Supervisors Slam Newberry Springs
Active Towing's Site Approved
Report: Newberry Springs continues to deteriorate.
Posted: July 4, 2014
Promoters' greed has already discouraged the
Foreign tourists depart a tour bus at the Bagdad Café
across from the eyesore Active Towing. As part of the county's inept Land Use Services
Department's requirement, slats are being placed into the chain link fence to hide the
operation. As shown, due to the height of the stored articles and partial fence see
through, the county's mitigated screening measure is totally ineffective.
one commercial developer to invest in Newberry Springs.
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Oddity + Odd = Strange Bedfellows
San Bernardino County continues to trash Newberry Springs by making
it the toilet community for undesirable businesses being dumped and placed in inappropriate
locations contrary to the county's existing General Plan.
The Bagdad Café
The Bagdad Café in Newberry Springs is an oddity
located within an odd rural community of Southern California's rural Mojave Desert.
Earlier known as the Sidewinder Café, the Bagdad Café
maintained the name after the Sidewinder was used as the movie site for a 1987 German
motion picture titled Out of Rosenheim; more popularly renamed
The motion picture was directed by
The name Bagdad Café was adopted for the movie from a café
and a small Route 66 community that at one time existed 49-miles to the east of Newberry Springs.
The movie susposedly takes place at the original Bagdad Café in Bagdad. The original
café and the entire town no longer exists.
Today, the Newberry Springs café is owned by Andrea Pruett,
a movie wannabe screen writer. She is proud that her café attracts
tourists from all over the world, principally from Germany and France. Most arrive by
sightseeing buses. They make a quickie stop. Photograph the local landmark.
Perhaps purchase a tourist nicknack. Then swiftly leave.
Although a few will order food, most don't. When a tourist
was surveyed one time as to why her bus wasn't staying longer, she replied in broken English
that their tour guide advised against ordering food there.
The Bagdad Café proudly carries a county Health Department 'A'
rating; yet the restaurant's culinary specialities, interior and appearance of staff, haven't
gained widespread local acceptance. Andrea Pruett believes that the trashy appearance of
the café is rustic ambiance and she is proud of being one of the few in Newberry Springs
that is willing to give her employees a chance by hiring them.
Pruett boasts that 95% of her customers
are visiting tourists and that only 5% are repeat locals. The so called 5% consists in part
of a few sales from the Active Towing crew across the road and a few locals who show up when
the community's Drifting Sands Café is closed two days a week.
In response to a Community Alliance
on Active Towing moving into Newberry Springs directly across from the Bagdad Café,
the seller of the land to Active Towing, Thomas Stickley, and his aroused clan attacked the news
blog on its Facebook page. Finding nothing in the story to factually discredit, many
attackers to the story choose to distract the issues by attacking the Bagdad Café.
As shown in the Facebook postings that are copied and pasted immediately below (without spelling
and grammar corrections), Stickley and his supporters displayed some very venomous feelings
towards Pruett and her café.
The rezoning and CUP.
Cory Rogers Baghdad cafe is also an eyesore,
with all the trash that hangs out there.
Nobody local will eat there (except some ole timers). County doesn't care what goes on in
newberry unless someone calls in a complaint. Maybe your next story should be about how
badly managed the cafe is. You should just drive over there and watch for a couple hours
you'll see what I mean.
Jonas Caldwell I got to agree with cory on this one the bagdad is a eye sore I remember
growing up when it was the sidewinder which was a good place to eat and like cory said the
people around the bagdad is questionable as a former firefighter for newberry ive run a few
calls to the bagdad for ill people.
Joy L Knott Dear Newberry Springs Community Alliance, you don't seem to be getting
the jest of this conversation. Its not the Baghdad cafe we despise its the element
that runs it and dwells there and that lives around it. . . . It deeply saddens me that
your not looking where the true problems lye. I myself got food poisoning from Baghdad
and will never go there again, and I'm a local.
Cmon if you want to make Newberry better, start with the REAL TRASH. . . .
Rocky Willson ... (Bagdad Cafe) It's ran by thieves and drug users/ dealers. . . .
It's nothing but a photo stop. There's no revenue generated or contributed to the
community there. It's no different than seeing a giant ball of twine.
