Sticking their heads up, they are quick to duck problems.

Rational thinking was a no-show.

Posted: July 27, 2018

Audience eyes were rolling.

    The Newberry CSD's July 2018, board meeting was yet another wonderful example of the local government's dysfunction.

    Board members in attendance were President Robert Springer and directors Paula Deel, Victoria Paulsen, and Larry Clark.  Director Robert Shaw was on medical leave.

    Highlights of the meeting, including the acceptance of the 2018-2019 CSD Budget and a couple letter proposals, went smoothly.  The smoothness then sunk with a "Discussion/Possible Action" agenda item sponsored by Director Paula Deel on whether the CSD can legally spend the CSD's controlled Kiewit Pacific (KP) trust funds.  Director Deel should be applauded for placing the subject on the agenda.

    The principle question was whether the KP funds could be used in defending the community from the massive utility-scale solar proposals that will seriously damage the community.

What is more important than
the community's continued existence?

    Director Deel stated that she heard from a "couple" of residents that they would rather have the funds spent on other community matters than solar, but then, that leaves the open question of what community will be remaining if the solar projects are built?  Newberry Springs is expected to become a health hazard zone if the solar projects are built that will prompt a gradual exodus of families.  Recent science has been discovered that supports the demise.

CSD Board is risking millions
of the community's value.

    The CSD Board members are foolishly risking many millions of dollars of Newberry Springs' approximate $180-million land valuation by their mismanagement delays.  Worse yet, they are literally jeopardizing the health and lives of the community residents being exposed to greatly increased levels of deadly invisible airborne dust particles.

The KP funds are for the community, not the CSD.

    From the audience, Ted Stimpfel stated that the funds technically belong to the successful appellants from the legal settlement.  Upon the settlement, the appellants had to decide who would manage the funds.  As the CSD was a party to the settlement, the appellants (including the CSD) agreed to let the CSD manage the funds for the appellants.  Following the agreement, KP directed the appellants' settlement funds to the CSD Board.

    Ownership of the funds was not given to the CSD as the CSD has very limited powers under which to distribute the funds.  As the appellants wanted to maximize the benefit from the funds, it was necessary not to comingle the privately acquired funds with the CSD's general fund.

    The CSD does not have any authority under LAFCO to manage private funds that are not a part of the CSD.  Therefore, the appellants established an agreement whereby the elected CSD board members established a separate account outside of the function of the CSD to manage the distribution of the funds separately from that of the CSD operations.  This was so that the CSD's Board, acting as a separate entity, could manage the funds separately and apart from their CSD's duties, obligations, and limitations under LAFCO.

The facts behind the KP funds are clear.

    The facts and the intent behind the KP funds are clearly outlined in the February 24, 2018, Community Alliance's news blog which provides links showing letters and evidence that the CSD itself sent out a community survey listing a suggested 21 ideas for the use of the funds and requesting from the public additional ideas.  The 21 ideas were derived from a CSD community workshop.  Many of the CSD suggestions are not authorized under LAFCO which illustrates that the intended management and use of the funds extended far beyond the LAFCO limitations, such would permit the use of the funds to protect Newberry Springs from industrial solar development.

    Board officials wearing different hats and performing different functions are not unusual.  The County of San Bernardino's Board of Supervisors wears many different hats as they sit on different boards and committees of numerous entities, each performing different functions above and separate from the function of the Board of Supervisors.  Each entity operating under its own rules or non-rules.

President Robert Springer.

    Ignoring the history of the origination of the trust fund monies, CSD President Robert Springer argued strongly that the funds are not part of a trust, citing a letter by KP.

    Springer is correct that formal papers by the settling appellants were not drawn up because nearly 14-years ago everyone was working together and understood the intent and the end game.  However, Springer's spin that the funds are not part of a trust arrangement is dead wrong.  The letter that Springer references could only have been prepared based upon the earlier agreement by all of the appellants that the CSD would manage the settlement funds for them.  That required a prior fiduciary trust agreement between the appellants, written or oral.

    If the funds were meant to be part of the CSD's general fund, as Springer argues, why then were the funds segregated into a separate account?

