Tuesday, September 15, 2015

9/14/2015 Community Meeting Notes

Download the meeting notes [pdf]

Second Monday of the month, September 14, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277
Wonder Valley MAC Delegate and Meeting Chair: Teresa Sitz
Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; 
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Jim Ricker answers questions about the Marine Base.
  1. Call to order, 9:15, Teresa. (We waited for Bob, Hannah and Ken to return from picking up the laundromat dumped on Shelton at Two Mile.)
  2. Introductions
    Teresa: I want to thank everyone for coming. I really look forward to this meeting and seeing you. Thanks to Star for hosting this meeting. Please remember to sign in.
    Present (18): Star, Karen, Duane, Almut, Teresa and Ken, Karen and Ted, Marilyn, Mary, Jill, Beth and Chris, Bob, Charlotte, Hannah, Izzy, and Robin.
  3. Community comment on items not on the agenda
    The community is also invited to comment after the reports and during the discussions below.Chris asked that the lighting ordinance be put on the next agenda.
    Almut asked  what that plan is for Shelton Road, that it’s becoming wider, but not at crown. She asked if Star supervises the road grader? Star said no, but that she takes information on the raods. Almut (and Bob) reiterated that El Paseo needs to be widened at the crown. She also asked the reason for a secondary road running parallel to and higher than Shelton. Star said that Shelton is an emergency road and is graded to accommodate 2 vehicles side by side. She said that telephone lines may be in the way in some places. Star said they want to take the hump out of Shelton but will widen it in the meantime.
    Bob  talked with Special Districts about the crown. He said the hump is too big to take out and that he hasn’t heard anything more. He said Troublefield gave him permission to widen it himself. Bob said he will take some dirt.
    Star said they are widening Shelton for 2 vehicles. She said it’s always a process of lowering berms versus removing excess sand. She said there has been no moisture in over 4 years and that is contributing to the problem.
    Ted said that South road is washed out, getting soft. Road was nothing but a river during the last storm.
    Star said that the new cutting blades have been installed and are being used.
    Almut said that Shelton should not be on emergency road list because it floods.
    Star said she has revised the emergency road list to say, “as they will be maintained on a priority basis.”
  4. Reports and Presentations
    A. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Teresa Sitz
    JULY – 76 – 9 – 1 (calls, reports, arrest)
    AUGUST – 59 – 5 – 0 (calls, reports, arrest)

    When you call to report a crime
    Get out a piece of paper, note the day, the time, the number you called, and what transpired. Try to be as calm and matter –of–fact as possible, ask for a report number.  After you call, email me, or post a note on NextDoor, private message me - just get ahold of me and let me know you called and made a report

    Do you want me to continue inviting the Sheriff’s Department to this meeting?
    It was unanimous that the community wants the SBSD and CHP at the meetings when possible.

    B. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Jim Ricker,  Assistant Chief of Staff G5, Kristina Becker, Community Liaison
    Jim Ricker – presentation:  95% of all Marines come through this base.
    Number to call if you have a problem that needs to be addressed: 760-830-9222Schedule activity – will let me know, press releases
    Jill : What are the tanks shooting in the range behind Wonder Valley. Ricker: Practice rounds.
    Jill: On this map, what is happening off the pink part that extends over WV?
    Ricker: That is air space, restricted use airspace, 24/7/365.
    Me: When we went on a base tour they said the base has no aircraft.
    Ricker: That’s right, there is none on base, except Mercy Air.
    Hannah: How low are aircraft allowed to fly over WV?
    Ricker: 1000 feet, if issues, let us know, can put a limited restriction on the airspace.
    Call within a day or two – let us know where you live, the time and date of the problem.
    Jill: What is the big shiny thing at the top of the mountain?
    Ricker: It’s a communication tower, what you’re seeing is a reflection off the tower.
    Chris:  What’s the status of the expansion?
    Ricker: They’re putting signage up, but scrappers steal signs.
    Chris: Asked about the staging area on bajada, the dust, lights, noise, activity, who can we contact.
    Ricker: Call 760-830-9222.
    Teresa: Could you talk about the lights at the end of Wilson Road?
    Ricker: We drove out to Screech Owl. There are a series of ranges - 400, 500, 600. We suspect it’s range 500 - maintenance lights, run by a portable generator. There is no permanent lighting in that area, except for a building. We will set timers to set off at 2100 (9:00 p.m.). We’re also trying to reposition to cut light trespass. Give us 30 days (October 15) to implement the changes. The red blinking lights, they’re an FAA requirement. Whenever it’s cloudy outside it’s going to be much noisier.
    Almut: Do you have statistics for veterans transitioning into jobs?
    Ricker: No. Contact VA.
    Bob: What about access to the pictographs.
    Ricker: There used to be tours. Then there was vandalism. Someone tried to chip the pictographs out of the rock, chipped off the patina, so there are no tours now.