Cory Rogers I don't know how! But I do know of the
thievery and other illegal activity that goes on there. I know because I live on nopal
ln. And the theft has happened to me on several occasions. Point is historic or
not Baghdad is not a place I would want to visit due to the people who run/ hang around it.
Thomas Stickley I'll address a few or the morons questions. First of all the
Sidewinder Cafe would be an Historical Landmark. The Baghdad was named after a movie
and a lame movie at that. The Baghdad attracts tourists who lay in the highway next to
;the Route 66 painted on the highway, stand in the highway and take pictures and cause motorist
to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid hitting them.
[Editor's note: For people so knowledgeable of the Bagdad Café,
they don't know its correct spelling. It is as if someone sent them a misspelled inciting
e-mail instructing them to rant on the 'Baghdad'
and most of the followers copied the misspelling.]
Joy L Knott And Baghdad Cafe is a "proper business" ?
Have you been in there lately to see what they really sell!!!
Cory Rogers Theft is harmful drugs are harmful! More so then zoning.
The Stickley application for rezoning includes not only his
parcels, but adjacent parcels, that were unfortunately approved by the county Supervisors
on June 3, 2014. The approval allows for doubling the junkyard-type appearance along
Historic Route 66's frontage, and a 4-times enlargement of the square-footage of the operation;
that is now allowed to increase from a small tow operation into a major Interstate-40 truck
wrecker tow service, CHP impound, and storage facility.
The Board of Supervisors have approved a rezoning of the
Stickley parcel, actually consisting of two parcels, and also the area marked out in orange.
Having rezoned the orange three parcels will now allow Active Towing to greatly enlarge its current
operational footprint on Historic Route 66.
Once Route 66 acquires a National Scenic Byway designation late next
year, having a Big rig truck wrecker service with a storage and impound yard directly across
the highway from the Bagdad Café, will cause the café to easily lose
out in its expected appreciation of tens of thousands of dollars. Already, with
the rezoning and Conditional Use Permit having been approved, the surrounding property
values have likely declined.
In a recent survey of tourists' reasons for traveling Route 66,
a major reason was to see the vast, unspoiled openness of the land. People want to
experience Historic Route 66 as the earlier travelers saw it. Unspoiled. They don't
want the view scape cluttered with junkyards. They want to experience Route 66's legacy
that has become a symbol of the American people's heritage of travel, and of seeking a better
way of life that has been enshrined in our American popular culture.
Historic Route 66 between Newberry Springs and Needles represents
the best undeveloped sections of the entire 8-state Route 66 system to visually present much of
what the earlier travelers actually saw and experienced. This is a tremendous tourists
draw for San Bernardino county's economy.
Due to its involvement with the BLM's Corridor Management Plan, the
Community Alliance has handled inquiries from an investor interested in the motel adjacent
to the Bagdad Café for conversion into a major tourist center. The proposal involved
the restoration of the existing delapidated structure with a substantial new adjacent
building to handle a small theater, museum and restrooms. With the county's Supervisors
approval of the Stickley's junkyard-type application, that interest appears to have
evaporated as well the area's future attractiveness to act as an anchor for future commercial
The top two photographs were presented to the county's
Board of Superviors during the rezoning/CUP application hearing as being true
and accurate renditions of Stickley's small towing operation. Obviously, all of
the Active Towing's Big-rig wrecker service trucks are unscrupulously absent and a
Silver Valley Auto Repair sign placed on the building to mislead and bamboozle the
Supervisors. The photographs were supplied by applicant Thomas Stickley and
promoter Spike Lynch.
Note the three car garage. It appears to have been built on the property
line of two parcels and never remedied (see second illustration from top). County forced
the Newberry CSD to remove its offices when the CSD settled its offices on a property line.
Why the difference in enforcement standards?
This far more typical of the eyesore activity that was going on
at the site during the time of the Stickley application for Active Towing.
With Thomas Stickley, Active Towing, promoter Spike Lynch, the county's
Land Use Services Department, and the existing county Board of Supervisors, Newberry Springs
doesn't need enemies.
Due to the corrupt processing of applications by the county's
Land Use Services Department, and the rubber stamp approvals by the Planning Commission
and the Board of Supervisors of almost anything that county staff places before their
noses, the approval of Stickley's application was fully expected. This has been
the standard county practice for years; However, due to the open and notorious
violations of the California Environmental Qualty Act (CEQA) in the application,
the application was fought by the Community Alliance to establish a foundation of later
addressing the county's illegal practices to higher forums.
