By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The turmoil was a stark contrast to what the commissioners had in mind when they ventured to DWP’s remote company towns. “This is voluntary — they’ve come out of their love for the city,” gushed Julie Bear, director of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, which is angling for the DWP to subsidize controlled growth in Mono County towns such as Lee Vining, which are surrounded by DWP land. “There’s no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit,” Nichols replied.
Sutley reiterated that Villaraigosa wants L.A. to become “the greatest big city in America” and a green one at that. Nahai was effusive in his praise for the “glory and the divinity of the Eastern Sierra,” pledging a new day of cooperation between the DWP and the people of the Owens Valley: “Scratch the surface, and we are all the same. The one thing that poisons relationships is suspicion. It is like a weed that can overtake anything.”
In Inyo County, at the fairgrounds in Bishop, a community scarred by groundwater-pumping disputes, a bitter fight over the DWP’s resistance to restoring the Lower Owens River and the entrenched dust-mitigation project, shared stories of health problems and isolation. They begged the commissioners to approve a plan to expand the Bishop airport. They wondered where Villaraigosa plans to get the water to feed the million trees he wants to plant in L.A.
“Dream with me,” said Wilfred Nabahe, of the Lone Pine tribe, quoting Villaraigosa from his State of the City speech. Then he voiced the concerns of many in attendance, who recall the way the DWP does business in its water colonies. “There’s no believing their words,” he told the local supervisors who seemed perplexed by all the conciliatory talk. “Who cares about rates in L.A.?”?
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