Newberry In A Major Crisis!
The Newberry CSD directors are reportedly near
completion of a settlement deal with the County where the CSD will
withdraw their civil suit appeal involving the Daggett Solar Power
project in exchange for a monetary sell-out that would allow the
CSD directors to move a little forward with their new civic hub
The damaging settlement with the County is reportedly
still open to other settlement ideas but the revealing issue is that the
CSD directors are trying to circumvent and betray the community by
While partial funding for the civic hub would allow
the directors Robert Springer, Paula Deel, Vickie
Paulsen, Jack Unger, and Larry Clark an opportunity
to boast that they have provided something for the community, the
settlement would green-light the solar development that will have a
devastating effect upon Newberry.
While the details of the eventual settlement are not
yet known, any payout to the CSD will be only a tiny fraction of the
enormous devaluation of the
that will hit the residents in Newberry Springs.
It will also not compensate for the hundreds of millions
of dollars for the pain and suffering and loss of life suffered by Newberrians
from silica dust. The County has relegated the lives of Newberrians
to the margins of worthlessness.
The Newberry CSD originally started-out with two positive
decisions. They (1), appealed an illegal Final Environmental Impact Report
("FEIR") and (2), they appealed to the Superior Court, a corrupt upholding of the
FEIR by the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors.
Despite these two excellent defensive actions, the Newberry CSD
directors now appear to have buckled and have seriously faltered in not
understanding nor caring about the community's survival.
At the January 28th, CSD Board meeting, CSD President Robert
Springer stated that he was open to settling the CSD's appeal at the upcoming
Mandatory Settlement Conference scheduled for March 9th.
When I questioned Springer as to why
he would consider settling, he dumbfounded me by making a mind-blowing
statement that he didn't believe that the appeal held much merit !
When President Springer was questioned further upon what
basis he thought so, he simply stated that he thought so. He couldn't
rationalize his statement.
Since the CSD's civil action is so winnable, I was further
shocked that none of the other directors in attendance, Paula Deel,
Vickie Paulsen, and Jack Unger (pro-solar Larry Clark
was absent) spoke up. The directors appeared to be concealing
something from the public.
At the February 12, 2020, Special Meeting, that I previously
on, the CSD board had a nearly one-hour closed session
telephone conversation with their appellate attorney. Contrary
to open transparency, the board declared attorney-client privilege for
secrecy and refused to state the topic of the discussion.
Certainly, the directors had the discretion and the duty
to disclose the topic without having to disclose anything that they
If the CSD board was supportive of the overwhelming
desire of Newberry's citizens to stand-up against our corrupt
County officials, they would have vocalized their support.
Instead, the elected board was cowardly silent.
The appeal is against the County, not the project.
The lives of Newberrians,|
and their fortunes
are literally at risk
with the solar project.
The Newberry CSD's Superior Court appeal is against the
County of San Bernardino's illegal certification of the Daggett Solar Power
project's Final Environmental Impact Report and approval of the project.
The County committed numerous violations against the California
Environmental Impact Act as outlined in the CSD's Writ that is now before the court.
The County violated its own General Plan and its Development Code, including
Section 84.29.035 and
the California Public Resources Code
and the EIR fails to address under CEQA the required social and economic impacts
on the community.
California Public Resources Code 21000(g): It is the intent of the
Legislature that all agencies of the state government which regulate
activities of private individuals, corporations, and public agencies
which are found to affect the quality of the environment, shall regulate
such activities so that major consideration is given to preventing
environmental damage, while providing a decent home and satisfying
living environment for every Californian.
The solar project further violates
the federal Civil Rights of Newberry's residents who will have
their homes inundated with carcinogenic silica dust and have
their property values slashed without compensation. (5th Amendment)
What isn't publicly known yet is what payola
the CSD is receiving to play the County's tune.
Any settlement would harm Newberry Springs.
Silica dust is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand,
and exposure can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.|
Silica dust can stay invisibly suspended in the air for days.
Any settlement that would permit the solar site would be
bad news for Newberry.
An additional mitigated setback for the project of a hundred
feet from the roadways or 30-foot treelines will do nothing to stop the silica
dust which unlike much heavier sand can quickly travel hundreds of feet above
There are a couple of CSD directors who seem to be concerned
for the interests of a handful of alfalfa farmers who, with the water rampdown,
want to sell their commercial farmland and vacate Newberry.
Some of these farmers don't even live in Newberry. When the
health and the financial welfare of over two thousand residents are compared to the
financial windfall of a handful of well-to-do farmers who have sucked our water table
nearly dry, and who have cost some residents tens-of-thousands of dollars for new
wells, then who should the directors be concerned for ?
The CSD has refused requested transparency. Whatever
the monetary settlement, the funds will go into the CSD's treasury.
Like the Kiewit Pacific funds, any settlement funds will likely be squandered,
amounts lost and unaccounted for, and the citizens will never recover their
financial losses. What the citizens will acquire will be pulmonary
diseases, cancers, and premature deaths.
In short, the CSD directors need to reevaluate their
position so as to be in step with the overwhelming majority of Newberry.
The CSD has a solid case to kill the project.
The Newberry CSD is holding a strong legal upper-hand to
disrupt and probably kill the Daggett Solar Power project. What
doesn't the directors see in their
currently before the court ?
Their CSD attorney has done a great job in writing the Writ.
A settlement can always be done much later if deemed prudent.
A settlement can be initiated at any future point in the civil suit
process, but to throw Newberry "under the train" before the court weighs-in
upon the factual evidence is CSD
when the CSD's attorney has presented some legal points that the County and Clearway
Energy cannot overcome. Any early settlement at this point begs the question as
to what is going on ?
Newberry has been frustrated by the County's Land Use Services'
corruption, it has been frustrated by the Planning Commission's corruption,
and Newberry has been frustrated by the Board of Supervisors' corruption,
none of whom has followed the law.
But a new day is here. The Superior
Court, the enforcer of the law, is now going to review all of the violations.
Obviously, the County wants to settle this disaster that it has created and is
responsible for. Why would the CSD directors throw-in the towel before
the court reviews the matter ?
The CSD's own
presentation, given during the appeal before the Board of Supervisors, covers the
principle dangers from the solar facility.
With our westerly winds, a fire
at one of the proposed huge battery vaults can have deadly toxic flumes engulfing
Newberry Springs within a couple of minutes. At night? At the elementary school?
Hundreds can be killed.
The violations by the County against CEQA are significant, as are
the violations against the County's own General Plan and its Development Code,
and the state's Subdivision Map Act. The violations are documented in the
CSD's Writ. So, why does the CSD's board believe the Writ lacks merit ?
Newberry Springs is an Environmental Justice Community recognized
by the State of California.Note We have a strong preponderance of the law
on our side.
The next CSD meeting is the last CSD meeting before the Mandatory
Settlement Conference. It is not too late to voice your concern to the CSD board.
• • •
CSD Board Meeting|
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Newberry CSD Building
South end of Newberry Road.
Be there or you will be walked on !