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It seems that the Sonoma County Sheriff's unofficial policy of first warning people for public nudity before issuing a ticket (as we noted in July 6) has not filtered down to the department's marine division. In fact, on the afternoon of Sunday, July 3, the Bohemian encountered the marine division's Sgt. Dale Walters ticketing a San Francisco woman for being topless near Sunset Beach, on the Russian River near Rio Nido. The woman, Adi Saavedra, was with a group of nine people, five women and four men, all of whom were visiting from San Francisco. Walters pulled up to the beach in his boat and issued no warning. Instead, he told Saavedra to put her shirt on and wrote her a ticket. "Does everybody else have to put their shirt on, too?" she asked incredulously, indicating her four topless male companions. Walters said people passing by the group in a canoe had complained about Saavedra's bare breasts. Informed about the department's unofficial policy to warn people before ticketing them (relayed to the Bohemian courtesy of Lt. Matt McCaffrey), Walters said he hadn't heard of it. "It's at my discretion," he said.
River Running Dry?
The California Resources Agency estimates that producing potable water through the desalination process costs between $1,300 to $2,200 per acre-foot. Given that the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) is currently operating a test desalination plant (as reported in May 25), those figures shed new light on the district's recent decision to pursue a contract with the Sonoma County Water Agency for an additional 5,000 annual acre-feet of water at the cost of $6.5 million--or $1,300 per acre-foot. Desalination looks like a bargain, says Fairfax mayor Frank Egger, considering that the 5,000 annual acre-feet the MMWD is seeking will be at least partially sucked out of the Eel River, which is diverted into the Russian River for the use of Sonoma and Marin counties. Egger, one of the few Marin County public officials to openly oppose MMWD's proposal, belongs to a tight-knit group of activists who've been fighting the environmental and economic havoc wreaked by the Eel River diversion for four decades. In their latest action in April, the group, which now includes the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association, Friends of the Russian River and longtime Sonoma County environmental activist Marty Griffin, filed suit in the 9th District Court of Appeals against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which operates the diversion.
--R. V. Scheide
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From the July 13-19, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.
© 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.