Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Klamath farmers offended by moderator

Some farmers in the Klamath Basin were offended by the way an informational meeting on the progress of the Klamath dam removal studies was moderated last week. They're circulating a video that shows the moderator plying the microphone out of the hand of a farmer who's in his 80s and uses a wheelchair before he was finished asking his question.

"I have been to, I can't tell you how many meetings I've gone to, and last night's meeting was the most appalling I've been to in 25 years," said Tom Mallams, a farmer and vocal critic of the dam removals and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

"I thought we were being run through a cattle chute literally," Mallams said. "It was supposed to be a meeting with public comment. They said this was a meeting for public input, not public comment, and there was a big difference there. They didn't record anything there. It wasn't done officially. We were told this was going to be a public comment meeting."

What struck me about their video was a certain level of contempt the moderator seem to have for the crowd, admonishing people to show respect for "your fellow, ya know (pause) ... neighbors" during the meeting. Our fellow what? Fellow backwoods redneck hicks? Is that what you were about to say? I don't know anything about the woman, but it doesn't sound like she gets out much.

Look for my story on the progress of the dam removal studies at CapitalPress.com later in the week.

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