Delta Rat Scrapbook - December 2017

Joe Faso For Governor

Joe Faso has thrown his hat into the ring for the upcoming governor’s race. He made the announcement at a recent gathering at his estate among many of his friends and associates. Joe is an unabashed lover of California and its people, he is one of the most popular and beloved citizens in all of the Stockton and Delta area. He is certainly more qualified than most of the candidates running and certainly more qualified than the last couple of governors when you compare their accomplishments and service to the community.

We spoke with his campaign manager, Liz Zamora. She said, “Well, can you think of anyone that could do a better job than him?” Joe started from scratch and built up a huge business empire employing many people over his lifetime. Look at transportation. The hottest car our current governor has owned was a 1976 Plymouth with a six-banger. Joe has a collection of classic automobiles anyone would be proud to drive. You surely remember just a few years back much of the Delta was blanketed by invasive plants. The current governor never did acknowledge the hyacinth disaster that virtually shut down the Delta and prevented boats and ships from traveling the waterways.

His campaign slogan is “make the Delta great again.” Joe realizes the Delta is the heart of California, not just some plumbing fixture to be exploited by greedy water barons. Not only that, he throws some fabulous parties.

“The current administration is in the process of spending $100 billion on a train from Bakersfield to Southern California that will hit 26 miles per hour going over the Grapevine. Joe will put everyone in a car with at least 300 horsepower; you will be able to get to Southern California in a few hours. Joe’s answer to the current gridlock experienced in many cities is to extend the waterways into them and replace the roads with canals. You will be able to take your boat just about anywhere. Think about natural resources and the Delta, Joe lives right on the river and watches it every day. The last two governors maybe have visited the Delta one time each and were about ridden out on a rail. Our current natural resources secretary spends all his time sitting in his Sacramento office writing op-eds trying to get support for the governor’s plan to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta. Joe lives and breathes the Delta; he will be a fabulous governor.”

I personally think Joe would be an excellent governor and his business experience would be a huge benefit to the people of California. He would create jobs, cut taxes and enforce our laws. That would be refreshing. We will keep you updated as Liz feeds us information on Joe’s campaign.

In the midst of his campaign Joe celebrated his birthday and let Adam and Julep Farrow use his house for a huge Halloween party attended by many Delta notables.


Water War Update

There has been a lot going on regarding the Jerry Brown/John Laird WaterFix. The next round of the state waterboard hearings will start in January. The Department of Water Resources and the various groups opposing the tunnels will call witnesses and cross examine them. Recently Westland’s Water District voted to not participate in the current iteration of the plan.

California Congressmen are calling for the General Accounting office to investigate funds spent on the twin tunnel “WaterFix.” Congressman Jared Huffman’s office released a statement saying, “The audit identified at least $84 million in taxpayer funds spent without disclosure to Congress as required by law, and kept hidden from other water users, stakeholders, and the public.” Apparently in an audit the inspector general discovered that the Bureau of Reclamation had improperly charged $50 million to taxpayers when it should have been paid by the water exporters that were allegedly going to pay for the entire project. The title of the Inspector General’s Report is, “The Bureau of Reclamation Was Not Transparent in its Financial Participation in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.” I guess that pretty well sums up the situation.

We attended the Public Policy Institute of California’s “Priorities for California’s Water” event at the Sacramento Sheraton. One of the panels was titled “Decision Time for the Colorado River and the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta” (they don’t call it the “California Delta”). It was moderated by Brian Gray of the PPIC Water Center with Department of Water Resources (DWR) director Grant Davis, Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and Lester Snow, senior advisor of the Water Foundation. Lester is the former Director of DWR and was the Natural Resources Secretary for one year prior to John Laird taking over. I give Lester credit during his tenure he at least made a few trips to the Delta and met some of the folks, unlike the current resources director. We would affectionately call Lester “Lester Snow Job” when he would visit the Delta.

The panel spent their time gushing over how the twin tunnel WaterFix was going to solve all of California’s water problems for the next few generations and how diverting the Sacramento river would actually help the wildlife and fish in the Delta. Gray was correct about at least one thing “this is the biggest CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) document I have ever seen.” Early on he asked Kightlinger why Metropolitan had invested $4 billion in the WaterFix, Kightlinger corrected him and said they had not spent the money yet.

