Newberry's Leadership
Is Crashing !

Posted: May 1, 2019

Incompetence on public display.

    The insanity circus at the Newberry CSD's monthy board meeting continued again in April.  The CSD board spent half of their April meeting piecing together a late CSD response to the Daggett Solar Project's Draft EIR.

    This was being ridiculously drafted only 6-days before the deadline !

    While the points of the 2 1/2-page letter are good, and the letter does address the Draft EIR's ignored compensation of the Newberry CSD's fire department and other elements, the letter is exceptionally inadequate for what the CSD's community response should be for a massive solar project that will have such a devastating negative impact upon Newberry Springs.

    The letter appears to be a late CSD stunt to give the appearance that the CSD has done something.  The fact is the inept CSD has done far too little.

    All responses to the Draft EIR were due Monday, April 29, 2019.  The responses are a critical part of the project's public input.  All response letters become public and are a part of the Administrative Record under a review process governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Newberry needed CEQA expertise.

    CEQA, like other developed-out areas of law, has many elements that can impact a proposed project.  Laymen can usually recognize the obvious low hanging fruit to oppose, but large projects usually have important higher unseen pickings.  A qualified CEQA expert can recognize multiple violations in CEQA law that would otherwise go unrecognized.

    Therefore, in opposing a project, it is very important that a CEQA expert is hired to create the strongest defense.

    Through the Newberry CSD directors' stupidity, the CSD did not allocate a portion of the available Kiewit Pacific ("KP") funds to hire a CEQA expert.  This appears largely due to the directors' lack of vision, crappy leadership ability, and stubbornness to listen to public input.  As a consequence, Newberry Springs is now far less protected from the proposed utility-scale solar encroachment.

Residents voice deep concern.

    The CSD's April meeting had the first time appearance of a few Newberry citizens who were deeply distressed upon only recently learning of the proposed solar projects.  They wanted to know why the CSD had failed to better inform the community about the solar applications.

    In response, the directors pushed back making several statements of prior published articles about the solar project.  Shamefully, the directors faulted the blame for a lack of awareness upon the visitors.  Yet, the CSD did little itself.  No town hall meetings were held, no CSD mailings, no CSD workshops, nothing that would have helped to alert the community to the size, scope, dangers and the massive destructive impact of the utility-scale solar proposal.

    While this news blog has done many blogs on the topic, many people in Newberry still don't have the Internet and access to social media.  The CSD did nothing to reach out to these residents.

Too late.

    The visitors were attending the meeting to learn what the CSD was doing to protect them.  Little did they realized that the public input to the Draft EIR was almost over and that the incompetent CSD had already screwed them by not relasing a portion of the KP funds, despite being advised for 15 months to do so !

    With declining Newberry property values, one couple stated that they were underwater with their decade old mortgage and that they may have to walk away from their mortgage and home investment, especially if the land depreciating solar project was built.

    What these residents are concerned about is something that is not covered in the Draft EIR.  It is called Inverse Condemnation.  In the matter before Newberry, it involves the expropriation of livable rights to a property, such as the deprivation of safe air to breath, that places a significant burden upon a property that makes it impossible to derive any economical use.  It can also include the burden of a nearby industrial solar facility placement that diminishes the residential property value of a home.

    Should the proposed solar projects be built (there are three currently being proposed in the Silver Valley), Newberry residents may have a class action opportunity to sue both the County and the developer for compensation under Inverse Condemnation.

   California Public Resources Code 21000(g):  It is the intent of the Legislature that all agencies of the state government which regulate activities of private individuals, corporations, and public agencies which are found to affect the quality of the environment, shall regulate such activities so that major consideration is given to preventing environmental damage, while providing a decent home and satisfying living environment for every Californian. (Bold emphasis added.)

    As both the County, in its permitting, and the developer have prior knowledge of the health hazards, any claim may also have the potential for collection of significant punitive damages.  For best relief, the matter should probably be filed in federal court avoiding the County of San Bernardino Superior Court's latent bias.

Kiewit Pacific fund audit.
Where did $194,597 go?

    Multiple numbers have been given in the past for the current KP fund balance.  This news blog has been conservatively using the lower number of $110K.  Ted Stimpfel of Newberry Springs stated to the board that Le Hayes, the CSD's previous General Manager, had stated that the KP balance was slightly over $138K and that the money was in a CD.

    Stimpfel noted that the CSD's April financial record shows $138K in a CD and Stimpfel questioned if that amount was the KP money?  Stimpfel further stated that if the $138K was the KP funds, that it was being mischaracterized in the CSD's ledger and that it should be reclassified as it is a separate trust fund belonging to the community.

    As to Stimpfel's question of whether the $138K-plus was the CSD's embezzled KP funds, CSD board arrogantly failed to respond (Director Clark was absent).  Jodi Howard, the current General Manager, was also tight-lipped.

    Stimpfel also requested that the CSD board, at the CSD's expense, perform a forensic audit of the KP funds.  Tens of thousands of dollars are reportedly missing and the board has a fiduciary duty of accountability.  A reckoning of $194,597 needs to be addressed by the CSD board.

