Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's way past time for Nome fisheries enhancement to begin

 "The spirit of cooperation, leadership, open communications, respect, supportiveness and can do attitude"

Tim used this headline on his letter because it is a quote by Charles Faegerstrom of the local Native Corporation whose outfit helped squander millions of federal dollars and then stifled publication of results, or non-results. And refusing to cooperate with other local fishing leaders, dissing them under Color of Lignt, (see Wikipedia) wouldn't support any other efforts in fish enhancement, and of course got nothing accomplished. Wow! And where was the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game in their oversight of mucho dinero fisheries enhancement funds?

The reason Tim writes this today is that Fish and Game Deputy Commissioner Dave Bedford flew to Nome today to have a closed door session with all these buckaroo fish ranchers, prior to tomorrow's closed door session of more local buckaroos. And guess who is uninvited. You may have guessed by now: the author of the letters below and the one in my previous post, the one who should be running the show, the State sanctioned President of the Norton Sound area fisheries enhancement program. (See title of letter below again) 

This is the framework for the failed runs, discounting the trawl salmon bycatch by these same buckaroos through the local Community Development Quota Program - owned Bering Sea trawlers. The other little sleight of hand out of the bucharoo play-book is described in this article. Enjoy the enlightenment. 

 Isn't this a test of manhood, or womanhood, and leadership, that is, "study that you may be approved." Ask yourself, who do you think should be in fisheries enhancement leadership in this very needy situation in Western Alaska? There isn't another twenty years to waste doing the same old thing. Hear that Cora?

"The spirit of cooperation, leadership, open communications, respect, supportiveness and can do attitude"

 Tim Smith, President
Norton Sound/Bering Strait
Regional Aquaculture Association

"Does anybody remember the Norton Sound Salmon Research and Restoration Program? NSSRRP spent $5 million dollars of federal money administered by the State of Alaska during 2000-06 researching and restoring Norton Sound salmon. If you don’t remember NSSRRP, it is not too surprising since the results were never published.
On October 15, 1999, ADF&G met behind closed doors to talk about NSSRRP in the Sitnasuak Native Corporation building. In attendance, representing Kawerak, were Loretta Bullard, Roy Ashenfelter, Eileen Norbert, Don Stiles and Jacob Ahwinona; Representing Sitnasuak Native Corporation were SNC President Robbie Fagerstrom and Irene Anderson. ADF&G officials were Commissioner Frank Rue, Subsistence Division Director Mary Pete, Commercial Fisheries Division Director Doug Mecum, Research Supervisor Larry Buklis and biologists Charlie Lean and Peter Rob.
Except for the seven individuals listed above, all Norton Sound salmon users were locked out of this meeting that was not advertised and held in a privately owned building.
Prior to the meeting, I called SNC President Robbie Fagerstrom and asked if I could attend. He said no.
The outcome of this meeting was a plan to divide up the NSSRRP funds through a Steering Committee controlled by local special interest groups and ADF&G but closed to most Norton Sound stakeholders. About half the money was spent on counting fish and the other half was spent on research projects that apparently were not good enough for publication.
Very little of the Research and Restoration money was used for restoring salmon runs or increasing salmon harvesting opportunity and the runs continue to be unrestored. We have failed by a long shot to achieve the modest salmon harvest goals set in the Norton Sound/Bering Strait Regional Comprehensive Salmon Plan signed by Commissioner Rue in June 1996. We failed because we never seriously tried to increase Norton Sound salmon runs using methods that had any chance of success. There are no data showing that counting fish more accurately has significantly increased returns to Norton Sound rivers.
One thing we should learn from past failures of Norton Sound salmon restoration efforts is that: 1) closed door meetings between ADF&G officials and local special interest group representatives have not resulted in actions leading to significantly increased salmon harvests and; 2) excluding stakeholders from meetings between ADF&G officials and local special interest group representatives does not foster a spirit of cooperation, leadership, open communications, respect, supportiveness and can do attitude. What it does is create hard feelings for no reason.
George Santayana is often credited with saying, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” If he didn’t say that, he should have."
Tim Smith
PO Box 478
Nome, AK 99762
(907) 443-5352 phone
(815) 364-2565 eFax

Here's a recent letter TIm wrote in complete bafflement as to why a Department of the State of Alaska would flout State statutes so blatantly. Yes, Mr. Bedford, we are waiting.

