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Last week, I went down to the weekly Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting to support the Newhall Ranch project that was before the board for approval. I think that the first phase of the project, Landmark Village and Mission Village, are very well thought-out communities that will be great additions to the Santa Clarita Valley. And when both get underway later in the year, it will be one step closer to connecting Poe Parkway through to Valencia Blvd. and alleviating the school related traffic congestion in Westridge.

It was heartwarming to see hundreds of supporters for the project fill the hearing on that Tuesday morning. Apparently Fivepoint, the developer of Newhall Ranch, supplied buses to bring down some of the supporters from Valencia, which was a very environmentally sound gesture. I drove myself. Although, it seems that I missed out on a breakfast—darn! But, I was invited to partake in a lovely boxed lunch that was served on the lawn outside the Hall of Administration.

I mention this because the small ragtag group of about a dozen no-growthers, led by Lynn Plambeck, harped on the fact the Fivepoint supplied buses and box lunches. They implied that it was a bribe to support the project. Sorry, but a bus ride (which I didn’t take) and a box lunch is not a bribe and would not sway an intelligent person to support a project that they didn’t fundamentally believe in. But that is an example of the crazy, myopic thinking that was on display by the small, nah, tiny group of extremists opposing any growth in our valley.

Aside from pointing out the busing and lunches, the Plambeck wak-pack also focused heavily on the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, which passed the board two weeks prior. It galvanized the fact that this tiny group was fuzzy, and half the time unintelligible, in their comments specific to the agenda items. I will confess, that anytime I give public comments at these types of meetings, I try my best to speak as soon as possible and then leave quickly. But, the wak-pack compelled me to stay. I was anxious with excitement at hearing their comments because it’s always entertaining; pure crazy with a dash of delusion and pinch of hallucination.  

I was not let down. It was worth staying in my seat gripping the armrests with anticipation for full-frontal lunacy. I was near gleeful when the supporters of the projects were done and Plambeck and her disciples started slithering down to the front row seats in preparation for their comments opposing the projects. The wak-pack’s comments were rambling, off topic, and at times incoherent. Most brought up the landfill, which was not on the agenda. In fact, one nut-bag ranted a list of medical maladies that made it sound like there was a disease induced genocide going on in Val Verde. There isn’t and it had nothing to do with the agenda items, which made them look even more foolish.

The best was when a mid-aged man with long graying brown hair and bad posture sauntered down the center aisle rotating his hands randomly at the end of his horizontally extended arms. He was wearing a poorly fitting gray polo shirt and grayish jeans. When he got down to the front aisle of the hearing room, he wandered back and forth a few times making exaggerated gestures, like yawning while someone was speaking. The two sheriff deputies, assigned as security, were motionless except for the eyes following this person. Eventually, he took a seat after finding a speaker card. Yes, this was getting good. In my mind, I dubbed him Nutty McMutty.

Mr. McNutty was not part of Plambeck’s wak-pack, but certainly could have been. No, he is apparently a regular at the BOS meetings. I imagined that his elderly mother dropped him off every Tuesday so that she could have a few hours of sanity to herself each week. When McNutty got up to speak, first on Landmark Village, he was the last of the opposition speakers and babbled on about not having to apologize to L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander, but that he would if the item before the board was approved.

When McNutty finished, the supervisors voted to approve Landmark Village as part of the Newhall Ranch project. At this point, the process had to be repeated for the Mission Village project since that was a separate agenda item. Every person at the hearing with their complete faculties, including the supervisors, nearly bemoaned having to repeat this again. There was a look of confusion on some faces as to why both couldn’t have been approved at the same time. I chalk it up to the inefficiency of government.

I must give credit to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who is the current board chair, for running a tight meeting. He did his best to move things along and was respectful to all the speakers, crazy or not. Although, he did warn Lynn Plambeck numerous times to stop holding up a large, poster-size, photo of the Santa Clara River that she was trying to position behind some of the opposition speakers making it look like a bad backdrop on a public access television show. That was disruptive and distracting.

It was also a violation of the code of conduct for the BOS meetings because, at least for me, it disengaged me from listening to the speakers. On the third warning, Ridley-Thomas should have ejected Plambeck from the meeting, but didn’t. Like a parent disciplining a child, if you follow through on the punishment the lesson will be learned. Plambeck needs to learn that lesson because she is constantly disrupting public meetings whether in SCV or at the BOS.

Once Mission Village was presented, the chairman of Fivepoint was the only one to speak in favor and simply asked that the supporters of the project stand. Several hundred stood and it was an overwhelming sight; it impressed all including the supervisors. It also showcased the fact that Plambeck couldn’t rally more than a dozen people to speak against the project. I think that there are a lot of people in SCV who are realizing that she is less an environmentalist and more a no-growther. But, the opposition got up and had to speak—yammering on as before—unfocused and bringing up the landfill again.

Finally, McNutty spoke last and rambled on again about now having to apologize to Mitch Englander. As he did, several of the supervisors had the best WTF looks on their faces. It was fantastic to see. I must give the BOS credit for having the intestinal fortitude to endure these types of speaker’s week in and week out. The supervisors all deserve commendations and combat pay. Mission Village passed and there was a round of applause.

Multiply this meeting out over the last two decades and that is an enormous amount of wasted resources for a project that should have been approved ten years ago. If another lawsuit gets filed on Newhall Ranch, my hope is that a countersuit will be filed calling out Plambeck and others as vexatious litigants. Enough is enough, it’s time to push back at these environmental extremists, nature charlatans, and tree-hugging fraudsters, with the full force of the legal system.

As entertaining as the BOS meeting was, I’d prefer not to have to spend another day watching this kind of theater.

Dave Bossert—commentary

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on several boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.