Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Resort" hotel, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more

I don't understand.

Why do you lower a bond that was meant to guarantee that you'd build a hotel, because they tell you they can't build the hotel?

Isn't that the time to realize that the guarantee is even more important, and should either be enforced or raised?

What am I missing here?


RDC said...

That is exactly my view. They should have left the bond high and then told the developer to meet terms or forfeit the bond.

By lowering the bond all they are doing is to make it less expensive for the developer to walk away from the hotel construction obligation.

Anonymous said...

Pest control program in Calif. raises free speech concerns

By Garance Burke

6:52 p.m. October 18, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO – Residents say they're worried sick about a chemical mist aimed at stopping a moth from devouring crops along California's central coast.

Now the state's pest control efforts also are piquing free-speech lawyers, who say a judge considering the program's future this week could break new ground as he weighs the public's desire to know what's in the spray against the pesticide maker's right to keep its formula secret.

State attorneys asked a federal judge Thursday to let them resume aerial spraying, despite residents' concerns that the chemical mixture made them ill.

Many of the product's ingredients remain a mystery, cloaked in nondisclosure agreements in a federal law governing pesticides that make them exempt from public records requirements.

“With few exceptions, the First Amendment says when there is great public interest in this type of information, the government can't keep it from being disseminated in the public,” said David Greene, executive director of the First Amendment Project, a nonprofit that defends free-speech rights. “The question the Supreme Court has never answered is what happens if that information is also a trade secret.”

Since March, when a retired botanist in Berkeley found the first light brown apple moth in a trap in his backyard, the crop-eating Australian pest has infested 12 counties from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles.

State agriculture authorities designed an aerial spraying program to combat it using a synthetic pheromone that keeps the moth from mating without killing it and hired night-flying planes to douse communities in Monterey County for several nights last month.

Judge Robert O'Farrell halted the program last week after hundreds of residents from Monterey to Santa Cruz – including an 11-month-old baby boy – complained of respiratory problems and aching stomachs.

Agricultural officials warn that if left unchecked, the moth could devour up to 250 species of plants and cause $2.6 billion in crop losses.

The pheromone spray they've used to combat it – a product called Checkmate that's manufactured in Bend, Ore., by Suterra, LLC – has been applied before in other states and abroad with no effect on human health, said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Company officials say residents' concerns are unwarranted.

“People are upset because the government has the authority to spray without their consent,” said Suterra spokesman Steve Hartmeier. “If they were spraying people with Santa Cruz City water they would be concerned because it had too much chlorine in it, and chlorine is a carcinogen.”

Still, O'Farrell said the lack of sound science about the product's components were cause to halt the spraying last week, after environmentalists sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure it was safe for families and aquatic life.

He cited concerns over the “potentially harmful propensities” of a chemical called polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate, which an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the Santa Cruz Sentinel was an inert ingredient in CheckMate.

But on Monday, the EPA suddenly reversed course, saying CheckMate didn't contain the ingredient – part of a chemical class known to trigger asthma and respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups – after all.

Spokesman Dale Kemery said trade secrets laws prevented him from disclosing any more information about the pesticide and refused to answer additional questions Thursday.

Meantime, confusion over the spray's ingredients – as well as mounting questions over the legal bounds of pesticide law – has veteran intellectual property lawyers watching for an outcome.

O'Farrell did not immediately issue a decision following Thursday's hearing to extend the temporary injunction.

“If people are saying this is causing health problems, you would think the federal agency has some authority to force the manufacturer to disclose to them what's in the formula,” said Rick Darwin, a San Francisco-based intellectual property lawyer. “But then again, I've never seen a context in which trade secret law bumps up against public safety.”

Anonymous said...


