Jan 4, 2012
ANOTHER MINER BITES THE (FUGITIVE-RENEGADE DUST)
Yes, our benevolent Board of Supervisors pulled another rabbit out of their collective hats as they introduced yet another expert in mining law to interpret why “intermingling” of materials applies to MSHA and SMRA (Federal and State Mining laws).
This “Expert” also admitted that such regulations may very well be too stringent for small miners to adhere to … but … also said that the enforcement of such regulations should remain in the hands of our County, not the State.
So, after our wonderful County Regulator’s shut down this one miner without blinking an eye, and introduced their various evidences of “Fugitive Dust”, “yardages of excavation from 2 dimensional aerial photos”, and their conflicting reports of “illegal processing”, “improper equipment storage”, and “co-mingling of materials from a construction site with materials from the mine site”, they agreed to deny Mr. Darrah his appeal based on their interpretation of the law…which, in my opinion, now makes ANY co-mingling of materials from a mine with any other materials not produced from a mine…..A MINE!!!
In other words, if our County Road Department mines gravel for our public roads and co-mingles it with cement, or oil, or something else, then it could be construed to mean that the other facilities producing, and/or supplying the materials to be co-mingled could be part of the County’s mining operation!!
This ridiculous circus-like atmosphere also produced other confusing and maddening query’s throughout, while completely ignoring the fact that we who reside here would like to earn a living,
NOT BE SHUT DOWN AT EVERY TURN OF THE GOVERNMENT’S WHIMS!
BUT, our County Politicians-in bed with our State Politicians-in bed with left wing radicals, have once again succeeded in keeping the miners out of business while further extrapolating ridiculous interpretations to the already stringent laws that restrict and bind us beyond reason.
They’ve succeeded in killing the mining, and the logging as they go after our Ranchers and our Land.
Our County Officials would do better to represent us if they’d get a clue.
They should be defending us, NOT attacking us by acting as the enforcement arm of the State!
They should be filling county positions with knowledgeable LOCALS who will stand AGAINST Tyrannical advances of over zealous regulators, not join hands with them as their own people are hurt.
Our County Board of Supervisors Should have refused to enforce such idiotic regulations, and nipped this in the bud.
Instead, they seem to covet the power of enforcement of such, OR quake in fear of such…
It is the opinion of this once prosperous citizen that the County Board of Supervisors SHOULD TURN THE ENFORCEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES BACK TO THE STATE ANY TIME THEIR CITIZEN’S LIVELIHOODS ARE AT STAKE.
THEN, AS STATE ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES APPLY THEIR GRUESOME TASKS, OUR LOCAL SHERIFF SHOULD BE INFORMED, AND COORDINATED WITH BY LAW SO THAT THOSE OUTSIDE AGENCIES ARE THEMSELVES MONITORED AND MEASURED BY OUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES BEFORE ANY ACTION IS TAKEN.
It seems to me that this very theme is being trumpeted by our local sheriff and surrounding sheriffs in other counties as well…
They have a clue, and have done a good job, so far, of articulating their positive stance toward their citizens, and the Constitution.
Our County Board of Supervisors have NOT!
My hat is off to Mr. Keith Darrah as he continues to fight for his right to earn a living.
My hat is off to those citizens who consistently showed up to support Mr. Darrah and endured the ridiculous scene played out.
My hat is off to the various organizations who’ve been engaged all along in the fight to preserve our Constitution, and our way of life.
My hat is off to those representatives of Rep. Doug LaMalfa who drove many miles, and devoted much time to this, as they educated those of us along the way.
My hat is off to our elected sheriff who has offered much needed support and hope to those of us who have been desperate for good leadership and protection from unruly rulers.
We citizens of this county can continue to make a difference at the ballot box when it comes to electing true representatives, but we must pay much close attention as our local elections come and go, and be sure of each candidate’s record before we cast our valuable vote.
This message comes from the very heart of the STATE of JEFFERSON as I’ve come to know and appreciate its meaning, and can be passed on as any receiver sees fit.
PNP comment: We agree! — Editor Liz Bowen
Dec 31, 2011
State attorney finally provides the alleged violation!
Yes, it was another long afternoon listening to both sides on the Keith Darrah case, including a new attorney from the state mining SMARA agency. This case should never have taken place. Darrah never should have been out of business for 3 years. His 20-plus employees should still be working and the county should be receiving tax revenue from his business.
Surprisingly, it was this new state attorney who narrowed Darrah’s alleged violation to this: In doing his construction work of paving his parking lot, the state attorney said Darrah “co-mingled” material from the “construction” parcel with material from the “surface gravel mine,” which is on the adjoining parcel.