    In the continuing unethical cover-up, the board has willfully failed to act.  It was hoped that under the agenda's itemized Old and New Business, that at least one director would do the responsible thing and request that a forensic audit be discussed at the next meeting.  The arrogant board members Robert Springer, Paula Deel, Vickie Paulsen, and Jack Unger did nothing!

The dozen elephants.

    The board also discussed the continuation of water rampdowns under the court ordered Adjudication and a workshop on May 6, 2019, in Barstow at 220 E. Mountain View Street at 9 A.M.

    The workshop is opened to the public and all water users in the Silver Valley are encouraged to attend.  This Mojave Water Agency meeting was encouraged by a letter and oral testimony to the Watermaster by Ted Stimpfel and two others that the minimum producers are being negatively impacted by the Adjudication and that they need to be heard.

    The CSD board discussed the need to find a resolution to the severe overdrafting.  The board's continued head scratching for a solution is a sign of brain coma.

    The solution to Newberry Springs' water overdrafting has been known for 50-years.  A county report a half century ago clearly stated that alfalfa farming in Newberry was not sustainable and that alfalfa growing had to immediately cease.  The corruption of the farming special interests blocked the implementation of the recommendation and look where we are !

    Today, we have a dozen elephants still siphoning 80-percent of the ground water for their alfalfa farming that is wreaking unmitigatible damage to the water table for thousands of people.

    The alfalfa farmers theft of the minimum producers' water not only takes the water but the alfalfa farmers are also contaminating the groundwater with toxic farming nitrates and highly toxic urban elements that are now leaching into the groundwater from the many thousands of tons of Nursery Products "fertilizer" that have been trucked in by many of the farmers.

    Only complete fools wouldn't comprehend a solution to the water overdraft.

Jack Unger's Strategic Planning Committee.

    The April CSD meeting's nerdy moment came when Director Jack Unger proposed a Strategic Planning Committee be created "to design and build a civic hub for Newberry Springs."

    The simple-minded rallied with a full vote support (minus missing director Larry Clark) with the added suggestion that Director Paula Deel should be on the committee due to her in-depth involvement with the community.

    Are these directors for real ?  What looney alternative world are they living in ?  Such bad timing and wrong medication.

    Newberry Springs has a declining population.  Minutes earlier residents were crying that with the weak property values that they may need to default on their mortgage and walk away from their Newberry home investments !

    The community has far greater problems that the CSD have neglected and need to be fixed before dreaming of a new Civic Center.

    But, yet in another feel-good moment to distract from the reality existing in Newberry Springs, Director Jack Unger is proposing a new civic center complex that under any design scenerio will cost millions of dollars.  Where will the money come from ?  If solar comes in, who will be left to pay for it ?  Who will be left to use it ?

    Millions for a new complex but the CSD board wouldn't use a few thousand dollars to protect the community from devastating solar.

    The Newberry Springs Service Center (Senior Center) is edging towards abandonment.  A significant number of homes in Newberry are unoccupied.  And now the CSD apparently wants to drive others out with taxation for a new Civic Center Complex.

    This feel good idea is coming from a director who has been unsuccessful in his own personal finances and who has nothing financial himself to contribute.  The idea to spend other people's monies that don't exist is irresponsible, as is the other directors' support of the idea.

    A supporting member of Paula Deel's cartel highly praised and recommended that Paula Deel (who recently lost her business) should be placed upon the planning committee.

    The highly important Community Plan that Paula Deel earlier anchored and developed was a complete loser.  The County never enacted it which now has Newberry Springs largely unprotected by the county's Renewable Energy & Conservation Element's Policy 4.10 that protects Community Plan communities.

    As outlined in earlier blogs, Paula Deel's leadership has done more damage than good, which is a reflection of where Newberry is today.  Paula's promotion of NSEDA's looney farm is an example of the gullible misguidance that has been perpetrated upon the community.

    Contrary to statements, the looney farm is not going to be leading the community's farming future.  Federal subsidies, the state's new water regulations, the market, and worldwide product research will be the guiding factors.  Thinking of anything else is naive and the community needs more than ineffective, dead-end leadership.

Newberry Springs related past news blogs:
Newberry CSD embezzles community funds. - 4/16/19
Newberry Springs is in serious trouble. - 3/29/19
CSD Continues To Jeopardize Community. - 3/24/19
County planning deadly dust upon High Desert. - 2/10/19
Newberry Springs January 2019 update. - 1/28/19
CSD considers pay increase. - 1/19/19
Newberry Springs' true poverty. - 1/1/19
Rational thinking was a no-show. - 7/27/18
Painful 7-months of CSD inaction. - 7/22/18
Newberry CSD Board exposing themselves. - 6/25/18
Newberry CSD remains paralyzed. - 6/24/18
Newberry families may move for health reasons. - 3/26/18
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
Communities collaborating for protection. - 2/11/18
Newberry CSD falls short against solar opposition. - 2/4/18

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