Letter to the Editor: plans defy public input

manzanarsolarsiteAs a resident of Inyo County, I have been excited to take part in the revisions to the County’s General Plan.  My participation has not been limited to the Renewable Energy component of the plan, but rather the entire General Plan. This is because I view the County General Plan as a way for our county to envision and begin developing a plan for our future.  Since none of our towns in the south are incorporated, our participation in this plan is the best way for us to have a voice in our future.  I believe our County needs an economic development plan, and it has not seemed to me that we have had one in a very long time.

During both the General Plan process and the Renewable Energy process, I thought the Planning department did an excellent job of soliciting input from residents.  Planners had an interactive agenda which asked everyone—not just those comfortable speaking in public– to weigh in on maps and written policy proposals by putting colored stickers on components of the plan.  Being able to participate in this process made me believe that I was participating in a democratic process.

This is why I was so shocked to see the documents before you today.  These documents in no way reflect what took place in those community meetings. While I attended meetings in Independence, I have spoken to people who were in these same meetings in Bishop and other parts of the county, who report that community sentiment was largely similar.  There were no suggestions that industrial solar development was part of anyone’s vision for moving this county forward.

When asked, the overwhelming majority of participants heartily supported solar development on rooftops, over the aqueduct, or perhaps on Owens or China Lake, but were vehemently opposed to the placement of industrial solar mega-developments on undisturbed land. At meeting after meeting, I have heard residents express grave concern about the industrialization of the valley and the impact of such industry on our bread and butter:  tourism.  No temporary construction jobs, and certainly not the 10 jobs DWP is suggesting will arise from their proposed project next to Manzanar will compensate for the damage done to our many small businesses, and recreation-centered employment with the Park Service, Forest Service, or BLM.

Modifying the County’s General Plan is something that cannot be rushed through because of pressure from outside agencies.  It must be done with careful, deliberate consideration and engagement with our county’s residents.  In Inyo County, any economic development plan we make must have supporting tourism at its center.  Otherwise, we are taking our greatest asset, the beauty of our valley, and throwing it down the toilet.

Jane McDonald

Independence

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38 Comments
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Charlene
Charlene
8 years ago

Why doesn’t the DWP offer solar to all customers with electric bills? Why ruin our valley for the second time, the first being the aquaduct. DWP has our whole valley fenced off! We are locked out of fishing, gathering for native americans, walking, driving, etc. CORPORATIONS such as DWP do… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

Just move it down the road a little. The jack rabbits and tourist will never know!

Waxlips
Waxlips
8 years ago

Mongo only pon in game of life. Me too!

Mongo The Idiot'
Mongo The Idiot'
8 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

You think you got Methamphetamines now, just wait till the place looks like Mojave. Make lots of money on these projects Owinyoites, things gunna get allot worse once this place is trashed. This new resident will sell out and move someplace nice. I’ve worked too hard and long to retire… Read more »

Dessert Tortoise
Dessert Tortoise
8 years ago

i haz kandy!

Mongo The Idiot'
Mongo The Idiot'
8 years ago

What was once worthless now has value.
I’m glad I saw it before it was gone.
Thank You Nature, I loved it with all my heart.

April Zrelak
April Zrelak
8 years ago

The SOVSR is not the only project anticipated in the REGPA. The Planning Department is proposing and ENCOURAGING large-scale development throughout the eastern Owens River area of the valley, all the way south to Keeler, surrounding the entire eastern side of Lone Pine, south to Boulder Creek and various places… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
8 years ago

Topo facts DT, Manzanar Parking lot elevation 3858 ft. Owens River at Manzanar Rewards Road 37117 ft. Base of alluvial fan due east of Owens River/Manzanar Rewards Road 3937 ft. Manazanar is approx 141 ft higher in elevation than the Lower Owens River at Manzanar Rewards Rd. The distance and… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

The project “next to Manzanar” will be four miles away. It will be very nearly invisible from Manzanar. How about dealing in facts and not emotion? I have said it once and will say it again, drive south to Mojave and take a look at the PV array immediately west… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

If you were to live in the Owens Valley maybe I would hear what you have to say. but you don’t so go some where else.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Who do you think pays the bill for Owens Valley or any isolated rual place to have ultility service? Don’t kid yourself, the cost to provide gas, electricity and water utilitiy service to the many isolated communities of the west is orders of magnitude greater than the revene that could… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

If you want to keep a tally sheet, Inyo-Mono made the City of LA with water from here. Without that resource, there would be no big city down there. Talk about not paying your way.
Benett

kwak
kwak
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

not to mention all the silver from Cerro Gordo . . .

