by Ted Stimpfel
Posted: November 9, 2019
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
More Crazy CSD Shenanigans
The next Newberry CSD meeting has an agenda item that
appears to raid the CSD's treasury.
of the November 12, 2019, meeting reveals a proposed 'action
item' by the Paula Deel cartel to purchase land for a new Civic
This would support Director Jack Unger's Strategic
Planning Committee's desire for a new civic hub blessed as another Deel
economic development scheme. The proposal appears so poorly thought
out that it will likely be yet another CSD failed endeavor.
Included on the Strategic Planning Committee are CSD Directors
Unger and Paulsen. Also on the committee is Paula Deel's proxy husband
as Paula can't be a third board member under the Brown Act. Note, Paul
Deel, Paula Deel and Victoria Paulsen are also all webbed as board members of
the Newberry Springs Economic Development Association.
A major oversight of Item 4(c) is, there is no money.
Except for a small amount left in the Kiewit Pacific fund which should be kept
in reserve should it be needed to fight the solar invasion.
Director Jack Unger's craving for a new civic center is
reasonable, it is needed. However, common sense demands that other priorities
must be addressed first.
Most small community civic structures that include a multifaceted
complex, such as offices, an attached fire department, meeting rooms, a community
assembly hall with a kitchen, etc., start at about $3-million and zoom upwards.
The cost for Newberry isn't known because it hasn't been
researched. This land purchase proposal is the proverbial cart being placed
before the horse. (Again, what are these people thinking?)
Construction costs for public buildings have all kinds of hidden
costs, such as high seismic standards. So, the low-end base starting point
of indebtedness is approximately $1,400 for every adult and child in Newberry.
The Newberry CSD would have to float a bond that with interest
and associated costs, would substantially increase the base indebtedness.
Shouldn't these CSD directors, before spending our precious funds for land, first
find out if the people want the financial burden?
If solar isn't fought off, and utility-scale solar becomes established,
families will start fleeing Newberry Springs over health issues. Then who will be
served by a new civic facility? Who will be left to enjoy paying the continuing
If the lofty ideals of a grandiose civic center are going
to be paid by grants, then we need to see them before the CSD's public money is
recklessly spent on depreciating land. When it comes to fiscal management
at the CSD, there appears to be a screw loose.
Important CEQA Workshop
Went Unattended by Most CSD Directors
A powerful and very educational one-day workshop on CEQA, the
California Environmental Quality Act, was held Saturday, November 2, 2019,
in Yucca Valley.
The workshop was hosted by the
California Desert Coalition
with supportive co-sponsorships by the
National Parks Conservation Association
Mojave Desert Land Trust.
The workshop dealt with CEQA Law and several case studies
of the successful application of CEQA addressing environmentally sensitive
As Newberry Springs is currently battling the Clearway Energy's
Daggett solar project, the workshop was well-timed and contained important
information that each Newberry CSD director should have knowledge of to
understand and use CEQA.
The only Newberry CSD director that did attend was Jack Unger,
who had to make a difficult job shift change to attend. Also attending
was Pat Flanagan of Desert Heights who has been instrumental in Newberry's
This writer also attended the event as a follow-up to attending
a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) workshop held at the same location in
January 2019. NEPA is the "Magna Carta" of Federal environmental laws from
which California's CEQA is based.
For the most part, CEQA holds stronger
environmental protection than the Federal NEPA. CEQA applies to
California controlled lands while NEPA relates to Federal lands and projects.
A brief overview of CEQA can be visited here.
The CEQA workshop was held on the same day as Newberry's
Pistachio Festival so most of the directors apparently opted to party
at the festival rather than attend the workshop.
Newberry's Community Action Guide
It is interesting to note that the county prepared Community
Action Guide for Newberry Springs recognizes, from the county's data, that
"Newberry Springs has a higher rate of emergency room visits due to chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than San Bernardino County."
Yet, the county states that the air quality in Newberry Springs, as
measured in Barstow, has healthier air "...than that of the
overall Mojave Air Basin, in which Newberry Springs is located."
So, why the conflicting data? How can better air quality
equate to the fact that Newberry has higher levels of COPD? The county's
air data and methodology are very skewed for Newberry.
Click on the frame for enlargement.
Could it be because Newberry's air quality is being measured at the
Barstow Courthouse? That is over twenty-miles east, before the westerly
winds blow into a Sand Transport Path picking-up silica dust particles to
then engulf Newberry.
Even in mild breezes the harmful invisible silica dust is picked-up
and transported airborne over Newberry.
Newberry Springs, due to being in a Sand Transport Path, already
suffers from a higher damaging degree of toxic air pollutants. The toxic silica
dust, a Proposition 65 carcinogenic, will multiply many times the exposure
should the 5.5-square mile Daggett Solar Power project be built.
CEQA Victory Outside Joshua Tree
For 15-years a new town has been proposed just outside of the
southern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park in Riverside County. This has been a proposal
to build up to 8,490 new houses and about 1.3 million square feet of civic and
The project would cover 1,900 acres which would be divided
into 6 separate villages.
The project has been highly opposed by local residents and
conservationists. The Riverside County Planning Commission had denied
the proposal and the issue came before the Riverside County Board of Supervisors
Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
GLC Enterprises LLC has been working on the Paradise Valley community
plan with Riverside County for roughly 15-years trying to acquire approval.
On November 5th, the Supervisors followed their Planning Commissioners and rejected
the project citing many environmental concerns raised by the opponents under
CEQA is an effective tool if applied effectively by experts.
Newberry's CEQA expertise on the Daggett solar project is now coming in the door late
when the party is almost over.
If the Daggett Solar Power project is built, the County will
be holding substantial culpability for the damages to the People of Newberry Springs.
The direct damages plus potential punitive damages could potentially run into the billions
as previously alluded to in a previous news blog. Fortunately, the county has deep
• • •
Should you wish to participate in the defense of Newberry Springs
against the Daggett solar project, please e-mail
us and provide your contact information.
• • •