CSD Ignores Federal and State Billboard Laws
11 of 14 approved billboards are now 5-years late and may not be erected.
Newberry Springs CSD
Participates In Bribery Scheme
3 recently built billboards could be later ordered removed by court.
Spike Lynch's proposed billboard dynasty is in serious trouble.
What the hell is going on?
• Editorial Exposé •
Posted: January 2, 2012
During Newberry CSD's November meeting last year, the Board fragrantly
ignored federal and state laws restricting new billboards along Interstates 15 and 40. In
order to exercise some control over the monetary bribes promised to them by Spike Lynch for
supporting the illegal billboards, the CSD Board endorsed a scheme to
assist in the distribution of Spike Lynch's promised money.
Originally, Spike Lynch, the principle promoter of the billboards
in Newberry Springs, had promised a straight 40% cut of his
to go directly to the Newberry CSD; but he later reneged on his promise, changing it to whatever
the CSD could acquire from a kickback "Super Committee" that Lynch established with his cronies that
he can influence.
The Newberry CSD became further entangled in the depraved bribe distribution
when it voted
(Agenda Item 9 B)
and formally placed board member Robert Royalty
(to represent the CSD) upon the "Super Committee."
Voting for participation in the payola distribution scandal were Directors
Deborah Farrington, Robert Royalty, Robert Seeley, and
Diana Williams; abstaining was Director Wayne Snively.
The "Super Committee" is believed by some to be a mechanism established
by Spike Lynch to launder the bribe money's distribution at "arm's length" from General Outdoor
Advertising ("GOA"), the billboard syndicate's funding source.
The Newberry Springs' conflict with federal and state billboard law was
originally triggered by Spike Lynch who started campaigning for the allowance
of his family's billboard company, General Outdoor Advertising, to build numerous double-faced
billboards along Interstate-15 and Interstate-40.
During the first decade of his efforts, Lynch
met with stiff county and community resistance, until his brother Tim Lynch began making tens of
thousands of dollars in political contributions to county Supervisor Bill Postmus; and Spike
Lynch began giving promises of hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickback payola to
Repository of Shame
By 2006, the Newberry CSD had joined a minority of Newberry citizens
listed in the Silver Valley's
Repository of Shame
(click then Ctrl F to search for a name • Command F on Macs),
who had been snared by Spike Lynch's luring promises.
The Names of Shame were collected by Spike Lynch on a
petition he had widely circulated and had publicly paraded.
Lynch's campaign has been highly endorsed and spirited by community
real estate broker Sandra Brittian, who owns property adjacent
to Interstate-40 that was at one time designated as a valuable billboard site.
Brittian has, and continues, to use her position on various
community organizations, including the local Chamber of Commerce, to promote Lynch's billboards
that one-day, she apparently hopes, may again include a billboard on her property.
Tim Lynch bribes Bill Postmus ?!!
After Spike Lynch's brother, Tim Lynch, paid thousands of dollars
into then county Supervisor Bill Postmus' political coffers, the San Bernardino County Board
of Supervisors on September 12, 2006, under the heavy influence and insistence by its
Chairman of the Board, Bill Postmus, approved 14 GOA billboard permits; with the
billboard parcel sites also being granted a General Plan update and rezoning of parcels
that are required for the placement of each billboard.
Table presented in Fred Stearn's motion petitioning a Court Order for discovery.
Note: The Board of Supervisors granted the billboard permits on
September 12, 2006;
Postmus' political coffers were then rewarded with a spike of $10,400
and an additional $2,500 within 30-days. The above table are the transactions known.
Intentional violations of the law !
In Newberry Springs, crafty Spike Lynch attempted to fudge the law by
slithering-in billboards on a "business area" exception to the law (Bus. &
Professions Code § 5402 et seq.) by having residential land parcels rezoned
as commercial in a greasy loophole transaction and then simply using them as commercial business
This, however, is an incredibly naive attempt to circumvent the
law as there is far more to it, that Spike Lynch apparently doesn't accept. The
billboard law is not as superficial as Spike Lynch has joked, laughing that he has
the granted county permits.
