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Emptying the countryside

Emptying the countryside

Fascinating account of how new environmental regulations and restoration projects are emptying the northern California countryside, Rural rebellion brewing:

Sacramento is Government Central, a land of overly pensioned bureaucrats and restaurant discounts for state workers. But way up in the North State, one finds a small but hard-edged rural populace that views state and federal officials as the main obstacles to their quality of life.

Their latest battle is to stop destruction of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River – an action driven by environmentalists and the Obama administration. Most locals say the dam-busting will undermine their property rights and ruin the local farming and ranch economy, which is all that’s left since environmental regulators destroyed the logging and mining industries.

These used to be wealthy resource-based economies, but now many of the towns are drying up, with revenue to local governments evaporating. Unemployment rates are in the 20-percent-and-higher range. Nearly 79 percent of the county’s voters in a recent advisory initiative opposed the dam removal, but that isn’t stopping the authorities from blasting the dams anyway.

These rural folks, living in the shadow of the majestic Mount Shasta, believe that they are being driven away so that their communities can essentially go back to the wild, to conform to a modern environmentalist ethos that puts wildlands above humanity.

This account reminds me of Victor Davis Hanson’s narrative of rural areas of central California, first world cities surrounded by economically devasted countryside.

It’s a reverse of what happened when the communists took over Southeast Asia, and the cities were depopulated as a political strategy.  Here, the political strategy is to depopulate the countryside, and drive everyone into politically correct cities.


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Agenda 21

Ditto doombroker. This is the purpose of Agenda 21 and it is growing larger every day. Why don’t we hear more about this totally evil U.N. program? Pass the word to anyone – everyone. This needs to be stopped now!

The destruction of the agricultural industry in CA is 100% government policy. The central valley is suffering a water shortage because water has been diverted into the Pacific Ocean to save the salmon.

CA used to be the nation’s perennial 1st/2nd largest cotton producer until very recently. Ditto on almonds, pistachios, pecans and other fruit and nut crops.

Of course, there have never been more vineyards owned by wealthy scions like Nancy Pelosi and celebrities who fancy themselves gentleman farmers. Gentleman farmers don’t like the smell of manure or the large expanses of cotton fields and orderly orchards that defile their idyllic vistas. And they have a soft spot for all of the liberal delusions of protecting Gaia.

Pure evil.

    Liberrata in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Make no mistake: California is still leading the nation in the production of fruits and nuts. Production has simply moved out of the fertile fields of the Central Valley…and into the urban areas.

    Soil preparation and planting now takes place in the futile fields of the UC and CSU systems (plus a bushel of private institutions). Cultivation continues in the logic-vacant real estate of the “first world cities” referred to in the article.

    As far as a harvest goes, don’t expect anything productive.

      Great to see parochial ignorance on full display. It is so easy to bash CA isn’t it? Yet most of the people doing this are living in states that are every bit as bad and usually worse. Scale up your local problems to CA size and you will soon see that your state is even worse AND being subsidized by CA’s surplus tax collections. Yes, CA is a net PAYOR to the feds.

      Why don’t we stop pretending that we are the “United” States and just go back to being confederated sovereign states. That way we can all pretend we live in the perfect states while everyone else is an a-hole living in hell.

        Um, no. The whole idea of measuring whether states are “net payers” or “net receivers” of federal taxes by looking at where the money is spent is fundamentally invalid. If I buy you something, does it matter to you where I bought it? No. All that matters is whether you get the benefit of whatever it is. If the fedgov should decide to buy everyone in California a crate of oranges, and the cheapest place to buy them happens to be Florida, then that is a subsidy to CA, not to FL.

        There are expenses that the fedgov has to pay, e.g. for the maintenance of its land. If it owns lots of land in Alaska and hardly any in Massachusetts, then naturally it will spend that money in AK and not in MA. According to the sort of measurement you’re relying on, that means MA taxpayers (who pay their fair share for the maintenance of their property) are somehow subsidising Alaskans! How does that make sense? Who should pay for the maintenance of federal land in Alaska? Alaskans?! Why? They’re not getting more benefit from that land than Massachusettsans get. It’s held by the USA for the benefit of all USAns, and in fact Alaskans would rather the fedgov didn’t own so much of their state.

        Phil, those lovely studies showing the “blue” states subsidizing the “red” states leave out quite a bit. Like what percentage of red state land vs blue state is Federally owned, the fact that more people retire to “red” states bringing their transfer payments to swell the totals, etc.

        Oh, and the United States never were “united” in the sense that you mean. The “United States” government was meant to deal with a few limited areas, and the 10th Amendment was meant to keep the Feds out of the states business. If we ever go back to the Constitutionally limited government, we might be united again.

        Sorry, I lived in CA and saw its insanity on full display, and I know enough of the people who are trying to fix its problems.

        The major urban areas of CA gave themselves over to complete centralized planning, and like every centralized planning experiment, they turned into massive bureaucracies comprised of warring fiefdoms, each grasping for a bigger share of the government pie, while critical infrastructure rots to the point of failure.

        Sacramento clamors constantly for more money, yet everything that gets sent their way disappears down another vote-buying scheme or another self-aggrandizement monolith for some pol or bureaucrat. In a way it reminds me of New Orleans, and how they embezzled the money for levee repairs to fund riverboat casinos.

        In the end, I fear at least one major CA city will burn itself to the ground because of the fecklessness of its politicians, and the people who put them there.

        Liberrata in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 31, 2011 at 1:58 am

        You’re assuming that I don’t live in California. If I send you a copy of my CSU-Sacramento diploma, would that change your opinion of what I said?

“It’s a reverse of what happened when the communists took over Southeast Asia, and the cities were depopulated as a political strategy.”

