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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 3/18/21

Good morning, WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE… “There it is. Take it!” These are the immortal words of William Mulholland as he opened the gates for water to spill over the cascades on the way to Los Angeles. The monumental water project was the first of the projects to bring water to a thirsty Los Angeles and fuel its growth. But what was heroic is an act of theft and vilification for the ranchers and farmers of the Owens Valley, from which much of the water came (that and, later, the sorry Mono Lake). That was 108 years ago and the growth and hunger for water has not abated since then. The story of the California water project, water shortage in the West and the sheer majesty of the movement of water throughout the state is an important part of our history—and our future. In response to my suggestions of Cadillac Desert and Water and Power as books that tell the story of water in California, Martine Singer suggests The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire, by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman. It tells the story of the Central Valley, water, agriculture and history of California:\ Harvey Englander summarizes the sentiment regarding the water battles of early last century and memorialized in the classic movie Chinatown, a fictional, but all too realistic, telling of the story of our water source (Los Angeles’s “original sin”?): Whiskey is for drinking... Water is for fighting —-Mark Twain

Mark Farrell says that “Water is something in which I'm interested. Thanks for the book suggestions. Here in the Eastern Sierra, water is quite the subject since many land owners in the Owens Valley were tricked into selling their land to the L.A. Department of Water and Power. The Owens Valley and the Owens Lake are much drier because of it and have been the subject of much controversy for many, many years. Mono Lake has also been affected severely. There are constant law suits being filed in this area to try and protect our natural resources. Despite the land-grab and monopolization of land and water by LADWP, Bishop and the Owens Valley remain quite conservative.” REMEMBERING THE EARLY DAYS As Andrea and I were on a walk the other day, we were recalling the early days of the pandemic. We are almost a year into this and we’ve been through a lot. But remember the “old days”?

  • Phase I. Aghast at reports from afar. What in the world is going on in China and Italy? Those poor people…

  • Phase II. Don’t come here! Trump trying not to allow cruise ships to dock, because they’d increase the numbers.

  • Phase III. The Toilet Paper Phase. We aren’t sure what lies ahead but we’re worried. Fear, coupled with clear diversionary messages from Trump, endangering lives to minimize political impact. We feared the failure of the supply chain and shortages were contemplated.

  • Phase IV. Locking down. It was unpatriotic to take masks from health care workers. Remember? And remember when Clorox and Lysol were used for every delivery of everything? Remember the doctor on social media demonstrating how to clean packages and produce? Do you remember worrying that if something should happen to you, there might not be medical help available? And then there was the “bleach solution” and other nonsense from the Former Guy.

  • Phase V. Let’s get out of this. The early “back to normal” call, lax enforcement, and the emergence of the politically-motivated counterplan that neither masks nor distancing were necessary, which ended up leading to…

  • Phase VI. The Winter Lock-down. Hospitals again filling up after the Thanksgiving surge.

  • Phase VII. “Here comes the sun…” The light at the end of the tunnel. As it appears there will be some abatement of the winter lock-down, reason for hope. Vaccines available to those over 65, healthcare workers and those savvy enough to track down late afternoon extra doses. Hospitals now with increased capacity. Going to the dentist or doctor not nearly as dicey. The end is near!

Where next? President Biden says vaccines will be available to all in May and July 4th may resemble celebrations of years past. We are promised some sense of normalcy this summer, travel picking up and kids going back to school. While variants might be an issue, it seems hospitalization or death will be rare, with vaccine effectiveness holding up. What could change all this is laxity in maintaining cleanliness, masks, and distancing. Reports from Texas, Florida and Wyoming report that they have abandoned any sense of caution. We really don’t want to go through this again. WE AREN’T ON THE SAME PAGE From Tor Kenward, responding to the possibility that large numbers of people may resist vaccination: “I’m sure you’ve seen Social Dilemma, which helps explain the resistance we witness in certain pockets of the population. They don’t listen, read, or digest information from the same sources that we rely on. The government will never reach them or influence their thinking unless we solve this social dilemma.” He's right. People are being misinformed and social media juices-up that information. The increase in posts on Facebook claiming that vaccinations for COVID are causing death and illness are staggering. There is a difference between causation and coincidence. There are a few scattered reports of people dying after the vaccine was administered. With 100 million vaccines administered to date, this is a meaningless number. The same people who received doses of the vaccine also ate breakfast that morning, watched TV and breathed the air. None of these were the cause of death either… By the way, watch The Social Dilemma for a chilling illustration of the problems we face. Have a great day, Glenn

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