You are here:  Home  >  29 Palms  >  Current Article

So do we have to throw a Brick at your Laptop?

By   /   March 9, 2010  /   23 Comments

    Print       Email

What is it going to take to get you looky loos up off your asses and start joining in?

We put up a great stories Monday,  vitriolic to the very core, I just knew it would get some of you running to the keyboard to pick a side. As of this posting, we received 9,113 hits I knew they were  great topics as we have getting between 3000-3500 hits a day and today it was buzzing. But I’ll be damned if I could get any of you to reach inside and post a regular flamer pro or con. Go figure.

Today Steve Brown graced our site, grabbed me by the nap of the neck and showed you all how to engage in the art of posting. We had a jolly good time verbally wrestling. No blood was shed, no bones were broken. The important thing is we were able to get a lot of information out in a really entertaining way.

So once again we are at this crossroad you and I…. My regular crew are pounding out the stories and commentary, each one more salacious than the last, hoping that you will engage. We know you are out there reading.

It seems that many of you are unwilling to stick your neck out and post here. I guess we have a “Trample the dead, hurdle the weak” reputation around the tea and crumpet crowd that post their weak assed shit in the local papers. The advantage here is you are on your own from the get-go.

Most of the regulars are posters from the days of BBS’s and Usenet. We all adhere to the “take no prisoners” posting rules of those early boards. Sure we are a little rough around the edges and we all are quick to attack when we see blood in the water, but we all have a soft spot for the new guy. All the new guy has to remember is the bell rings the moment his first post is approved for the comment section, he must keep his guard up at all times and their will be no saving by the bell.

Pretty simple rules. basically just a few: Never drop the “F” bomb,  no one wants to hear about your sex life, the only ones that troll are the authors, no belly aching, and never, ever take what is said here personal.

Grammar and spelling while important for some, like the Steves… (being a dyslexic you’ll notice I can murder the language) as long as you get your point across with the minimum of slaughtering of the English language its alright with me. I’ll go in and fix it if it is too bad.

Remember this is an electronic blog, generally the authors and I will never really know who you are unless you want to join the Front Page Staff.

Now touch gloves and come out writing.

    Print       Email

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. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    I spent the better part of yesterday, and this morning, responding to complaints about this blog and The Sun Runner’s encouragement of readers to check it out. My arguments for encouraging people to visit this blog aside (a topic in itself), I have the expectation that people can and will be able to post to this blog, and live their lives, without the fear of personal abuse and/or actual physical retaliation. I think this blog can be very useful, but I do want to be able to have discussions that allow for respectful debate of issues in our community. And yes, they can still be interesting and fun!

  2. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Good Lord…. Sorry about that Steve. Next thing you know they will be complaining about nudity in art or demand that Sun Runners be Burned on bonfires as examples of Political Incorrectness.

  3. desertracerswife desertracerswife says:

    Steve that is sad that you have to respond to complaints about this blog. Its a blog, some like it, some don’t. My advice to them… If you don’t like it, don’t read it and crawl back under your rock.