Yep. I was thinking the same thing. Can we call it “The Great Leap Backwards?”

Tentative bumper sticker: “Think Global, Destroy Local.”

Which along with unmeasured immigration leads to overpopulation, justifying the need for abortion, euthanasia, restricted economic development, limited use “green” technology, etc.

All because the “best and brightest” have a progressive inability to comprehend administrative districts and their purpose to develop and moderate the use of limited resources within their jurisdiction. Thereby justifying the progressive consolidation of capital and power in order to ostensibly “promote the general Welfare,” which has been a long running deception offered by left-wing ideologues throughout history and the world.

Their vocation is to manufacture problems, to which they offer a solution at a profit. Well, it doesn’t begin that way, but as their effort progresses, it leaves a trail of degenerate and rebellious actors in its wake, where each succeeding generation lusts for more, as they offer less to society.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Believe me, it’s not only happening in California. My family owns some super fertile Missouri River bottom land in Missouri. After the devastating floods this past summer, I had a conversation with my mother who told me the government was planning to designate some of that super rich farmland as “wetland restoration projects”. I couldn’t believe it. But it’s true.

Fortunately, our farms will not be impacted. But this plan is going to destroy the livelihood of many thousands of people and ruin them and entire communities financially.

The irony is that the government has spent probably hundreds of millions of dollars creating a levee system around the thousands of miles of the Missouri/Mississippi River basins over the past three decades. That has enhanced the land’s value, created prosperous farms and rural communities, and helped to contribute to our nation’s agricultural surpluses. Now they want to return some of that land — which again is some of the most fertile in the nation– back to its primitive state so a few ducks and geese are happier when they fly south for the winter. It’s beyond insane.

I just did a quick search and found this article about this insane government scheme:

Gayle Spencer | October 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm

The John Birch Society has a lot of materials on this Agenda 21 stuff, including measures that we citizens can take. Many local officials don’t realize the impact that A21 is going to have; they just go along with the town’s “advisors” who of course are liberal facilitators,

Here, the political strategy is to depopulate the countryside, and drive everyone into politically correct cities.

That’s not new. For eons, big-city Mayors have done their damndest to restrict expressway development, thus making it difficult for people to live in the suburbs. The City of Milwaukee is a case in point. The Milwaukee Socialists (in collusion with Madison Statists) also arranged for the suburbs to pay for Milwaukee’s sewer treatment.

And it gets better. The Green Goddess worshipers decreed that a distant city’s water was ‘unfit,’ (it has a tiny amount of radium)–so that city is now bargaining with Milwaukee for Lake Michigan water. Milwaukee’s Socialists are demanding all sorts of “programs” and “promises” to “help” the unfortunates in exchange.

That’s what’s behind the “sustainable cities” foofoodust, by the way.

Joan Of Argghh | October 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm

It’s been brewing under the surface for a long time, but the whole “Earth Without People” crowd are madly longing for their own destruction.

If you or I expressed a longing desire to end our life to make the world a better place, they’d lock us up for psych evaluation. (On the upside, you could possibly qualify for SSDI at that point.)

Just google up that idea and prepare to be gobsmacked.

I hope actions like these galvanize the rest of the nation into absolute unity against ever bailing out CA when they go bankrupt. We need to remember every single action they have taken with absolute clarity.

We will never be able to affect their present actions, however, we must all remember when the time comes that their undoing was at their own hands while they looked down their noses at us.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER a penny to them when they are flat on their backs. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER should we come to their aid. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER a penny of Federal tax money to bail them out no matter how dire their situation becomes!

When the politicians are all crying about how bad it will be for our nation if CA goes bankrupt – Stand united against it. We should start the mantra right now – NO CALIFORNIA BAILOUT – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

Where, exactly, do these environazis think that their food is going to come from?

On the one hand, they are destroying some of the most productive farming in the world while simultaneously throwing the door open for innumerable illegal immigrants.

I have long been fascinated with the nazification of Germany in the wake of the First World War: how is it that an entire nation could suffer a mass psychosis of such biblical proportions and not stop itself from self-immolation?

Now I know…

Damn it.

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to turfmann. | October 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Didn’t you know, every city dweller will have enough balcony space for their own mini-farm. If you are lucky, you will win the lottery for roof space, so you can have a couple chickens. That should be enough food for a family of 2… because you won’t be permitted to have children. If that doesn’t work, stream Soylent Green for tips on feeding the masses without any land for farming or raising livestock.

We’ve narrowly averted this kind of action in the Seattle area. We had a 90/10 rule voted into effect by the voters of King County, the overwhelming majority of which live in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond… all wealthy cities. The rest of the County is fairly large, a hair over 2,300 square miles. (Rhode Island: 1,200) The young, hip folks in the cities were concerned that we were growing too quickly, losing too much ‘greenspace’. So they voted in a law that said that if you lived in unincorporated King County, you could only build on 10% of your land, and develop 30%. A full 70% of your land had to remain ‘native’. That meant that it could not even be garden; if a tree fell, you had to replant the same type of tree.

Fortunately, we got the law thrown out in Court as an unjust and uncompensated theft of land by the Gov’t… but it was a close one. We’ve tried to create a new County for years… that last time it was thwarted, the County Gov’t refused to count the signatures on the Ballot Initiative. Law says you have to have a certain number of certified signatures… turns out there’s no legal mandate for them to be certified. Yeah.

The discontent of Northern California and Southern Oregon with their respective urban centers of Portland and Sacramento is long lived. Look up the History of the proposed 49th State: The State of Jefferson. Almost made it, probably WOULD have except the timing of the Imperial Japanese Navy…