Newberry Springs Families
May Consider Moving
For Health Safety

Should utility-scale solar arrive,
residents have a tough decision.

Long-term significant health hazards may
not be worth maintaining the community.

Posted: March 26, 2018

    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 disintegration of Newberry is near.

    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 this year.

    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 alternative 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 story 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 constituents.

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 project.

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 general fund.

    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 accountable.

    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.

Related past news blogs:
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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