  4. No CowSounds to me the Cows are mooing.

  5. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    Maybe I should print “Read before burning” on the cover? I really want people to read what our contributors write before they toss it on the fire (it has been awful cold lately, though).
    I’ve already enjoyed the threats of firebombing my office because I didn’t censor the work of an artist in the magazine, and enjoyed the benefits of community leaders who support the First Amendment – as long as they agree with whatever is being said. That’s normal. I’ve also been attacked in the mainstream media here by someone who blatantly misused the information presented in his most recent story on me.
    I’m not concerned with whether someone likes me recommending to read this blog or not. What I’m concerned with is my reputation and that of my publication, and the public’s ability to have access to vital information and a place to discuss issues that affect us.
    But in order for it to be taken seriously as such a forum, it has to allow dissenting views without the fear of anything beyond some online flaming.
    So, if this blog and its administrator can present a very valuable forum for bringing to light issues and stories that are under-represented and/or misrepresented in our area’s traditional media, and allow for a healthy, not hateful environment for discussion, then I will continue to support it. But some of the complaints I have heard are disturbing, and I will not, and cannot, condone or endorse personal attacks that result in damage to people’s property, or an atmosphere of fear for people who may disagree with others on this blog. We don’t need to ridicule each other in order to build community. We’re not going to always agree on things, and if we, as a community, want to build something better for ourselves, then we need to be able to realize that we may agree on some things, disagree on others, and find compromises and avenues to work together. Is there power in tearing each other down? Some. There is more power to be found in building each other up.
    I’m a huge fan of independent media, and I can debate First Amendment issues, bias, and the responsibilities of media all day long. One of the things I have pointed out to those complaining about The Sun Runner’s “endorsement” of visiting Cactus Thorns is that our mainstream media in the hi-desert has been what has led me to recommend turning to sources like this for information. This blog has offered information to the community unavailable elsewhere. And the politics of our mainstream local media has not created a climate where unbiased information can be reliably and regularly found. In short, in my professional opinion, we need a venue like this to debate issues and share information. But let’s not give out somebody’s address and encourage people to vandalize their property because we disagree with them. None of us would appreciate that if it were done to us, and it is inexcuseable to do it to other members of our community, or anyone at all. And since we’re all most likely finished with junior high school now, let’s not celebrate or encourage that kind of behavior.
    Nobody has to agree with a word I say, and yeah, once you have your copy of my magazine, you can toss it in the fire if you choose to do so. But you’re missing out.
    I don’t want to have to warn people away from this blog. I think it has a lot to offer. But I take seriously the obligations that come with being in the press, and should I be mistaken about the potential and usefulness of this blog and it really does encourage vicious personal attacks on members of our community, I will not hesitate to point that out as well. I’d like all of us – environmentalists and off-road enthusiasts, Libertarians and liberals – to feel that we could come here and energetically and enthusiastically debate the issues, and get worked up about it, but also take pride in knowing that we have boundaries, and we’re not going to take the fight to our neighbor’s front door, or make them worry about whether someone is going to attack them physically, or vandalize their home. That’s the kind of thing we should fight against, not for.

    • desertrider desertrider says:

      I mostly agree Steve,
      I have been on this blog for a few years now and cannot remember a time when any of the regulars on here have ever condoned,endorsed or suggested that someones property be vandalized or their person be physically attacked (not even Ken would do that)
      As you know many on the left leaning side in the basin have it in for Cactus Thorns and will go to extreme lengths to downplay and discredit its importance to the basin.

      • Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

        I’m just passing on concerns and criticisms that I am hearing after publishing my recommendation that our 50,000+ readers of The Sun Runner check out this blog as a new information source. I always place information I receive in context, I’m quite aware of the biases and beliefs of many of this blog’s posters, and I am quite familiar with how heated discussions can get on blogs in general, so I think my real point is to encourage everyone who wants to use this blog to air the news and issues for our area (and I think there is a real need here to be able to do that), to work on ensuring that certain boundaries are not crossed. How’s that?

  6. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    Looks like I wrote too much – again!

  7. desertracerswife desertracerswife says:

    Your comment was good Steve, with 1 acception – compromise. Local Activist do not understand nor are willing to compromise anything.

    That became very clear on the local newspapers request for it. There was mud slinging all over the place. And the only willingness to compromise came from the ORV community (who have had it handed to them when we have compromised before). So compromise is not an option anymore.

    And I am sure these are the same folks that have emailed you complaining that you encourage to read.

