Salmon Aid Festival: A Fight to Save the Endangered Fish

Last weekend, the Delta water story took me to Oakland to attend the 2009 Salmon Aid Festival. The main event happened on Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, June 21, with a special Native American ceremonial salmon bake on Friday, June 19. More than two dozen organizations “including commercial, recreational and tribal fishermen, conservation organizations, chefs, restaurants, scientists, and many others” worked together to create Salmon Aid to “raise awareness of the plight of west coast salmon populations, the rivers and streams they spawn in, and the many coastal and inland communities that rely on salmon for their livelihoods and survival.” Salmon advocates came from California, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada and other faraway places to support the event. The festival had education booths, activities, food, environmental film screenings and music to showcase the human connection to the fish as well as educate the public.

jreader
I had the opportunity to interview Jessie Reader, a Salmon Aid event organizer. She is also an organizer for the Tuloumne River Trust, a Native American organization concerned about the salmon declines. Below is the Q & A interview.

What did you think of the event?

Bigger and better than last year, SalmonAid 2009 featured 10 great musical acts, including Bay Area favorite Afro-Dance Band Albino!. We had sustainable seafood from some of the West Coasts finest restaurants, film screenings from the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, kids activities, and information from over two dozen organizations who work for sustainable salmon fishing and protection of our rivers and streams. Two sunny days brought out a great crowd from around Oakland and the Bay Area.

Was it a success? And why?

SalmonAid 2009 was a great success on a number of fronts. Working closely together to put on this event has significantly strengthened our unlikely but growing coalition of commercial fishing groups, recreational fishing groups, environmental organizations, and tribes. We built a platform for over 2 dozen organizations that would not have had the means to make such an outreach event happen on their own. Politically, we see that we are making an impact. Congressional Representative Barbara Lee sent a commendation, and Representative George Miller sent one of his senior staffers to read a statement of support. The festival mobilized over 1300 letters to President Obama and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Jane Lubchenco (the Federal Agency charged with enforcing the Endangered Species Act when it comes to Salmon) As we move forward, President Obama’s Administration and Congress will continue to hear from our many diverse groups speaking with one voice.

(more…)




Listen to Annenberg Radio News on Tuesdays (Spoiler: I’m the host)

arn_headlines

I’m super excited about my latest gig. I am the host of Annenberg Radio News on Tuesdays. Our radio show airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 – 4:20 p.m (PST). In addition to reading scripts, I also get to conduct a host interview where I speak with someone relevant to the show’s topic. Last Tuesday, I spoke with Professor David Hernández of UCLA‘s Cezar E. Chavez’ Chicana and Chicano Studies Department regarding illegal immigration deportation quotas. The show concentrates on local stories mostly. Tuesday’s show had stories on immigration, the Mayor’s policies and parks in South Los Angeles.

Please feel free to listen to my very first radio show (click here), in which I made very few errors. Woo hoo.. even though I’m glad it was the test show. (We go live this Tuesday!) My goal.. zero errors (although I’ve now noticed how often NPR hosts make mistakes). To err is human, right?! Just don’t laugh.

Stay tuned for my upcoming show. You can hear it on Tuesday at 4 p.m. (PST) on the radio at KCRS 1560 AM. And for those of you outside of Los Angeles, you can click on the Annenberg Radio News site, where the show will stream live. The shows are also archived on the web site too.

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




Inauguration 2009 Pics

My Inauguration 2009 coverage would be incomplete without my pictures from the trip. So, here they are. Enjoy!

xoxo,
The Caramel Bella





Inauguration Day: The Wrap-Up

Here I am giving a fun and quick wrap-up of my Inauguration Day experience. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Smooches,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. I’d love to hear how your Inauguration day experience went. Please post comments.




Inauguration Day: Let Us In!

After hours of standing in the cold among thousands of people, the blue ticket crowd begins to get frustrated. As the clock ticks closer to 11:30 a.m. and the beginning of the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony, the crowd begins to chant: “Let Us In. Yes, You Can. Let Us In.” The disappointment and desperation mount as people realize that they probably aren’t getting pass the security screening point. See for yourself below.

-The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: And We Waited & Waited…..

As you may have gathered, I waited for about 4 hours in the blue ticket section and didn’t get into the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony for President Barack Obama. It was cold especially for a person acclimated to Southern California weather. Here are some videos that I took while waiting, and waiting…. and waiting….! Well, you get the drift.

Line Not Moving

Still Waiting

xxoo,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. How long was your wait? Talk back. :-)




Inauguration Day: Yes, The Crowds Were Singing

If you’ve been following my story, you know that I was one of the blue ticket holders that did not reach the goal line. (Meaning, I didn’t get past security for the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony.) However, I’ve got some great footage of the spirit of the moment. Although the blue group (as I like to call them) was smashed together like sardines in the freezing cold (about 25 or 30 degrees), we were all pretty happy to be there. People started singing songs like “America the Beautiful.” Check out the video below to get a view of what it was like in the “blue crowd.” (Be sure to notice how the line (read: mass of people) doesn’t move forward.)

