally end up in a gul- of the gully, rendering it un- rainwater, but some are not. findings, ly formation. Gullied stream available to plants on the sur- Two important aquifers that Another group that address-channels in meadows have a face, resulting in a conversion are being used faster than na- es groundwater issues is the negative effect on groundwa- of productive wet meadow ture can replenish them are Feather River Coordinated ter and meadow ecosystem plant types to xeric (dry-lov- the Ogallala aquifer in Ameri- Resource Management Group. function. Meadow floodplains ing) species such as sage. ca's great plains and the The FR-CRM is an alliance of can be thought of as a sort of brush. Another noteworthy aquifer beneath California's about 21 government agencies sponge that soaks up exces-species that loves dry condi- Central Valley. Both are im- and groups that formed to ad- sive high flows, and releases tions is star-thistle. portant food-producing areas, dress natural resource man-them more slowly through the The FR-CRM works with Aquifers in our own Feath- agement issues in our water- year. private landowners and on er River watershed are doing shed in a holistic way thatOnce a channel is gullied, public lands to reduce erosion pretty well. Our low popula- transcends ownership and floodflows can't get out onto in our watershed and restore tion density, and lack of inten- regulatory boundaries, the floodplain (unless they're meadow function, thus rais- sive agriculture, do not pres- The CRM's approach to really high). Thus, the sponge ing groundwater levels. Tech- sure our groundwater re- management encourages par- can't function. If the sponge niques involved in stream sources like other areas. How- ticipation and long-term in- can't function, the flood flows restoration projects vary, but ever, we are still dependent on vestment rather than regula- rage faster through the water- they generally follow the groundwater for our domestic tion. The group formed in shed than they would if there theme of raising the water and agricultural needs, as 1985, and since then, has im- were something to help soaktable and restoring the flood- well as the maintenance of the plemented over 40 stream them up. If the floods aren't plain function of the meadow. ecosystem on which we de- restoration projects, about 90 getting soaked up, that's less Often, ponds are part of the fi- pend. Several groups are ad- percent of which address water available later in the nal result, and wildlife habitat dressing our local groundwa- ecosystem needs for ground-year when it's most needed,is enhanced. ter issues to ensure safe and water. Gullies are also self-perpet- The FR-CRM conducts wa- adequate supplies both now A 1992 report by the Plumasuating. The force of flood tershed project tours periodi- and in the future. National Forest reported that flows stuck in a gully tend to cally through the year that In American Valley in 1998, at least 60 percent of the East further erode the walls of the are announced in this paper. the Quincy Community Ser- Branch North Fork Feather gully, making it wider and Projects planned for construc- vices District began a well- River watershed has been af- deeper until a big enough tion this year are Stone Dairy head protection demonstra- floodplain is formed at theMeadow, and Clarks Creek, both tributaries to Last Chance Creek, as well as the headwaters of Last Chance Creek itself. A more easily ac- cessible, and as yet unfunded, project is Spanish Creek through American Valley. Objectives for that project do not include restoring flood- plain function that would threaten American Valley de- velopments, but they do in- clude reducing bank erosion through environmentally. friendly gravel harvesting. A public meeting for Spanish Creek is scheduled for Tues- day, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the library in Quincy. Another obvious organiza- tion that deals with ecosystem groundwater issues is the Plumas National Forest. They work in conjunction with the FR-CRM, but also do many stream restoration projects through their own internal funding. Examples of recent restoration projects are Little Schneider Creek in Meadow Valley, and Oldhouse Creek, a tributary to Lake Davis. U COLLECTOR we have al- about what if PG&E failed property taxes. at one time percent of the and it was nat- to speculate about penalties due county would now due by PG&E installment of or payment we are now in out our fails to pay. to the dropped consider- to" approxi- The in'st installment and half of the second has been paid, leaving a balance of about $842,000, which represents less than one-half of one percent of the total tax levied in Plumas County for the year. The County General Fund keeps a very small portion of the total. Approximately 13 cents out of every dollar paid goes to the general fund; 70 cents goes to the schools, and the balance to county dis- tricts. The impact, however, on the county is the full amount