Meanwhile up in Oroville, I am sure you remember the dam disaster from last winter where 200,000 residents had to evacuate with almost no warning. Assembly member James Gallagher conducted a survey that 3,322 local residents participated in. Eight-four percent of those responding were more afraid of the DWR than they were of a terrorist attack. Seventy percent of the respondents said they had lost all trust in DWR. Eighty-three percent said all inspection and maintenance records of the dam should be made public and 75 percent of those participating feel the crisis was manmade and preventable. It has come to light in the recent waterboard hearings that the DWR releases as little information as possible. They have a record of almost never returning a phone call or responding to emails from citizens.

The repairs to the Oroville dam have now doubled from the original estimate of $250 million to $500 million (I am confident they will continue to rise from here). You will see this type of price escalation on a grand scale if the WaterFix moves forward. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimated the cost of diverting the river at $55 billion; most competent experts have estimated that it will come in at $65 billion to $75 billion in today’s dollars. You remember the earthquake repairs to the Bay Bridge went from the original cost estimate of $500 million to about $6 billion. A billion here and a billion there, soon you are talking real money.

One of my contacts within the DWR says they have to remove DWR identification from their trucks and other vehicles because they are being attacked by citizens. Keep in mind there are a lot of good, hardworking, honest folks in the DWR and the Natural Resources Agency. The problems are with the management. The employees will not come forward for fear of retribution and losing their jobs.


Sportsmen Yacht Club

Commodore Matt Tate invited me to the Sportsmen Yacht Club’s “Pre-Derby Dinner and Fishing Seminar” in early November. We enjoyed another fantastic dinner prepared by the club’s galley crew. We had pasta, tri-tip, fresh vegetables, salad and fresh rolls. After dinner I was the warm up act for Zack Medinas. Folks at the club are rabid anti WaterFix people and I gave them an update on what I have learned about the water situation over the last several months and who the players are at this time.

After I spoke, Zack put on his presentation. He is a fishing guide who specializes in Delta sturgeon fishing. I have met Zack before and listened to his seminar. He is a vast pool of knowledge and I am not sure how many sturgeon he has caught but he has an answer for any question you might come up with. He has made some great videos of his adventures that you can find on social media, just search his name.

He is not condescending and is really low key but when you listen to him for a few minutes you really know that he is an expert on his subject. Zack knows a lot about fishing for other species too and he has owned several boats so has some positive information on good boats for the Bay and Delta.

Sportsmen Yacht Club is a great club in which to belong to if you are a fisherman. They not only have some expert speakers but most of the folks in the club are experts at fishing the local waterways too. Having a clubhouse in the middle of some of California’s prime fishing spots is an advantage too. Even if you are not a fisherman, the members are some of the nicest people in to hang out with. Every time I have been there they treat me like I am special. This time Darlene Dawson took Sue and me under her wing and made sure we had a drink and told us of recent happenings at the club. I told you before that the club is located aboard the old ferry boat Sausalito. Every Halloween they decorate the cabins with all kinds of scary dioramas. Now the boat itself could easily pass as a haunted house and there are rumors of ghosts aboard. The Halloween decorations just add another spooky layer to the place. He club invites families from around the area to visit the spooky exhibits and have an evening of candy and fun. The club is very popular with the local folks and the club has been holding the haunted house (or boat) for several years.


Lynn Hahn Memorial Delta Reflections Parade

This will be the first year in 16 years that Lynn Hahn has not participated in and managed the Delta Reflections Holiday Lighted Boat parade except for the years the hyacinth disaster caused the parade to be cancelled. Lynn took over the job in 2000 and ran a tight ship. You would hear her on the radio admonishing folks to maintain a proper distance and to make sure their lights were working properly. She ran the show and was a great leader. Lynn grew up in a boating family and was a lifelong boater herself. In her youth, she was a championship water skier. Lynn was a huge part of the parade, so to honor her from now on the parade will be called the “Lynn Hahn Memorial Delta Reflections Parade.”

Dedrick Denison, a friend of mine and one of the better-known boaters in the Delta, sent me some great information on the history of this event. The first year 30 boats participated but the second year the number increased dramatically. He sent me an article from The (Stockton) Record newspaper by staff writer, Hugh Wright, from December of 1981 the second year of the parade. The parade started at Village West Marina. Seventy-five boats signed up and 67 participated that year. Afterwards many of them headed to Village West Marina for a big party, according to the article. Participants received a plaque and a bottle of wine for participating. They got the name Delta Reflections from the lights reflecting off the water.

Dedrick is a former president of the Pacific Interclub Yacht Association and the former commodore of Marina West Yacht Club. He helped kick off the Delta Reflections Parades among many other accomplishments of his life. He shared with me a proclamation from 1982 Stockton Mayor Arnold Rue declaring December 4, 1982 as “Delta Reflections Day” in the city of Stockton.

