Obama's National Ocean Council "Listening Session," Part 2

author: 
queer-j-brad

Natural Resources Secretary John Laird dismissed as a "conspiracy" the many local complaints of citizens and news reporters about conflicts of interest rampant in the MLPA "Initiative." He mouthed the mantra heard again and again from MLPAI officials - of an "open, transparent process," that "reached out to tribes" and achieved a "non-divisive unified proposal…."

Obama's National Ocean Council "Listening Session," Part 2

John Laird dismisses concerns about MLPA 'Initiative' corruption

by David Gurney

On June 30th, a "media availablility session" was held 15 minutes prior to the main National Ocean Council meeting at 1:00 P.M.

Press releases had been sent to all major media outlets about this pre-meeting press conference. It's not known if the press had been told, as Noyo News was told upon arrival, that no recording would allowed during the meetings, and that media coverage was to be limited to the 15-minute "media availabilty session." After the loud objections of Noyo News, these press restrictions on the NOC meetings were lifted.

For whatever the reason, the press failed to show up for the press conference. The only other reporter attending was health and science editor John Fowler from KTVU news.

I asked John what he thought about the inadvertent boycott of the press. "I'm shocked," he replied. "I know they sent out releases to all the organizations. It makes me think there's something else going on today that I don't know about….."

As the press conference began, three head representatives promoting the NOC program came out to make statements and answer questions.

The first was Caifornia Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird. He began with comments about the previous day's meeting by the state Fish and Game Commission, which had given the expected rubber-stamp approval of new Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) "Initiative's" public access, fishing, gathering restrictions on the California Coast. Laird was basking in the headlines of that morning's newspaper reports about the imposition of new "marine protected areas" on the South Coast.

Laird, a 35-year, lifelong, small-time politician from Santa Cruz, was recently was awarded the political plum of Natural Resources Secretary by the incoming Brown administration.

Laird spoke in glowing terms about the controversial new public/private partnership.

He dismissed as a "conspiracy" the many local complaints of citizens and news reporters about conflicts of interest rampant in the MLPA "Initiative." He mouthed the mantra heard again and again from MLPAI officials - of an "open, transparent process," that "reached out to tribes" and achieved a "non-divisive unified proposal…."

This reporter, who's followed the MLPAI controversy on the North Coast for the past two years, could not stifle a chuckle at the ridiculous deception of his remarks. The political facilitator and yes-man said he will "deal with whatever it is that is the administration's policy."

Laird is apparently deaf to numerous charges violations of the law, corruption, conflicts of interest, documented cases of illegal closed-door meetings meetings, and blatant violations of the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act, that have dogged the Initiative for the past several years.

The privately funded MLPA "Initiative" process has lowered the bar for corporate/government corruption. Without any governmental oversight, the MLPAI used funds from unaccountable foundations, and made up the rules as they went.

Apparently, with the Brown administration, as with Obama, the buck stops with the exiting Republican administration that preceded them. Legitimate concerns of citizens and journalist about violations of the law, corruption, and conflict of interest are being swept under the rug, as the flawed process is pushed through by deep -pocketed special interest groups, floating on the support of duped and mis-guided paid environmental professionals.

Coming up in the Noyo News: Part 3 - The press conference, and National Ocean Council meeting in San Francisco.