Johnson Valley News 8/1/2018

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• Everyone invited this Saturday evening, August 4th, to the Johnson Valley Community Center, for the Summer Spaghetti Social. Get together with friends and family in the air-conditioned hall.

Enjoy delicious spaghetti with garlic bread, salad, and dessert, plus a special treat: a non-alcoholic sangria drink, fruity, fizzy and cold. All this for only 7.00 per person; kids 12 and younger, 4.00.

See ya!

• In 2014 California voters decided to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes. Last month at the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Council we heard about consequences of this decision from County Sheriff John McMahon.

“The majority of voters did not understand everything in that initiative,” was his opinion, speaking about Prop 47 changes in the law at the July 19th meeting of the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Council.

“The title was Safe Streets, Schools and Neighborhood Act. Who doesn’t want safe schools and neighborhoods?” McMahon echoed many of us, describing Prop 47 and AB 109 negative impacts on our neighborhoods: offenders who used to be in prison, county jails full, felonies downgraded to misdemeanors, no deterrent for multiple offenses, possession of date rape drugs now a misdemeanor –  these kinds of changes make no sense to him.

But it’s the law now and must be enforced. He reported a ballot measure for 2020 that could increase consequences for criminal behavior.

On SB 54, the so-called “sanctuary state law,” McMahon said it only effects local sheriffs’ communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Deputies have never done street-level immigration enforcement, do not have the time nor the means to check citizenship status. The question arises only after booking into a jail facility, photographing and fingerprinting. Prints are sent electronically to the Department of Justice, FBI, etc. Since SB 54 the sheriffs can notify ICE only if the charge meets a long checklist of criteria for repeat convictions or type of crime. ICE may then request notification of the date of release.

However, the Sheriffs Department website lists every inmate in custody, with release date if known, all public information.

Contrary to rumor, jails are not full of persons in the country illegally. Of 85,000 inmates last year, ICE had interest in about 1,200, still a regrettably large number, but a small percentage.

Q&A touched on Concealed Carry permits, as well as discouraged retailers not reporting shoplifting, groups of panhandling scammers, squatters and increasing lowlifes, homelessness and mental illness.

• This month at the LV-JV MAC we will hear which of us could be facing a new parcel tax.

County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig and Deputy Chief John Chamberlin will describe a proposed parcel tax for unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County.

We will hear the why’s and wherefore’s (raise revenues or cut services) behind the Board of Supervisors’ 3-2 decision to expand County Fire service zone boundaries.

Find out which of us property owners will have to pay $157.00 per parcel, subject to a 3% annual increase.

Vacant land or developed, poverty-level fixed-income retiree or well-off owner of a vacation getaway, a parcel tax hits every owner equally. But not every one of us has equal means to pay.

We would like to believe spreading the net wider to catch more revenues would also restore diminished  County Fire services to our unincorporated communities. What are the chances?

The LV-JV MAC meets Thursday, August 16, at 5:00 p.m. in the Lucerne Valley Community Center on Hwy 247, just past the fire station next to Pioneer Park. You may want to hear this for yourself.

• The infamous fire tax levied on every property with a “habitable structure” worked a hardship on many of us, for little determinable benefit. Those of us in State Responsibility Areas (SRAs) took the hits on this one.

Update from our favorite organization:

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed its opening brief and a fourteen-volume appendix to appeal the trial court’s dismissal of the fire tax case.

The fourteen volumes supporting the appeal demonstrate the extensive work that had been done by HJTA and the Attorney General to prepare the case for trial.

HJTA’s opening brief explains that the merits of the case had been fully briefed on both sides, together with a lengthy table of undisputed facts, citations to the evidence supporting those facts, a massive compendium of exhibits, and over 600 payer declarations providing the necessary sworn witness testimony.

The only thing left was for the trial court to give its decision. It was an abuse of discretion, and unfair to the more than 800,000 people affected by the fire tax, for the trial court to dismiss the case instead of deciding it.

While the gargantuan appendix represents the complexity of the case, HJTA’s opening brief presents a concise legal argument to the Court of Appeal. In short, this is a public interest case designated by the court as a complex special proceeding exempt from any specific deadline. Even if a specific deadline had applied, HJTA’s motion for judgment was timely presented. Dismissing a case under such circumstances violates the longstanding public policy of deciding cases on their merits.

The brief points out that, although HJTA was successful in supporting legislation that discontinued the collection of the fire tax, the case in court still has purpose because it seeks refunds of past payments for everyone who filed a Petition for Redetermination. If the court were to agree that, during the years it was collected, the “fire prevention fee” was really a tax, then refunds to the class would be in order.

HJTA hopes the Court of Appeal will be persuaded to reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the case, and to allow the case to proceed to a decision on the merits.