Each approved GOA billboard site violated the "business area" requirement
as defined by the California Supreme Court (44 Cal.3d 242 (1988)) as
rezoning specifically for billboard application is a violation
of state law; and each rezoning approval is a violation of the federal Highway Beautification Act
(23 USCA 131) which forbids new billboards "outside of urban areas," and
subjects the state to a potential penalty of a 10% reduction of its federal highway funding for
unlawfully placed billboard(s). (23 USCA 131(b), 23 C.F.R. § 750.708(b))
The law has been long clarified by the California Supreme Court that has
interpreted "business areas" as zones of traditional business uses that "predominate, are
concentrated and conglomerated." Nothing like that legally exists in rural Newberry
The court has further ruled that the Legislature's intent is to
concentrate billboards on those portions of the roadside that were already bordered by
industrial plants and commercial enterprises. (United Outdoor vs. Business,
Transportation and Housing Agency [Caltrans], 44 Cal.3d 242 (1988)) An isolated
closed-down gas station or other rural, lone commercial oddity clearly does not meet the Supreme
Court's definition of the law.
Spike Lynch and GOA are further dead-in-the-water regarding their billboards
in that zoning, as already stated above, "intended primarily to permit outdoor advertising
structures is not recognized for outdoor advertising control purposes."
(Federal law - 23 C.F.R. § 750.708(b))
In short, the remote and isolated billboard sites that the Lynch family
have had rezoned from residential to commercial, and in instances have placed 3 huge billboards upon,
do not meet the strict standard of California and Federal billboard law. And the county
knowingly violated the law in issuing the permits under then supervisor, Bill Postmus, who the
Lynch's syndicate had provided substantial amounts of money to.
In a 2008 County of San Bernardino Superior Court civil action, CIVSS803213,
The People vs. General Outdoor Advertising,
People's Exhibit B-1 estimates that the 10% of federal highway funding would equate to a loss
of between $80 million and $100 million to the state of California each year. The
court matter, by the way, involved General Outdoor erecting a billboard in the City of Rialto,
along Interstate-210 without a necessary permit issued by the California Department of Transportation
which must regulate billboards under the state's Outdoor Advertising Act
(BP § 5200 et seq.).
The Newberry Springs billboard permits were known violations of the
law. Early billboard applications by General Outdoor Advertising were not accepted by
the county Land Use Services Department because of the law. The law didn't change;
but the county district Supervisor did.
Doing the good fight.
Meanwhile, a current civil action by Fred Stearn, the Newberry Springs
Super Action real estate broker, calls the Newberry Springs billboard rezoning "phony zoning."
In 2006, Stearn took the county and General Outdoor Advertising to court to have the billboard
permits rescinded in order "to protect the public investment in roads" and to protect the
prestine desert from the visual pollution of billboards. Stearn's public interest
legal action does not seek any personal monetary gain; and it is still grinding through the
Seeking transparency of county actions.
On January 17, 2012, Stearn's legal action will be again before the
Superior Court at which time Stearn is petitioning for a Court Order to allow him the right
to commence discovery to "probe crucial matters" as to "how and why the County approved billboard
Conditional Use Permits (CUP) in locations that do not satisfy the California Supreme Court's
interpretation of "business areas" that violate federal law, and how General's request for new
billboards led to the general plan update and rezoning actions that affected primarily
(if not exclusively) land parcels where General proposed to put new billboards."
