Report: California AG Probing Newsom Over Quid Pro Quo Involving Donor Flynn

By Mark Gutglueck
(Upland February 28)–The California Attorney General’s Office has opened up an investigation into whether Governor Gavin Newsom made special arrangements to accommodate one of his major campaign donors during negotiations relating to California’s controversial AB 1228 passed in September 2023, which raised the minimum for most fast-food workers to $20.
Prior to that bill being refined into its final form and voted upon by the full Assembly and then the California Senate, an exception was cut out for a limited set of fast food businesses, virtually all of which are ones that are part of a chain owned by billionaire Greg Flynn, who has invested $178,800 in Newsom’s career as a state politician since 2010, including $100,000 that went toward the 2021 effort to fight off Newsom being recalled from office and $64,800 provided to him during his 2022 reelection campaign.
On April 1, AB 1228 will go into effect, raising California’s minimum wage at fast-food operations to $20 an hour from $16. Unaffected by the pay hike will be all 188 Panera Bread locations throughout California, of which Flynn owns 24.
According to those knowledgeable with regard to the issues now being examined by the state attorney general, Flynn and lobbyists working on his behalf succeeded in shaping the form of that law, and were able to do so as a consequence of the intercession of the governor. The governor’s office acknowledges taking part in the negotiations relating to deriving the final language of the bill, but has not responded to requests for comment on suggestions that Newsom did so at the request of Flynn. Continue reading

Texas-Based Company Testing I 29 P)alms Will Give It A Variance To Develop A Resort In Indian Cove

Residents in the Indian Cove neighborhood of Twentynine Palms are loading up for a fight in which they intend to test whether their resolve to prevent the encroachment of what they say will prove to be an incompatible use in their midst can overcome the property rights of a Texas-based land company and its ability to coax from the city council a zone transition to create a resort near their homes.
Ofland Hospitality, formerly Yonder Hospitality, is a joint venture between Charles Tate and Noah Ellis focusing on the development of outdoor resorts in areas of the country with picturesque settings. The company’s first resort, Ofland Escalante, originally called Yonder Escalante, opened in April 2021 in southern Utah located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Bryce Canyon National Park. From Ofland’s corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas, Tate and Ellis are now working toward completing another project in the City of Townsend, Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The duo have now set their sights on 152 acres they have tied up between Twentynine Palms Highway to the north, Sullivan Road to the south, Shoshone Valley Drive to the east and an extension of Lear Avenue to the west. That property, immediately adjacent to Indian Cove, is slightly more than 6.7 miles from the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, most of which distance can be travelled by a straight shot out Twentynine Palms Highway, also known as Highway 62. Continue reading

Redlands’ Farm Salvaging Effort Involves Deregulation In Agricultural Zone

In the wake of the devastation wrought by the oriental fruit fly, city officials this week took the first steps toward a retrenchment of its land use policy in San Timoteo And Live Oak Canyons in what a cross section of the community hopes will not come too late to preserve Redlands’ position as one of the last of three districts within San Bernardino County with a substantial agricultural component.
The game plan for doing that calls for allowing farmers to augment their fruit and vegetable growing operations with what the city is calling “ancillary and supportive activities” in order “to enhance and diversify revenue sources from existing agricultural land uses.”
This week the planning commission reviewed new ordinance language intended to achieve those goals, followed by public input, including that from several of the city’s farmers, before making a recommendation that the city council adopt the ordinance in the near term.
In practical terms, what is to come about is the owners of the city’s groves, vineyards, farms and rancheros will be permitted to engage in commercial activity expanded beyond the limited roadside fruit stands they heretofore were allowed to operate in order to sell their produce, open or reopen as the case may be wineries on their property, conduct tours of their operations to groups so interested and convert a portion of their property to, or otherwise utilize existing, gardens for ceremonial venues such as weddings. Moreover, the city is to adjust its agricultural zoning, which currently disallows the raising of poultry or composting, to permit those activities. Continue reading

Former Chino Commissioner Asks For Strict Measure V Accounting

By Greg Marquez
On March 5th, Chino residents will vote on Measure V.   While many of my fellow neighbors are questioning whether they support increasing the sales tax, I am very concerned about how the Measure V money will be spent if it is approved.
The sales tax increase is named “Measure V the Public Safety, Roads and Essential Services Protection Measure.” However, the additional revenue will go into the general fund, with no oversight other than the council and city staff, and with no restrictions that the money will be spent on police, roads, and parks, despite the promotional propaganda. Other than legal and contractual obligations, all general fund expenditures are discretionary, subject to the whims of both present and future councils and staff. The self-proclaimed “fiscally responsible” city council declared a “fiscal emergency,” supposedly due to a $5.7 million shortfall and “projected” deficits over the next five years. In actuality, the declaration of an “emergency” was required by law in order to place this measure on the March ballot, at a cost of ~$400,000, rather than the November general election. The $5.7M shortfall would not exist except for the irresponsible expenditure of ~$6.45 million to purchase the Chino Landmark Theater, Champion offices/old post office, both unusable, and the Monte Vista Park house, now demolished, as well as $1.4 million to change the color of all the street name signs. Continue reading

Bialecki’s Letter To Congressman Aguilar Focusing On San Bernardino Mountain Water Diversion

19 February 2024
Congressman Pete Aguilar, 33rd District
108 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Aguilar,

We need your help.
For nearly a decade, our organization’s members have worked alongside Inland Empire residents and tens of thousands of other Californians to right a nearly century-long wrong: the annual removal of tens of millions of gallons of the American people’s water from the San Bernardino National Forest for bottling by a series of private water companies, including bottling giants Nestle Waters and, now, its successor BlueTriton Brands.
This water is piped downhill from springs nestled in the San Bernardino mountains at the headwaters of Strawberry Creek and then bottled in plastic and marketed as Arrowhead Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water.
As you may know, Nestle’s controversial removal of this water first burst into public view in the mid-2010s during our state’s profound drought, as federally-managed public lands burned across the west. As Californians were collectively reducing our water use by a dramatic 40%, Nestle kept up its removal of water from these parched public lands, pledging publicly to remove as much as it could despite the fact that its Forest Service permit to do so had been expired for nearly 30 years and serious questions had been raised about whether the company had a valid right to the water. Continue reading

Letter To The Editor

“Norma Torres Never Forgets Her Commitment To Her District”

Or so her flyer stated.
She bragged about the following:
Inflation Reduction Act Most people don’t realize its primary purpose is to shackle our economy to turn it into a green mismanaged state by throwing out our strong energy sector.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Democrats boasted it was the largest package in history.  Exactly! That is what Democrats do, they blindly and needlessly spend taxpayers’ money—only to see no return on investment.  Do most 35th District Constituents understand that this program is fundamentally intended to throw money away on so-called hydrogen technology and the hydrogen economy?
In summary, her flyer introduces the centralized planning that Norma and her colleagues are very fond of.
Norma might brag about her so-called accomplishments – but until we see real changes that flow from free market solutions our district will pretty much remain the same – just more expensive to live in.  In 2024, make sure you vote with your brain and not from emotional impetuousness like Norma or Greta Thunberg.
Lory Mason