because Plumas Coun- ty is a TEETER county, and that requires the county to "front" the monies 100 percent to the schools and districts by June 30 each year. The county then owns the delinquencies. The up side is that the dis- tricts and schools have all of the operating funds they are due and the county keeps any penalties collected, the bonus for financing the delinquen- cies. However, in the case of PG&E, the penalty issue has become an unknown. Normally, in a bankruptcy, the federal court judge has the final say about whether or not penalties will be paid, al- though the b~kruptcy laws do provide for penalties to be- come an obligation of the debtor. Federal law having au- thority over state, it becomes an issue of the court. In efforts to treat all taxpay- ers fairly and equitably, Cali- fornia tax collectors would prefer to see the judge make this decision. It would avoid decisions being made county by county, as well as counties being held hostage by PG&E with promises to pay furst those counties that agree to ac- Cept payment without penalty. In California, the county tax collector has very little au- thority when it comes to can- ling lties. There is some k~e~Cray~lowed in the case of clerical errors by the county and amounts that do not justi- fy billing. In certain circum- stances, the tax collector can cancel penalties when the tax- payer proves that failure to make a timely payment is due to a reasonable cause and cir- cumstances beyond the tax- payer's control "and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care in the ab- sence of willful neglect." PG&E has petitioned the court to allow them to negoti- ate agreements with counties for payment of the balance owed, right away, without the penalty issue altogether? penalty. Here, then, is the. And, can their earlier pay- crux of the matter. Does the ment be considered timely county accept the balance with penalties only paid on without penalty in order to ob- the balance due? Plumas tain the $840,000 as soon as County does not accept partial possible? Was PG&E's failure payments of installments. to pay beyond their control? In earlier reports, it was Did it occur "notwithstanding stated that PG&E owed the the exercise of ordinary care county $25,000 in Transient in the absence of willful ne- Occupancy Tax monies, col- glect" as PG&E contends? lected from the operation of Once PG&E filed bankrupt- eight campgrounds within the cy, they were unable to pay county, and that these funds "pre-petition" obligations-- are now tied up in the bank- one being the balance of taxes ruptcy as well. This is not the now delinquent. They were case. PG&E does operate these able to pay the taxes due for campgrounds, but all T.O.T. the balance of the year as funds have been paid to the "post-petition," ongoing ex- county, and to the best 0four penses of doing business. Had ' 'knowledge, there are'n'o delin~: they paid in full, it might have quencies in this area at pre- been possible for the judge to sent. order the county to repay the The concern expressed to monies to the court for deter- the beard of supervisors is mination of distribution, that as conditions within the Is this sufficient grounds for bankruptcy continue to un- the tax collector to find that fold, future revenues could be failure to pay was beyond held up. It is unlikely, but a PG&E's control and therefore possibility that has to be con- accept payment without penal- sidered. ty? In the meantime, e-mails are Was PG&E's filing of bank- flying-back and forth between ruptcy even due to circum- county tax collectors, county stances beyond their control? counselors, and bankruptcy Could PG&E have paid their attorneys as we address the is- bill in the fall, prior to filing sues. Do we, as tax collectors, bankruptcy and have avoided turn a blind eye to state law in order to obtain the funds? (NoD Do we possibly violate the oath of office we take when elected? (No!) Should an $840,000 delin- quency be treated any differ- ently than a $100 delinquency?. (No!) " Should PG&E have preferen. tial treatment because we are all so dependent upon their continued operation? (Not) Do we find enough leeway state law, ruptcy without each and every taxpayer ~tti- tably and fairly?. Time will tell. Plumas County's tax collec- tor will utilize the services of the bankruptcy attorney hired to assist the county with these issues, as well as county coun- sel and the board of supervl- sots. Unless the bankruptcy judge presides over this issue, deci- sions will have to be made. It is hoped that the judge will provide some clear guidance in his rulings. ~mlh to ?..:.