Stearn's motion is to depose individuals "who have direct personal
knowledge" of the county's permitting process of the billboards; they include:
• Julie Rynerson Rock, formerly Director of Planning for the County (now retired);
• James Squire, formerly Director of Long Range Planning for the County (now retired but
still working for the County on a part-time basis);
• Adam Aleman, former "Assistant Assessor" and former political associate of Bill
Postmus, who has now pled guilty to multiple felonies involving corruption in
public office, and who testified freely before the County Grand Jury about his
activities while in public office;
• Bill Postmus, formerly Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors,
who has also pled guilty to multiple felonies involving corruption in public office,
based on events which occurred during the same time period that the General
Outdoor billboard CUPs were being processed;
• Jessie Flores, (formerly) a field representative for Mr. Postmus;
• Michael Orme, (formerly) a field representative for Mr. Postmus;
• Charles Fahie, a professional land use planner who was among the first to analyze
General's billboard proposals;
• Mike Williams, a county employee in 2000 when he was assigned to be the project
planner for General's billboard proposals;
• Ina Petokas, a land use planner in the County's Land Use Services Department who
worked on the General Outdoor billboard applications;
• Brad Mitzelfelt, current member of the County's Board of Supervisors,
who was Chief of Staff for Postmus during the time the billboard CUPs were processed;
• Mark Uffer, Administrative Officer of the County during the time the
billboard CUPs were processed; he has a "whistleblower" case currently pending against
the County (CIVDS1007333, filed 5/26/2010).
Depending upon what is discovered during the depositions, the list could
Stearn's motion for discovery is procedural and is expected to be granted
based upon any one of several meritorious grounds now presented before the court. However, any
decision in a courtroom is never guaranteed.
Discovery is key in making transparent exactly what impact Postmus'
influence had upon the county departments recommending billboard applications that violated federal
and state law; and why Environmental Impact Reports, that were earlier deemed absolutely
necessary for the sites according to county Land Use Services, were suddenly illegally dropped as
Depositions could lead to new discoveries and prosecutions.
Many simularities between the billboards and The Colonies.
Stearn's motion before the court also highlights a number of simularities
between the issuance of the Newberry Springs billboard permits and the dirty Colonies Settlement in
which Bill Postmus has pled guilty to felonious acts.
Fallen Bill Postmus facing justice.
According to Stearn's pleadings, "Both matters were being prepared
to go to the Board of Supervisors in the same time period (2006). The Colonies Partners
settlement was approved in November 2006; the matters challenged in this case were approved
during the preceding month. Both matters were being directed primarily by Postmus.
Both resulted in official actions which were contrived to appear legal and proper, but which
were in fact illegal and improper. Both show a pattern of contributions made or promised
by a party who had a big-money matter pending before the Board, requiring a majority vote."
Regarding his matter, Stearn further alleges that "Bill Postmus,
who was Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, used his power and influence to
orchestrate approvals of the challenged actions, primarily to reward a reliable campaign
contributor, General Outdoor and its president."
Follow the corruption of money.
As GOA's money flowed into Bill Postmus political coffers for
billboard support, similiar promises of GOA money and GOA free billboard space (which
Sandra Brittian has now been using for many months for her
Chamber of Commerce and CSD co-sponsored events) has been flowing to corrupt the CSD and
various organizations within Newberry Springs.
The Newberry CSD's moral turpitude in placing its
governmental support behind the billboard scheme, and the use of its political power and
influence before the county in order to acquire monetary kickbacks from the
" fruits of the poisonous tree," now seriously
taints the Board's integrity as being corrupted and unfit to govern.
The Newberry CSD may be attempting to qualify as another interest for the
county Grand Jury over it's acceptance of white-collar bribe money and billboard space
for its earlier billboard support; and the CSD's earlier lobbying to the county by then CSD
representative, Chairwoman Sandra Brittian. Certainly, some
members of the community do not appreciate such representation.
The county permitted billboards are worth millions of dollars if
allowed to stand. Spike Lynch has dedicated a good portion of his life to manipulating
people and the obstacles to get the billboards. Brother Tim Lynch has (and continues)
to pour tens-of-thousands of dollars into legal expenses and overhead costs.
But the dream is none-the-less based upon illegal acts; and if Fred Stearn's requested discovery
is allowed, Spike Lynch's shakey dream of a billboard empire may quickly crumble.
Then we can anticipate GOA (currently a legal partner with the county
against Stearn) to quickly turn upon the county for damages in issuing GOA illegal permits that
GOA had asked for and relied upon.
E-mail contact: NewberrySprings @ hotmail.com