Tag Archives: mccloud river

Letters Critical of Nestle Appear in Advance of 2/18 McCloud Meeting

Nestle’s upcoming Dog & Pony show in McCloud promises to be an interesting one; it’s been preceded by national broadcast of a popular fly fishing show critical of Nestle Waters’ reluctance to study the impacts on the McCloud river, and residents have been writing letters to the local paper.

I’m highlighting three letter here (including my own) – one  of which is a welcome effort from an Orting (WA) resident who outlines why the town’s interest in a Nestle bottling plant seemed so foolish.

Here’s an excerpt from McCloud resident Tina Ramus’ letter (you can read the entire letter here):

Their [ed: Nestle’s] decision to hold a meeting has raised a lot of questions.

Is Nestle so desperate to get a foot in door that they are ignoring the message from the community that this process will take more time?

The water science is underway, but it took five years of concerted effort from the community to get those studies started.

The project description should be base on the science, and right now, not even phase 1 is completed. How could Nestle be so bold as to propose a project without that and other critical information?

McCloud residents need to be cautious about what they hear Nestle saying.

Here, Orting resident Philip Heldrich pens an “Open Letter to McCloud

I live in Orting, Wash., fifteen miles outside Tacoma near Mt. Rainier. Nestle came here after near-by Enumclaw got wise and told Nestle to leave. But our mayor saw only dollar signs, placing her trust in corporate America.

Dave Palais made Nestle sound marvelous, promising 50 jobs and millions in utility and development dollars. We’re a small town (population 6,000) best known for our endangered salmon. The deal seemed too good to be true, and it was.

The Nestle water lease wanting its own private pipeline, consultants said, sought 22.21 percent of our city’s total water rights.

Nestle planned 24/7 trucking adjacent to three schools. There would be air and effluent pollution from plastic bottle production. Nestle planned to use more water in the summer during our yearly May to October drought.

What was our mayor thinking?

Finally, my own letter to the editor hasn’t been published, so I’m including it below in its entirety:

Nestle Doesn’t Understand Our Rural Values, Desire for Local Control

With Nestle conducting another meeting on February 18, I wanted to ask the Swiss-based mutlinational corporation about local control – or why it disappears whenever Nestle’s lawyers appear in small rural towns.

In Fryeburg, Maine, the tiny rural town’s planning commission has repeatedly said “no” to Nestle’s desire to build a 24/7 truck loading station in a residential area, yet in a clear attempt to circumvent Fryeburg’s right to say “no,” Nestle’s lawyers filed a suit and four appeals (the last was just argued at the Maine Supreme Court).

In Mecosta County (MI), Nestle’s pumping damaged a watershed, but Nestle fought to maintain their water extractions even as residents’ watched a wetlands dry up and docks no longer reached the water in an affected lake.

Under threat of an injunction, Nestle finally reduced pumping, then promptly filed suit to end the right of Michigan’s citizens to file lawsuits like those that Nestle lost.

And don’t forget that Nestle did zero environmental study on the impacts of their water mining on the McCloud River (perhaps McCloud’s #1 tourist draw) until it was forced to by citizens.

Finally, at their last (and disastrous) public meeting, Nestle didn’t bother to hire a local firm to facilitate, but instead spent those thousands of dollars on the services of a mega-corporate PR firm that clearly had no clue about our rural values or lifestyle.

Which brings us to the rub; despite the pretense, Nestle’s only a “good corporate neighbor” when they get what they want. When they don’t – as in Fryeburg – their lawyers crawl out of the woodwork and local control of streets, noise, water and economy simply disappear. They don’t care about us, our values, or our lifestyle.

Let’s look elsewhere for an anchor business – one that won’t try to usurp local control.

This meeting could be a turning point in Nestle’s pursuit of the tiny town of McCloud, and with the buildup trending largely anti-Nestle, should prove to be interesting.

Nestle Bungles Public Meeting, Raises Questions About Commitment to Local Values and Economy

If Nestle Doesn’t “Get” Us or Share Our Rural Values, Are They Really Right For McCloud?

In order to nullify complaints about the last contract’s “closed door meeting” origins, Nestle planned a series of public meetings, the first of which was held Wednesday, Oct. 22.

To put it mildly, it was a spectacular failure.

Not only was the meeting bungled, but it raised significant questions about Nestle’s understanding of our rural values and commitment to our local economy.

The mistakes began early; instead of hiring a local organization or facilitator – someone who understands McCloud, its residents, and our local values – they hired a mega-corporate PR firm with offices in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, etc.

We have to ask: Why didn’t they hire a local organization or facilitator? Why not spend those thousands of dollars locally, benefiting our local economy and hosting a civil meeting?

Sadly, this was only the first mistake. Nestle’s high-dollar PR firm (Kearns & West) didn’t publicize the meeting in the local media, fanning suspicions Nestle was holding the meetings only for show – that public input was simply a public relations effort.

The facilitator then began the meeting by mumbling unintelligibly, angering attendees to the point where he finally became the target of Nestle proponent and opponent alike. Naturally, he lost control of the meeting the minute he opened the floor for comments.

In the wake of this embarrassment, many have said the meeting was a step backwards for the community of McCloud.

Even if we give Nestle the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t purposefully orchestrate the meeting’s failure (and not everyone’s willing to do so), the whole affair raises troubling issues.

Simply put, how competent is Nestle, and why don’t they understand rural communities? Why can’t they resolve traffic and environmental issues instead of pretending they don’t exist?

Are they so inflexible in their business model (a corporate trait) that they can’t make this project work in McCloud?

Nestle says it guarantee it will hire locals for its jobs, but what kind of guarantees have they made to use local businesses and providers of goods and services?

After all, Nestle’s profits on this plant will be immense; should we make sure at least some of that money stays local – beyond a handful of sub-living-wage jobs?

Now that McCloud’s no longer obligated to Nestle, isn’t it time McCloud invited an open competition for its water, or revisited the idea of a municipally owned plant – one that would answer to the town’s needs and concerns?

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