Dedrick also had an article from 1982 written by the late great Hal Schell. Hal talks about the parade and describes the winning boat, Haile-A-Looya a houseboat that had been outfitted with paddle wheels and phony smoke stacks so it resembled a sidewheel steamboat. She was owned by Bertha and Verlon Haile. Hal says it was a beautiful night with no fog to complicate matters. He said there were even seven entries from the Super Secret Ship Club. Other clubs that participated were Stockton Yacht Club, Spindrift Yacht Club and the San Joaquin Power Squadron. Order was maintained by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Marine Division and the Coast Guard.


Ebony Boat Club (EBC) 30th Anniversary

We joined club members and other folks at the EBC for their 30th birthday party. They held their first meeting in Rodeo on October 3, 1987 and elected Bill Melson as Commodore.

Their first clubhouse was at Owl Harbor. Later they moved to the San Joaquin Yacht Harbor in Antioch aboard their floating clubhouse. In 2013, they were notified that the harbor was going to be given over to commercial craft only and, after a search, moved their clubhouse to the Stockton Downtown Marina much to the benefit of the City of Stockton with their civic awareness.

They have a list of accomplishments longer than I can list here but as I have said before they are a positive force wherever they go helping everyone from local youth to the homeless.

The party was attended by local luminaries and members of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s patrol. We heard a history of the club presented by Ann Dukes and the sheriff’s deputies gave an outline of their duties. Ebony Youth Foundation president Robert Willis introduced Le’Jon Butcher a recent scholarship recipient and a fine young man with a good future ahead of him. After the presentations we enjoyed plenty of excellent hors d’oeuvres and ice cold lemonade. I did not find out who made the Cajun shrimp but they rapidly vanished being so good everyone was going back for seconds and thirds. This was not to diminish the other great snacks, meatballs, chicken wings, bread, fruit that all seemed to go missing very quickly. Well, I am confident the club will have another great 30 years of promoting boating and public service. Check them out at:


Some Boating Events

The fall is a fabulous time for boating in the Delta. The Stockton Yacht Club’s annual vintage car and boat show was on Labor Day weekend. Instead of bookending the summer, the event actually kicked off the fall boating season. I had planned to take my Mustang and my boat but as I was pulling out of my slip I smelled gasoline and discovered a fitting connected to the fuel pump on my starboard motor was leaking. I thought I could fix it at the time but this was one of those 100 degree plus days and after crawling in the bilge to remove the hose I gave up and aborted the boat trip. I did take the Mustang and had a great day hanging out with the other car owners. Patty Brennan once again had her first car entered, an MG Midget from the early 1970s. Randy and Linda Welch had their supercharged 2017 Mustang on one side of me and a fellow with an all original 1965 Mustang was on the other side. I had forgotten how spartan the original Mustangs were. They were pretty basic without a lot of frills. No power steering, power brakes or air conditioning. They did have the great Borg Warner T-10 four speed transmission along with a state of the art (at the time) 289 cubic-inch V8 motor though.

Randy Welch once again had A.P. Giannini’s 1933 Lincoln model K, 448 cubic-inch V12 powered sedan on hand. It is always the star of the show. There were plenty of beautiful automobiles on hand as well as some beautiful boats. Lunch was available during the day. The show wrapped up with a dinner at the club.

The Antique and Classic Boat Society held their annual meet that I mentioned last month. These are the folks with the beautiful classic runabouts. Most of them stayed at B&W Resort and launched their boats there. They cruised all around the area and went to Grindstone Joe’s on Little Potato Slough for lunch on Saturday. Nancy Immekeppel my Georgiana Slough/Mokelumne River correspondent sent me some good photos and Scott Andrews a member of Grindstone Joe’s sent me a photo of the folks over there. 

Freda Lucido from the Sportsmen YC sent me some photos from this year’s Wheelchair Regatta event that is sponsored every year by the Pacific Interclub Yacht Association. A few hundred disabled veterans were bussed to the Encinal Yacht Club from all over Northern California for a day of fun aboard volunteer’s boats. Local fire and police personnel volunteered to help the veterans get in and out of the boats. After the cruise, they were treated to a barbeque at the club along with some musical entertainment. This is an annual event with yacht club members from all over the Bay and Delta volunteering their boats to take the veterans out for a day of adventure.

I have attended this event in the past and talked to some of the veterans. Many of them are combat veterans going back to the Korean War era. At least a couple that I met were World War II veterans. There are a lot of Vietnam era and Middle East war veterans. They all had interesting and colorful tales to tell and they were all very appreciative for the days outing.

