For too long of a time, the Blotter has been
reporting about problems with the Newberry CSD board of directors. The board's
pompous, high horse, chest-thumping lordiness has ignored repeated citizens' complaints
voiced to it during board meetings. The CSD's board has ignored the warnings
only to continue committing repeated violations.
According to the Barstow's Desert Dispatch, CSD board president
Robert Royalty has claimed that "they were trying to follow Brown Act guidelines and
he wasn't sure which parts of the rules the board had violated." Royalty's pious comment
illustrates his absence to reality. Citizens have been voicing board Brown Act violations
before the board for many months and Royalty has been brushing them aside. The violations
The board is supposedly representing the community yet it lacks
a cohesiveness in reaching-out to the community. The board members seem more concern
in their own personal agendas.
The Newberry CSD has been so out-of-control and mishandled that the
county Grand Jury had to hire a San Francisco consulting firm, Harvey Rose Associates, to sort
everything out during the investigation.
For citizens voicing complaints before the board and
trying to have the board bring itself into legal compliance, it has been like pissing into a high
wind. The board has been so unreceptive to public complaints that it had to come to a Grand
Jury investigation; which has drastically shamed and ridiculed Newberry Springs.
The San Bernardino County Sun's newspaper
article on the Grand Jury's
spanking of the Newberry CSD was reprinted in a number of other publications, one as far north
as the San Francisco Bay area.
The Blotter has been restrained in its past
reporting. It has been often attacked and condemned for the painting
of Newberry's institutions in a bad light; yet, the public needs to be informed.
Business as usual cannot continue. Now, however, some of the Blotter's
earlier CSD stories have been vendicated by the G.J. report.
One of the best opportunities that Newberry Springs has for improving
the community is its
Community Service District. This can be the instrument of community revival if
operated properly; but unfortunately, it has too many on its board that have no
business being there. They have no clue as to how to properly operate a board,
hold proper meetings, interact with the public and staff, and how to conduct the other
business of the district. Over the past quarter century, the CSD boards have done
little to improve the living conditions in Newberry Springs.
Newberry Springs can be a far better place than sun scorched
desert land; but it is likely to remain only that. Thanks to the current
and recent past CSD boards that have incompetently deteriorated the district, the
community may very well lose control of its CSD through consolidation with other CSDs
or the cancellation of its powers by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
LAFCO has not been happy with the Newberry CSD for years. This is
in part due to the road grader fiasco when the CSD went against LAFCO's direction.
The CSD also went against some citizens' opposition to purchase the equipment that quickly
became a wasteful piece of surplus.
Newberry Springs would likely be better off without the CSD as it is
currently operating. If the CSD powers were turned back over to the county, the community
would acquire better representation than what currently exists. At least Newberry
Springs would have a professional staff in place and would probably have an Advisory Council to the
county. The only major drawback would be the likely loss of the community's volunteer
fire department; but then that department has been largely decimated under the Seeley regime,
under power politics, to where the NSVFD depends largely upon mutual aid.
The Grand Jury's report is forcing a new opportunity of a rebirth
in the way that the CSD conducts itself. But new Guidelines & Procedures of doing
business and board training isn't going to be enough. A change in the mental attitude by the
board amongst themselves and the public is necessary; and that is the board's biggest challenge.
In a despirate effort to respond to the Grand Jury report by
September 28 as required by law, the CSD board has called for a Special Meeting on Tuesday night,
July 9, 2013 at 6 P.M., to start addressing the many violations stated in the Grand Jury report.