Smiling,
The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: Metro Train Ride to the Swearing-In Ceremony

I’ve decided to post the videos from my trip to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. Here is a video of my Metro (subway) train ride. There were thousands of people on the crowded trains. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authorities (WMATA) closed several train stops (including the one I needed based on my swearing-in ceremony ticket — Federal Center S.W.).

Although I wasn’t able to capture it in the video below, the subway personnel instructed us (in a very loud voice) to “keep it moving” to help the crowds exit through the train doors, to put our tickets through the reader, to ride the escalator up and out onto the streets. These instructions became a fun chant for the upbeat Inauguration train riders.

xxoo,

The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: Blue Ticket Blues

blue-gate

Although I feel extremely lucky to be in the nation’s capitol during the 56th Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I was one of the unfortunate few that never made it past the security screening for the swearing-in event.

Crowd at Metro Station
Crowd at Metro Station

My morning began with heading down to the Mall area around 7 a.m. After facing massive crowds on the subway (Metro) and the closure of the designated Metro stop for my “blue” ticket, I reached the line for the blue ticket holders (before 8 a.m. and the opening of the gates). The blue area was full of people and completely disorganized. There weren’t any police, security, guides or Inauguration staff in the vicinity to ensure order.

After standing in the line for over an hour, the mass of ticket holders began encircling the line. People were shouting, “stop cutting” in hopes of preventing the disarray. However, no amount of chanting or “tsking” could prevent the confusion and chaos that erupted.

Crowd of Blue Ticket Holders
Crowd of Blue Ticket Holders

While standing in line (around 10-10:30 a.m.), an off-duty police officer who happened to be at the event told us that a generator had gone down. As a result, several blue gate security screening stations weren’t working, which affected the amount of people able to pass through the gate. However, the officer said we would all be admitted. (This unauthorized communication was the only information we received during this entire process.)

The people in the crowd began to amuse themselves by singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and other patriotic songs. (Oh, they also sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”) And after desperation set in as the clock inched closer to 11:30 a.m., the crowd began chanting: “Let us in. Let us in.”

My friends and I stood in this line for about 4 hours before finally realizing that we weren’t going to get through the security gate and screening. There were still thousands of people in front (and around) us. After hearing “Hail to the Chief” around 11:30 a.m., we realized we definitely weren’t getting in and headed back.

Outside the Blue Gate
Outside the Blue Gate

We were pretty disappointed with the lack of organization in the blue area. After attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., I was amazed at how the DNC could be so safe and orderly in comparison to the chaos of the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony.

Empty Security Screening Gates
Empty Security Screening Gates

There have been several reports regarding ticket holders that were turned away. Although the blue section appears to have the most problems, the purple and silver sections also had ticket holders who didn’t gain access to the event. Reporters from the Washington Post and London’s The Telegraph wrote about these unfortunate incidents.

Although I didn’t end up witnessing the swearing-in ceremony in its “true” fashion, I am still happy that I traveled from Los Angeles to D.C. to be a part of the whole Inaugural event. The crowds remained mostly positive and upbeat despite the widespread disappointment. I met people from all around the world who were so inspired by Obama to make the trip. We all knew that we were just feet away from Barack Obama and this historic moment.

Still hopeful and excited,

The Caramel Bella

P.S. Video and more pictures to come….




T Minus 10 hours & Counting until the Swearing-in Ceremony

U Street

Today, I spent the majority of the day walking around the “Inauguration Washington, D.C.” As a person who calls this place “home” (my folks still live here), the District has really transformed into this buzzing and alive place. Obama hasn’t taken office yet but my “home” has changed already.

From the Historic U Street area to Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant to the Washington Monument and Mall, the streets were full of people. I couldn’t tell the tourists from the natives. And there were tons of street vendors. It appears as though hundreds of people have figured out how to make money in this troubling economy — sell anything with Barack or Michelle Obama on it. There were the standard souvenir fare like t-shirts, hats, buttons and posters. Yet, I also came across unique and somewhat strange items like Obama earrings and condoms. Yes, this city is alive with Obama-mania!

After walking around downtown and the Mall, I headed into the Smithsonian to warm up and re-familiar myself with my favorite museum. I then walked back to the U Street area to visit one of my favorite places: Busboys and Poets. It’s a unique spot that’s a restaurant, bookstore, bar and venue for artists. I love it. Following an hour long wait outside, I was able to enjoy a great dinner in one of the most eclectic places in town. (It is open 24/7 during the Inauguration festivities.)

My visit to D.C. (my home) has been almost magical. From getting tickets to the swearing-in ceremony to seeing my city with new eyes. I am hopeful that the “new” energy so easily seen in the nation’s capitol remains long after President-elect Obama has taken office tomorrow at 12 noon. Our new president has a tough road ahead to turn the state of the nation around (especially economically and in terms of international relations). Let’s all pledge to remember the excitement, hope and belief in the future of our country that we have right now. We’re going to need it.

Only a couple more hours until the ceremony….

signing off,

The Caramel Bella




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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