Johnson Valley News 7/21/2017

Sorry about the late posting Publisher was out of town on a quick task.

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• Were you in the crowd at the Lucerne Valley Community Center yesterday evening? We think you will agree that meeting of the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) offered more than an ordinary amount of news and information for the citizens who came to listen and ask questions.
NextEra’s Ord Mountain Solar project and the Edison’s Calico Substation triggered this meeting’s agenda, as most of us live downwind of the 483 acres of desert they plan to cover with solar panels.People who live in the California deserts have presented many objections to this government-decreed industrialization We always bring up the problems of managing air quality during construction and throughout the planned 25-year lifetimes of these projects.

Well, air quality took center stage yesterday.

Particulate Matter was the topic here, not tailpipe emissions or other pollutants. First up, Tony Malone, (who formerly served in the Air Quality Management District, and is a solar expert besides). He briefly explained the mysteries of PM 10 and PM 2.5 and what they mean when we breathe them in. Think of PM 10 as Grit and PM 2.5 as Powder. We occasionally do breathe grit, but the powdery silt that rises off desert roads, trails, hula-hoed yards, and large swaths of cleared land, well, that gets as far into our lungs as smoke can.

Then, Pat Flanagan’s presentation on Sand Transport. Pat is a member of the Morongo Basin MAC, and the Morongo Basin Conservation Association. She came a long way for this meeting.

Her story began with photos taken from her own window, documenting disturbed fine-grained sand deposits completely blotting out the mountains when the wind blows. This soil type appears all over this desert on the almost-level lands deemed best for solar field sites.

Pat’s graphics moved from detailed soil analysis maps prepared with Brian Hammer’s assistance, to plotting the long corridors of wind transporting grit and powder across the desert, to news photos of highway “whiteout” accidents, to explanations of the mechanisms that normally keep the Grit and Powder out of our windows and out of our windpipes. The only sane conclusion: put solar panels on rooftops and parking lots at the point of use.

Two people in the group already knew a lot about these technicalities, the head honchos of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District.

The MAC had invited Brad Poirez and Bret Banks to speak and answer questions from the audience. We felt it once again, that the level of knowledge

of pretty technical stuff out here in the sticks can surprise visiting experts. I’m getting used to it. Now expect it.Reviewing and trying to report to you all this stuff today, no way, but I will take it bit by bit in days ahead. You already know some of the air quality issues (particularly when the winds howl by) and the stiff oppositions to the recent proposals to build more and more acres of solar fields in the desert. But we have a lot of info here and my Reader’s Digest version needs careful condensation to make sense. So, later…

Also on the MAC agenda, the report from James Ramos’ Deputy Chief of Staff Sandra Maravilla. She surprised the audience with the announcement of a time change in the Board of Supervisors meeting on August 8th. The discussion of the Draft of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (REC Element) was moved to 1:00 p.m. This disrupts several plans people had made for carpooling, and switching work hours to have time off to attend.

County planners have worked on the REC Element for many moons, as undesirable solar projects were built and more applied for. You can find the draft at:

See the attached analysis of the draft by our friends from the Alliance for Desert Preservation. No stone unturned.

If you want to hear the discussion firsthand at the Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on Tuesday, August 8th, you can go to San Bernardino, to the County Government Center, Covington Chambers, 1st Floor, 385 North Arrowhead Avenue.

Or, see and be seen at one of the video conference centers up here:
The Bob Burke Joshua Tree County Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, or
the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, 15900 Smoke Tree St. in Hesperia.

Remember: be there at 1:00 p.m., no matter what you may have read elsewhere.

You can make a public comment at any of these locations. You may also submit written comments to the Clerk of the Board.

To have a written comment of your own

be included in the Board of Supervisors Agenda Item, on any part of the draft REC Element, e-mail it by July 25, 2017,  to,^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
• Tomorrow, Saturday, July 22, you are invited over to the Flamingo Heights Community Center, for a Saturday afternoon Ice Cream Social, between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Only 5.00 admission; FHCA members get in free.

• Landers Thrift Shoppe is setting up a special Back To School section, and the call is out for anything you can donate in the way of school supplies and clothing for kids of all ages.

The Landers Thrift Shoppe is in Belfield Hall, 58380 Reche Rd. not far from the Post Office. They are open from 10:00-2:00 every Saturday. Do a little bargain shopping for yourself when you bring your Back To School items. You never know what treasures may be waiting for you.



• Lots of breakfast favorites to choose from at the COOL Johnson Valley Community Center, 7-10 a.m. for only 6.00 per person. And that includes a small orange juice and the never-empty coffee cup. Come for breakfast, stay to socialize. The breakfast crew gets lonesome when so many go away during the summer!


Remember, all proceeds and tips go toward the upkeep and operation of the Center.

Betty Munson

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