Archive for June, 2012

‘The Fluffy Bandito’

Monday, June 18th, 2012

 The Fluffy Banditos!

‘Fluffy Bandito’

The Fluffy Bandito who comes out at four
brought five fluffy presents to my sliding glass door

I let down my guard; my defenses apart
allowed five furry cuteballs to abscond with my heart

“Banditos wearing masks!” was all I could report
and five of the six were still too young for court

So they stood in a lineup, and I recognized one-
their sweet loving mama, by the crook in her thumb

“Why did you do it?” I asked;

She said, “Dude…you started it all when you put out the food.”

I knew she was right, but it didn’t seem fair;

No heart is a match for striped puff balls of hair!

When the detective asked me if that was the one,

I simply said “No- I can tell by the thumb”.

And they say to this day, when the moon is on high

and clouds shaped like stallions stampede through the sky

that the Fluffy Bandito comes to my back door

comes ’round about four

comes crunching

comes munching

comes bunching!

-joey racano

Tags: nature, raccoons, wildlife, nice, happy, food, camping, backyard, family, offspring, joy, cute, motherhood, poems, poetry, joey racano, earth, source, media

True tales of the California Coast- Part V, MLPA: a rescue mission ‘Marine Neglected Area’

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Pedro Nava, Joey Racano and Bob Hattoy

True tales of the California Coast- Part V,
MLPA: a rescue mission

‘Marine Neglected Area’
by joey racano

Fishing, polluting, cementing, developing, building, mining, logging…By the time Americans turned and looked back on 200 years of coastal plunder, it was too late for conservation. It was time for a full blown rescue mission. And that is what the MLPA (Marine Life Protection Act) really is- a rescue mission. A last-ditch plan to save the coast by creating a series of MPA’s (Marine Protected Areas) on the coast of California, with four other west coast states involved as well.

But old habits die hard, and backing down was such an easy way out. Like all environmental laws that came before, enforcement was going to be a battle to the highest levels of government.

When the State Marine Reserve (unofficially named for Bob Hattoy, the late, great California Fish & Game Commissioner) took effect in Morro Bay Estuary, it only took 3 months before a habitual polluter (the California Men’s Colony Prison in San Luis Obispo) violated the law by dumping sewage and chlorine into one of the two streams leading into the brand new SMR.

With groundbreaking cooperation between coastal activists, sportsmen, the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board, and then-Governor Arnold Swarzenegger, the prison was held responsible for their pollution discharge.

The staff of the water board factored into the fine that the pollution eventually found its way into a Marine Protected Area, and an all-important precedent was set. Our rescue mission for the ocean was underway!

Because Morro Bay was the first SMR established, it was also the first one violated, and it wasn’t long before the next challenge reared its ugly head in the form of the Morro Bay Harbor Department.

With Morro Bay’s hideous power plant finally about to close forever, Harbor Department stands to lose the money (250 K a year!) they get from the power plants estuary destruction. So now they want to dredge up toxic waste by building an equally hideous boat marina and make money from renting boat slips -right next to the State Marine Reserve!

Next: ‘Harboring a Grudge’

(Photo: L-R Pedro Nava, Joey Racano, Bob Hattoy, at 2006 World Oceans Conference, Long Beach, California)

Tags: bob hattoy, pedro nava, joey racano, mlpa, sea, ocean, conservation, fish, pollution, ecology, marine, deep, water,

How the West was Lost part IV- Protecting the Marine Protected Areas of California

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Protecting the MLPA

Protecting the Marine Protected Areas of California

by joey racano

Once upon a time, there was an ocean. Fish swam in it. Sailors could look over the side of a boat and watch bands of sunlight lose themselves in the crystal clear depths. But somewhere along the way, somebody got the idea the ocean could double as a garbage pail. Somebody decided that it was a good idea to fish, swim, surf, drill for oil and dump sewage -all in the same place!

I have always known better. That is why I got involved with cleaning the ocean. Then somebody figured a way to heal the ocean, to return it to a state of health and abundance- by creating ‘Marine Protected Areas’. The process of creating them was long and hard, because it had to go through a lot of science, and it also had to include everybody, because the sea belongs to all of us.

When I heard about the Marine Life Protection Act, the law passed by the California Legislature that says we should designate Marine Protected Areas, I was overjoyed and I knew right from the start I was going to take the point. Translation? I wasn’t going to let anybody bullsh1t anybody. I was going to do all I could to make this dream come true. MPA’s come in many shapes sizes and designations. Some are still places to fish or hunt or crab. But others are the gems of the process, called State Marine Reserves. In an SMR, no ‘take’ is allowed. Take means ‘kill’. I heard that the Morro Bay Estuary wasn’t going to get to be an SMR because hunters were afraid to lose their right to hunt. I’m not a hunter myself, but I knew I had to get that SMR for my estuary while the gettin’ was good.

So I went to see the Fish & Game Commission and suggested dialogue between the hunters and the enviros. Low and behold, I got a phone call and the rest is history. We got an SMR in the estuary, and that’s when things got pretty darned interesting. I found out that because none of this had ever been done before, no one else knew how to do it! And then, the California Men’s Colony Prison in San Luis Obispo tested me by dumping their sewage into a stream that led to my State Marine Reserve! I had never kicked a prison’s ass before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything!

(photo by S. Brazil: joey racano making the case for Marine Protected Area’s at Fish & Game Meeting)