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Thanks,
Donald


Friends of Johnson Valley
2nd Meeting. Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Location:
Shakey's Pizza
836 W Colton Ave
Redlands, CA 92374

Meeting called to order, 7:30pm

Recap:
The “Players” – Who’s involved.

PFJV:
Dave reported that he along with representatives from many other groups had attended a meeting with the PFJV on Monday, June 16, 2008. He thinks that while the group does have some issues with “politics” that with some oversight from the end users (groups like FOJV) they will be a good representative for our cause.

OHV
Leadership Group: This group is separate from PFJV and while the two groups may have different politics they both have the same goal; to keep Johnson Valley open.

29 Palms Base Tour.
Dustin attended the base tour and offered his summary. The tour was a display of what it takes to train our troops. Examples were shown of IED training, city type areas for combat practice, and tent encampments to simulate living conditions. The host for the tour was James Ricker (retired Marine Corps). Dustin said that he was a generous host. Dustin had the opportunity to explain to him the situation of the OHV enthusiasts, with lands closing all the time and shrinking opportunities for this kind of recreation. Mr. Ricker told Dustin that the Marines are now aware and understand that there are multiple groups with an interest in Johnson Valley and that they are having representatives engage these various groups, but that in the end the Marine Corp is “looking for the path of least resistance to get what we need.”

Dustin added on the topic of leadership groups (PFJV & OHV Leadership) that there is still an issue with trust between the users and these groups (show of hands by attendees). He suggests that everyone needs to let the leadership know what their concerns are so that the trust can be built.

Question: Desert racing organizations such as MORE, and MDR are users of this area. Are they aware of the current threats?

Answer: Helen from Cal4Wheel/PFJV has had some contact with these organizations.

Jerry Grabow, President AMA District 37 was in attendance and offered as an opening that the group needs to “Keep on Goal”. Jerry offered that the military has not yet submitted an application for withdraw, which is the formal document requesting that the BLM land be transferred to the military. (note: this application would show the actual physical boundaries of the areas the military is requesting. See previous maps on several various potential areas).

Question: District 37 uses a large portion of JV, while the Hammers trails is a relatively small area. Would District 37 trade away the Hammers area to retain the areas that they utilize?

Answer: (Jerry) One person in Dist. 37 cannot make a deal. It would have to be presented to the members and clubs that are represented for ratification. Jerry confirmed for the group that Dist. 37 would present this information to FOJV before considering a mitigation deal.

Megan added that the ORBA also has a board of directors and that if presented with a deal they would inform FOJV.

Dave committed that the FOJV would not accept a trade offer to keep the Hammers area in exchange for giving up Dist. 37 areas.

Jerry further offered that all of JV is BLM land. A withdraw of that land to the Dept. of Defense requires a Congressional Act. Everyone should take the time to contact their Congressman and explain the effects that a withdraw would have on the economy.

Jerry and Megan also stressed that there is no other land available in the BLM inventory to “trade”. Helen added that for Cal4Wheel there position is “No chance of a land swap”.

Regarding Windmills

Jerry explained that as the primary users of the area affected by the windmill project, they were approached by FPL (Florida Power & Light) about mitigating their impact. Jerry had previously been aware that the BLM had been testing/monitoring the wind conditions in this area. The FPL deal was presented to EcoLogic Partners, the law firm used by Dist. 37 ( Note: they also represent ORBA, ASA, and the San Diego Offroad Coalition). EcoLogic advised Dist. 37/Jerry that deals like this happen all of the time, and that with the “open area, no restrictions” designation of the JV area they/we would not be able to stop the windmills from happening. Dist. 37 has approved EcoLogic to act for them in negotiations with FPL regarding mitigation. If a deal is reached the monies collected from FPL would go into a trust account. Any entity could apply to the trust for a grant for work in the windmill area i.e., environmental impact studies for new events, possible land purchases, etc. EcoLogic would set up the trust fund and the grant committee.

Question: This just sounds like a justification for selling out.

Answer: (Jerry) This is not a sellout. A MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) puts into writing the conditions for the construction of the windmills. Only the area directly around the windmills, the transformers, and sub-station would be fenced. OHV users would still have full access in the mountain range up to the base of the windmills. The total area to be fenced would be approximately 51-acres out of 3100-acres in the project area.

Question: If the wind project is approved what about solar projects? Solar projects will not like the dust that is created by OHV use.
Answer: (Jerry) There are no solar projects currently proposed in the JV area.

Megan added that the EcoLogic attorney advised them that the wind project will go in. Making a deal with FPL will provide for the least amount of impact to OHV use. The agreement will be written to make concessions for OHV access and will provide money for mitigation measures. It is better to have something than nothing.

Comment: The problem is that this sets a precedent that the area is for sale.

Helen stated that Cal4Wheel had just heard of this windmill deal 5-days ago and that they are against this deal. She asked if the MOU was available because they had not seen a copy. Jerry responded that the MOU is still in the process of being written. Megan reported that they have informed the President of Cal4Wheel of this situation.

Ray from FOGR and PFJV reported that the windmill meeting held the previous night was attended by approximately 90% local residents. He is worried that the windmills are a foot in the door for other uses, but that the military will just take the land and not offer any mitigation at all.

Dustin also attended the windmill meeting and offered his review. He thought that the presentation was poor, basically just showing the equipment and the project related costs. When faced with some very good questions from the residents, i.e. what will be done if the lines cannot be run under ground (the mountains are granite), they responded with inadequate answers from their scripted presentation.


The Future of FOJV

Our Goal: Is to keep Johnson Valley open.

Leadership:

Dave Cole to act as President. Vote carried by show of hands. We will investigate leadership structure and plan to have another more formal vote for officers in approximately 3-months.

Scot VanDell volunteered to investigate non-profit status and related requirements.
Jim Knox volunteered to investigate elections, leadership structure and by-laws.
Rich Wholers will be the lead person for strategy.
Donald Gerber volunteered to be the Secretary.

The function of FOJV will be as a grass roots organization putting people on the ground to get the information out to the people that will be affected, home owners, businesses, politicians. We will work with PFJV and the OHV Leadership but will act as our own entity.

Meetings: To be held the first Tuesday of each month. We are still looking for a good location. The Honda Training Center meeting room will be investigated for the next monthly meeting.

Jim Knox provided copies of a blank comment form that can be mailed to the BLM regarding the windmill project. Written comments are due by July 11, 2008.


Meeting adjourned. 10:00pm
 

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Good job!! Thanks.

I wish I could have been there but this took a lot less time and effort. I actually had another meeting or I would have been there anyway.
 
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