Johnson Valley News 03/17/2018

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• Dissatisfaction. Disappointment. Anger.
Reasoned comments have morphed into irate protests. We begin to believe those scornful folks who say we waste our time. Our elected representatives will not represent us. Bureaucrats give lip service to due process. Legislators who take action on our behalf, well, they are in the minority.

Memories of Revolutionary history (remember history?) recall the Stamp Act. In the February meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council we heard of more people planning to leave California. What is the decider? It looks like the last straw could be the latest tax schemes put on us this year, like the infamous gas tax to repair roads that previous gas taxes were collected to repair.

The latest death knell for common sense: the document tax to subsidize low-income housing, increases the fee for recording real estate documents from 30.00 to 100.00. Who pays? Certainly anyone trying to buy, build or sell low-income housing – California’s version of King George‘s Stamp Act. It required a stamp be paid for and stuck on every document, resulting in an outcry of, “No Taxation Without Representation.”

Rural desert residents, on their own time and their own dime, asked their “representatives” for protection against federal and state mandates for industrial-scale solar and wind energy projects. Meetings, e-mails, letters, petitions, conversations, the message repeated many times by folks who have educated themselves on the science or lack of it, and know what they are talking about.

“Green Energy” projects have already begun to cause destruction. The proof of the pudding is all over the State, indeed all over the country. The shabby treatment of citizens who believed the greenwashing continues. We now hear applications for over 25 square miles of solar fields on Hwy 247 are under review while County Supervisors agree with us, yet delay action on protections for their rural citizens. The “Green” comes from taxpayers’ subsidies.

Find out the latest at the HVCC meeting this Monday, March 19, at 3:00 p.m. in the Flamingo Heights Community Center, 55977 Perris Rd., turn off Hwy 247 at La Copine Restaurant.

• Shortly we will be circulating another comment by our friend Steve Mills. He has dug into the latest information for the scoping of the proposed amendment by the Bureau of Land Management on the Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan (DRECP). He shines a spotlight on all the dangers of allowing even more industrial-scale renewable energy projects to destroy the very desert supposedly “conserved” only 18 months ago.

The questions Steve asks prove the point that dredging up the DRECP for amendment to resolve these conflicts will clearly require another Environmental Impact Statement, but no specific amendments have yet been proposed. No public comments were allowed at the recent scoping meetings. Really.

His letter is long, but as you wade in the swamp of acronyms and federal and state agencies, you will see how Steve has gone to the heart of the matter: how can expansion of utility-scale generation even further than the DRECP did, possibly be acceptable or justifiable under state and federal laws and regulations? Renewable energy development is not “burdened” under existing rules.

Steve wrote, “We’ve sent this email to people who’ve supported previous coalition letters, and believe that there may be others willing to sign on to it.  If you know of anyone like that, or have a list serve, please forward this to them.  We’d like to be able to show the BLM that there is a lot of community support for the positions taken in the attached letter.

“The deadline for submitting the scoping letter is next Thursday, March 22.  So that we don’t get jammed up against that deadline, we’d appreciate hearing from you well before then.”

To add your organization or your name, send your response to his e-mail address:


• Saturday evening, April 7, at the Community Center, come enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner, accompanied by a sangria that’s non-alcoholic and a very refreshing accompaniment for your spaghetti marinara. The desserts will be supremo, too! Music by Dino and Frankie!
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Dinner is at 5:00 – only 7.00 per person; kids 12 and under only 4.00.

• For you unfortunate souls stuck in the city, our first signs of spring are wheeling overhead on the mountain thermals as they drift along Hwy 247 over the Mojave desert toward their northern breeding grounds.

The turkey vultures settle on the few trees and rocky hills in the evening and greet the sunrise with wings spread nearly six feet from tip to tip. Their effortless flight and the sheen of their feathers are beautiful; just do not look them in the face.

We get other migrations, birds and butterflies, but none as dependable or as noticeable as these turkey vultures. Spring and fall they pass overhead, never stopping for lunch, never getting lost, maybe all the way up to Canada and all the way down to South America. Amazing.

Everyone welcome to every Saturday Breakfast, monthly Dinner, scheduled activities and special events at the Center; you do not have to be a JVIA member to join the fun.

Johnson Valley Community Center
50567 Quailbush Rd.
From Hwy 247, turn onto Larrea Rd,
go 1-3/4 miles to Quailbush Rd. The building is on your left at the corner.

The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden is next to the parking lot and open to visitors for free. When the weather is good and the garden railway crew are available, the trains often run after Saturday Breakfast.

PLEASE help the crew keep things working right; it seems some people do not realize how fragile the railway and the trains are. The model trains come from a privately-owned collection; they are not toys. The brass railroad track, the trestles, and bridges are easily broken, the train layout is not a playground. We have been notified of at least one four-year-old who has done damage. Alert parents if their kids get on the train layout. We would hate to see the garden railway get shut down.

Off-roaders navigating by GPS – according to Google Maps, the coordinates for the Community Center are
34.3424938     -116.56066880000003.

When you travel to and from the OHV Area, you can legally cross the highway at any of the community roads, but not travel on the right of way. A dirt trail parallels the highway on the north side. Remember to take it easy, watch out at blind corners.

If you come up Larrea Road, travel alongside it, off the pavement. Plenty of parking at the Center.

Betty Munson

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