    C. Discussion and possible action: Shall the community endorse the delegate’s MAC Report to be read at the MAC meeting tonight? (One paragraph was struck and a new one added based on late information.)Yes.
    Questions re: Southern California Gas
    Ted: Ask them if they can hook us up to gas.
    Jill: Do they pay for maintenance on the road? They’ve damaged Godwin and Blower at Pipeline.
    Star: As far as I know they do not.
    Almut: Get the details in writing.
    Ted: When it was an oil pipeline they’d do a flyover every Monday.
  5. Ongoing Business
    "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
    Neighborhood Watch and NextDoor
    We now have 46 members in our NextDoor network. Sign up at: bit.ly/nextdoorwv
    Ted: I’m offering a patrol service. I’m checking 9 places. I keep a card on everyone and a map, and the days I checks places. Most robberies happen in the daytime – 60%. There’s been one incident at Screech Owl and Wilson.
    Star: The other time is in the middle of the night, around 2-3 in the morning.
    Teresa: I’m researching low cost security systems, some as low as $50 and I’ll be reviewing some of  these over the next month on the website, Facebook, NextDoor, and in the Sand Paper. Our BEST means of preventing crime is keeping your eyes and ears open and making reports. One of our NextDoor members stopped a crime last month by simply holding up her cell phone. The thieves saw her and it, got back in their cards and drove away. If you can, try to take an extra step to look out for your neighbors, and please do tell me when you have a success story.
    Duane: We all know who’s doing the crimes. I don’t understand why we don’t band together as a community to fight this.
    Star: We can’t do it without evidence, with a picture or video. We know who it is.
    Ted: We’re trying to.
    Duane: (to Ted) I want to do some patrolling.
    Ted: That’s fine.
    Jill: There have been reports of two different vehicles – a dark Expedition, and a dark green SUV, that aren’t from Wonder Valley.
    Ted: There’s a camo painted truck, too.
    Beth: I’m concerned that we not create vigilante justice out here. We need more police support. We need to get some of this on video.
    Teresa: I’m in continuous talks with the Sheriff’s Department and I don’t seem to be able to get any results.
    Duane: Let’s start phone trees so we can call each other when we see something.
    Beth: I can support that.
    Izzy: Keep it simple. I have my own Neighborhood Watch. It works in emergencies, too.Ted: There are also problems with squatters.

    B. Illegal Dumping
    Teresa: We’re having 2 community cleanup days.
    1. Early 2016 – dumpsters out front for trash and tires. AFTER that
    2. Joanna from code enforcement will drive around to all the sites we’ve list and select one for a site cleanup
    Twentynine Palms is having their community cleanup day on Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to noon, across from Luckie Park, 74325 Joe Davis Drive. I’m going to give you a phone number in a minute to call and see if you need to provide proof that you live in 29.
    There’s a household hazardous waste from 8 am – noon Saturday, October 24 behind City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road.
    For more information contact Larry Bowden at City Hall, 760-367-6799, or see last week’s Desert Trail, or contact me.
    We had a new laundromat out on Shelton near Two Mile. Let’s give a hand to Bob and Hannah and Ken for picking these up and taking them to the dump.

    Bob: Can we start collecting tires ahead of time at the Community Center?
    Star: Yes, 2 or 3 weeks ahead.
    Bob: It would be easier if we could do it on a regular basis, throughout the year.
    Star: There’s currently a 9 tire limit for any property. We’d need permission from County Code enforcement to collect tires here.
    Karen: Didn’t Reese Troublefield say he need tires for hi racetrack?
    Star: We need to find out how many he’ll take, and when.
    Star: Let’s contact Code Enforcement and ask for wireless cameras for areas where there is illegal dumping.

