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October 13, 2007

Anti-Green Path North Meeting

Tonight I went to the public meeting in Yucca Valley organized by the California Desert Coalition as part of their effort to stop the LADWP from building the Green Path North power lines through the high desert. First, let me tell you (in case you ever need to know) that at the collection of buildings that form the Yucca Valley Town center, where the community center is, there are NO signs telling you which building is the community center. But there are signs identifying the town hall, the library and museum. Ruling those out (along with the playground and ball fields) if you just follow the crowd, you'll get to the community center.

It's a big hall, and they put out chairs for 300 people. It filled up, and a lot of people were standing at the back and along the sides. They gave us a VERY good "Power Point Presentation" (has Microsoft been defending that term? I suspect some presentations I see now involve no Power Point). Then the various committee chairs of the coalition sat up front for Q & A. It was an impressive show. They all seem intelligent, informed and good public speakers. The audience, too, seemed intelligent and perceptive, asking good questions.

The official answer to the obvious question of why the LADWP wants to build these power lines on this extra-long bizarre route is "We don't know." But the very good guess is that all the power line corridors that are already authorized and even built, where capacity could be increased, are owned by Southern California Edison...and LADWP wants to own some transmission lines, probably for economic benefit they guessed, but I wonder if simple empire building isn't part of it too.

The question was asked "What right does LADWP have to come out and take land and build a power line in the high desert?" was answered, again, with something like "I don't know." They said inquiries with the Public Utilities Commission and other responsible authorities just led them right back to LADWP. What I wanted them to say was something like "My god, you fool, it's the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power!"

Earlier this year someone from LADWP came out to the area and began putting in survey markers; not just little flags, but concrete & steel with aluminum tags. Three were found in Big Morongo Canyon. One man at the meeting said he found one in the middle of his 15-acre piece of property. A total of seven are known. LADWP denies putting them there, although the aluminum tags all bear the name of LADWP.

An interesting fact I hadn't heard before is that power lines built on BLM land pay rent of $14 (and some cents) per mile per year. Much of Green Path North is, of course, on BLM land.

But best of all, the California Desert Coalition was selling t-shirts with this cool design on the back.
California Desert Coalition T-shirt

Filed under California,Green Path North | permalink | October 13, 2007 at 10:10 PM

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