Exploring Manzanar: Then and Now

One of the inscriptions in the wall of the Manzanar Reservoir written by a Japanese
American incarceree who worked on the reservoir crew.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

During a recent solo trip to the Manzanar National Historic Site in which I spent about 14 hours over roughly two days exploring the site by car and foot, it dawned on me that it was the first time that I was exploring the site in such a detailed fashion or spending as much time doing so.

That realization was spurred by a comment made by Manzanar ranger Rose Masters.

“I can’t believe you’ve never wandered around like this before,” she exclaimed (yes, “exclaimed” is the appropriate verb here).

For those of you who know me fairly well, that must sound really, really strange, if not unbelievable. After all, I’ve been involved with Manzanar for more than 31 years. I’ve been a member of the Manzanar Committee since the mid-1990’s. I served on the Manzanar Advisory Commission from 1992-2002. I’ve been one of the coordinators for the Manzanar At Dusk program since 2008, and now I’m one of the coordinators of a project named, Katari, which I urge you to read about here.
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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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Manzanar Committee Denounces Inyo County Planning Commission Decision That Could Threaten Manzanar

Looking east from the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site. The floor of the Owens Valley, along with the Inyo Mountains in the background, are visible. But this view could be destroyed by large-scale renewable energy generating facilties if the County of Inyo opens the door to that kind of development in the Owens Valley.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy National Park Service

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee denounces the decision by the County of Inyo Planning Commission to approve the 2013 Renewable Energy General Planning Amendment (REGPA) to the County’s General Plan, which would open the door to the construction of large-scale, industrial-grade renewable energy facilities in the County, including an area within the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

The 2013 REGPA, which now goes to the County’s Board of Supervisors for final approval, defines Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDA) where large-scale renewable energy generating facilities could be built in Inyo County.

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Manzanar Committee Statement On The Passing of Florin JACL Leader Bob Uyeyama

Bob Uyeyama
Photo: Gann Matsuda

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Bob Uyeyama, 75, of Elk Grove, California, who passed away on April 24, 2010, while attending the Florin Japanese American Citizens League’s (JACL) trip to the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage.

Uyeyama, who was imprisoned at the Rohwer and Jerome concentration camps in Arkansas during World War II, was helping guide a walking tour prior to the start of the Pilgrimage. He was sharing his recollections of his time in camp at Block 14, located near the Interpretive Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site, when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Read more of this post