    C. Discussion and/or possible action:
    Shall the Community schedule a community potluck for October, Saturday, 10. Time? Volunteers? GO – 10/3, Art Tour – 17,24, Halloween – 30.
    Only 6 people raised their hands so I suggested adding it to the next agenda.
  6. Agenda planning
    The community is invited to suggest items to place on the next meeting agenda.
    - Chris suggested putting the Dark Sky Ordinance on the agenda.
    - Teresa will put a community Base Tour on upcoming agendas. Ricker said they request between 8 and 35 attendees.
    - The community potluck was bumped to the next agenda.
  7. Announcements
    Jill: If you’re missing a peach-colored mobile home – I know where’s it is.
    Duane: Great. Does anyone know who stole my house?
    Teresa: Reach Out Morongo is still taking applications for October and November for the Navy chiefs program. If you know of an older or disabled person who needs help, repairs or cleanup to their property, please call 760-361-1410. Jill, I want to talk to you about this program after the meeting today.
    Our neighbors, Cass and Arjuna, have opened a yoga studio, Wonder Wellness, in Twentynine Palms and they teach senior yoga. Other classes looked interesting, as well.
    There will be a new show at the Glass Outhouse on Saturday, October 3. I want to thank Izzy and Charlotte for attending the show last Saturday night. It’s so wonderful to see these two pillars of the community representing Wonder Valley at the Glass Outhouse. I also want to thank Almut, Stewart, Jill and Sandy for supporting Frank and Laurel and the community.
    Kip’s Desert Book Club will have their one-year anniversary at the Palms on Monday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. The book is Edna in the Desert, by Maddy Lederman. Everyone is invited.
  8. Adjournment  10:35 a.m.September 14, 2015, 
MAC Report: Wonder Valley, by Teresa Sitz, Wonder Valley Delegate
We had a community meeting this morning with 17 in attendance. We were very happy to welcome Jim Ricker and Kristina Becker of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, to present. We also discussed dates for a community cleanup and a community potluck.

The next week I followed up on a letter that a community member received from an oil company asking permission to use their property for a pipeline. I believe this letter was several years old but the community member was still concerned.

I researched the issue and found that the pipeline under Pipeline Road originally belonged to Arco and was called the Arco 16, being 16” in diameter. At some point it was owned by Questar who then sold it to Southern California Gas. Southern California Gas now owns it and uses it to transport natural gas. Questar attempted to buy the pipeline back from Southern California Gas to convert it to ship crude oil, some of which is the highly volatile Bakken crude obtained by hydraulic fracking. Questar then considered putting down another 16” pipeline along the SoCal Gas line and contacted a large number of landowners, including our community member, asking for permission to cross their land with the pipeline.

I spoke with Steve Chapman, a spokesperson at Questar, and he told me the company is looking at several possibilities including a rail terminus at White Water where they would offload crude oil into a pipeline there. Another option is moving crude oil by rail along the BLM utility corridor that parallels the 10 freeway, or selling their pipelines to another company.
This is an issue that we need to keep an eye on. A crude oil spill anywhere in the Morongo Basin would be tragic.

Looking at Google maps it seems that along some portions of Pipeline Road in Wonder Valley you can see the profile of the Arco pipeline – that it may not be buried deeply. I’d like to research this further as it seems that off-road and even on-road vehicles could conceivably strike the pipeline and fracture it, leading to a gas leak. This would be one reason to oppose the WEMO plan and continue to limit OHV access on public roads and lands, and also ask Southern California Gas to assess the possibility of this type of accident.

Last week I spoke with Robert Visconti, a public affairs officer with Southern California Gas. He assured me that the pipeline in Wonder Valley is safe. It is buried at least 36 inches deep, and was qualified by testing in 2012 when it was changed to a natural gas pipeline. Once a year someone either walks or drives the line with leak detection equipment, and the safety and shutoff valves are inspected, lubricated, and operated. The pipeline is “pigged,” an internal mechanical inspection, no less than once every 7 years. If you have any questions about the pipeline, please contact me and I’ll get in touch with our contact at SoCal Gas.

Thank you.