Friday, July 30, 2010

A big cake!

I was astonished when I saw this huge cake at the celebration of the Island’s Municipal Improvement District’s 50th anniversary last night. The cake was about eight feet long. It was made in the shape of Bethel Island and had all of the island’s important features – roads, the main canal, the flat terrain, equipment at work, and levee rip-rap.

The rip-rap along the edge was created from sugar cubes. They really looked like the real thing. The waterside of the island’s dirt levee is protected from wave wash by large gray rocks. They are very important for safety. The cake had a good substantial coating all around the perimeter. We wish our real levee had such a solid barrier. There are gaps here and there along the real levee because the rock washes down during bad storms. A few gaps are created by fishermen and women who move the rocks aside to create comfortable fishing spots. The levee district is constantly trying to renew the rip-rap. It is hard work and very expensive.



The infamous Horseshoe Bend was accurately depicted by the cake-maker, Dustin Ramirez. Horseshoe Bend is a problem area because the current swirls around and erodes the bottom of the slough in that area. No matter how much rock has been placed there over the years it all gets sucked away. One project in the 1990s used huge boulders that were barged in. In a few years depth soundings could not find any of the boulders. The district has been working on a new solution with the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of California. The applications and engineering documents have taken years to get approval. Things are looking good, and we were told last night that approval is expected in 2011.

Mementos of the District history were displayed. The district was created by the state legislature in 1960. Prior to the voter’s approval of BIMID, the island’s levee was maintained by Reclamation District 1619. Voting in a reclamation district is not one person one vote; instead it goes by how much land you own. The largest landowners cast the largest votes. It was quite revolutionary when the small landowners over through the old system in 1960

A campaign poster promoting a slate of five “men” was interesting to read.
For many years we have had men on this island Good and Bad. The men of good
record are now in the majority, and must be definitely appraised by their
records and value to the community.

Here are the men [sic] who have put all their efforts, time and unselfish devotion to the cause of achieving a law that will benefit all and free us of the domination of a few large landowners on this Island.

There are a few who will do anything to confuse this election by Candidacy not to your interest but to weaken your vote for a good solid board of the peoples [sic] choice.

Vote For:
Doctor R. W. Casey, Ted Andronico, Julian Hribernik, Elaine Houser, and Ben Tomlin.

Elaine Houser is a practicing Attorney, a member of the California State Bar Association and the owner of a large resort.

I thought it was interesting that in 1960 Miss Houser was one of the “men of good record.”

The district has almost all the powers of a city (except planning and zoning) and its task is to maintain the levee (11 ½ miles) and collect and convey drainage waters and pump them out to keep the island dry and stable. The island is below sea level and flat so it could become a swamp if the water was not pumped out. The levee is not very big in proportion to the land area – picture it in your mind as the raised crust around a large pizza.

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2 Comments:

Blogger black bear cabin said...

very cool cake...but how did it taste? :)

2:36 PM  
Blogger Jones Morris said...

I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. creative cakes oc

8:30 AM  

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