The wheels on the bus …
My name is Craig Foster and I am one of the recent employees that have been laid off by Mammoth Unified School District.
I held my position with MUSD as a CGM/Bus Driver for the past 5 years. I must say that I have enjoyed every moment of my employment with the District and every aspect of my job. I especially enjoyed transporting your children to and from school, all the while building friendships with you the parents and my community. I will always cherish the relationships with the children and parents whom I had contact with. Most of you have become dear friends over the last 5 years.
With the current state of our economy in both our state and community it is understandable and at the same time unfortunate that MUSD had to make this difficult decision. Laying off anyone, even classified employees, could not have been an easy decision for any of our School Board members or our Superintendent. However, budget cuts have become far too common these days and something had to be done to help ensure the education of our local children.
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I leave MUSD as your Crowley bus driver. Please feel confident in your drivers this school year. Know that the transportation department of MUSD is skilled, cautious, and well trained individuals and they will bring your children to and from school safely and most competently.
We are a very special community. Close knit and one to be proud of. We always work together to find a way to overcome our hardships and come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and closer. While this is not easy for my family, I know that we will be fine and we will grow together as a unit and as a team. Our District has just caught up with the rest of the world and the nation. Let’s hope we grow in our compassion for the millions out there who have been going through the same trials as we are now.
Thank you for your well wishes, positive thoughts, and prayers. My family and I greatly appreciate them. Because of our close community relationships and friendships, this transition to a new adventure will be easier and we will survive.
MUSD, it has been my privilege and pleasure to be a part of you for the past 5 years. Let’s pray things turn around for the best.
To my kiddos on the bus route: be good to your drivers; they are great people who are looking out for your safety.
“Mr. Bus Driver, Sir”
Not out the woods yet
Retired State Senator Dave Cogdill regarding SB 1148 on Aug. 9:
SB 1148 was not heard in the Assembly Appropriation committee until 5:00 yesterday afternoon. The schedule is supposed to be determined based on the order in which the authors sign in, but true to form for the California Legislature they don’t always abide by this. Meaning if you want to testify on a bill you dare not leave the room for any extended period or you could easily loose the opportunity.
I was the first to speak in opposition followed by an impressive list of opponents, primarily representing business interests throughout the state. Although the bill had been amended again, removing several of my concerns, the bill remains unacceptable for a number of reasons. The committee placed the bill on what is referred to as their “suspense” file. Bills placed on suspense are reconsidered at a later date (in this case next week) and if the committee votes to remove them from suspense they move on, if they remain on suspense the bill is effectively dead. Although it’s important to remember that anything can happen in the last three weeks of a two-year session.
I think our odds are good that this bill does not get off of suspense. The opposition is overwhelming (mostly for reasons not pertaining to hatcheries) by some very powerful groups. I feel very safe in saying there will not be a single Republican vote in support and I understand that the “moderate” Democrat caucus is opposed to the bill. If this is in fact true it’s hard to see how the bill could pass. That said, stranger things have happened and we will have to continue to monitor the bill to the bitter end, August 31.
I did have a productive follow up meeting with Cal Trout and am hopeful that we can work together on a bill next year to strengthen AB 7.
Stanislaus County Assessor
SB 1148 good for fisheries
In an article published on Aug. 4 [Hatcheries in peril], it was suggested that CalTrout-supported SB 1148 legislation would defund hatcheries, damage the Eastern Sierra’s tourism economy, and negate former Senator Cogdill’s AB 7 legislation.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
CalTrout worked closely with then-Senator Cogdill to pass AB 7 in 2005. That legislation set current hatchery production goals and funded the Heritage and Wild Trout program. Unfortunately the hatchery production goals set forth in AB 7 are not being met and the Heritage and Wild Trout program is still underfunded.
By contrast, SB 1148 supports the hatchery goals set by AB 7 (it looks for a more efficient means of meeting them, including the use of private hatcheries), adequately staff and funds the Heritage and Wild Trout program, and proposes comprehensive management practices for all trout populations.
Here are some key benefits of SB 1148:
1) SB 1148 does not diminish funding for hatcheries.
AB 7 established the Hatcheries and Inland Fisheries Fund (HIFF) which is funded by 33 1/3% of fishing license sales. Typically, this fund is $20-25 million annually, and hatcheries receive over 85% of HIFF funds. SB 1148 will not change this.
What SB 1148 does do is empower DF&G to explore creative ways to meet currently unmet production goals. For example, private hatcheries can help meet production goals at a reasonable cost.
2) SB 1148 would reaffirm AB7’s establishment of the Heritage and Wild Trout program and ensure the hiring of the seven Heritage and Wild Trout positions promised by AB 7.
Originally, AB 7 required the hiring of seven new Heritage and Wild Trout positions, yet within four years of passing these new positions were eliminated. The existing legislative intent of AB 7 is clearly not enough to ensure the sustainability of the Heritage and Wild Trout program. SB 1148 fixes that.
3) SB 1148 tells DF&G to stock fish in areas where they are most needed.
SB 1148 focuses on providing anglers with the best fishing possible, especially in high use areas. In fact, stocking of hatchery fish in put-and-take fisheries will be improved with SB 1148. Where stocking is warranted the Department will have resources to meet angler demand and improve angler satisfaction.
4) SB 1148 is better because it doesn’t harm the genetic integrity of existing wild trout populations.
California’s native trout populations need protection too, and SB 1148 helps us protect them — while it looks for better efficiency in the hatchery production process. It proposes the stocking of triploid (sterile) fish wherever possible; triploids grow faster and provide the kind of angling experience sought by the majority of anglers.
SB 1148 is good for fisheries and tourism.
In contrast to what has been alleged, SB 1148 continues to evolve and no longer includes an Independent Hatchery Review Committee, a requirement to mark all hatchery fish, and several other stipulations mentioned in last week’s story.
Simply put, trout get short shrift in Sacramento, and California’s anglers need to stand together to ensure adequate resources are directed to improving the management of hatchery trout and wild trout.
SB 1148 is important because it reminds Sacramento of the promises made in AB 7 and reaffirms them; it preserves the percentage of license fees going to hatchery operations and also funds the Heritage and Wild Trout program.
We recognize the importance of trout fishing to the economy of the Eastern Sierra and believe SB 1148 will result in better fishing for all anglers.
Conservation Director, CalTrout