"Dear Mr.  Bedford,
As you are aware, Norton Sound/Bering Strait
Regional Aquaculture Association is the registered
name of an Alaska nonprofit corporation in good

The department has never explained why Oscar Takak
should be able to call his organization by that
name without violating AS 10.35.040 or
alternatively why he is entitled to violate a
statute that prohibits Oscar from doing what you
say he is doing.

We would appreciate an explanation."

Tim Smith, President
Norton Sound/Bering Strait
Regional Aquaculture Association

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Color of Money trumps Color of Light

Commentary on the judgment in Smith vs.
Norton Sound Economic Development Corp.
By Tim Smith
The only reason NSEDC ever held elections for its board of directors is because they were court ordered to do so following the complaint I filed in 1994.
On January 9, this year, another court issued a ruling that means NSEDC is no longer obligated to elect board members in fair and open elections. The judge held that as a privately owned nonprofit corporation having no individual members, the NSEDC board and not the residents of the 15 NSEDC communities will get to decide who will sit on the board in the future.
NSEDC was founded in 1989 beforethe CDQ program existed. Its articlesof incorporation and bylawcontained the following provisions, “membership in this corporation shall be available and open to all persons interested in the goals and purposes of the organization as stated in the bylaws. The corporation recognizes and admits to the principle that
all persons are equal and that this corporation does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin or religion.”
After the CDQ program came along in 1992 and brought millions of dollars of fisheries revenue to the region, things changed radically as they often do when money is involved. The individuals who seized control of NSEDC in 1992 locked out the people who were formerly members to maintain exclusive control of their newly created hoard of cash. They didn’t hold elections for their board of directors and all of their financial and other records were kept secret.
Today, NSEDC’s governing documents contain the following passage, “communities satisfying the requirements
set forth in the bylaws are eligible for membership in the corporation. The individual residents of those communities or any other community are not eligible for membership.” That’s a major departure from the way things were with respect to the rights of regional residents in NSEDC.
Prior to 1992, as with most nonprofit corporations in America, NSEDC’s members owned NSEDC. The members were the people living in Norton Sound communities. We are no longer the owners. Now, NSEDC management says they represent us, but how they represent us is up to them.
Even though NSEDC agreed to the 1994 judgment in order to end litigation, the people in control never really went along with the concept of fair and open elections. Things got out of hand in 2006 when Nome’s NSEDC election had to be overturned because of election fraud and a new one held. NSEDC was making up election rules as they went along.
Following the 2009 election, I asked the court to again review the rules governing NSEDC director elections and tell us what rights Norton Sound residents have when it comes to choosing our CDQ program representatives. Judge Jeffery ruled that the NSEDC bylaws control how our representatives are chosen and the NSEDC board of directors
unilaterally determines the content of the bylaws. Norton Sound residents don’t have any say in it.
Judge Jeffery’s decision confirms that the rules for CDQ group governance are inadequate for protecting the rights of the people living in the 65 CDQ eligible communities that the program was supposed to benefit. I am hoping that this judgment will serve as a wakeup call to Congress and the Alaska Legislature about the need for additional lawmaking
to codify the rights of the residents of our communities to participate meaningfully in decisions about how CDQ program resources will be used. If we don’t enact laws detailing how NSEDC and the other CDQ groups are supposed to be governed, we shouldn’t be surprised when we find that we have no voice in what happens to our CDQ program money.
Contrary to what NSEDC is saying, this case was never about who can or can’t vote for NSEDC board members. What it was about is determining who, under the existing laws, gets to make the rules for how the residents of our 15 Norton Sound communities participate in NSEDC governance. Now that we know, it is time to talk to the lawmakers about making the necessary changes to ensure that community residents are fairly and meaningfully represented
in this important program.