Musser-Lopez Stakes State Senate Bid On Portraying Incumbent As Neglectful

(October 16)  Ruth Musser Lopez said she is running for the California State Senate in the 16th District, which stretches from Tulare County in the northwest through Kern County and into San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert in the southeast, because the current office holder, Jean Fuller, has neglected the district.
“We have major challenges facing our desert rural communities that are not being addressed by the present incumbent,” Musser Lopez said. “We are losing out on Jean Fuller’s watch.”
Musser-Lopez said, “One of our major challenges is the attempt to pump and pipe desert water to the coast and other types of desert water heists, for example PG&E destroying the Hinkley water aquifer by contaminating it with Chromium 6.   Another challenge is the loss of our justice courthouses in SD16 in Tulare, Barstow and Needles.  We lost the entire justice community—judges, lawyers, clerks and other support staff and now people have lost their access to justice, and have to spend time and money traveling 8 hours to get to and from court.  As of the last big downpour, our bridges on Route 66 are washed out in at least three places, now rendering the route unusable.”
Musser continued, “Someone in the Senate position could do something about it, but Fuller seems disinterested in our troubles in the desert.  In the desert we have concerns about a water aquifer drop because of water heists and what that would do to the springs that support desert wildlife, vegetation and are multi-million dollar tourist industry.  Jean Fuller is low on her scores for the environment and gets an “F” grade from PAW PAC for her voting record on animal protection.  People enjoy wildlife and many of her constituents in the high desert are upset with her vote against the prohibition on Bobcat trapping around Joshua Tree National Park.   PG&E continues to be allowed to monitor their own Chromium 6 “clean up” activity and that tragic situation at the Hinkley aquifer is still going on after 20 years even after the situation was exposed by the famous movie Erin Brockovich.    Humans and wildlife have all suffered from this catastrophe.”
Musser-Lopez mentioned the lead advocacy role she played in opposing the Cadiz Water Project, which involves the Los Angeles-based Cadiz Company siphoning up to 50,000 acre-feet of water from the Eastern Mojave Desert’s water table and conveying it in a pipeline to Los Angeles and Orange County for sale there.
“I started fighting the Cadiz water heist two years ago and during this campaign, I went  into Bakersfield from the desert, introduced myself, then set about to expose all the troubles that Fuller could have done something about but didn’t,” Musser-Lopez said. “Bakersfield is key to this Senate election because that is where most of the voters live. My idea was also to find out how Bakersfield and other communities could conserve water so that they would not threaten to siphon off desert water.”
Regional water resources are being exploited by outsiders, Musser-Lopez said, depriving local areas of a key commodity need for economic development and the sustenance of existing agricultural and other activities.
“Even with all of the water that typically flows down from the Sierras in the Kern River right through the center of Bakersfield, the aquifer is dried up and collapsing…its called subsidence,” Musser-Lopez said. “Where is all of the water going?  Have you ever seen the Kern River channel with all of its oil wells?  Billions of gallons of water are being contaminated so badly in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations that it can’t be recycled and is thus sent down into old deep oil wells.  But this summer, California state regulators shut down fracking wells with incomplete analysis showing that, and I quote, ‘3 billion gallons of wastewater were illegally injected into central California aquifers and that half of the water samples collected at the 8 water supply wells tested near the injection sites have high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system, and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison.’  Do we deserve to know what chemicals the oil companies are using to frack?  Jean Fuller thinks this is none of our business and voted against a bill that would have required oil and gas companies to disclose what chemicals they are using above the Central Valley aquifer.  People are surprised when I tell them that PG&E’s poisoned Chromium 6 water was (and still may be being) transported by liquid waste haulers from Needles superfund site and released into deep wells around Bakersfield.”
Musser-Lopez indicated that she disagreed “with Fuller’s vote against a moratorium on fracking until studies are completed to understand the long-term impact.     Not only would I have voted for disclosure and a moratorium, I would also introduce an oil and gas extraction fee, similar to fees charged by other large oil producing states, which would generate 1-2 billion dollars in annual state revenue.  These funds could be used to enhance the environment and community from which they extract those natural resources.   Fuller’s contributors also include  CA Independent Petroleum Association, Chevron, Valero, Conoco Phillips, and BP.  Unlike our incumbent,  I owe nothing to polluter corporation interests and I will make sure that the people’s interests are represented in Sacramento.”
Musser-Lopez said she is qualified to serve in the state senate in large measure because she advocates policies contrary to Fuller’s.
