Solar Project Appeal to Supervisors
This Coming Tuesday!

Posted: December 8, 2019
Newberry Springs Community Alliance

by Ted Stimpfel

CSD acts tone-deaf to the community.

    Some Newberrians on social media have placed water as the No. 1 current concern in Newberry Springs.  I disagree.  While water is a major issue, its outcome is in the hands of a court with the final solution years away.

    Clearly, the No. 1 current issue is photovoltaic solar.  The outcome of the massive Daggett Solar Power project is being decided now and it is something that Newberrians can still influence.  But only for a very short time.

    The solar project's EIR certification by the Planning Commission is coming up on appeal this Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 10 A.M.   Newberry desperately needs its citizens to attend the hearing in San Bernardino and to speak against the project.  A poor turnout can ruin Newberry's residential future.

    It is fortunate that the sleepy Newberry CSD Board woke-up in time to file a last-minute appeal.  CSD Board director Jack Unger took charge as the point-man.

The appeal Hearing.

    The CSD Board, as the appellant, will be given 15-minutes during the appeal hearing to present arguments as to why the county's Board of Supervisors should overturn their Planning Commissioners' decision.  Jack Unger has undertaken the responsibility to prepare the CSD's arguments and he has prepared a PowerPoint presentation.

    Individual members of the public will be given a 3-minute opportunity to speak.

    The Newberry CSD has hired an attorney who will be presenting only a letter to the Board of Supervisors.  The attorney will not be appearing at the Hearing and his advisement to the Board is unknown.

    The CSD has failed the prudent action early in the game to hire a CEQA expert who should have been advising in the development of the CSD's presentation.

Allowing one's ego to interfere.

    Despite several e-mailed requests that I made during November to Jack Unger that he share his developing CSD's PowerPoint presentation, to allow myself and the community to view and make suggestions to help prepare the community's CSD's presentation, Unger refused to acknowledge the requests.

    It wasn't until after Jack Unger had completed the CSD's presentation and had submitted it to the County for installation into the County's projection equipment, for viewing at the upcoming Hearing, that Unger responded, writing that he would not share the public document until December 10th.

    As a result, the CSD's presentation is nowhere as good as it should be.  Unger's ego and hostile arrogance have not allowed the minds and skills of others to collectively participate in the development of the presentation.

    Even after the submission of the presentation to the County, he has refused to allow me and others to view the presentation.  By his obstruction, he has delayed community members the time and ability to decide their best content of the individual community presentations before the Supervisors.

    No one speaking before the Supervisors wants to duplicate what has already been presented in the CSD's 15-minute presentation.

    Unger's allotted 15-minutes can only highlight a sampling of the overall jewel points.  The other meritorious points should also be entered into the Administrative Record by local speakers.  This can become critical should it become necessary to seek judicial relief.

    Jack Unger also quashed the possibility of the community holding a community workshop on Friday or Saturday, December 6th or 7th, before the Hearing to allow the community to view the CSD's PowerPoint so that we could zero-in on the elements not covered in the CSD's presentation.

    A workshop also would have been a great way to collaboratively encourage public interest to attend the crucial Hearing.

Unger's PowerPoint is less than impressive.

    Late Friday afternoon, December 6, 2019, the County Clerk posted the Supervisors' December 10th agenda.  Attached is Jack Unger's PowerPoint (3.9 MB) minus the important narrative.

    In viewing the PowerPoint's visuals, my disappointment was to the point of anger.  In trying to cover too much, Unger's inclusion of a few weak points dilutes the impact of the strengths.  Newberrians' health and property values are at stake and the CSD's PowerPoint appears subpar.  The PowerPoint needs to sell, and the layout doesn't do that.  Hopefully, the narrative will be dynamite.

    Jack Unger had requested to use a 3-minute video that I produced in 2018 illustrating Sand Transport Paths and the impacts of silica dust upon Newberry's citizens.  I repackaged the title and had some visual improvements done in West Los Angeles.  Unger took the video and butchered it by chopping the important continuity of the video by only using still shots which makes the critical impact of the message on silica dust far less understandable.

Failure to share.

    The failure to share and hold a community workshop involving the PowerPoint before the Hearing, to help organize the community's individual presentations, could become a fatal error.  The community needed to organize the maximum number of principal facts into the Administrative Record of the Hearing.

    IMHO, Jack Unger did a good job collecting sufficient triable facts.  However, I do not believe that they are packaged right to meet the interests of the Supervisors.  The Supervisors are looking for benefits to the County.  The presentation doesn't appear to be strong enough to resonate the downside of the project.

    The CSD's PowerPoint will be premiering against a slick-looking, professional PowerPoint by Clearway Energy.  Furthermore, the County's Land Use Services also has a PowerPoint promoting the project.

    Newberry Springs needs the miracle of a big community turnout and a sensational narrative for its PowerPoint.

    So, folks, if you care about Newberry, it is time to put your boots on-the-ground and get-em to the Hearing.

For information about the location of the Hearing,
please see our previous blog, here.

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