Suterra LLC, Bend, Oregon to Move to Juniper Ridge

Company Snapshot:

Suterra LLC manufactures the product called "Checkmate LBAM-F" used in the controversial Northern California light brown apple moth (LBAM) spraying in 2008. The primary ingredients are known to be harmful if ingested. The EPA has allowed application of this chemical previously, waiving the normal requirements for public comment. Suterra recognizes the health hazards of its chemicals, recommending that if ingested it could cause adverse effects. Pesticide Watch Education Fund collected testimonies of people exposed to the spray, who complained of, "...asthma-like attacks and difficulty breathing, to chest pains, headaches, blurred vision, swollen glands, skins rashes and feelings of chronic fatigue."
Number of employees worldwide:

Anonymous said...

The USDA is spending $500k this year for PR&Marketing of Suterra LLC's ( BEND-OREGON ) CheckMate Product.


What Would Larry, Moe and Curly Do?

Last week the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced it was changing its tactics against the light brown apple moth. Unfortunately, the plans read more like a comedic farce in the spirit of Spies Like Us than a serious plan to repel invasion. And given the outcry after the first aerial spraying of pheromone last November, it looks like the generals at CDFA haven't learned anything about how the civilian population feels about this war.

First, let's inspect the ground forces. While the enemy is busy causing invisible and theoretical crop damage, CDFA personnel will dart around on the ground affixing pheromone-drenched twist ties to trees and bushes.

Then it's time to roll in the heavy artillery. Specialists, most likely outfitted in protective suits, will bombard telephone polls and trees in moth territory with a goopy mix of pheromone and pesticide (the kind used in flea medicine for pets) at a level eight feet off the ground.

Of course, no campaign of genocide would be complete without a biological weapon or two, so the CDFA will be spraying the bacteria BT and Spinoza into known terrorist training camps—what look like simple agricultural fields to you and me.

Now, CDFA officials are well aware that not all insects are fanatic extremists bent on turning all of California into an apple moth caliphate. There are moderate insect forces that can be recruited to aid in the effort. A tribe of predatory wasps called trichogramma will be brought in as allies. These are stingerless wasps—harmless to humans—but they're deadly to light brown apple moths. Ragged but determined, they'll inject their own eggs inside the moth egg sacs; when the moth larvae hatch, they'll dine on the apple moth eggs, killing the enemy before it even hatches.

Wait a minute—this just in—the moths are potentially dangerous to many lepidopterids, including the monarch butterfly. But no worries! The monarch doesn't lay its eggs here. That's one crisis averted by luck. ... Right?

All four of these ground techniques are essentially being deployed to buy time until the CDFA can perfect its real weapon against the moth: the pheromone spray. The agency is searching for a formula that will last longer than 30 days, thereby reducing the number of aerial treatments (and, nūz has to think, opportunities for opponents of spraying to go berserk). The first aerial spraying will most likely be in late spring or summer, rather than early spring as was originally planned.

Right now researchers in New Zealand are testing three new possible vehicles for aerial application of pheromone by CDFA's crack air forces.

First up on the drawing board is a reformulated version of Checkmate LBAM, which will essentially be the same product used in November, except that it will persist in the environment for 90 days instead of 30.

The second option being considered gets filed under "potentially messy." Specialized Pheromone and Lure Application Technology (SPLAT—yes, "SPLAT"), is a claylike material that would be dipped in the pheromone and then shot out of planes. ISCA Technologies, the Riverside-based manufacturer, claims one treatment can last for eight months. It also claims, more ominously, that the product will "not wash off vegetation," which makes nūz wonder how it will do with convertibles—not to mention chard. We couldn't make this stuff up.

CDFA and USDA press officials have not confirmed the third product being tested. But sources briefed by the CDFA described it as a small (quarter-inch-long) piece of biodegradable plastic, much like the material in dissolving sutures, that would be dipped in the pheromone and then "applied" in a storm of anti-mothist confetti. It is as yet unclear how the sticky pieces would be cleaned off of playground equipment, cars, houses, heads of hair and other exposed areas.

Whichever option is chosen is sure to generate even more controversy than this issue has already seen—not least because the map of areas to be treated has expanded significantly. It now includes seven new counties, including Alameda and San Francisco. nūz says: Get ready for the fireworks. This is going to get interesting.

