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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009

All bets are off.

Actually, the better analogy in this craps game they call the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative is “Seven, line away.” That’s because with one big swoop of the croupier’s stick Blue Ribbon Task Force Chairman Don Benninghoven and MLPAI Executive Director Ken Wiseman have swept away all the trust and hard work that has been brought to the table so far in the South Coast Regional Stakeholders Working Group.

Wouldn’t it be nice in life if whenever you made a mistake you didn’t have to pay the consequences? Just kind of say, oops, didn’t mean to do that, so this is the way it’s going to be instead?

Well that’s what happened when the MLPA I-Team called for a vote to eliminate one proposal at the end of the May 19-21 stakeholder meetings. As they handed out the ballots, the realization dawned that external Proposal C, which is an environmental wish list of massive reserves, was the most likely to be eliminated.

But hey, rules are rules right? Here’s the simple truth — if one of the external fisherman’s proposals had been eliminated, it would be case closed, done deal.

Well, here’s the vote:

Straw Vote Tally from May 21, 2009 SCRSG Meeting (Note: All 64 SCRSG members participated in the voting)

Opal and Topaz reached a unified proposal and will automatically move forward for evaluation.

Lapis 1 = 63

Lapis 2 = 61

External A = 64

External B = 39

External C = 29

Here’s the reaction from the powers that be:

“Everyone worked hard last week to respond to the task force guidance to achieve no more than six draft proposals. In our effort to achieve that goal, many of you contend there was not sufficient opportunity to contribute additional, valid, cross-interest ideas, and that our promise to avoid duplicative proposals has fallen short. I have consulted with Chair Benninghoven on how best to respond to these concerns,” wrote Wiseman in a letter to all the stakeholders.

“We have decided that all seven proposals will move forward for analysis and review as part of the Round 2 evaluation process. This decision was made in the interest of maintaining the maximum confidence in an open and inclusive process, maximizing the amount of information available from the various evaluations, and acknowledging that with the significant stratification of the votes, acting on the vote would have led to the elimination of two draft proposals.”

External C doesn’t even get 50 percent of the stakeholders’ votes, yet will move forward into the next round “in the interest of maintaining the maximum confidence in an open and inclusive process?”

That’s the biggest load of crap I have ever read and I’m not talking about a dice game. It’s the most bogus move yet in a process tainted from the beginning.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force meets next Thursday, June 4 and you need to be there, as one stakeholder told me “with pitchforks in hand.” Why not throw in a few torches, too?

It’s time to burn the castle down.


What: Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting

When:  Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. Public comment period for non-agenda items begins at approximately 9:40 a.m.

Where:  Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel
              6101 West Century Boulevard
              Los Angeles, CA  90045

While the non-agenda comment period is scheduled for 9:40 a.m., the BRTF has been known to shift comment periods and limit the amount of time for individual speakers when there is a heavy turnout, so if you go, be prepared to spend some time.

More information at

Reader Comments
I'll attend every meeting I can and do whatever I can to help BUT in the long run these enviro nuts are gonna do whatever they want.

Right now the stakeholders need all the support they can get. Who knows what direction will have to be taken if the Blue Ribbon Task Force sticks to its decision to gut its own process. If they don't act in accordance to the rules they set, why should we?
Rich Holland

This is so not right,there must be some one that can put a stop to this madness.I have followed this prosses for a long time and I cant beleave things can be so croked. Im at a loss for words this is so sad. Doug Fields Huntington Beach
Doug Fields

The problem is none of the weekend warriors are putting any $kin in this game. The "Conservationuts & Enviromentalists" are going to win out because they have nothing better to do with their money than plunk it in some box at the M.Bay Aquarium. If we as sportsman don't go after the people and orginizations behind all this like the crazed Peta freaks do, WE will Lose Out. Its like it told some guy whinning at the tackle shop two weeks ago... all us WASP's are too lazy to give up some of our recreation time to protest like 1/2 of california did over some of the imagration props over the past years. Paul

Can we obtain, via the freedom of information act, all letters, e.mails, documents, salary information to, from and among all public officers and task force members, as well as all financial contributions to the MLPA process, salaries, per diems, out of pocket, etc., from public funds and from special interests, etc. as they apply to the MLPA and its members from the very first day of the MLPA in California?
maurizio a. mangini

Is it ;legal for us to set up picket lines at the Monterrey bay and long beach aquariums of the Pacific? Aren't they one of the money groups involved in this? If they can hit the sport fishing fleet and business in the pocket book can we return that favor and picket out front every weekend?

Despite the best efforts of the RSG and good faith deliberations nothing they offer will be good enough. The "I" Team/BRTF and the SAT have put the RSG in the position of merely providing cover for them to maximize the scope of SMR's. I think the same group of 30 that signed the letter to Benninghovan asking for a pause (plus a handful of others judging by the 35 votes to eliminate Proposal C) should demand that Proposal C be taken off the table. If the "I" Team refuses to validate the voting, they should walk. Right here, right now. There will never be a better indication of the charade this process has become. The fight should be taken to the Courts and the Legislature or perhaps straight to the Commission.. You've already seen how much the "I" Team listened to the outpouring of fishermen on that Tuesday evening. The fact that it was not taped for the public record should have been a tipoff. I don't see how you can proceed at this point.
Dave Renner
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