Former Inyo County Supervisor Bob Gracey: One Of Manzanar’s Unsung Heroes

The following is an expanded version of a story about 2016 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award recipient Bob Gracey that will appear in the printed program for the 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Manzanar National Historic Site.


Robert W. “Bob” Gracey, shown here
as a member of the Inyo County
Board of Supervisors.
(click to view larger image)
Official Inyo County photo by Michael Cooke/Cooke’s Fine Photography

LOS ANGELES — For most people, even those who are familiar with the history behind the former Manzanar concentration camp becoming a National Historic Site, the name Robert W. “Bob” Gracey probably doesn’t ring a bell.

As one might guess, Gracey was not a former World War II incarceree. He wasn’t a community or civil rights activist, nor was he an academic type who researched Manzanar or the Japanese American Incarceration experience.

Despite that, Gracey played a critical role in the development of the Manzanar National Historic Site, and for his contributions, he has been named as the 2016 recipient of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.

The award was named after the late chair of the Manzanar Committee who was one of the founders of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Gracey joins two other Owens Valley locals, Bill Michael, former Director of the Eastern California Museum, and the late Keith Bright, former member of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, who were co-recipients of the award in 2010.

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Former Inyo County Supervisor Bob Gracey To Receive 2016 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award

Robert W. “Bob” Gracey, shown here
as a member of the Inyo County
Board of Supervisors.
(click to view larger image)
Official Inyo County photo by Michael Cooke/Cooke’s Fine Photography

PILGRIMAGE: Bus transportation to Pilgrimage from Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo is available, but seats are going fast.

LOS ANGELES — On March 31, the Manzanar Committee announced that Owens Valley native Robert W. “Bob” Gracey has been chosen as the 2016 recipient of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.

The award, named after the late chair of the Manzanar Committee who was also one of the founders of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site, will be presented at the 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence (see map below).

Cultural performances begin at 11:30 AM PDT, while the main portion of the program starts at 12:00 PM.

Gracey, 87, born in Kearsarge (formerly a narrow gauge railroad station about five miles east of Independence, California), was elected in late 1992 to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, representing the Fourth District, which includes the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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Unified, Grass-Roots Effort Credited With Gaining Indefinite Hold On Industrial-Scale Solar Projects Threatening Manzanar, Owens Valley

To download a copy of this statement,
click on the image above.
(Adobe Reader software required to view/print).

LOS ANGELES — In a joint statement on August 3, the Manzanar Committee and the Owens Valley Committee (OVC) announced that two industrial-scale solar energy projects that would have had adverse impacts on California’s Owens Valley and the Manzanar National Historic Site have been delayed indefinitely.

On March 12, 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) withdrew their proposed 1,200-acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) from the Interconnection Queue for their Inyo-Rinaldi transmission line, which transports electricity through the Owens Valley, south to Los Angeles.

As reported by Deb Murphy of Sierra Wave Online, a news outlet covering Inyo and Mono Counties, LADWP confirmed that the SOVSR project has been removed from the interconnection queue.

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Manzanar Committee Renews Its Call On Inyo County To Protect Manzanar, Owens Valley From Large Scale Renewable Energy Development

Inyo County may still be considering opening the marked area on this map, much of which is visible fron the Manzanar National Historic Site, to large-scale solar energy development.
(click above to view larger map)

LOS ANGELES — On February 3, the Manzanar Committee reiterated its opposition to any large-scale, industrial renewable energy development in the Owens Valley, especially that which would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site. Further, the Committee renewed their call on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to protect Manzanar and the Owens Valley from such development in perpetuity in their final Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the County’s Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA).

The REGPA, which is in the hands of the County’s Board of Supervisors for final approval of its PEIR, defines Solar Energy Development Areas where large-scale renewable energy generating facilities could be built in Inyo County.

With Manzanar and the Owens Valley already facing a serious threat from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR), a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility that would be built adjacent to Manzanar, Inyo County appears to be favoring opening the door to additional industrial solar energy development in the vicinity.

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