      Today, we only have to look at the existing papers of nearly 14-years ago to recognize that the CSD took over the funds as a flexible trust to distribute the funds in a legal manner that extended beyond the scope of the CSD's authorized powers under LAFCO.

    As the CSD under LAFCO does not have the power to manage trust-type funds, the Board can not handle the funds except as a separate entity.

The Board lacks professional business minded people.

    Newberry Springs is in critical need of professional assistance to properly address the hazardous advancement of utility-scale solar impacting the community.  Professional leadership when recognizing an urgent need, finds remedies.  The CSD Board is anything but professional.  Critical days (now many months) in properly fighting the proposed solar intrusion have been lost (thanks to Springer, Deel, Paulsen, and Clark).

    At the last CSD meeting, President Springer was arguing that he couldn't release the funds for use against solar because there is no authority nor guidelines that would permit him.  In essence, he demonstrated that he is not a resolver of problems.  He apparently can not manage problems on his own without having structured guidelines in place to tell him how to perform.  His excuses are bureaucratic that build walls, not bridges.

    The solution to the KP matter is to simply accept the funds as separate from the CSD and to allocate them.  There are no requirements nor guidelines necessary to follow in doing that.  It is brain-dead simple.

Director Paula Deel.

    During the public podium time, Stimpfel referenced that the Board's delay has been very costly to the community.  Director Paula Deel retorted that earlier in the year she questioned Stimpfel on the amount of funds that he was suggesting.  As a beginning amount, to solely address the Daggett Scoping, Stimpfel estimated approximately two thousand dollars to acquire some expert CEQA advice that would probably include some research time and a draft letter from a Los Angeles based CEQA specialist.  Deel stated that she suggested to Stimpfel that such a small amount might be acquired through a fundraiser without involving the KP funds and that Stimpfel turned the idea down.

    Actually, Deel's proposal was more complicated than that.  She didn't state that she also wanted Stimpfel to prepare a business plan on the $2K proposal that would outline who, how, when, and what benefits the funds would derive.  The plan would be used to help raise the funds.

    Stimpfel turned Paula Deel's idea down because the notion of the detailed business plan that Deel wanted for a simple consultation is asinine.  Furthermore, the community is in an emergency.  The community has available community funds to address it.  The funds should be immediately made available.  Stimpfel has suspected that Deel has been trying to save the KP funds for possible later diversion to NSEDA that she and her husband controls.

    People like Deel and Springer want to fiddle for a delay.  Meanwhile, Newberry Springs continues to decline under their leadership.

    The CSD has once again voted to submit the KP fund question to a legal counsel.  A previous attempt had a lack of factual information being submitted.  This resulted in a questionable legal opinion.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Hopefully, a better presentation of facts will be submitted this time.

Related past news blogs:
Painful 7-months of CSD inaction. - 7/22/18
Newberry CSD Board exposing themselves. - 6/25/18
Newberry CSD remains paralyzed. - 6/24/18
Desert acquires a Planning Commission win. - 5/28/18
Silver Valley is acquiring yet another solar project. - 5/6/18
Daggett scoping meeting was another county sham. - 4/15/18
Daggett's upcoming scoping meeting April 11th. - 4/9/18
Rebellion grows as Supervisors ignore constituents. - 4/3/18
Newberry families may move for health reasons. - 3/26/18
County increases its liability assisting solar. - 3/17/18
CSD Board's mismanagement may lead to deaths. - 3/11/18
Newberry CSD struggles with solar development. - 3/2/18
Newberry CSD's inaction threatens community. - 2/24/18
Daggett embraces solar development. - 2/21/18
Newberrians attend solar health hazard meeting. - 2/16/18
Communities collaborating for protection. - 2/11/18
Newberry CSD falls short against solar opposition. - 2/4/18
Bombshell transformation to hit the Silver Valley - 1/28/18
Supervisors are engineering destruction of the desert - 1/25/18
Corrupt county leaders are reshaping Newberry - 12/3/17
Lovingood continues damaging votes - 11/6/17

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