County Corruption
In Newberry Springs

Newberry's Moral Corruption Chases The Money

Posted:  November 10, 2017

Pressure building on federal regulators to remove billboards
after a new billboard is placed on Interstate-40.

    Greed is a terrible vise and the erection of a new billboard, the first major commercial billboard in Newberry Springs along Interstate-40 has been placed by General Outdoor Advertising and the Lynch family.  The billboard may lead to federal involvement and eventual billboard removal.

    As previously detailed in the Newberry Springs Blotter, billboards along the unincorporated areas of Interstate-40 in California are clearly illegal under what is commonly known as the Lady Bird Johnson Highway Beautification Act.  During construction of Interstate-40, the State of California entered into a contractual agreement with the U.S. federal government and acquired many millions of additional highway dollars under the condition that the state would not permit general advertising billboards along Interstate-40 in unincorporated areas.

    During the corrupt county political era of Bill Postmus, a Scenic Highway designation along Interstate-15 was quietly removed and permits issued for roughly a dozen-and-a-half billboards along Interstates 15 and 40.  As each site can have a multiple face billboard, nearly three dozen large billboard faces were possible.  Three double faced billboards were issued county permits and built on I-15 in 2011 despite not meeting the regulations under the state billboard law.

    The recent billboard on Interstate-40 was issued a building permit by the county's corrupt Land Use Services Department despite the county's clear knowledge of the federal restriction.

    The erection of the new I-40 double-faced billboard near Ft. Cady represents a test of the federal government's resolve to enforce the state's obligation.  The penalty under the law could include the federal government's withholding of ten-percent of California's total federal highway funding for each current year of the violation.  This theoretically could add up to billions of dollars that are badly needed for California's statewide infrastructure.  The challenge is whether the federal government would resort Spike Lynch to the nuclear scenario.

    The community of Newberry Springs was clearly against billboards until Spike Lynch, president (at the time) of the Newberry Springs-Harvard Real Property Owners Association, and a family member of the General Outdoor Advertising ownership started lobbying the community by offering bribes for support.  Many without moral principle jumped-in.  This lead to Spike Lynch circulating a petition of billboard payoff support that later became known as the Repository Of Shame (PDF).

    Many Newberrians, not being informed by Spike Lynch of the law, were duped into the complicity of signing the petition.

    Interestingly, after the closure of the property owners association, former CSD Director, Robert Vasseur, is reforming the association and he is questioning the new billboard and the distributed payola.  In a recent Facebook comment regarding the billboard payout, he wrote "the Newberry Service Center ($4000) and the NSEDA ($8000)..." (Newberry Springs Economic Development Association).  And he noted, "At the last NSEDA meeting Paula Deel, an officer of NSEDA, Director on the publicly elected CSD, and an officer of the local Chamber of Commerce cited this generous contribution by the company to her Association, Paula coincidentally being a committee member of the group designated to distribute the beneficence coming from the sign company."  So, Paula Deel is a major player in collusion of the billboard scandal.

    So while General Outdoor Advertising is attempting to literally make millions of dollars by placing billboards in Newberry Springs, the bribery and the contempt of federal law continues, with bribery money going to the control of a few special interest cronies.

    A major opponent against the billboards is Newberry Springs Realtor, Fred Stearns, known for his years of fighting the billboards and the corruption of the County of San Bernardino in Superior Court.  Stearn has raised some questions regarding the county's corrupt permitting process for the new billboard with a letter to the county's legal counsel.  A copy of the letter was forwarded to the federal government:

    Newberry Springs has a major untapped economic treasure in the Route 66 corridor.  This unrecognized tourist opportunity is being currently decimated by the establishment of eyesore Big Rig storage yards and billboards.  Surprisingly, the local Chamber of Commerce and the Newberry Springs Economic Development Association (both of which the Deels are involved in), should be promoting economic development, instead, the organizations are principals in selling-out the community's promising future.

Looking eastbound on Interstate-40 before the Ft. Cady offramp.

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