-v-. n in COUn A plurality of Plumas County's residents thinks that the local crimi- nal justice system is better than oth- er counties, or at least average, but they do not agree on whether changes are needed. The poll was conducted to get an idea of how residents feel about the local criminal justice system. The poll, which ran from ~ri130 to May 7, asked site visitors, "In Plumas County, how would you rank the criminal justice system?" About 30 percent, or less than one u crlmln; out of three, said, "It's worse than other counties, and something needs to be done." About 17 percent countered, "It's much better than other counties, but many improvements are needed." More than 13 percent of those who voted said, "It's much better than other counties, and very few changes are needed.,, difficult to measure these things." Another 9 percent said, "It's worse than other counties, but it has ira. proved in recent years." Each week, the newspaper will publish a survey on its Internet site___plmnasnews-cm--and publish the results in the newspaper. A new survey is posted every Monday. The poll is not scientifically con- More than 13 percent of those who ducted. Rather, site visitors are voted said the local criminal justice "asked to state their opinion on a top- system is about average, ic. It is for entertainment purposes About 17 percent said,"It's really only. ' [ The USFS has failed to imple- ment the Quincy Library Group plan, although it is the law. What should happen? plumasnews. m Letters Contain an address number. We publish Per week, per per- per person, the same not publish third- Letters must maximum of 300 in excess of 300 cut by the editor. Friday at 3 p.m. taken to any of offices, sent or e-mailed at .COrn. to clarify a pos- in your release about Health De- that the Chick- Was "not avail- clinics," they only of them- - We, at Eastern Plumas (Racists!) ing listeners, set to a community; I sincere- have people like Lavonn 8am Healthcare in Portola and By the way, when a doctor A.L. Martin ly hope we do not lose Grey- tos. Lavorme served this com- Graeagle, have stocked Chick- delivers a male baby to an QuinCY hound, munity for 14 years as a mere, enpox vaccine for quite some African woman, and is asked Doris DeLaney her of this board. She retired a time. We observe and followwhat sex the child is, what Keep Greyhound Quincy few years ago to let others come on board, but guess all recommendations for stor- would be a proper response I have enjoyed the conve- what? Nobody wanted to, or age and handling of the vac- Ed Lam-le nience and independence that health care. cine, and we do accept CHDP, , Portola Greyhound has given me to go Well, the past few monms stayed around very long. The MediCal and many other pay- to Reno. I have used the have been interesting at the community, not being able to ment plans. We welcome allEditor s note Dave Keller, the stretch limousine" several Indian Valley hospital and find anyone to fill these vacan- children and others who author of the column in ques. times--no gas to buy, no dri- clinic. Sure makes for good cies, ended up going back to gossip, etc,, in the area, but Lavonne and said, can you tion, observed a video tape of ving, no parking problems, that's nothing new for our help? Made her day, right?. I mightvaccine.need the Chickenpox the incident. It was,perfectly just a smooth, comfortable medical community. It's been don't think so. Christopher Stanton, MD Cin dttT/ae. lsl urY n ride, friendly drivers, and going on for a long time. I Anyway, as most of us Portola scenery to enjoy. I usually it's beginning to get oldknow, Lavonne said, OK," instance, stay a couple of nights on each - 'horing for some people, and we have her back Amen. " ts toShe, along with the other good Ofll mdve trip, so the schedule has not Must be since nobody wan Who displays racism--the Bottar before been that important. I cannot be on the board that runsmembers of the boards are man who addresses an I wonder if Radio KPCO re- emphasize enough the free- things anymore. Board mere- making the tough decisions. African with "boy," or thealizes hoW many listeners it dora it gives me to go any day lost So many of us, espe- minating of Richard Mussel- man who finds such an inno- c ly retired, enjoyed theof the week, and not depend hers dropping off left and Tough decisions like the ter- cent three-letter word a racial have to hae me supervmors man's contract. We all know on others, no matter how will- right, vacancies go unf'.flled, slur?, daily music, news and local ing and helpful they are. I had no idea that "boy" was ads. Now, because the morn- appoint someone to fill these that story. Someone has to an offensive word; maybe Mr. ing hours broadcast talk I remember when the buses vacancies, make these decisions, and our were crowded. I have just Well while others throw up board has to look out for what " arbage, we have switched gone to Reno this year, but I Keller could publish a list or ,, would be a shame to sure others need a cormec- there hands and refuse tois best for the entire commu- glossary of offensive terms, to " a " nity -. ,, ,-pc.O off the an" gain t on to other cities. Available make hard decisions, we can Terms that offend racially hav~ .... . because it has so few remain- sensitive individuals, ansportation is such an as- thank the lord that we still