The disintegration of Newberry is near.
The illustration shows the approximate placement of the first
two proposed solar facilities. Many more are expected to be filed for.
Click on the image for a full map that includes Lucerne Valley and a scaled comparison
to the Ivanpah solar facilities. (Size: 21MB)
The lifestyle of Newberry Springs as a rural residential
community is now on the chopping block. County government is gleefully about
to swing the meat cleaver.
While the Newberry CSD has been largely sleeping on the
matter, with most of the individual board members clinging to their personal
self-interests, the county and solar developers have been busy moving ahead
to transform the Silver Valley into one of the West's largest solar fields.
Kiewit Pacific funds.
Despite the Newberry CSD receiving multiple urgent requests
to release available Kiewit Pacific trust funds to prepare a defense against
the county's action, only Director Robert Shaw has been responsible.
Unfortunately, the other directors, Robert Springer, Victoria
Paulsen, Paula Deel, and Larry Clark, have demonstrated
little concern over the community's dire plight.
Renewable Energy & Conservation Element Policy 4.10
Much talk among other community groups has centered
around the withdrawal of Policy 4.10 from the last August county Board of
Supervisors' approval of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element.
The "Element" will become a part of the county's General Plan updating later
The Board of Supervisors, under the insistence of Supervisor
Ramos and Chairman Lovingood, voted to remove Policy 4.10 that would have
protected the rural communities from the invasion of incompatible industrial
solar facilities. The proposed solar facilities will forever alter the
character, lifestyle, and the economic future of the communities.
The county Board last August ordered the Land Use Services
Department (LUSD) to present Policy 4.10 to the Planning Commission
for the Commissioners' approval. This appeared as a clear procedure
to stall Policy 4.10. Late Friday, March 23, 2018, after a seven-plus
month delay, the LUSD released a tentative Planning Commission hearing date
of April 19, 2018, for Policy 4.10 consideration.
Unfortunately, the purposeful stall has allowed
solar developers the necessary time they needed to file for many
thousands of additional acres of proposed solar development that will
likely be allowed by the Supervisors to be grandfathered in.
Furthermore, the LUSD has conveniently used the seven
(7) month period to design a competing Policy 4.10
policy to present to the Planning Commission that totally dilutes the
intent of Policy 4.10 to a meaningless quagmire of garble verbiage.
The outrageous alternative policy being proposed by the
LUSD, and which is likely to be accepted by the Planning Commissioners,
simply accepts all intrusive invasions of renewable energy developments
with simple statements of mitigation and compatibility.
With the removal of the
original language in Policy 4.10, the County is weaponizing the zoning code
to marginalize the economically disadvantaged rural communities.
The County's action is overt discrimination to displace
and disenfranchise the property rights of the minority rural residents.
⚊ Ted Stimpfel
Clearly, the Supervisors in their vote last August
did not publicly request any competition to Policy 4.10 to be presented
before the Planning Commission, so the question is, what is behind the
corruption? Who is responsible for taking it upon themselves to go
beyond what has been publicly ordered by the Board of Supervisors?
Follow the money.
The proposed solar developments represent billions
of dollars of investment. The question is, are there county people
that are being bought off?
Previous First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt
championed the corrupt free giveaway of the Cadiz Valley water that
has been valued at over one billion dollars on the market. Under
the agreement, the county is not receiving a dollar for its water, only
a devastated desert.
As an example of how such happens, on March 22, 2018,
the Desert Sun ran an interesting
where board member Bryan Urias of the Upper San Gabriel Valley
Municipal Water District stated that,
...lobbyists working for
Cadiz (Inc.) had repeatedly contacted him trying to influence his vote.
He said he was told, among other things, that "Cadiz will run someone
against you, and will be funding them with thousands of dollars."
Urias also said, without giving details, that the people who contacted
him had made offers to him if he voted yes and had told him,
"Whatever you want, we'll make it happen."
