Posted: January 28, 2019
1,200-acre Minneola solar project cancelled.
The Minneola Solar Project has been removed from the
San Bernardino county's solar project list. The surprise removal
was first noted on a January 17, 2019, list of active solar projects.
Minneola (Newberry) project map. Click to enlarge
in a separate window.
The dropping of the project has been confirmed
by county planner Tom Nievez. The project is the smaller
of the two major projects that were being planned for the Silver
Valley. The much larger 3,500-acre Daggett Solar Power 1
is still progressing and threatening Newberry Springs.
The Newberry Springs
Community Action Guide
developed by the county recognizes on page 19 under Public
Health Indicators subheading Chronic Disease that,
"Generally, Newberry Springs experiences higher rates than
San Bernardino County for hospitalization and emergency room
visits for chronic diseases, including chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease" (COPD). This fact could be
attributed to Newberrians living in a Sand Transport Path
(STP) of blowing PM 10 invisible sized silica dust.
The proposed Daggett Solar Power 1 project
is expected to greatly increase chronic lung disease in
The January 2018, Newberry CSD monthly board
meeting was largely boring as the board members spent far to
much time deliberating some procedural changes for future CSD
Of interest, after a year of inaction, the
CSD finally placed itself publicly in favor of the county's
Renewable Energy & Conservation Element's proposed Section 4.10.
The CSD board will be submitting a letter to the county Board of
Supervisors in support of Section 4.10's adoption which is aimed
to help protect some Rural Living zoned communities from
utility-scale solar development.
The CSD board's action seems to be evolving to shake-off
the continued reporting of its negligence to represent the community
on matters where it can be a community voice.
Director Larry Clark's pay increase fails.
The board's most interesting January agenda
item was Director Larry Clark's attempt to have the director's
$50 per general meeting stipend raised to $80.
Director Jack Unger, apparently feeling an impact
by this news blog's previous write-up on him, did a flip-flop from
this blog's previous report on his belief that the community wants
to "generously reward" the CSD's directors for their leadership.
During the discussion of Clark's motion, Unger queried Clark over
the need and purpose of increasing the amount of the existing
Larry Clark's justification for a stipend increase
sounded like excuses based upon entitlement. Entitlement
because the current stipend hadn't been increased in years.
Entitlement because other CSDs have directors believed to be paid
more. Entitlement because the directors are important people
and they simply deserve more.
One director commented that he figures that sometimes
he is reimbursed at less than $5 per hour. For him, his statement
is undoubtedly correct. This blog's position, however, is that the
elected directors run for their elected positions voluntarily and
that the positions should not be tainted with compensation.
Many people in Newberry Springs serve the community
on school, church, senior, youth, and other organizational committees
voluntarily without compensation. Just because the CSD directors
have access to taxpayers' public funds shouldn't justify them grabbing
themselves a portion of it. The directors should cease accepting
their current stipends or get off of the CSD board.
The directors' heat of biting into Larry Clark's
proposal for a pay raise was politically too hot of a chili pepper
for the directors to digest and the motion failed with only Larry
Clark supporting it.
Once a month representatives from Barstow Heights,
Daggett, Helendale, Newberry, and the Yermo CSDs gather for lunch in
Barstow, often with county representatives, to share information.
Director Deel attended the last luncheon and submitted a short written
report at the January Newberry CSD board meeting capsulizing the Multi-CSD
meeting three weeks earlier.
Under the heading of Yermo CSD, Deel mentions,
"Fire Department received $99,000 from Cal Fire for services donated
during the many fires last year. Yermo Fire volunteers filled in
for Cal Fire Fighters at stations so the Cal Fire Fighters could fight
This information was also stated months ago at a
Multi-CSD meeting in which Deel attended. Why the Newberry CSD hasn't
been openly discussing it is questionable. Yermo appears to be tapping
into a great revenue source.
Cal Fire has a problem. In times of massive
forest fires in California, Cal Fire wants to deploy its resources
from its network of outlying stations. Unfortunately, it also
needs to keep those stations manned for possible local fires.
Yermo Fire is contracting itself out to handle a Cal Fire station
which allows Cal Fire to deploy that station's equipment and
personnel elsewhere in the state.
This is a great win-win for everyone as Yermo's
Fire personnel can volunteer and earn good extra income.
Yermo CSD makes money by participating and making available its
personnel and a truck. Cal Fire benefits with the extra
resources that it is happy to pay for.
As stated above, last year the Yermo CSD earned
nearly $100-thousand in which it can build its fire department and
community services. The only drawback is that the Yermo Fire
volunteers can be away from their homes for sometimes a week which
is hard on their families but their pay compensation is rewarding.
Director Deel's "CSD Luncheon Notes" also state
for "Helendale CSD" that the Helendale CSD, "Received a $100,000
grant for their park; have 2 buildings going up; 2 volleyball courts;
outdoor exercise equipment. Basketball starting; New baseball field
ready. They are now applying for an eight million
This also isn't new information for Director Deel (and
Director Paulsen who frequents the meetings). The Helendale CSD
progressive directors have been reporting on their park development
advances at the Multi-CSD meetings for two years. What they
are accomplishing is amazing for Helendale's citizens. What
Deel omits is new field lighting, irrigation, new public restrooms,
pavement, and more for Helendale.
Meanwhile, the Newberry CSD directors haven't done
much for their community.
Perhaps, if the Newberry citizens enjoyed the benefits
of a growing community, they would support a stipend increase.
Meanwhile, the 60-year old Newberry CSD can continue
to hang its head in shame for what little it has accomplished.