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2010 LA TIMES: Two ways of life collide in Wonder Valley

By   /   May 7, 2014  /   5 Comments

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David Kelly did a bang up job of reporting on the continuing saga of the attack on our desert lifestyles by the environmental wackos that have dominated the local political scene for quite sometime.

This is really the first time that the LA Times has given the Off-Road Community at least a fair shake. You got to know that when guys as diverse in local politics as Gary Daigneault and I can agree in print on anything it is an important local issue.

The shameless free advertising was great too.

Here is a snippet of the article:

Two ways of life collide in Wonder Valley – latimes.com

Gary Daigneault, news director and owner of KCDZ-FM (107.7) in Twentynine Palms, has closely monitored the battle between the two camps. He sees blame on both sides.

“You have the ‘jerk factor’ of off-road vehicle owners who have hurt their own sport,” he said.

“But I also think Klasky’s description of what happened at the Poste Homestead was blown way out of proportion.”

Klasky, a professor of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University who spends four months a year in Wonder Valley, is public enemy No. 1 to riders here.

In 2006, his group helped push through a county ordinance aimed at off-roaders that tightened regulations on noise, dirt and trespassing and required groups of 10 or more to purchase a $155 staging permits before assembling on any property, including their own.

Klasky said he was once punched by a man on a quad runner when he tried to photograph him on his property. He said he and others who dare to stand up to off-roaders are routinely threatened.

“I have been the subject of anti-Semitic hate speech and racist remarks. Last year my property was vandalized, but I will continue to organize and speak out,” he said.

His biggest critic is Dan O’Brien, a hot dog vendor who runs Mustard’s Last Stand in Twentynine Palms and also operates the Cactus Thorns blog, home to his sharpest barbs.

Sometimes he calls Klasky a meddling outsider and environmental extremist. He’s also used epithets and referred to him as a tinfoil hat-wearing ding-a-ling.

“These guys came to an area that is rough-and-tumble and they brought their ideas of a desert utopia with them,” he said.

“But people here are saying we have a desert lifestyle that has worked for over a hundred years. It’s like moving next to an airport and complaining about the jet noise.”

O’Brien, 58, denies his highly charged rhetoric intimidates people.

“I walk the line. I tippy-toe on that line but I would never instigate violence,” he said. He sees off-roaders as an embattled minority.

“We feel we have lost the desert and now we are being put on these little reservations,” he said. “We are starting to feel like Indians.”

The battle is far from over.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors may remove the controversial staging permit from the off-road ordinance this month.

Klasky said he figures he can get at least 100 people to the board meeting.

Pessa, of Friends of Giant Rock, said he can beat that.

“I am going to flood that meeting with off-roaders,” he vowed.

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About the author

Dan OBrien


Cactus Thorns has been online in one form or the other since 2001. What started as a personal blog documenting the corruption and lack of Due Process of the 29 Palms Community Development Department has turned into over these many years into a hugely popular Independent Alternative News Media Outlet. We have partnered with other media including The Desert Star Weekly, Joshua Tree Star, other blogs, indie media and an incredible staff of volunteer Reporters, Commentators and Opinion Makers to create one of the most read, honest and dependable alternative to the Local traditional Media services in the country. Thanks to you the reader we are in the 5% of most read sites in the World.


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Most astute and intelligent comment on the Times comment section:

  2. Classic case of city folk coming out to the country expecting the locals to share their values and then getting offended when they don’t. Fact is, most country people aren’t interested in your yoga practice or veggie diesel. The locals were riding ATVs before you got your comparative religion degree from Berkeley so either become more tolerant (isn’t that what you are supposed to be all about) or go back to Echo Park where you can be surrounded by people who look and think exactly like you (but champion diversity).

    aporkalypsenowz (01/05/2010, 11:32 AM )

  3. Best personal attack:

  4. You’re absolutely right, MagentaRaven. I’m not sure why Mr. O’Brien thinks that a member of a quiet community that seeks to preserve the unique attributes of the desert is a “tinfoil hat-wearing ding-a-ling,” or why he doesn’t realize just how very foolish he makes himself look by saying such things. Also, “I walk the line. I tippy-toe on that line but I would never instigate violence” is the most ludicrous defense of hate speech and intimidation imaginable. Plus, the comparison of off-roaders to American Indians is really a winner. Does Mr. O’Brien spend what time he has left after damaging the desert and making hot dogs volunteering for American Indian causes?

    NightQueen (01/05/2010, 10:50 AM )

  5. And to the least informed and dumbest post:

  6. This is a typical economics externalities problem, people who benefit and make money from offroaders such as the dealers, manufactures and even the hot dog vendors don’t have to pay for any of the ecological restoration costs of completely destroyed desert habitats.

    Offroad trail fees and vehicle(2/4-wheeler) taxes should be high enough to restore damaged trails and enough money should be taxed from offroaders to pay for sufficient number of patrollers to keep bad apples out of fragile off-trail areas.

    Comment in article about 100yrs ago is a joke, 4 wheeler offroaders had not even been invented until very recently, hence the new problem. Idiots are a time old problem, but doing damage in model-T was lot harder.