Fiat Justitia
Fiat Justitia
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

And the hydropower generated in the Owens Valley, which gets exported to the cities. Tortoise has it backwards. If you look beyond the narrow fiscal view, at environmental life cycle analysis, the rural areas subsidize urban areas. It’s the age-old story of conquer and pillage. And who pays the ultimate… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago

Fiction, Again! Is it ignorance? Is it stupidity? Nah, just disinformation as always! Owens Valley is a net energy exporter. Mammoth has it’s own geothermal. The small amount of hydro power that is generated here is normally more than we consume, and many times that amount is generated by the… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ Monroe, I am a pseudonym who very much enjoyed your facts. Also, you said… “Is it ignorance? Is it stupidity? Nah, just disinformation as always!” Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. I notice a prevalence of this in the valley. When the topics of… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

My response was intended to be to the pseudonym that consistently defames the name of noble desert tortoise. I should have specified that. Sorry, no offense intended toward you Mongo. I agree, it is hard not to notice that often the same semantics and cadence appear in the writing of… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Thanks Russ, No offense taken, I really admired your comment and wanted to acknowledge you. I agree with your observation about DT. To use paradoxical or oxymoronic metaphor, it appears we have a horse of a different color or even a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In all fairness though, I… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Well Mongo if you didn’t like the rendering in the Register, you’ll really hate this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/ These are some videos I have loaded to youtube for my new web site. Near the bottom of the group is LORPFeb00283, a pan of the Owens River Delta. If the “plan” that the… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ, couldn’t figure out how to get to your videos via that link.
BK

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ, can’t find your videos via the link.
BK

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe
Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ Monroe, It was good to see your videos. I can see that I am not the only person who actually notices nature’s subtle magic here in the OV. Every single time I go out and “turn over a stone” or “pick at a rotten log” or “just sit still… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

What about this project do you really admire DT? Are you really for “green energy”? I ask that because the more I learn and inform myself about this project, there is healthier and a more efficient ways to bring energy sustainability.. But most of those ways do not scratch the… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

You better deal with the fact that it is the tax payers of the big cities those utilities serve who subsidize utility service to isolated places like the Owens Valley. The rates you pay don’t even begin to pay the full cost to bring electricity to your home or business.… Read more »

Message
Message
8 years ago

DT – I’m begining to suspect you aren’t from around these parts. And have entirely too much time on your hands. Your point about the ingratitude of people in rural communities to our benefactors in the city is riddled with classcism and hypocrisy. The wealthy sophisticates of the city do… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

Here’s the best picture I’ve seen that gives a notion of the relationship between Manzanar and the PV panel site. A 5 or 6 foot tall object will be very difficult to see 4 miles away. Yes, you will be able to see something. Would that be any different than… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Believe it or not, some of us don’t limit our travels to driving on 395 or walking around in Bishop. We actually hike, ride and hang out in the Sierras, the Inyos and the Whites. Pretending this solar collection facility won’t be visible is an insult to intelligence. There may… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

You are just twisting words looking for an argument. I hope you find one.

kwak
kwak
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

There’s nothing twisted about his words: it’s very clear. You want to reduce the argument to what you can see from your car window; he acknowledges that far more perspectives exist than your narrow, limited and intentionally blind one. You and DT continue to repeat the same tired arguments as… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I suggest that you and Eric re-read my post and see if you can find any of the things you claim I said. To make it easier for you both I said: ———– Yes, you will be able to see something. Would that be any different than driving or walking… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
8 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

It sounds like you don’t support a facility or a zone change in the Owens Valley that will reduce green house gases, thwart climate change, bring sustainable employment, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil? I’m very nervous that people in the Owens Valley who drive around in their Prius’… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

I would watch out quoting Sarah Palin.
BK

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

….maybe some can say “I can see those solar panels from my house “…..

Waxlips
Waxlips
8 years ago

You aren’t from around here are you?

Waxlips
Waxlips
8 years ago

It isn’t just the visual blight DT. there’s more to it than that. Maybe you can tell us all of the other things that will come along with these large solar arrays. Yeah, why don’t you let us know what a great thing it is and how it is going… Read more »

DESCO
DESCO
8 years ago

Well said. The project may or may not be visible from 395, but for anyone hiking more than a few feet up the side of a mountain, this will be an eye sore seen for many miles.

Daris
Daris
8 years ago

What do you think will sway our supervisors money from DWP or those comments made by the public? I know where my money would go if I were to bet.