By Deb Murphy

One of the cool things about attending Inyo County Board of Supervisors’ meetings are the little kernels of knowledge available.

For instance, last week, those watching learned that dirty discarded mattresses are worth two cents more than not-dirty discarded mattresses. The Mattress Recycling Council will pay Inyo $2.62 for used mattresses and $2.64 for dirty used mattresses—one of those interesting tidbits one can pull out at cocktail parties.

Plus, the east ridgeline of the Bishop Landfill is the unofficial showroom for surplus County vehicles up for auction. There are 30 more where those came from appearing soon, in two waves.

However, the kernels of knowledge gleaned from Tuesday’s Board meeting were discouraging at best.

After a strong, collaborative start of the Inyo National Forest Plan, County Planning Director Josh Hart and the five Supervisors have little idea how the process will end. The Board got a brief update on the Plan and its draft Environmental Impact Study from Hart Tuesday. The EIS should be out by the end of this month or early May; the Plan itself, Hart’s best guess, will be available sometime this summer. The EIS will cover the preferred alternative and all the rest of the alternatives outlined in the Plan. Inyo Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta will make the decision as to which alternative prevails.

Following questions to Hart, Supervisor Dan Totheroh summed up the situation with “so, they can take pieces of all the elements and all the alternatives and re-combine them.”

We’re just commenters,” said Supervisor Rick Pucci. “We have no jurisdiction. It would be nice to know what’s going to be in the EIS.” Hart recommended inviting Forest Service staff to a workshop at a future Board meeting.

Hart identified the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning Rule 2.0 as fairly benign, just barely worth comment by the April 25 deadline. But after a discussion and Lone Pine resident Earl Wilson’s description of the 60-page document as “gobbledygook,” maybe benign isn’t the proper term.

The Planning Rule, basically, outlines the protocol used in BLM’s planning process for both regional plans and overlays like the recent Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The issue, according to Wilson who had only made it half-way through the document, was that “there are a lot of little catch points that deserve scrutiny, like who’s the decision-maker.” Plus, “public involvement,” as opposed to “public comment” will begin earlier but last shorter. In addition, it sounded as if “public” was going to be restricted to those with the appropriate, but undefined, expertise.

The biggest hang-up was the lack of a line document that identified the changes.

Board Chair Jeff Griffiths and Supervisor Matt Kingsley directed Hart to draft a letter, in the form of questions, identifying the Board’s concerns.

Pucci summed up this one with “it’s very convoluted, very difficult. It may be simple for BLM, but it’s convoluted to us.”

Bishop City Council

Bishop City Council held its first public hearing on water and sewer fee increases, as well as a reduction in the cost of document copies, with no response from the public.

Document certification and copies could go down from 25 cents a copy to 10 cents, in line with recommendations from the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The increases range from a 20 cent bump in monthly water and sewer charges for breweries with pretreatment to a $1 increase for both water and sewer for a single family residence. Up from $35 to $36 for water and $30 to $31 for sewer. General Commercial properties will go from $33.25 to $34.20 per toilet for water and $28.50 to $29.45 for sewer.

The second public hearing will be held April 25 with the changes going into effect July 1, if approved.

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