Letter to the editor and LADWP: no big solar here

IFDear LADWP,

I encourage you to include the cultural impacts in the EIS. Because this site does have historical significance.

Regarding your plans to build a solar array in the Owens Valley. I am a descendent of many pioneer/settler families in the Owens Valley: the Yaneys; the Skinners; the MacIvers; and the McGees. Sadly the latter were part of the massacre at Owens Lake, that your LA Times reported on a few months back.

Just last night I found out that your solar array location plans will destroy historical remnants of my families’ Skinner/MacIver homestead/sections, including a graveyard, and the MacIver Ditch that my Grandfather Finley MacIver constructed. Also it will take out the narrow gauge rail line that the Slim Princess rode on. My grandmother, Frances Eva (nee Yaney) MacIver (daughter of Eva McGee Yaney) was on it’s last ride, as I recall from family stories.

I have called my elderly cousin in Bishop, my father, my cousin who is co-executor of my grandmother’s estate with my father, and my aunt; and none of them or anyone else in the family had been contacted about this project by POWER Engineers, Inc.

My family is part of the economic diaspora from the Owens Valley in large part due to the Aqueduct. However, I am planning to return to the Owens Valley soon to live as my children are grown and on their own. I have grown up always believing that I was supposed live in Bishop. My parents had to move to Victorville for my father’s job when I was five. We travelled one weekend each month up to Bishop from when I was in kindergarten to my senior year in high school to visit their parents, my grandparents. So during my growing up years I was very much and still am a member of the Owens Valley/Bishop community. Additionally my grandfather, Joe MacIver worked for the DWP.

I can’t believe that POWER Engineers, Inc. could think that my family’s site lacked historical significance as there is a street in Bishop named after them and we still own property on Main Street (where the Vagabond Inn and Denny’s Restaurant are). As I have said before they didn’t contact my father or my cousin about this as executors of that property. My elderly cousin has deeds and records of the property that she will be getting to me to share with you.

Additionally, my Uncle Dennis Bambauer was interned at Manzanar as a child and has made the pilgrimage back to it every year. He was a mixed race child from a Japanese woman and a US service man and an orphan, but was still interred! He was married to my mother’s sister. Sadly, they have since divorced. I may need to make the pilgrimage this year as his Parkinsons may not let him return. I join in his stead and Manzanar in asking you to respect that sacred site and the request of those at Manzanar to not site this project.

In closing I wish to remind the DWP and the City of LosAngeles that the trade for our water, was tourism. This project will impact our tourism greatly. And frankly what I see from my recent visit to the Owens Valley, is that we’re, you and I, not doing too good on that tourism. So many boarded up restaurants and other places that I remember as a kid, Welches in Big Pine, the Pines in Independence, etc. I hope we can join together to work toward a better tourism trade, throughout the whole valley. Getting rid of a rail line will not help that at all.

And I don’t see how this project works toward the “greater good” that Teddy Roosevelt traded our valley for to you LA. The LADWP, may own the property,  but the reason you own property in the Owens Valley is ONLY for the Aqueduct and for no other purpose.

If the DWP wants solar arrays, please consider putting them over the Aqueduct. This will alleviate evaporation and be a more responsible use of our shared water. Or put them in LA over parking lots, on resident’s houses, etc. I agree that we should be solarizing as much as possible. But large scale solar arrays are not compatible with many landscapes, especially the Owens Valley. They kill birds, increase flash floods, and this one would have significant line loss too. There are concerns about the health effects of power transmission and distribution systems which would not be an issue if the photovoltaic cells were distributed across rooftops, etc. closer to the point of consumption.

I look forward to the next century of cooperation between the City of LA, the LADWP, and the residents of the Owens Valley that takes into account those of in the Owens Valley. Please join me in working toward that.

Many kind regards,

Yaney LA MacIver

 

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Paul M. Skinner
Paul M. Skinner
9 years ago

I will have to agree with my relative Yaney LA MacIver. I love to go out in that area and walk around and show my grandchildren where my father W.V. ( Bill Skinner ) was born and lived until LA took over. He would show me where the garden and… Read more »

Yaney LA MacIver
Yaney LA MacIver
9 years ago

Paul get in touch with me. Lynn Johnson has my contact info. Please and thanks.

Water Moccasin
Water Moccasin
9 years ago

“…but the reason you own property in the Owens Valley is ONLY for the Aqueduct and for no other purpose.”

