Personal Approach Helped Stall DWP Solar Project

At an April 1, 2014 press conference, held on the steps of the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, California, stakeholders called on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to protect the Owens Valley from large-scale,
industrial renewable energy development. From left: Alan Bacock, Big Pine Paiute Tribe, Mary Roper,
Owens Valley Committee, Bruce Embrey, Manzanar Committee, Meredith Hackleman, Metabolic Studio.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Judyth Greenburgh

The following was originally published in the June 2, 2015 edition of the Inyo Register. It is reprinted here with permission.

by Jon Klusmire
Special to the Inyo Register

INDEPENDENCE, CA — A personal approach that tapped into a shared history of past battles and victories was credited with delaying for a decade the industrial scale solar power project that kicked off an 18-month public debate in Inyo County about the future of the solar power industry in the county.

An alliance of Inyo County residents and organizations, and the Los Angeles based Manzanar Committee, came together to battle the solar project in 2014, in a move that resembled a similar effort 25 years ago to out-maneuver the Los Angeles Department of Power (LADWP) during the long struggle to establish the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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Community Members Launch Web Site to Protect Land, Communities of Inyo County

The following is a press release from, which, like the Manzanar Committee, is fighting against the construction of large-scale renewable energy development in the Owens Valley, including any such development that would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Photo courtesy

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Concerned community members in California’s Inyo County launched a new web site last week dedicated to the conservation of our open spaces. was initiated shortly after the now infamous Inyo County Planning Commission Meeting on Feburary 26, 2014, during which the Commission voted 4-1 to zone for industrial use enormous swaths of untouched land previously designated as agricultural and conservation land. This action, taken in spite of overwhelming public opposition both before and during the meeting, moved the rezoning proposal to the Board of Supervisors for discussion on March 18.

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LADWP’s Solar Ranch Proposal: “A Display Of Cultural Insensitivity To The Japanese American Community”

Here is another letter, this time, from a resident of the Owens Valley, to Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles, opposing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s plan to build a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility that would be built in close proximity to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Owens Valley resident
David L. Wagner.
Photo courtesy David L. Wagner

December 17, 2013

Mayor Eric Garcetti
City of Los Angeles

Dear Mayor Garcetti:

I am a resident of the town of Independence in the Owens Valley. Along with many other residents of Owens Valley, I am deeply concerned about the proposal by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to construct a 1,200-acre industrial solar installation known as the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) in an area rich in cultural resources and in the viewshed of the Manzanar Historical Site. Our concerns include:

  1. A precedent-setting change in LADWP land management focus in Owens Valley from watershed management to industrial development;
  2. The approval process for this development;
  3. The destruction of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, and;
  4. Degradation of the visitor experience and integrity of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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Short Story: Desert Birth – June 1944

The following is the first of two short stories by Yosh Golden, who was born behind the barbed wire at Manzanar during World War II. This story, along with June 1997: High School Yearbook is the foundation for the upcoming short film, The Song, based on Manzanar, and the Japanese American Incarceration story. Originally published in Northwestern University’s Triquarterly Online (Issue 140, Summer/Fall 2011). It is reprinted here with permission.

Former Manzanar incarceree Yosh Golden (seated at left, on a chair),
who was born at Manzanar during World War II, shares her knowledge
and experience during a small group discussion at the 2013
Manzanar At Dusk program.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

by Yosh Golden

My father, Yoshizo Yoshimura, born in Salt Lake City, was 26 at the time of my birth. My mother, Sachie, twenty-three, was born in Portland, Oregon. Both were American citizens, Japanese Americans—now confined to a camp in the California desert, Manzanar Relocation Center, surrounded by barbed wire and machine-gun turrets.

On June 14, 1944, my mother stepped out of Apartment 1 of Building 2 in Block 20. She and my father left their three-year-old son, Johnny, asleep on a government-issue blanket and cot back in the tarpaper barracks in the care of a young woman in Apartment 2, who lived just on the other side of a blanket partition. Holding my father’s arm, Sachie crossed the sandy walkways to another hastily constructed green-wood barrack that had been converted into a hospital. Sagebrush and sand devils kicked about by the constant wind blew across her pathway.

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