Please pass these along to help get the other side of this story out.
From: Tom Mallams
Mallams water use allowed during appeal
By TOM MALLAMS Guest Commentary
Recently, a certain reporter accused me of breaking the law and ignoring water shutoff notices.
The law allows all water users, including myself, to challenge an incorrect regulation order and prove that my well does not interfere with earlier priority surface water uses. All regulation orders have been “stayed” while I seek judicial review, allowing water use while the court decides my case.
I believe in obeying the laws of the land, and no, I am certainly not above the law. I also believe in the right to protest and challenge unjust laws and regulation including unjust administrative rules. Following the just laws of the land is part of our heritage from our Founding Fathers, as is protesting unjust deprivation of property.
I incorrectly believed that a regulation order was not effective until received. The Water Resources Department sent me a courtesy notice of my incorrect belief on August 25th, stating: “you have until Aug. 31st to comply, or you will be subject to enforcement.”
The fact is that I voluntarily shut our water off for the season on Aug. 25, several days before I received this letter. I would have filed my petition for judicial review as soon as possible after the department issued its first incorrect regulation order if I knew I needed to do so in order to continue irrigating under the automatic stay provisions but the order stated I had 60 days to seek judicial review.
My challenge of the Water Resources Department’s regulation orders is done under the law as a private citizen protecting my property rights.
I am in the unique position of wearing two hats: one as a private citizen and one as a county commissioner. As a private citizen, I absolutely have the right to challenge the Water Resources Department’s shutoff of my well. As a county commissioner, I have the duty to speak up on behalf of the agricultural community and say that it is wrong for the Department to issue a blanket shutoff of all (or arbitrarily, just most) of the groundwater uses within one mile of a surface water body without knowing any facts about the hydrology of each well, or whether the wells in fact interfere with surface water uses.
I also have significant concerns, both as a private citizen and county commissioner, about the Water Resources Department’s regulation this year under the new administrative rules implementing portions of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (“KBRA”) and associated agreements.
These agreements are currently not in effect because they lack local support (the Tribes have even begun pulling out) and lack of congressional support. This is the perfect case of putting the cart before the horse, and the blanket groundwater shut offs seem like an attempt to force water users to sign onto these agreements.
OWRD claims that I am the only irrigator that refused to shut our well off. This is absolutely not true! There are many that continued to irrigate this season, some who also filed for judicial review, and some who I believe have not. It simply appears the Department focuses on those with the highest profile.
For many years I have promised to oppose out of control government whether local, state or federal. I have promised to expose that which is wrong in government and to support and endorse that which is correct and good. For decades I have fought for the rights of the citizens of the Klamath Basin.
I will continue to fight for the balanced use of our natural resources, including water. Certainly, no one should be surprised when I refused to shut my water off, instead seeking judicial review as permitted under the law.
There are tough decisions to be made and I am not known for making “lukewarm” decisions or taking “lukewarm” positions, and I will continue doing what I was elected to do.
Maybe I am a bit odd since I actually do what I have said I will do. In today’s society, that seems to be a very novel concept.
Tom Mallams is a Klamath County commissioner and local rancher.
Mallams to run for second term
Commissioner subject of recall effort
• By SAMANTHA TIPLER H&N Staff Reporter
Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams says he plans to run for a second term.
“I do intend to run,” he said in a phone interview with the Herald and News Monday. “I’ve had lots and lots of people encourage me to run. I have full intentions of running.”
Mallams has not yet filed for the 2016 election. The primary election is May 17. Mallams holds Position No. 1, which he was elected to in 2012. He was sworn in as commissioner in January 2013, and his term lasts until the end of 2016.
Lyncho Ruiz filed to run for that position last Thursday. Calls from the Herald and News to Ruiz have not been returned.
Mallams is steadfast in his plans to run, even as a signature-gathering effort for his recall is ongoing. Last week Ilo and Melissa Ferroggiaro filed a recall petition. If they gather 3,426 signatures within the 90-day period a recall election would take place.
“I don’t dispute the recall. That’s their right,” Mallams said.
The Ferroggiaros, owners of Laughing Lotus Farms, a medical marijuana dispensary, are also pursuing a signature campaign to overturn the county ban on marijuana businesses. Last week all three commissioners voted to approve the ban.
“I disagree that the county needs it. I disagree that the citizens of the county want it,” Mallams said of marijuana. “I think that will be shown out. If you want to have this in the county, gather the signatures and put it to the vote of the people.”
He noted those needing medical marijuana will still have access to it at shops within the city of Klamath Falls. The county ban is on unincorporated areas in Klamath County, which includes the South Suburbs.
Mallams also sees himself as the target of the Oregon Water Resources Department, which issued orders for him to shut off his irrigation well at his Beatty-area farm this summer.
He said in a Sept. 10 Herald and News article he may have broken an “administrative rule” but disagrees he broke the “law.” According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, administrative rules have the “force of law” in Oregon.
Mallams continued to pump water until Aug. 25, even though the Klamath Project made a call for water on June 16. The Klamath Project has a 1905 water right, while Mallams’ well right is dated to 2001.
The OWRD sent groundwater regulation notices on July 3 and sent violation notices to Mallams on Aug 7 and Aug. 28. The second violation notice told Mallams to stop pumping by Aug. 31.
Mallams claims by filing a petition for judicial review, he challenged the authority of those notices.
“People elect people to take a stand, to stand up for what’s right. That’s what I’ve been doing,” Mallams said. “I have no regrets. I’m doing exactly what I was elected to do.”
Community members supporting the recall effort against Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams are organizing a march and rally to be held in next month.
According to organizer Bob Daugherty, the event is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 10. He said participants will rally in front of the Klamath County Government Center. Those who want to march can walk with a group through downtown.
Daugherty said recall petitions and petitions to overturn the ban on county marijuana sales will be available to sign. Daugherty said he and other organizers will be available to help residents register to vote.
For more information, call Bob Daugherty at 937-474-3302.