I agree and hope county supervisors make a point of this. Zoning laws don’t necessarily let other private land owners owners run more than one business.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was sold a lie by greedy men with only one thing in mind, making lots of money. The pitch was the fresh High Sierra water was going to waste as it was pouring into the dead Owens Lake. If LA could capture the… Read more »

MajorTom
MajorTom
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

And he was a Republican. And a progressive. We could use some TR Republicans.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  MajorTom

Hear, hear! Well said.

Water Moccasin
Water Moccasin
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Roosevelt fought against corporate and government graft as well as champion for conserving natural resources, yes. He also used gunboat diplomacy to insure Panamanian revolution when Columbia wanted more money for Panama Canal than US offered. He also favored imperialism in Philippines and opening US trade to Asia. West coast… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Water Moccasin

I think you are right about the federal government. Lipincott, of the federal reclamation bureau, was also working privately for LA in the whole taking of land and water. And, LA’s congressman
had sway in it too.
BK

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

More badly informed exaggeration. William Muholland was an employee of a public agency and not out to make a profit for himself or for his employer. Today you might not like the policies of the time, but for all of his faults (I have had to evacuate my home when… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Harsh judgment on Steve, DT. The truth is none of us knows the inner motivations of others. Only they may know. The facts are those who bought up San Fernando Valley land enjoyed real estate values that ballooned when Owens Valley water flowed south. Owners? At least Otis Chandler, owner… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Water certainly did allow Los Angeles to grow and that growth made a great many people quite a bit of money. It is exactly that kind of development that allows a nation to gain economic power and allow it’s citizens to live more prosperous lives. Without it this would still… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Dear DT, You seem to be the one who brings up Mulholland. Others have merely responded. Not sure what your source of info is. Some have suggested that you are a DWP shill. Surely, that is not true. I do not have an axe to grind. I have a truth… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago

Desert Tortoise, I find your comment slightly offensive, and just out right WRONG, of course we must put in play the ideological lens that I am looking through, that of which interprets what I see (my underlined perspective). Yes the water that the Paiutes, Shoshones, Mono, Miwuk’s used and cherished… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

“Shoshones, Mono, Miwuk’s used and cherished for thousands of years” Cherished? The lived in dirt huts I don’t think they knew a thing about the World they lived in. Seems a lot like to blame Mullholland when he was just working under the direction of Fred Eaton. It was Fred… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

Please take the time to read “Left in the Dust”: How Race and Politics Created a Human and Environmental Tragedy in L.A. by Karen Piper. She did a great job of laying the truth out for all. And as for me you have only read a post on a blog.… Read more »

tourist from overseas
tourist from overseas
9 years ago
tourist from overseas
tourist from overseas
9 years ago

Here’a a link to George Takei on facebook: he has 5,000,000 facebook fans so his message goes far. You can google his broadway show on internment camps by googling “Allegiance and Takei” Schools get grants for solar. This school has a $900k grant. Why can’t every home get their own?… Read more »

tourist from overseas
tourist from overseas
9 years ago

I came across your letter for reasons unknown as I was looking into travel through Bishop for a ski holiday later this year. Anyway, Actor George Takei of Star Trek fame has a show on broadway at the moment about the internment of Japanese children like himself. He has a… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Lone Pine Railroad station long before the LA Aqueduct. http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/lone_pine3/lp06_lone_pine_station_s.jpg Olancha circa 1920 http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/olancha/olancha5.jpg Old construction photos of the aqueduct construction; http://waterandpower.org/Historical_DWP_Photo_Collection_LA_Public_Library/LA_Aqueduct_Owens_Lake.jpg http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org/images/otc/input/content/350/sie1E17C8E01FD1C1F06.jpg You can view the photos at this site as well http://waterandpower.org/museum/Construction_of_the_LA_Aqueduct.html I think the degree of greenery some here attribute to the Owens Valley pre-aqueduct might be… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Why are you pro-LADWP without the facts? Consider the fact that before the aqueduct, all streams from the Sierra stayed in the Valley. So did all the groundwater which began going south in the 20s. Certainly the absence of all of that water made a difference. Not sure why we’re… Read more »

Rejoice at living here
Rejoice at living here
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

All who live far from the overpopulated, overcrowded nightmare in the south should go outside every morning and rejoice and be thankful for living in such a beautiful place on earth. Meanwhile, there will be more people being born in the south next year adding to the pollution, the crime,… Read more »

