From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Rim of the Valley – Good News and Bad News

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net  
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Rim of the Valley – Good News and Bad News

The Rim of the Valley Park Service land grab (S 153) passed the Senate Energy Committee on Wednesday, May 9th.   That was expected because the bill passed last year.

Now S 153 will go before the full Senate.  Because both Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) support the bill, it has a good chance of passing in the Senate.  

But if you raise a ruckus, you will vastly increase your chances of stopping the House Version (HR 355).  And you may hold up S 153.

Congratulations.  Grassroots activists did a great job calling the Senators on the Energy Committee.  As a result, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) said that his committee would insist on hearings if Rim of the Valley came back as more than a study bill.  That sent shock waves through the opposition.

Two great articles appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News last week.   That’s the second largest paper in Los Angeles.   They are included full text below.

The only problem with the articles is that they failed in include a map.  How do people know whether they should be worried or not without a map?  We asked them to include a map.  We’re going to have to push.

The thing people tell us most often is that they did not realize a new area affected them in time.

You can see a map by going to www.landrights.org

Go down the homepage till you see the map box.  Click on it.  You will see we have provided maps that are detailed enough you can see if your home is included in the proposed area.

Action Items:

-----1.  Call your Senators.  Send them fax and e-mail.   Now every vote makes a difference.  A small group can have a lot of influence in a battle like this.  There won’t be many advocates for the bill from your state so a lot of calls in opposition can turn the tide.   Call any Senator at  (202) 224-3121.

Urge them to vote no on spending as much as $2 billion on a Park Service of 500,000 acres in a new area when the Park Service cannot take care of the existing Santa Monica Mountains NRA or a lot of other areas.  It has not paid the landowners it has strangled in the Santa Monica Mountains yet after 27 years.  

The Park Service is behind by over $5,000,000,000 in just basic health and safety-deferred maintenance.  They need to take care of our existing parks before they make big new ones.

-----2.  If you live in California, call the following newspapers to ask them to publish a map of the proposed Rim of the Valley Park Service area.  A map is vital to local residents.  They have no idea what is coming at them.  Only the Daily News has even published a story to our knowledge.

When you call, ask for the editor that handles the National Park Service, or land issues, or Rim of the Valley.

Los Angeles Daily News – (818) 713-3000 or (661) 257-5251

Los Angeles Times – (213) 237-7000

Ventura County Star –  (805) – 650-2900 and (805) 494-0730

The Acorn – (818) 706-0266

Associated Press – (213) 626-1200

-----3.  Send a copy of this message to at least 5 other people.

-----4.  Contact American Land Rights at alra@landrights.org if you have information or contacts with e-mail addresses in the LA area.  The key is to get a map in the hands as many people as possible.  The threat is looming and the locals have never been told.

Here are the two articles:

L.A. Daily News - News

Senate OKs study of Rim of the Valley

By Lisa Friedman, Washington Bureau

Thursday, February 10, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A key U.S. Senate committee gave the go-ahead Wednesday to legislation that would allow the federal parks system to embrace a half-million new acres of mountains surrounding the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys.Local officials hailed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passage of the Rim of the Valley bill, even as land rights organizations warned that local residents have been misled about the wide-ranging impact of the legislation.

The bill directs the Interior Department to study whether the so-called Rim of the Valley Corridor should be included as part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

"The amount of open space in Southern California continues to diminish each year. That's why it is so important that we move to protect this land," said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who introduced the bill along with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena. 

The Rim of the Valley Corridor includes the west end of the Conejo Valley into the Santa Susana Mountains, then touches the Santa Clara River just above Santa Clarita and the upper Los Angeles River watershed, and would include the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains and the San Raphael Hills.

"This part of the state is a Mediterranean ecosystem, one of the world's biological hot spots," said Rory Skei, chief deputy director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  The bill now goes to the Senate floor, where it passed last year and is expected to easily pass again. The House has not yet scheduled a vote.

Chuck Cushman, executive director of the American Land Rights Association in Battle Ground, Wash., said he thinks local residents will consider it a federal "land grab" once they understand the extent of the study.

