Tule Lake Committee Calls LADWP’s Proposed Solar Ranch Adjacent to Manzanar “Inappropriate And Offensive”

For years, the Manzanar Committee and the Tule Lake Committee have stood, side-by-side, in our efforts to preserve, protect and interpret Japanese American World War II confinement sites, such as Manzanar and Tule Lake, for future generations. Once again, The Tule Lake Committee is supporting our efforts to protect Manzanar, announcing their opposition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch. Here is the letter they sent to LADWP.

Hiroshi Shimizu, President of the
Tule Lake Committee.
Photo courtesy Hiroshi Shimizu

December 14, 2013

Ms. Nadia Parker
Environmental Planning and Assessment
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
111 North Hope Street, Room 1044
Los Angeles, California 90012-2607

Dear Ms. Parker:

I write on behalf of the Tule Lake Committee, the grass-roots organization of survivors and their descendants of the Tule Lake concentration camp in Northern California, where over 24,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated without due process of law during World War II due to racism, fear, and economic greed. Tule Lake and Manzanar are companion sites; they are the two World War II concentration camps within California that were used to strip Japanese Americans of their dignity and their freedom. They are civil rights sites and National Historic Landmarks of extraordinary significance in our nation’s history, for they tell a story of racial intolerance and the failure of our nation’s principle of equal justice under the law.

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A Look Inside The National Park Service’s General Management Plan Scoping Process For Tule Lake

One of the small group discussions during the National Park Service’s
July 24, 2013 General Management Plan scoping meeting in Los Angeles’
Little Tokyo. Manzanar Committee member James To, the author
of this story, is seated at right (blue shirt).
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

by James To

On July 24, I attended a public meeting in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, sponsored by the National Park Service, to provide feedback on the development of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

At the meeting, NPS staff updated the community on the status of Tule Lake, but the main focus was to solicit community input towards the development of a General Management Plan (GMP) that will guide management of Tule Lake for the next twenty years.

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National Park Service On Tule Lake Airport Fence: “We’ve Certainly Weighed In” On The Issue With FAA

Soji Kashiwagi of the Tule Lake Committee was one of several community members who railed against the proposed fence that would
enclose the airstrip at Tule Lake.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — On July 24, the National Park Service provided details and an update on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) proposed perimeter fence that would enclose the airstrip at the site of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

At their public meeting in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo to gather community feedback on how Tule Lake should be managed over the next twenty years, Mike Reynolds, Superintendent, Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific and Lava Beds National Monument provided some background.

“It’s a public airstrip,” he said. “Modoc County leases the land to the City of Tulelake. It’s the City of Tulelake’s airstrip, so if we were all wealthy enough to own airplanes that are small enough, we could land there.”

“It’s an agricultural community,” he added. “The whole Tulelake and Klamath basin is primarily agricultural. The crop dusting business, which is critical to all that agriculture, is run out of that airport. 99 percent, or more, of the flights that take off are for crop dusting services. Spring, Summer and Fall, all day, sunrise to sunset, there’s little planes taking off every 15 to 30 minutes, providing crop dusting services.”

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Call To Action: STOP The Fence At Tule Lake

Over the last year, the Federal Aviation Administration has moved closer to building a fence to protect the airstrip at the site of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that would destroy the historic character of the site.

The Tule Lake Committee has launched a petition campaign to STOP The Fence At Tule Lake on Change.org and on Facebook.

Barbara Takei of the Tule Lake Committee writes:

The FAA proposes to construct a eight foot high, 16,000 foot long fence to close off the Tule Lake site, to protect the airstrip built on the campsite firebreak road. A “STOP the Fence at Tule Lake” Facebook campaign is being generated by Frank Abe and Lorna Fong; they’ve also started a petition on Change.org to let the chief of the FAA, Michael Huerta, of the opposition to the FAA’s fence proposal.

We need your help. For those of you who use Facebook, please SHARE it with your Facebook friends and urge them to sign the petition at https://www.facebook.com/StopTheFence.

If you don’t use Facebook, please forward the petition on to others in your address book; we want to generate a big response to let the director of the FAA, Michael Huerta, know how important this issue is to Japanese Americans and others who don’t want the history of Japanese Americans to be fenced off and destroyed.

Thanks for your help on this critically important issue.

The following statement by the Manzanar Committee was issued on June 2, 2012 (but not published on our blog until July 6, 2012). It is being re-published to provide background, as well as to reiterate our position on the issue.

A view down one of the streets of the Tule Lake
concentration camp,
November 3, 1942.
Photo: Francis Stewart
Photo courtesy Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

LOS ANGELES — On June 2, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to a proposed perimeter fence at the Tulelake Municipal Airport, operated by the County of Modoc.

The proposed fence would enclose the perimeter of the airport, which was part of the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents, “…the purpose of this fence is to minimize the potential for aircraft-wildlife strikes (primarily deer), and minimize the potential for pedestrians and vehicles to inadvertently encroach on the airport’s runway (pedestrian-vehicle deviations).” Read more of this post