Are these same business tactics allegedly used by Cadiz, Inc.
being practiced by the solar lobbyists today who have been reported as making
repeated visits to some of the county Supervisors' offices?
Land grab corruption.
Are the Supervisors, behind the scene, pressuring the LUSD
to allow the foreign solar developers to devastate the American desert
and its rural communities? Who is profiting? Certainly not
the rural communities nor the county which doesn't gain any advantages
through solar development. Actually, the county loses.
So who is behind the corruption?
Under our democratic government system, the power
is supposedly held at the top by The People. Through their
elected representatives, the power is supposed to funnel down for
the good of the constituents. Unfortunately, the corruption
appears so strong and accepted in the County of San Bernardino
that the elected no longer feel a need to serve the Will of their
Blowing wind health hazards don't have boundaries.
The Newberry CSD has separate funds in the form
of the Kiewit Pacific funds that are immediately available to fight
the solar invasion. Not only to fight the project being built
in Newberry Springs but also the Daggett project that is being proposed
to be built adjacent Minneola Road.
The Daggett project, three
times (3X) the size of the proposed Newberry project, represents a
far higher crystalline silica dust and Coccidioidomycosis health risk
to Newberrian residents exposed on the downwind east side of the Daggett
Garbage in, garbage out.
A recent Newberry CSD consultation with an attorney
sought legal advice on how the Kiewit Pacific funds can be used.
As expected, the question to the attorney was stated in a narrative that
directed the only possible legal response for it. The CSD question
referenced the money as having been donated to the CSD,
not entrusted to it.
The money was never donated to the CSD's general fund,
only the administrative control of the money in a trust-type arrangement.
A huge legal difference. That is why the funds have always been kept in a
separate account and never comingled and never considered a part of the
If the funds can only be legally used for the
LAFCO licensed purposes,
as some of the CSD directors seem to contend, then the directors need to
quickly pay back the monies illegally given to the then Senior Center as
giving money to a private corporation is illegal under LAFCO.
Question presented to the Newberry CSD attorney:
Q: What can we spend donated funds on?
Restrictions? The funds were donated to the district to be spent as
the Board determined to a benefit to the community in a responsible manner.
A: Any funds directed to the district,
whatever the source (donations, taxes, or fees), can only be utilized
in a manner that conforms with the by-laws of the district - specifically
the services it delivers. The Board has wide discretion over how
the funds are used specifically, so long as it has a clear link to the
overall purpose and utility the district provides its customers;
This is an example of why politicians, even local
CSD directors, cannot be trusted to represent the best interests of
their constituents. Through greed and petty personal attitudes,
they twist terminology and obstruct common sense.
Some possible relief.
A letter endorsed by the Newberry Springs Community Alliance
and numerous other organizations and individuals was written by Steve Mills,
an attorney with the Los Angeles law firm of Zemanek & Mills. This
excellent recital addressing Scoping elements of the Desert Renewable Energy
Conservation Plan (DRECP) includes some points that may have a significant defensive
impact on the siting of the proposed Newberry Springs' Minneola solar project.
The Daggett solar project is not believed to be likewise impacted.
These and many other defenses are worthless unless properly
packaged and presented at hearings. A hearing on the selection of a Policy 4.10
is tentatively scheduled before the Planning Commission on April 19, 2018.
As far as importance, Policy 4.10 is a BIGGIE, yet Newberry Springs
is TOTALLY unprepared to properly address it before the Planning Commission because
the Newberry CSD's directors Robert Springer, Victoria Paulsen, Paula Deel, and
Larry Clark, continue to sit upon 14-year old unspent funds that could be used to
save the health of residents and the community.
The Policy 4.10 alternative is a form of Eminent Domain.
Without the original Policy 4.10 enactment into the upcoming General Plan renewal,
utility-scale solar development will be allowed which will cause a vast devaluation
of residential land values. The profiteers in the County need to be held
The tsunami of damages that is coming upon the residents
and the community can be largely tied to the above CSD directors. This
is happening on their Watch. They hold the keys to properly respond
and they are failing us.