    DanaPointer (01/05/2010, 11:08 AM )

  • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

    Ya know I hate fools. I don’t know many desert folks who go up to LaLa Palosi Land and tell them how to hug trees. I’ve got a chain saw and I’ll show you how to cut em down. Eviro mental ists like to think they are so noble with their rhetoric. People who profit from…… Yeah you hypocrites! Tree huggin back pack freaks. You want to see destruction? Go look at those golf courses and windmills that pollute the skyline and destroy vegetation and wildlife. I live in the mountains you freakin tree huggers plot thru the forest leaving behind your trash on the trails and start fires that YOU DONT HAVE TO PAY FOR!!!!! Guess who cleans up the trails that you pollute up here? 4WD and Offroad clubs. Who pays for the forest that you burn down? Taxpayers! Who profits from your enviro rhetoric? Al Gore, Obama GE of course owns 80% of NBC. Remember all those lightbulb ads on NBC? You freaks are in bed with the enemy! Cap and Trade fools. I’m sick of you lamers gettin off thinking that you are superior. You want to tell other what to do but fail to practice what you preach! Now go out and clean up all of the hydrocarbons to get to your G5 G8 summit. Your livin a lie! Get your priorities straight and start living a carbon free life then tell us how well it works. Until you can do that shut your pie hole.

  • Byron Byron says:

    Why do the damn liberals always think that they have the heartbeat of the American population then pass laws that only inevitably cost us taxpayers even more and infringe on our rites! When will they get a clue, when we vote them all out of office?

  • Mike Hawkins Mike says:

    OHV Ordinance #3973
    History, Comments and Snide Remarks
    For The Friends of Giant Rock

    San Bernardino County has had an Off-Highway Vehicle ordinance for nearly 40 years.
    Ordinance #1590 was adapted in 1970. Titled “MOTORCYCLES AND OFF-THE-ROAD VEHICLES”, it address the need for spark arrestors and mufflers. It required that noise not exceed motor vehicle code limits for the autos of the day. And, it required operators to have written permission to ride on any private property, a blanket rule that would prove to be in conflict with state law and cause the ordinance to be re-written in 1986 as ordinance #3096.
    Then, twenty years later… in 2006, off-roaders and property owners alike were surprised as pressure from a local anti-OHV/anti-access group succeeded in getting the ordinance rewritten, yet again.
    Today, as OHV Ordinance #3973, the County once again challenges State law with respect to vacant and unmarked land, but new and of particular concern is the assignment of County Land services personnel to act as enforcement officers and the requirement of the controversial $155.00 “Staging Permit”. The permit is required for ten people to assemble on ones own property if anyone is even thinking about driving Grandpa’s old fiberglass buggy.
    In late August of 2006 it was brought to the attention of a family (ours) gathered at Grandma’s cabin near Giant Rock that, such an assemblage is now illegal without obtaining permission from the County five weeks in advance, and securing permission slips from Grandma.

    28.0404 Staging; Permit Required.
    No person shall organize, conduct, or participate in staging, as defined herein, involving ten (10) or more persons, without first obtaining and maintaining on the property where such staging is occurring, a Temporary Special Event Permit for a Minor Event pursuant to section 84.0745 of the County Code, even though, pursuant to sub-section 84.0745(a)(2), such a Minor Event, involving less than two hundred (200) persons, would not normally be subject to the Temporary Special Event Permit process.

    28.0401 Definitions:
    (d) “Staging” shall mean a formal or informal assembly or gathering of off-highway vehicles, or other vehicles and equipment accessory thereto, including any related camping or establishment of temporary accommodations, on private or public property for purposes of coordinating the use and operation of such off-highway vehicles on such property or the surrounding areas.

    We felt this was a “revolting development” so about mid October, with the help of friends and neighbors, we formed what else, the Friends of Giant Rock off-road club and with the requisite naiveté set out to improve our lot.
    After thousands of letters, petitions and signatures, three postponements and a heck of a lot of work, our Supervisors finely agreed to revisit the OHV ordinance.
    At the County seat, August 21, 2007, a marathon battle ensued between off-roading families and a handful of wet blankets whose agendas reach far beyond the interests of this County.
    At the end of the day the Supervisors concurred that changes were needed and agreed to make them.
    Supervisors Mitzelfelt and Hansberger, whose districts offer more riding opportunity than the other three combined, agreed to collaborate and promised to make those changes. That was nearly 2 ½ years ago.
    This Month or next, Supervisors Mitzelfelt and Derry will now honor that commitment by asking the Board to drop the staging permit portion of the ordinance.
    Everyone agrees the other provisions are working but with only twenty five permits issued to a total of ten customers in 3 ½ years in the largest County in the Nation it is obvious that the suppressive and discriminatory permission requirement is unnecessary and has had nothing to do with any success of this ordinance.

  • Stanley Stanley says:

    Mike, thanks for doing your homework on 3973. I think it is great that Mitzelfelt and Derry are going to do something about this stupid provision the COW members got passed through. It was ridiculous from day one. I enjoyed reading this article this morning in the LA Times. My favorite line was “Sometimes he calls Klasky a meddling outsider and environmental extremist. He’s also used epithets and referred to him as a tinfoil hat-wearing ding-a-ling”. That is actually to kind of a statement. Keep up going after these clowns.

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