“State Senate District 16 stretches across the state, encompassing an area that involves significant natural, cultural, technological, industrial, recreational and other resources of all kinds that need to be managed in a responsible manner and for the good of the people of California, particularly those who live here,” Musser-Lopez said. “Early in my adult years I was employed by the biggest land manager in Senate District 16—the federal Bureau of Land Management and I know this Senate District well, not just because I have lived here for 34 years but because this is where I worked as an Archaeologist throughout the Mojave Desert alongside experts in a variety of fields including range management, realty managers, geologists, biologists, and hazardous materials specialists.
Musser-Lopez continued, “Currently, we have a Senator who was a school teacher with a degree in education and then a school administrator before she turned politician. She is pretty impressive with her public speech, but where has she been?  Was she there for us when we were fighting the Ward Valley nuclear dump?  Was she there when we were fighting RailCycle—the L.A. trash train?  She was in office when we were trying to fight off the Cadiz water heist, why didn’t she help us?  Why hasn’t the Hinkley aquifer been seized out of PG&E’s control?   I’ve been a water conservation activist for almost 30 years and frankly, we’re just spinning our wheels by re-electing someone who does not serve our best interests.  She claims we are in this water crisis because we have failed to build new reservoirs and infrastructure.  I disagree.  Our above ground reservoirs evaporate and the ones we have now are extremely low.  We need to focus on recharging the underground aquifers. We are in the crisis because of global warming and the carbon emissions, but the Republicans vote against the High Speed Rail project that would significantly reduce the carbon footprint while creating thousands of good jobs over the course of the next 30 years and build for the future.”
Musser-Lopez said, “People should research what legislation Fuller sponsored, including alleviating the liability of rich people with their private airports.  Another was a bill that lessened the amount of time well owners have to protest condemnation by rich water districts. Fuller gets the lowest score of all Senators on the issue of equality and fair treatment of people and students with regard to their sexual orientation and gender.”
Musser-Lopez is a Democrat. Fuller is a Republican
Musser-Lopez said, “I support the Democrats no-frills water conservation project proposed in Measure 1 on our November 4 ballot that will reallocate money from unused bonds to make better use of the money. Our need for safe drinking water for all communities is critical and Measure 1 will start the ball rolling on filling up our dangerously low underground water aquifers in the central valley where we can store water naturally while protecting it from evaporation. Jean Fuller did not write or sponsor Measure 1, the water bond. She went along with voting for it but meanwhile voted against the companion SB1168, the landmark water conservation bill which gives the state authority to put to put the water bond money to work.   Her reason? She said it would put state people we didn’t vote for in charge of local water.  Meanwhile, in her own district, intra county water swaps saved Central Valley farmers during this last growing season. We cannot assume that the water crisis can be taken care of locally.  State officials are appointees of the governor and our elected representatives in Sacramento and the Water Commission is the right government entity to get the job done. We need to ensure that our farms and businesses get the water they need during dry years by managing our water resources efficiently in wet years and being in a good position to transport surface water from outside areas that have excess water to give.”
Musser-Lopez asked, “So what is Jean’s real reason for voting against measures that would require big farm corporations with junior water rights to meter their water?” She then posited a possible answer: “Fuller’s supporters include Monsanto, Paramount, California Farm Bureau, Dairy Institute, Kraft, Wine Institute and California Grain and Feed.”
Musser Lopez contrasted her approach with that of Fuller.
“On the contrary, I have been there for the people throughout our District’s struggles and I have fought for water conservation for going on 30 years,” she said. “In the 1990s, while my two children were attending public school in Needles, I dedicated myself to providing for them while I actively protested a national radioactive waste disposal facility that was to be cited over the water aquifer supplying the city and connected to the Colorado River.  I  authored and circulated a countywide voter initiative to prohibit the disposal of radioactive/nuclear waste in unlined trenches above desert aquifers.  Over 20,000 voter signatures were collected and soon after, the facility plans were discarded.”
Musser-Lopez said she offered a wider perspective on the full range of issues confronting California than does Fuller.
Musser-Lopez said, “The solution to pollution must not be dilution in our water aquifers.” She said that “I am for providing incentives for installing energy efficient roof top and road way solar and large solar plants over already disturbed parcels and corridors, and I want to create peace time jobs for veterans on projects that would lower the carbon footprint.”
“I am a published author,” she said. “I have a proven capability of being able to read, write, and sponsor law.   I went to UCLA and I graduated from the University of California, Riverside with honors (cum laude) but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, right now, we’ve got the wrong person representing us in Sacramento.  We need change at the State level. I am offering my ability to work hard and dig in.  I am your neighbor and friend, the Archaeologist who will demand that Sacramento throw us more than just a bone.”
Musser Lopez attended and graduated from Chaffey High School in Ontario. She earned her degree in archaeology from the U.C. system, at both the Los Angeles and Riverside campuses. She was a member of the Needles City Council. With her husband, she has two children.

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