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Briefs

Inaugural Bollocks

Barring divine intervention--highly unlikely, considering God is on his side--President George W. Bush will be sworn in for his second term on Thursday, Jan. 20. But there's no reason to take it lying down, except of course for those who join the Not One Damn Dime Day protest on Jan. 20. Organized anonymously over the Internet, the protest urges citizens to spend "not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours" to demonstrate against the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Are such boycotts effective? "Probably not," concludes the debunking squad at Snopes.com. "[I]n this case, our opinion is that someone has taken the futile concept of slacktivism to a new extreme." At least it's cheap.

Slippery In Sebastopol

As recently reported in these pages, ("Slippery When Wet," Dec. 8, 2004), a study commissioned by Rohnert Park found abundant supplies of groundwater in the region, despite reports from homeowners surrounding the city that their wells are being sucked dry. Now a similar study has surfaced in Sebastopol, where residents living outside that city's limits have reported well problems. Could the culprit be the Sonoma County Water Agency's three so-called emergency wells in the Laguna de Santa Rosa area east of Sebastopol, which daily draw four times the amount of groundwater that Sebastopol extracts? Hard to say, since the report, by city engineer Susan Kelly, didn't study the effect the wells might be having on local groundwater supplies outside city limits. That was just one of many glaring omissions found in the report by the Sebastopol Water Information Group (SWIG). "The report's conclusion that there is no water crisis facing the city is wholly unsupported by adequate data or analysis," says SWIG's Jan Nielson, a retired U.S. Geology Survey geologist. "The problems with the report reinforce SWIG's contention that Sebastopol has an information crisis."

Clean Genes

The North Bay is one step closer to being a region free of genetically manipulated organisms now that volunteers for GE-Free Sonoma County have collected 45,387 signatures, more than enough to place the organization's petition for a moratorium on genetically engineered crops on the next ballot, either late this spring or in the fall. If passed, Sonoma County would join Marin and Mendocino Counties, which have already passed similar measures, creating the largest GE-free zone in the United States.

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From the January 12-18, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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