The county Planning Dept. claims that 95 percent of the material from the construction project (paving the parking lot) was co-mingled with 5 percent of material from surface gravel mine. Apparently, “co-mingling” is a no-no.
Keep in mind that it is legal to sell material from a construction site, according to Terry Barber’s testimony during the hearing. I heard her say it.
It is also legal to sell material from a surface gravel mine, which is under a permit. Darrah’s surface gravel mine was under a legitimate Permit!
Yep, all the allegations by the county during 8 days of hearings were really confusing to me; and yesterday the state attorney finally provides the one real alleged violation?
For those who have not sat through these hearings, it is difficult to fathom the depths of this cover-up.
Yes, it is this simple: Darrah was persecuted and stopped from doing business by our county supervisors, who should be aiding and encouraging business, because of a vendetta — competition, if you will.
If not, why did the board of supervisors spend $300,000 in private attorney’s fees (I don’t even know how much the state SMARA attorney is going to cost) to persecute Darrah, who was improving his property and is properly zoned? And was permitted?
THIS is a huge travesty.
It started with Planning Director Terry Barber back in 2007. The Siskiyou County Planning Commissioners went along with it. They should have stopped the travesty. But, several Board of Supervisors were in cahoots and did not stop the persecution.
Siskiyou County is in a world of hurt – economically and financially. We are only 43,000 in population! A very rural area, which needs legitimate businesses to be in business.
I wish that the county would act in a way that aids and encourages business. This is so discouraging for present and potential businesses. (Unless you happen to serve on the Planning Commission and have a surface gravel mine like Blair Hart.)
Competition can be a wicked thing!
Darrah has followed regulations of CEQA, California Environmental Quality Act, through several decades of logging business as well as the surface gravel mine business. He understands the rules and has met them throughout his years of business.
I contend and allege that this was a “Good ol’ Boy” vendetta by a competitive trucking company owned by then, Siskiyou County Supervisor LaVada Erickson, who was instrumental in getting Terry Barber appointed as Dept. Head of Planning.
I also contend and allege that the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors knew Barber did NOT have the experience required for Planning and knowledge needed for CEQA and SMARA — only a hard-nosed attitude to do the Good ol’ Boy bidding!
I also contend and allege that the main reason SMARA threatened to take over all of Siskiyou County’s surface gravel mining Permits is because Barber did not know how to do her job and was also trying to do her “other” job as Dept. head of Public Health. (The supervisors claimed they were saving tax dollars by combining the two departments! Boy, has that came back to bite them!)
Terry Barber admitted during the hearings this year that she was a year behind in the paperwork of keeping up-to-date with the county residents’ surface gravel mine Permits. The county is the lead agency for permitting surface gravel mines.
She also admitted she was behind on 50 percent of these Permits.
She also admitted only attending half-a-day of a two-day workshop on CEQA.
Yep, she was in over her head. The Board of Supervisors should have NEVER appointed her to run two departments, especially when she was NOT qualified to be the Dept. Head of Planning.
So, it was NOT Darrah’s fault that SMARA threatened the county to take over all the permitting. But, several board of supervisors and Planning Commissioners have put on the SPIN that it was the Darrah case – alone. I disagree.
During the hearings, it was shown that an official with SMARA became part of the conspiracy to get Darrah. I heard the testimony.
Emails were sent to this state official’s private email address by a Greenie neighbor, Dave Webb, who reported on possible infractions and took photos. It was also revealed during the previous hearings that Webb operates a fabrication business out of his garage, which is not in the correct business “zone” nor does he have a permit to be in business. Smacks of hypocrisy!
Previously, there had been 8 days of accusations with rebuttal levied against Darrah. Siskiyou Co. Board Chairman Jim Cook said they had to allow Darrah to “finish exhausting administrative appeals” process — acting like he was being kind.
Hum, so why wasn’t Darrah allowed to subpoena all the witnesses he needed?
Nearly half of the witnesses that Darrah’s attorney wanted to call, were not allowed. Some of these were county employees.
This smacks of a dirty deal.
Finally, at the end of the hearing on Dec. 29, 2011, all four Board of Supervisors in attendance voted against Keith Darrah. They were: Chairman Jim Cook, Ed Valenzuela, Grace Bennett and Michael Kopseff.
District 5 Supervisor, Marcia Armstrong, was not in attendance. But in previous appeal decisions, she voted against Keith Darrah.
So, the supervisors voted to protect the dirty little vendetta that started this ridiculous persecution.
Feels like something out of Communist Russia.
And these folks claim to stand on the U.S. Constitution and protect individual rights!
– Editor Liz Bowen