Supervisor Robert Lovingood
Visits Newberry Springs

March 10, 2013

Supervisor Lovingood watches as Dr. Gavin M. Erasmus (left), a Newberry Springs property owner, responds to an audiance question regarding the importation of waste materials into Newberry Springs.

      The County of San Bernardino's First District's supervisor Robert Lovingood was the guest speaker at the Newberry Springs-Harvard Real Property Owners Association's monthly general meeting held on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

      The NSHRPOA meeting was attended by 30 residents plus the board.  This number well surpassed the usual 3 to 6 audience members that usually attend the meetings.  Clearly, the supervisor's attendance and the concerns of local residents brought many to attend; and, the meeting well done.

      Lovingood's opening was refreshingly short.  He didn't come prepared to talk about himself nor his visions.  He clearly came to listen.  This was in sharp contrast to previous supervisors who in the past have only shown-up in Newberry Springs around election time or for PR events.

      Lovingood introduced his field representative, Ron Frame, who will be Newberry Springs' contact for Lovingood's office.  Mr. Frame had previously impressed this publication by his earlier meeting in the week with a local resident who had a major community concern.

      Major issues addressed to Lovingood during the meeting were the Mountain View solar development, processed waste material being imported into Newberry Springs, and the Cadiz water project.

      On the solar installation, citizens strongly stated disappointment of how the original permit issued for a maximum of 7-foot height of solar equipment was changed to over 27-feet without the community being given adequate notice or input.  One resident stated that he was informed by the county that notice had been earlier published in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper.  The county also claims that notices were mailed to perimeter property owners, mostly absentee landowners.  It is not currently clear if the notices reference an additional 20-foot height add-on.

      Of deeper issue is why did the county approve the massive installation without an EIR?  Why wasn't the problem of sun glint and glare properly studied?  Why did a county planner lie and sign-off that the development does not have an earthquake concern when a fault line, which is readily visible on all earthquake maps for the area, runs directly through the property?  And why does the county have a solar overlay map that negates residential zoning interests in favor of major industrial solar developers?  This depreciates property values without compensation; and it appears discriminatory in its overlays, avoiding higher populated areas.

      Lovingood appeared genuinely concerned on how solar installations, such as the one being built on Mountain View Road, impacts the local residential neighborhood.  He said that his office will be investigating the issue.
 

Over 100 piles of processed sludge dropped in Newberry Springs.

      The issue of possible sludge dumping in Newberry Springs was once again a hot topic.  NSHRPOA president Spike Lynch stated that he wasn't aware of the issue which was understandable.  The issue was discovered only a few days earlier by the Newberry Springs Community Alliance which learned that over piles of processed "compost" from Nursery Products in Hinkley had been dumped adjacent Bedford Drive just east of Fremont Road.

      As the Community Alliance has not come to a conclusion of the content of the material, the Community Alliance was holding back release of the information pending additional research.

     However, a community citizen concerned about the limited information known, posted billboard notices the day before the NSHRPOA meeting.

      In the defense of the dumpings, Eric Archibek spoke of having first hand knowledge of the material.  He stated that the processed waste was a fully processed and safe material for farming purposes and that it was intended for use on the adjacent field.

      Archibek, a longtime resident and farmer, has had a relationship with Nursery Products for years.

      The site of the 100-plus dumpings is a 9.44 acre parcel owned by the Morio & Dolly Kubota Trust and not Mr. Archibek.




Eric Archibek speaks at the meeting.

80-acre fallow farm lies to the north of the dumpings.

      The adjacent field to the north of the processed material is an 80 acre parcel owned by Arturo Fernandez.  The parcel has a pivot irrigation system that has been inoperative for many years.  As this is the only adjacent field, how will the field be farmed without water?

A rusted-out water pump with its electrical wires removed once served the 80-acre farm's pivot.


Edison power lines have long ago been removed from the 80-acre farm's pivot's
electrical control panel that has had its highly corroded box wires stripped.

      Questions are how and when are the truckloads of processed "compost" going to be used, if at all.

      Lovingood inquired of Archibek if he had an independent lab analysis of the compost material.  Archibek responded that he did not personally have such a report.  Lovingood stated that the community's concern that the material may contained hazardous material would be investigated.

      The county's lack of follow-up regarding past reports of illegal dumpings under county ordinances may be justified as federal jurisdiction has overtaken some areas of the county's previous control.

      A third item of concern was the Cadiz water project that would give away and transfer irreplaceable San Bernardino county water to coastal counties.  On this issue, Lovingood fell disappointedly flat with responses that the lead EIR agency, the Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County, would have been proud of.

      At this current time, there is little that an incoming supervisor can do; but an understanding of this shameful swindle needs to be understood.  Under state law, Cadiz, Inc. is only entitled to produce water for its best use; which for its farming, is only a small fraction of the proposed project's water draw, that will impact the residents and wildlife for many miles away from the Cadiz farms.

      Hopefully, in the future, Lovingood will meet with the Community Alliance for a better understanding of how this dangerous project will impact the Fenner and Cadiz watersheds.

      Overall, those at the meeting appeared favorably impressed with Supervisor Lovingood and his field representative, Ron Frame.


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