Local representative Supervisor Robert Lovingood has stated that
opponents can not just claim CEQA violations, but that they must substantiate what specific
violations are involved. During both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors
hearings on the Stickley application, specific CEQA violations were clearly stated; but
the Planning Commissioners, Robert Lovingood and the other Supervisors, do not appear to be
listening to the public.
The Supervisors are elected by the people to intercede on their
behalf to control the atrocities of county government overreach. Instead, they are part
of the problem.
Newberry Springs residents also have themselves to blame.
Common complaints by residents in Newberry Springs are often
over the lack of commercial investments in the community. The complaints are over
no grocery stores, no laundromats, and no general stores for basic needs. The simple
reason that Newberry Springs lacks these basics is because Newberry Springs is backwards and
it isn't deserving of investment. The only major investments in the community are those
taking from the community, like mining; or alfalfa farming that is drying up the community's
If anyone should have been highly opposed to the Stickley application,
it was Andrea Pruett who is by far the biggest loser of the Supervisors' approval of
the greatly enlarged towing project. Apparently Pruett completely lacks a basic
understanding of the magnitude of the direct negative impact that the Big rig truck wrecker
service will have upon her business's value. Shockingly, she not only supported the
Stickley application; but she foolishly appeared before the Board of Supervisors endorsing it,
apparently having been naively prompted and driven to the Board meeting by Thomas Stickley
and Spike Lynch.
Although Pruett's support appears totally daffy and irrational, other
nearby property owners will also suffer a loss in property appreciation with the coming National
Scenic Byway. By the omission of their opposition, the other property owners have contributed
to the community's continuing downward spiral.
There appears no Christianity in the hearts of Stickley's supporters
for Pruett and her café. Pro-Stickley bloggers stated: "we despise its the element
that runs it and dwells there..." "(Bagdad Cafe) It's ran by thieves and drug users/
dealers..." "And yes I must agree the"bagdad" is one of the worse blights this
town could ever have." Yet, as hard as it is to understand, and despite these comments
being made well before the Board hearing, Pruett allowed herself to be manipulated by Stickley
into supporting an unnecessary site selection that will gravely cost her.
County Board of Supervisors.
The county's Board of Supervisors have long held the courtesy
that if a Supervisor supports or opposes a project within his/her district, the other Supervisors
will abide by that Supervisor's desire and vote with that supervisor because what goes around,
comes around, and a likewise courtesy support is later expected when another
Supervisor wants support. So by letting his desire be known, First District Lovingood
controls what happens in Newberry Springs. Unfortunately, Robert Lovingood sided to damage
the long term economic growth of Newberry.
Supervisor Lovingood held the key to support Newberry Springs
long-term economic good by requesting that Active Towing's site be further studied to
be placed somewhere else. There are already other site's properly zoned for Active
Towing that it could operate from, that would be a win for Active Towing and the community.
A part of CEQA and the process of mitigation is the consideration
of alternative sites. This was yet another ignored failure of county's Land Use Services.
Supervisor Robert Lovingood has expressed his own interesting
conceptual twist when it comes to rezoning properties. He believes that a landowner
should have the right to do whatever he wants to do with his property. In
the case of Thomas Stickley's application for Active Towing, the application even
had one nearby property owner, Andrea Pruett, supporting the application.
The idea that this application is therefore proper is however terribly backwards in thinking
as it ignores the dozens of other adjacent and nearby property owners, many
absentee landowners, who purchased their properties based upon the existing
zoning that is supposed to protect their land investment.
Rezoning is not something that is susposed to be done automatically
upon a landowner's request as has been the practice for years in San Bernardino county.
Such makes a Master Zoning Plan meaningless as everyone gets to do whatever they want with their
In a rural area, no one is going to purchase or build adjacent or
nearby a junkyard-like business like Active Towing that has a 24/7 operation. The Supervisors
have once again poisoned Newberry Springs economic development.