Classic Yacht Association had to cancel their “Kruzin’ 4 Kids” event which is a benefit for Children patients, their families, and the talented medical staff who serve them from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Every year USS Potomac and several other classic yachts participate in this worthy venture. This year it had to be rescheduled because of the smoke in the Bay caused by the fires sweeping Northern California. The smoke was so bad it would have caused the passengers respiratory problems.


Eight Bells

Bill Worrell, a friend of mine and a longtime member of the Sportsmen Yacht Club in Antioch has crossed over the bar. I first met Bill several years ago when he invited me to an event at the club. He was a great guy and was always accompanied by his dog. He was a staunch opponent of the twin tunnels and other schemes to damage the Delta ecosystem. Bill was always interesting to talk to and he was not only an expert on boats but had a vast knowledge of cars also. He taught high school auto mechanics before opening his own business and hiring a couple of his students to work there.

Bill loved the Club and spent his life fishing and boating. He was cherished by those who knew him. Bill always had a smile for everyone and was quick to show his appreciation for all the contributions members made to the Club. Bill’s father Clyde was commodore of the club in 1959. At this writing a celebration of Bill’s life is planned but no date has been set.

Richard “Butch” Clarkson was a retired carpenter who embarked on a new career creating art objects from used wine barrels. He called the business “Grannies Repurposed Wine Barrels.” He could turn a barrel stave into a coat rack, book holder or any of a myriad of other useful and beautiful items. He passed away on September 28 leaving behind his wife Carol and several children and grandchildren. I met Richard a few times at Delta events and I have a coat rack he made. Richard was a great fellow as attested by the hundred or so people that attended his funeral. I spoke to many of them and they all had a story or anecdote of some good thing he had done.

Norman Richardson, mayor of Rio Vista, passed away unexpectedly. He was a tireless fighter for Rio Vista and the Delta. Norman had a lifetime of public service, he had served on chambers of commerce and city councils before moving to Rio Vista. Once moving to Rio Vista, he started as a planning commissioner, then city council member and then mayor. I would see Norman at many meetings discussing the Brown/Laird twin tunnel “WaterFix.” He was strongly opposed to the scheme because of the negative effect it would have on the Delta and Rio Vista in particular. He had a dry sense of humor and somewhat of what I would call a “W.C. Fields” persona which would draw the attention of the people around him without him even talking.


Irish Pennants

Sugar Barge on Bethel Island is keeping their Bar and Grill restaurant open all year round for lunch and dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They open at 1100 hours. On Saturdays they have Prime Rib & live music. Dinner service starts at 1600 hours. Happy Hours are twice a day, 1400 to 1600 and 2000 hours to 2200 hours. Buy One, Get One at Happy Hour Prices. Sugar Barge is a great location for Christmas parties of groups of 20 or more. Don’t miss the New Years Eve party with DJ music & dancing. Make your reservation now.

The change of watch and party season is starting. Sacramento Yacht club is kicking the season off with their event on November 4th, the Classic Yacht Association is holding theirs on November 15th at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville. Don’t forget the Marina West Yacht Club’s Lynn Hahn memorial parade on December 4th. Call Tina Tremain now at 209/216.1626 and she will find a spot for your boat.

Crime in the Delta is a problem just like it is in every city in California. Boats and shoreside homes are looted and people are assaulted on bike and jogging trails. A friend of mine, Tracie Glaves, is launching an effort to start to bring it under control. She is envisioning a Delta wide “neighborhood watch” type of organization to bring attention to particular trouble spots. One of the problems in the Delta is criminals living on derelict boats and riverside encampments so they have access to waterways leading to marinas and homes.

Once you let crime get out of control it is hard to rein back in. For a few years now there has been a crisis of people living on the sidewalks of cities that was not addressed so now the sidewalks are filled and people are spilling out into the streets and walking into the traffic. To top it off the hepatitis epidemic that started in San Diego has now arrived in Northern California. I just received late word that a lawsuit in Sacramento challenging the cities ordinance against camping on the street has been ruled in favor of the city. Camping on the sidewalk will remain illegal. Now they just need to enforce the ordinance. I will keep you informed as Tracie’s efforts progress.

The fish have been biting like crazy and I think this will go on for a while. Check the fishing reports by Chris Lauritzen and Fish Sniffer magazine on the Delta Chambers website, egory/fish-reports

I hope you get those new paisley fenders for Christmas. Don’t miss the upcoming parties. I will probably see you at some of them. The holiday season is upon us. Let me know what you are up to.

Give me a call: 916/869.9141 or email: commo

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