  8. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    Thank you! I’m still going to note that compromise is a necessary word in everyone’s vocabulary – even mine, though I often don’t seek it out. I guess I think that we have to be realistic enough to understand that usually, we’re not going to get everything we want, even if we think we should.
    As far as ORV issues go, I think that both sides have already compromised to some extent (in the past), and both sides are going to have to compromise in the future – willingly, or otherwise.
    I have this exotic fantasy where respect – for the desert, and for each other – becomes commonplace out here. I have seen a lot of off-roading abuses personally, and I do not have respect for that. However, I have also seen a lot of respectable off-roaders too. I grew up riding a bike all over the trails in Oregon, and I’d probably still have one now, if I had the money and time to be able to enjoy it (and if my shoulders were still both at the same level – I munched one side up pretty good when I was riding).
    But I also enjoy unspoiled wilderness, and since our son died, my wife and I have found about the only peace of mind we have left comes from our walks in the silence of the desert. And I believe we should preserve lands so that we can walk somewhere silent and peaceful, and we should care about the life of this miraculous planet. It sounds cheesy, but really, look around – it’s beautiful, when we’re not messing it up.
    So, since I am in an optimistic mood (for the next five minutes, until the inevitable happens and I am dragged kicking and screaming back into reality), I think that there can be a solution that provides for some really fun off-road recreation, while also providing a source for the restoration of the human, and wild, soul of America.
    I said “can be” though – it’s up to the activists and all of us to find the balance that we can all live with.
    I’m planning on continuing to look into that issue in hopes of finding some kind of balance. If that means some mud flies my way, well, it’ll be just like some of my rides in Oregon!

  9. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    I think over the years, many compromises have been made on both sides of this issue – not all of them willingly. And, I am quite used to the rhetoric and charges from both sides, and the ability of both sides to ignore and turn a blind eye to the concerns and abuses of the other side.
    I think that the fact that some of the environmental organizations actively wanted to make sure that places like Johnson Valley and elsewhere remain dedicated to off-road recreation, certainly represents a compromise on their part. I think that with many environmental organizations there is an acknowledgement that off-roading enthusiasts need to be accommodated, and that making certain there are areas set aside for this form of recreation now, and in the future.
    If we’re talking Wonder Valley and locally, I think there is a lot of polarization, and that’s going to have to change. I can see points on all sides of the issue, and either everyone can fight over it, or we can recognize the problems and concerns of all parties, work to resolve them, and then move on.
    Off-roading is a form of recreation that isn’t going to go away, and there are a lot of folks who enjoy it. The need to be respectful of our neighbors, and to show some care for the desert isn’t going to go away either. I think that as a community we can work toward recognizing the rights and responsibilities of all concerned, don’t you?

  10. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Most of the problems that have manifest themselves started no sooner than 2000. Boy do I know about that.

    Property records show that most of the hard core anti-public access environmentalists bought property out here in 2004-2005.

    If you were to take the year 2000 as a base, all we in the off-road community have been doing is compromising.

    So in our view compromise is another way of saying capitulation. To compromise the other side would have to be willing to give up something.

  11. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    So, help me out here with details. Before 2000, everyone who lived in Wonder Valley and wanted to ride OHVs could ride them on their own property, on designated BLM lands/trails, on other people’s private property, on county roads? And now, where can you ride and where are you not allowed to ride? Are you now restricted from riding where it was previously legal to ride? Or are you restricted because now there are new neighbors who are complaining when people ride where it isn’t legal for them to ride?
    As we all are aware, unless we own all the land ourselves, we have to adjust to new neighbors who buy land near us. I’m listening to my neighbor’s dogs barking as I write this. I don’t have a dog. I love them, but we don’t have the time to care for one properly with our jobs the way they are. I’d prefer to not listen to THEIR dogs bark, but they’re my neighbors. HOWEVER, other neighbors let their dogs run loose around the neighborhood. My cat wound up in the mouth of one of those dogs. We paid the vet bill – not our neighbor whose dog was on our land attacking our cat. Do I care if my neighbor’s dogs that run loose wind up taking a trip to the pound? Yes, in that I’d rather animal control took my neighbor – the dogs don’t deserve to be punished, he does.
    The point is, I’m willing to compromise and listen to my neighbor’s dogs, even though I’d prefer not to hear them barking now, or at 3 a.m. My neighbor is infringing on my right to enjoy peace of mind, and sometimes sleep, but we’re willing to compromise. But when their dogs are on my property, or running loose where they are legally not allowed (and for good reason), that’s another question entirely.
    So, help me out. I’m working on a story about off-roading, so share the injustices with me. Tell me where and when OHV riders have been forced to stop riding on their own property, and on legally designated trails or areas. Tell me if you think it is unjust that once you could ride on land owned by others, but now cannot. Share your experiences and viewpoints on the topic, and on how you think, or don’t think, something like the OHV trails in use in California City could work here, or not.