Water Moccasin
Water Moccasin
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Showing another viewpoint of the truth is not necessarily pro-aqueduct. The statement that OV looks like it did 100 yrs. ago is quite a stretch, as well is the idea that some have that it looked like the western Sierra and central valleys. Settlers on the east side of river… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Water Moccasin

Another viewpoint is not necessarily pro-aqueduct, but when someone alleges no or few impacts from the aqueduct there is no basis in fact. What is your source of information?
Thanks, Benett Kessler

Water Moccasin
Water Moccasin
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Never alleged no or few impacts. Just that there were impacts pre aqueduct and there would be impacts if water had stayed in valley. DT’s photos show how unlike western Sierra it is here in the rain shadow. Our water comes from snow melt and results in different environments as… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Water Moccasin

I did not say you alleged no or few impacts. My comment was in reply to DT.
BK

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

My favorite Owens Valley photos are at Eastern Cal. Museum and in the pioneer towns gallery on line. Prior to the devastation caused by the removal of water the region was a unique mix of arid desert, lakes, springs, riparian forest, etc. The further north you travel the greater the… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

I showed you pre-aqueduct photos, some taken of the aqueduct under construction before any waters were diverted and you can see the Owens Valley shown in those photos was as parched then as today. I stand by my contention that the valley before the aqueduct was an arid place, semi… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

The photos show practically nothing of the Valley. No one has said every inch was lush and green, but please stop your inaccurate assertions that all that water did not make our valley green. As one local man suggested to me today, go out to the Bishop canal and look… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
9 years ago

Now that’s funny!!! You have never stood by a word that you have written here! Almost everything that you post is off point and none of it is verified by the deceptive data that you quote. The best part is you never respond to posts that prove your gibberish, wrong… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

Those black and white photos are a bit deceptive, especially the one with 100 square mile Owens Lake full in the background. Perhaps to be fair we should meet halfway between the black and whites and Albert Bierstadt’s work. Bierstadt was in the valley in the 1870’s. http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/albert-bierstadt/evening-owens-lake-california#supersized-artistPaintings-260066 Or how… Read more »

Yaney LA MacIver
Yaney LA MacIver
9 years ago

What would be really cool is to have pictures posted at all the lost homesteads of what it looked like then. Things were very green. Of course, please stay tuned for Jenna Cavelle’s Paya for what it really looked like before the settlers arrived. As to the McGees, they’ve got… Read more »

MajorTom
MajorTom
9 years ago

A phone/tablet app that would show historic photos of the scene when pointed in that direction would be awesome. Are there any maps of the valley from early 1900’s that show the farms, ranches and orchards?

Yaney LA MacIver
Yaney LA MacIver
9 years ago

Dear Desert Tortoise, Please do some research and reading about those times. Yes, they could make it and many did. But when you have the President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt, and Gifford Pinchot working in tandem to force the land from those who had been granted homesteads, etc.,… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago

Dear YL MacIver , Thank you for your letter and for sharing some of your Family’s history. Folks who wish they had some Family history here in the Valley, that they would have given anything to be here all their lives are naturally to some degree hankering to do the… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

There are all manner of abandoned ruins in the Owens Valley and the deserts to the south. Is every single one “historic”? Really? Or are they just the abandoned property of people who tried and failed to make a living in the unforgiving envronment of the desert southwest? US 395… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

A lot of people had to sell their property or simply had to leave during LA’s buy-out of the Valley. Historic accounts say LA’s agents would buy land up stream and cut off those downstream. Check out the little book, “Dry Ditches” written by the Parchers. Anyway, there is a… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

I just interviewed 10 people at my LA post office about the proposed solar project, here is what I learned: – All but one knew where Owens Valley is. – They all think it is criminal to put the panels in Inyo along the scenic byway. If you are against… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

NPR just did a big article on LA water, it’s a good place to post comments from the valley.
http://www.npr.org/2013/11/03/242819699/how-an-aqueduct-turned-los-angeles-into-a-garden-of-eden
There are also many other articles in the LA area papers because of the 100 mules.
Sign Up and post comments Inyoites?

INYOITES UNITE!!!!

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

WoW!
Great article!
Did you know that you may be able to register your families homestead site and graveyard with the national register of historic places?
I pray to GOD that LADWP doesn’t desecrate your families graves.
Thanks for your communication!
Mongo

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

I think the Yaneys; the Skinners; the MacIvers; and the McGees all deserve some consideration for their loss. Inyo needs a national historic site on the property with a memorial wall dedicated to all the families of the Inyo who lost their homes, farms, livelihood, and lives.