• Bureau of Land Management has temporarily closed public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon in Riverside County, due to the potential threat of wildfire.

This public safety closure started on Monday, June 18, and remains in effect until further notice.

With the way things are going, you may want to check for other closures and warnings before you head out for cooler altitudes.

Remember you can get campfire permits free at any BLM, Forest Service or CAL FIRE office or by visiting

Stay up-to-date with fire restrictions on your public lands in California:

Follow fire information via:

• While on the ATV Safety Institute’s website, we spotted their Golden Rules. One of them: “Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.”

Some “adults” should hear that, those who get their all-terrain vehicle training watching commercials showing how high they can jump (without showing the landings).

Going fast, making noise – what’s not to like? Some find out too soon, and it’s not the fault of the vehicle, it’s the loose nut on the controls.

California code says you can’t operate an ATV on public lands if you are under the age of 18 unless you have taken safety training and have the required ATV Safety Certificate.

Otherwise, a certificate-holding parent or guardian must be in direct supervision of the underage operator.

And no matter who holds a certificate, all 14-and-unders must have adult supervision. 14-17 may ride without adults but must possess their own ATV safety certificates.

Even when you don’t ride on public lands, always having control of your vehicle makes a fun day; losing control, well, not so much. You would not ride on Mars without training and the right gear; think of the desert as Mars with oxygen.

Be ready when riding weather returns. Check out hands-on ATV riders courses available in State Vehicular Recreation Areas at
ATV Safety Institute Online Courses for Adults & Teens sets you on the path to understanding all-terrain vehicles and riding strategies.

Even if you know it all, it doesn’t hurt to hone your skills. It might hurt if you don’t. Remember,
“ATVs are not toys.”

• The County of San Bernardino sent out step-by-step instructions for using an App to report any issues that you find in an unincorporated area directly to the Code Enforcement Department  – like abandoned vehicles and illegal trash dumping on private property, and short-term private home rental violations.

Available at the App store on your iPhone or Android device. to report any issue to Code Enforcement complete with photos. They seem to be responding well; work release crews come with truck and trailer to clean up.

Attached you will find updated instructions from the County.

To newcomers to the JV NEWS e-mail list:
The Johnson Valley community news column in the Hi-Desert Star in Yucca Valley usually becomes the basis for these e-mails – and most non-resident members and interested parties do not subscribe to the Star.

JVIA publishes the Johnson Valley Journal 6 times a year, which mails to members. If you are not a member, pick up an application when you come to the Community Center. Or e-mail me; I can e-mail a form you can download and print. We need the form with your check to process the membership.

You get added details here in between Journals, that space restrictions in the newspaper do not allow, as well as items specific to JVIA members. You usually will receive the JV NEWS once a week which fills in the long wait between Journals.

If you do not want to receive these e-mails, just reply and say Cancel.

You do not have to be a member of the Johnson Valley Improvement Association to join in on scheduled activities and special events at the Community Center! The Center is also available for birthday celebrations, family gatherings, weddings. No rent, we ask for a donation to cover overheads, and that you leave it as you found it.

The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden next to the parking lot is open to visitors for free. You are welcome to enjoy this approximately 2-acre plot full of drought-resistant plants and trees, artifacts from homesteader days and whimsical decor our garden designers have created.

An extensive model railway claims top billing here. Make sure kids do not enter the train layout; the track and model buildings can be damaged easily.

The G-scale trains run when the crew is available, and the weather smiles on us. When you come to Saturday Breakfast, ask if the trains will run that day. Right now it’s just too hot.

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, do not go on the Hwy 247 right of way. A dirt trail parallels it on the north side. Cross the highway legally and very carefully to get onto any of the community roads.

Remember to take it easy, watch out at blind corners for junior offroaders and thoughtless speeders.

We always ask you to slow down on the community roads. People do live here; noise and dust travel a long way.

If you come up Larrea Road while in or on a green-sticker vehicle, travel on the dirt alongside the pavement.

See you at the Saturday Breakfast, 7:00-10:00 a.m!

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.


Betty Munson

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One Response to Johnson Valley News 8/1/2018

  1. Betty Munson
    Betty Munson August 2, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    First, what a excellent and informative report from correspondent and contributor, Betty Munson.

    Second, did you catch that?: A new proposed home and property tax proposed by County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig and Deputy Chief John Chamberlin will describe a proposed parcel tax for unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County.

    What a sham… proposed? There is no vote. County fire can, have and will raise parcel taxes. No vote necessary. They go through the motions, and hit us with new taxes. Time for the Chief to retire. WE ALL CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER HIT FROM COUNTY FIRE. It has shamelessly downsized our area, even the firefighters union warns we are underserved.

    There is never enough money for the Chief. He is taking food from the children of our area and our poor seniors. We are the most depressed area in the County. Does the chief have a heart?


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