These Are the Big Guns? So the CDFA thought Santa Cruz was tough? Wait until Berkeley and San Francisco find out about the goop, the SPLAT, the wasps and the confetti. The CDFA is getting ready to take its light brown apple moth show to seven new counties, and it could use some public relations help.

But wait! It already has some! After waking up to the smell of some very strong coffee last autumn, beleaguered state bureaucrats decided to call in the cavalry. On Nov. 1, the transnational PR firm Porter Novelli began lending a hand to CDFA public affairs officials attempting to defend their aerial spraying program.

While the CDFA will continue to be the "face" of the operation, Porter Novelli employees will help out in the background by gathering information, helping to prepare for town hall meetings and engaging in other thankless tasks associated with the state's controversial eradication plan.

For CDFA public affairs supervisor Steve Lyle, it was some much welcome backup.

"There are lots of communities to stay in touch with, and a lot of people to engage," notes Lyle. "So we recognized the complex nature of this program required us to bring in additional resources."

The USDA will be footing the bill of $497,500, which should be enough to pay for the PR services through July 2008, when the contract expires.

So, pardon nūz, but does anyone else wonder whether the feds are getting their money's worth? From here it looks like a public relations shit storm is about to hit the CDFA, and it ain't water soluble. Goop? SPLAT? Wasps? Confetti? Was this the best Porter Novelli could do? Or are the advisees just not listening to the advisers?

These are no small fry, PR-wise. According to news sources, Porter Novelli was founded in 1972 by ad men working to get President Nixon re-elected. If these miracle workers can't persuade the tone-deaf paper-pushers at CDFA that a more nuanced approach is called for, who can?

Anonymous said...

Our reporter Bruce is nearly complete with his full report on the Juniper Ridge transition for tire-flipping&rotation ( Les Schwab ) to bio-warfare ( Suterra ).

Here is what bruce has given us to date ( juniper-ridge-info.blogspot )

1.) That Suterra LLC ( note another LLC just like HOLLERN ) of Bend, Oregon is owned by Stewart Resnick of LA, CALIF. Bend loves Calis.

2.) Stewart Resnick owns a holding company in LA, CALIF called "Roll International Corp". In the JR sales agreement all correspondence is sent to the Roll Corp address.

3.) Stewart Resnick is the richest man in California, he is also the richest Jewish man in California, and is recognized by Israel as one of the richest Jewish men in the world.

4.) Stewart Resnick a Democrat is the number one contributor to the Democratic Party of Calif, Stewart Resnick is the number contributor to Arnold Schwarznegger the Gov of Calif. Stewart Resnick has owned every Governor in California for the past thirty years.

5.) Stewart Resnick is the Governor appointed Water Bank chief of Calif, and has held this post for over twenty years. This has entitled him to sell all under ground water tables in the State of Calif to companys owned by Resnick ( himself ), today Resnick owns most of the water in Calif at an estimate value of $500M. Water is assumed to be more valuable than oil in 10-20 years, this position means that Resnick will be the richest man in the world.

6.) Gov Schwarznegger via a no-bid contract has promised to purchase $500M worth of Suterra 'CheckMate' from Suterra LLC, of BEND, CA ( owned by Resnick ) over a ten year period, that started two years ago.

7.) Federal MSDS for 'checkmate' clearly show that it is toxic poison and must be handled by professionals with full respiration and appropriate clothing. For the past two years State of Calif has been spraying 'CheckMate' over the Calif Bay Area city's. You can't say that Suterra didn't warn them about the fact that 'CheckMate' is poison.

8.) This year the USDA ( dept ag ) via Bush/Cheney is spending $500k on PR&MARKETING in Calif to convince people that 'CheckMate' is safe, and friendly and green.

9.) Most of the money coming through Calif to purchase Suterra CheckMate from Bend, Oregon comes from Homeland Security via USDA.

10.) The city of Bend, and Suterra LLC, have a letter of intent, available on the city of Bend website made available by our own reporter 'Bruce' http://www.ci.bend.or.us/city_hall/meeting_minutes/docs/Letter_to_Suterra.pdf

Thanks Bruce, for your hard work.