In trying to make the applicant happy, Lovingood feels that it is OK
to diminish the value of all of the adjacent and nearby parcels by allowing a junkyard-type
operation that will deter any future new home or business construction. Lovingood has stated
that if someone doesn't like what an owner wants to do through rezoning, that the unhappy person has
the opportunity to purchase the property himself from the applicant. This line of wild
thinking to justify bad and highly inexcusable rezoning simply illustrates the county's continuing
out-of-touch bizarre abuses.
Why should an existing elderly resident, living on a fixed income
adjacent to a new proposed project, be forced to buyout the adjacent owner who wants to Supersize
a new business and change the character of the neighborhood from what it is zoned for?
Existing zoning regulations are meant for planned, long-term
development; to prevent incompatible land use in the first place. It is not
about allowing every land owner to do whatever he wants with his property by simply rezoning
What has happened with Thomas Stickley's rezoning application
is illustrative of everything that is bad with San Bernardino County government and
wrong with Newberry Springs. It represents the backsliding on the purpose for zoning.
For far too long, whatever an outside company wants to do in Newberry Springs, be it placing
an industrial solar plant into a residential area, mining, dairy, or whatever, the county
has welcomed and never questioned the negative impact to the surrounding property investments.
The county has always seemed to have taken the attitude that rural Newberry Springs is the
toilet to dump such, for Newberry Springs shows little resistance.
Despite being informed of specific CEQA violations during
the hearing and other problems with the application, all of the Supervisors failed
to support Newberry Springs. All of the Supervisors conspired in a repeated
pattern to violate CEQA law by ignoring factors of CEQA, failing to properly notice
all stakeholders, and by going along with a Negative Declaration based upon an inadequate
investigation and study of key factors that included in part a total lack of any
investigation of the negative impact upon the Cultural Itinerary, economics, wear,
and impact to Historic Route 66; much less the potential contamination to soil and
water supply that a wrecked Big rig impound and storage yard may cause without proper
mitigation measures. (Apparently, Andrea Pruett doesn't care what is pumped from
the Bagdad Café's water well.)
So when driving by the "eyesore" Bagdad Café in the future
and seeing the junkyard-appearance of Active Towing, remember Thomas Stickley,
Spike Lynch, Andrea Pruett, and our county government who have established
and maintained the dilapidation and downward spiraling economics of Newberry Springs.
Supervisor Robert Lovingood offers help.
Subsequent to the Board of Superviors unanimous approval of the Stickley
application, Supervisor Lovingood has met with representatives of the California Historic Route 66
Association. Lovingood extended an outreach offer to make the county more transparent by timely
informing Route 66 stakeholders of relevant planning applications coming before the county.
Lovingood committed his staff to work with the county's Land Use
Services Department to have that department immediately notify Route 66 impacted parcel owners
and groups of new projects when they first come before the Planning Department. Currently,
impacted stakeholders are not usually notified until after the Planning Department has completed
their reports that excludes public input. The only time that the public then has input is
during the hearing process. By then, the staff presentations are completed and the lame
Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are ready to expedite whatever Land Use Services
prompts them to accept.
Lovingood's outreach is an excellent first step in the right direction
but it should be the universal norm within Land Use Services for everyone. The practice may
become mandatory anyway. The California Office of Planning & Research is attempting to make
a major revision in the state's General Plan Guidelines to vastly extend the way that the California
Environmental Quality Act is processed.
The revisions to the General Plan Guidelines and CEQA Guidelines may
significantly effect the practice of planning in California. The goal is to integrate
much earlier the environmental review process in the development of plans; and not as a tack-on
measure at the end. This may likely require an earlier participation by the public in
the development of plans.
When it comes to CEQA, the County of San Bernardino has a statewide
reputation as being highly negligent and at the bottom of counties following CEQA regulations.
The county needs as much help and strong-arm prompting as possible from Sacramento to get
its act together.
Lovingood's outreach is a good step that is highly appreciated.
We give him a high mark for it. However, it must be accompanied by
county government listening to its constituents. When citizens take their time to come
to a podium before the Supervisors and state specific violations of CEQA, the Supervisors
themselves should ask questions and reverse the matter back to Land Use Services for further
analysis. The corrupt conspiracy within county government needs to stop.
National Scenic Byway eyesore! An impressible stain of carnage
upon the scenic view scape.
Earlier photographs of Active Towing's site.
Planning Commission's intoduction staff report.
Earlier blog: Stickley's scam.
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