Voters have an opportunity for change.
The registration for Newberry CSD candidates for the November 6, 2018
election has closed. Newberry Springs' voters will now have a selection of six
candidates to fill three available CSD seats.
The incumbent candidates are Robert Shaw, Robert M. Springer,
and Victoria "Vickie" Paulsen. Challenging their seats are Jack A.
Unger, Stephen W. Miller, and Ted Stimpfel, a community activist and
editor of the Community Alliance blog.
All are good civic-minded people but only half will have a board seat
waiting after the next election when the local voters will decide issues that hinge
the fate of both the CSD and the community.
The incumbent, Robert Shaw, has appeared frustrated during his last term
over the board's lack of service. The voters of Newberry Springs have repeatedly
elected popular community figures who have demonstrated little ability to creatively
lead. This has led to board stagnation and a lack of community service.
Just ask yourself, in the last 60 years of the CSD, what has the CSD
actually done to improve your daily life in Newberry? Other than the sense
of good fire protection, zippo!
The only recent salvation in the last decade was the fortunate
hiring of the late Le Hayes who as General Manager was able to save the CSD from
a well deserved 2012-2013 Grand Jury investigation. Hayes passed away a
Director Robert Shaw, a lonely minority vote of one,
has been unsuccessful in trying to get the CSD board to release a portion
of the Kiewit Pacific (KP) fund for building a defense against the proposed
Daggett and Minneola solar projects. The projects are expected to
greatly increase the dust health hazard in Newberry Springs.
While the current dust is very dangerous during wind
events, many Newberrians are totally unaware that the microscopic silica
dust particles that they inhale are slowly killing their lungs.
Once the invisible dust gets into the lungs it is permanent and untreatable.
The proposed solar projects are expected to substantially increase the
silica dust hazard to those living in the Silver Valley, especially
Newberry Springs downwind.
The fact that Director Shaw has stood alone with no
support from the other directors on this major health issue demonstrates
the dysfunction and caliber of the CSD board.
The upcoming election is expected to center on the solar issue,
the KP funds, and the future direction of the CSD. The incumbent candidates
Robert Springer and Vickie Paulsen appear determined to continue to freeze the
aging KP funds. Perhaps to purchase a giant tombstone for Newberry Springs.
Since January, candidate Ted Stimpfel has been very outspoken
in his support of incumbent Robert Shaw's desire to use the KP funds that Stimpfel
believes is critically necessary as the community's health is at risk. No one
has responded to Stimpfel's question as to what greater purpose is there for the
14-year old community fund.
Incumbent Robert Springer has done well procedurally in managing
the local board meetings and acting as CSD president. Springer's philosophy
appears to be old school in following the very limited definition and traditional
service laid out for the CSD 60 years ago. For those who find satisfaction
and comfort in the CSD remaining as is, and don't have any solar health concerns,
then Springer is a worthy candidate to consider.
Incumbent Vicky Paulsen is a nonelected board member appointed
by the directors after Director Robert Vasseur vacated his seat. Paulsen was
recommended and promoted by director Paula Deel who wanted someone to support her
political agenda, which Paulsen has faithfully done. They are buddies and
they have been the principle block in preventing the KP funds from being used to
protect Newberry Springs from the proposed 5.5-square miles of solar projects and
The massive boundary scope of the Desert Trails Promise Zone.
Vicky Paulsen also played an earlier role in supporting Paul Deel's NSEDA
of the Desert Trails Promise Zone application in 2016 that directly led to
the grant application's failure. This loss cost Newberry Springs potentially
tens of millions of dollars that would have been directed to the community through
a remarkable economic development opportunity sponsored by the Obama Administration.
The loss caused similar disappointment and pain from Hinkley
to Needles and the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation. Paulsen's involvement with NSEDA,
and the previous Property Owners Association, has been a history of disappointment.
Stephen Miller was a last minute sign-up for the race but he is
expected to poll very well. A long time fire official of the community, he is
well known and popular. His position on solar and the KP funds isn't clearly
defined but he appears open-minded to the community's preservation from solar.
Miller is also receptive to the idea of growing the CSD's services.
Candidate Jack Unger is something of a dark horse regarding his
platform. Like Miller, Unger's platform isn't known yet but he seems interested
in exploring the options of a solar defense. Unger is well educated, uses
common sense, and is an expert and published author in the technical field of
the Internet's establishment of Wireless Wide-Area Networks (WWAN).
With three seats open, the voters have an opportunity to
maintain the current conservative guard by voting for Springer and Paulsen.
Or, for a progressive change for the first time in the CSD's 60 year history,
the voters can vote for Shaw and Stimpfel. If the Shaw/Stimpfel slate is
broken and if either Paulsen and Springer are returned to office, the board will
likely lack a consensus for change.