Opinion / Letter for publishing
We have had a little time to consider the Siskiyou County Superior Court Judge dismissing the Taxpayer Lawsuit by Tony Intiso. It was a surrealistic hiatus to a terrific effort to protect the Taxpayers of the State of California against unreasonable and deliberate attempt by politicians to conceal the facts in a 2014 Proposition entitled Water Storage and Clean Water Act, a 14 million dollar with interest taking from the wallets of California citizens to carry out special interest projects some having nothing to do with water storage or even with water. The issue in this case was several fold the first being the purposefully misleading Bond issue re water storage. The four Klamath Dams were never mentioned in the Bond Issue and in fact were concealed by using misleading language which referenced a then nonexistent agreement, the 2013 KHSA KBRA agreement.
The Judge seemingly conducted the case on behalf of the State of California Attorney General’s office allowing the State’s attorney only a few minutes of airtime. Instead, the Judge spent her time arguing the States (Defendant) case against Mr. Intiso and his attorney. Fully 90% of the time was an arcane argument over the meaning of several statutes concerning whether competitive bidding was required for removal of the dams. The KRRC never bid on the dam removal as it was baked in the 2016 Amended KHSA Agreement between the States of Oregon and California. This was done to avoid going to Congress for approval. Remember KRRC was formed in New York City at a law office connected with the Klamath Riverkeepers, a division of the Boston Riverkeepers organization.
The second major item which is extremely important was centered around the fact that the Klamath River is a Federally designated Wild and Scenic River. We would point out that the Judge had received an Affidavit from the former Head of the Klamath National Forest that without the dams regulating the water flow the river would not have qualified as a Wild and Scenic River. The language in the Bond issue was specific in its intent, in black and white, that none of the Bond funds would be spent on a project that adversely impacted a Wild and Scenic River. The FERC EIR/ EIS clearly states in numerous places that the Klamath River and the protected Salmon and other aquatic organisms including protected species would be adversely impacted by removal of the Dams. As previously indicated, the Bond Issue clearly stated that the Bond money wouldn’t be spent on such a project. This was part of the Intiso argument that the funds the taxpayers had voted for were being misused.
Strangely, the Judge supported the State Attorney General’s argument that once the Bond issue was passed the State had discretion on how it would spend the money. Mr. Intiso’s argument that if that were true, then why do voters vote on Bond Issues, if the State can just do what it wants with the funds regardless of what the voters believed was true or not. Why have Bond issues at all if it doesn’t matter how the State spends the money?
In short, we feel that the Judges decision was not based on the merits of the case presented but represented an orchestrated decision to support the State’s contention that it could do what it wants with the funding from the Bond issue. The Judge continuously chose not to recognize that the 2013 Agreement referenced in the Bond issue didn’t exist anymore, as it was replaced after the 2014 Bond Issue by the 2016 Amended KHSA agreement which was not approved by Congress and was substantially different from the 2013 document.
Mr. Intiso is currently evaluating a potential next step in this matter.
President Siskiyou County Water Users Association
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