    • Steve these good Wonder Valley people live off dirt roads on acres of land in this rural area and use the off highway vehicle (OHV) as transportation to and from neighbors homes. Maintenance is paid for by the property owners of these dirt roads and in some cases they grade them with their own tractors. These new Community ORV Watch (COW) neighbors have no consideration for the old property owners and dynamics of the community when they call the sheriff on their neighbors.

      The Million dollar question is can unlicensed vehicles use the roads in Wonder Valley and the answer is yes. The reason is because the roads are not part of the county maintained road system. The Sheriff will tell you the answer is no but they are uninformed. Please call the Sheriff and ask them if they will come out for an accident investigation on a dirt road in Wonder Valley and they will tell you that is the job of the Highway Patrol.

      Now the Highway Patrol have stated the dirt roads in Wonder Valley are not highways and unlicensed vehicles can use the roads. http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1140/files/wonder%20valley%20update.pdf

      After reading the above link you may start to see a pattern of complaining about a non existent problem. You may see twisting reality into a perspective friendly to their cause of banning all OHV use. You can learn more about Wonder Valley here. http://www.wondervalley92277.com

  12. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    It looks to me that the document you refer to notes that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has decided the roads in question are legal county roads, and you have to have a licensed street legal vehicle to drive on them, while the CHP has taken the opposite view. Sounds like someone needs to get them to figure out which interpretation is right. When you have two governmental agencies that contradict each other, it’s usually a good idea to get them to reconcile their opinions. But it does provide for some interesting news writing opportunities in the meantime.
    Our neighborhood is on paved, county roads, and we have people riding OHVs, unlicensed and not street legal, back and forth all day long. My concern comes from the fact that children are often put on quads or other vehicles that appear to be too large for them, without helmets, and without good adult supervision. If I have one fly out in front of me and get hurt, I’m first going to be horrified about hurting a child, and then I’m going to get to deal with the ramifications. That’s what I don’t like about unlicensed riders on unlicensed vehicles that are uninsured and ridden illegally.
    But that’s a different issue. I’ve lived in a variety of rural areas, and saying you can’t ride your OHV down a dirt road, in a responsible manner, out in Wonder Valley to your neighbor’s home, is like telling the farmer out in Kansas he can’t jump on the John Deere and chug over to his friend’s house using the ag roads (not the highway, or county road). We have lots of folks in Landers who ride around on our dirt roads (some of them looking for stuff to steal), and nobody cares. If they act like idiots, and they repeatedly ride around with real loud, obnoxious OHVs, then people don’t like it, but otherwise, that’s rural life. I mean, sometimes the only one who is maintaining the road is a guy on a quad towing some homemade contraption, not the county.
    I’ll look into the contradictions between the Sheriff’s Department and the CHP interpretation of the status of the roads.

    • I can understand why the Sheriff would state what they do because they don’t want every TOM, DICK and HARRY riding out here. The only people really using the area are neighbors and neighbors family. Only since the complaining by COW has the issue of legal unlicensed vehicle use on Wonder Valley dirt roads gone public.

      According to State Law, California Street and Highway Code, section 2150, neither road fund revenues nor County General Funds may be expended on roads that have not been accepted into the county maintained road system. See page 12


      • Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

        My Comments on County Service Area (CSA) Roads

        CSA roads are not the responsibility of the County Transportation Department. They receive no funds from gas tax revenues. All the funding is generated by the property owners themselves. The County merely administers those funds and charges a fee for that service. The CSA is designed to provide only the level of service desired by those property owners who voted it in. The CSA owns the equipment and hires the manpower. No County employees or equipment are involved.

        The County will claim no responsibility for any damage caused by C.S.A. work. Ask the County to survey and relocate roads that have meandered, for various reasons, over the years. Ask them to replace the fill dirt, early “homesteaders” hauled in to make the roads passable but are now sanded because the C.S.A. graded it off. See if they’ll repair the flood damage to your cabin caused by the Service Area’s poor drainage considerations or move the road back when your neighbor puts a fence in the middle of it and the Grader just cuts around it onto your property. They won’t.

