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