"This is a huge land-control measure to stop development and take private property," said Cushman, who grew up in North Hollywood. "People think it's just a big trail, and that's the problem." lisa.friedman@langnews.com 

InformationCopyright © 2005 Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Newspaper GroupFeedback

L.A. Daily News - Simi Valley Sunday
Sunday, February 13, 2005

Valley Rim plan opposed
U.S. may squeeze out property owners 

By Susan Abram, Staff Writer

The way Sunland resident John Brown sees it, once the government is allowed to circle in on his land and home, it'll do everything it can to squeeze out the kind of lifestyle he's enjoyed for decades.

He's seen it before, he said, in the East Mojave Preserve where he owns a ranch, and where roads that opened in the 1800s have been closed off, and cattle fences have been eliminated. And he believes the government will do it again if the 500,000 acres known as the Rim of the Valley, of which Brown's home is a part, are turned over to the federal parks system.

"I live within the area that would be affected," said Brown, a 36-year resident of the small community known as Riverwood Ranch, which is nestled near the Angeles National Forest. "The thing that bothers me is that the people who are affected are not aware of what (the proposal) is all about. Nobody is aware of it."

The parkland would include the ranges south of the Santa Clarita Valley. 

National property rights groups are gearing up for yet another fight against a federal proposal to transform the Rim of the Valley into a nature preserve.

Part of the groups' concerns is that recreational activities that lure people out of urban areas to seek a more natural lifestyle will be threatened. The groups and some residents also say they have not been told of the proposal.

"When the park service moves in, recreation goes out," said Chuck Cushman, founder of the American Land Rights Association, based in Battle Ground, Wash. "These people don't really understand that the biggest problem is the park services will move in, and then they'll just sit on the land."

Cushman, who claims he fought and won a land acquisition in 1972 when his cabin and other private property owners in the community of Wawona in Yosemite National Park were threatened, has launched a campaign to alert property owners all across the Rim of the Valley.

Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, introduced parallel bills that would require a study of the corridor that includes the mountains around the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, part of what's known as the Rim of the Valley, and whether it should be preserved. The area encompasses thousands of acres stretching from the Conejo Valley to the San Gabriel Mountains.
If approved, the Interior Department would be directed to conduct a study of the 500,000-acre corridor that includes endangered plant and animal species, waterfalls and historically significant landscapes, as well as thousands of private landowners.

Both Feinstein and Schiff have said the motion to turn the Rim of the Valley into a nature preserve would help guard open space from an expected future population growth.

Local environmentalists have said the proposed study symbolizes a recognition by the federal government that the natural resources surrounding Los Angeles County are worthy of preservation.Schiff also has said his predecessors had the foresight more than 20 years ago to approve a similar bill that helped to preserve the Santa Monica Mountains.

And the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy also stated earlier this month the move would give continuity of the existing trails.  

But Cushman and landowners within the Santa Monica Mountains say acquisitions of parcels of land within have remained incomplete due to budget cutbacks, a good reason why more land should not be put on preserve.

Landowners within Zuma and Trancas canyons have said the National Park Service, which owns most of the land nearby, has told them they simply can't afford to buy their properties. "Congress authorized the Santa Monica Mountains to be preserved 30 years ago, and as of today, they still haven't purchased it," said landowner Ty Sisson. 

"I am a landowner in the middle of the area. They purchased all the property, thousands of acres, except my land and maybe a couple of other people's. They say even though they want it, they don't have the money to buy it, so I am trapped there."

Other residents said they were not informed of the proposal until Cushman alerted them.

"It's more than just chipmunks and coyotes that live up here -- it's people, too," said Woodland Hills resident Carl Olson, who discovered through a map provided by Cushman that his hillside home would be in the designated area.

"The federal government will be able to usurp a whole lot of land use and other zoning issues, because they'll have the power to do it," he said. "This will infringe on a lot of commercial areas."

But in a statement this week, Schiff said he had met with property owners and had included their concerns in the proposed bill.

"My bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to seek to 'preserve recreational opportunities and facilitating access to open space for a variety of recreational users,"' he said.

Schiff said he added language in the bill that states: "As part of the study, the Secretary shall analyze the potential impact that establishment of all or a portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is likely to have on land within or bordering the area that is privately owned at the time the study is conducted. The report required by subsection (g) shall discuss the concerns of private landowners within the existing boundaries of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area."
Schiff said part of the study will also include seeking public input. "I'm working very hard to both protect property owners and preserve open spaces in our community," he said.  susan.abram@dailynews.com 

InformationCopyright © 2005 Los Angeles Daily News
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