        Therefore the adaption of a CSA does not, in any way, relinquish ownership and privete roads are not subject to the California Vehicle Code.

        If the County wants to tell us who can and can’t be on our private roads, the County can darn well take them over, through proper procedure, and everyone can foot the bill for their upkeep.

  13. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    Oh I can understand why the Sheriff’s Department could come to that decision, but the still arrived at one conclusion, and the CHP, another. Ironically, it looks like being forced to formally adopt a position that the roads ARE open to unlicensed vehicles, could result in more off-roading, while formally adopting a position that roads ARE NOT oepn to unlicensed vehicles, means much more restriction on OHV use, but also opens the county to being required to provide more services.

  14. Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

    COW has made false reports to you, to me, to the media, to law enforcement and to our County Supervisors. Cow has been caught in so many lies that any rational person, even those against off-roading all together, will think twice before aligning themselves with the group. They themselves are the ones making it difficult for our Supervisors to support their position regarding the “work in progress” that is OHV Ordinance #3973.

    There ARE legitimate complaints that can be made about some off-roaders. That’s a no brainer and everyone should be pulling together to fix that but you cannot reach agreement with someone you cannot trust.

    Remember the pig farm lie? Remember the old man and the burro lie? The truth is not in these people. They have lied to the point that it has needlessly cost tax payers, literally thousands and thousands of dollars. AND IT IS CONTINUING!

    Because permit information is available on the internet COW is able to register false complaints about every group that purchases one. And they have, just ask law enforcement. One such complaint about a group in Landers was called in from Palm Desert.

    Some of the, no longer anonymous, liars in Wonder complained about nonexistent OHV problems until it resulted in a massive investigation by County, State and Federal Law Enforcement and they found… NOTHING!

    Ultimately five California State Off-Road Law Enforcement Officers drove full size 4wd SUVs all the way from Sacramento to Wonder Valley to investigate.

    On that trip they met with a BLM Ranger, County OHV Code Enforcement, the CHP and the local Sheriff. They met with the complaining parties (COW). They interviewed other area residences. They looked for OHV problems and they looked for evidence of OHV problems, they found… NOTHING!

    So, they made a second trip. This one was a surprise appearance! This time they hauled down all their off-road equipment, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, riding gear and the rest and conducted a two day sting operation. That was on “President’s Day” weekend 2009 and again they found… NOTHING!

    In fact they saw only one, count them (1) off-roader in all of Wonder Valley during the entire investigation and he was quietly minding his own business on his own land.

    Forget comprimise! COW should be apologizing to EVERYONE especially you, the hard working tax payer, for the very expensive lies!


    Note: To verify my claims and find more info. go to the State Parks website, see the minutes from the last five (5) OHMVR Commission meetings and see their official press release on the Wonder Valley matter.

    You may also want to check the plethora of related editorials our local news papers have published over the Last four years. Check their electronic media too.

  15. Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

    A legitimate scenario resulting from one of 3973’s controversial requirements… So if my Kids and Grandkids pop in for a visit on our farm out where the black top ends and my Granddaughter wants to ride the old Mini-Bike I used as a kid, I will tell her “Sorry Darin, you can’t ride. I didn’t know you were coming so I didn’t go down the hill, A MONTH AGO, fill out an invasive, five page, application and purchase a four day permit for $155.00”?

    …WRONG! …Just give me the freaking ticket already.

    Steve B. I recommend you read the ordinance for yourself!

    Note that it’s only the staging permit portion of the ordinance that is being dropped. But just for your information, OHV use has been regulated here for forty years. The pervious ordinance dealt with trespass properly and it’s my well studied opinion that most of the complaints you’ve heard are fabrications perpetrated by COW to validate their radical position and promote the acceptance of this draconian ordnance.

  16. Steve Brown Steve Brown says:

    No worries. I’ll be reading the ordinance and lots of other material as well. Someone once asked me why I wanted to have a magazine out in the desert since there wasn’t anything to write about.
    Oh yeah…..

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
UA-9539515-1 e0a5d0bb00574423a5afb96d6b854248