Battle for the California desert: Why is the government driving folks off their land?

[Video Link] Nick Gillespie says: "Thought you might find this new doc about homeowners in one of the world's great godforsaken places, the Antelope Valley, being hassled by LA County officials. Includes footage of the great "Phonehenge" house out that way."

The Antelope Valley is a vast patch of desert on the outskirts of Los Angeles County, and a segment of the few rugged individualists who live out there increasingly are finding themselves the targets of armed raids from local code enforcement agents, who've assembled into task forces called Nuisance Abatement Teams (NATs).

The plight of the Valley's desert dwellers made regional headlines when county officials ordered the destruction of Phonehenge: a towering, colorful castle constructed out of telephone poles by retired phone technician Kim Fahey. Fahey was imprisoned and charged with several misdemeanors.

But Fahey is just one of many who've been targeted by the NATs, which were assembled at the request of County Supervisor Mike Antonovich in 2006. LA Weekly reporter Mars Melnicoff wrote an in-depth article in which she exposed the county's tactic of badgering residents with minor, but costly, code violations until they face little choice but to vacate the land altogether.

"They're picking on the the people who are the most defenseless and have the least resources," says Melnicoff. collaborated with Melnicoff to talk with some of the NAT's targets, such as retired veteran Joey Gallo, who might face homelessness if he's forced to leave his house, and local pastor Oscar Castaneda, who says he's already given up the fight and is in the process of moving off the land he and his wife have lived on for 22 years. And, while Antonovich declined an interview, we did catch up with him at a public meeting in order to ask the big question at the center of all this: Why the sudden enforcement of these codes against people living in the middle of the desert, who seemingly are affecting no one?

Battle for the California Desert: Why is the Government Driving Folks off Their Land?


  1. I certainly don’t agree with the ideology driving, but it’d be a logical error to say any issue promoted by them is therefore also something to be dismissed. As presented here, it is clearly an overreach by government, and it is wrong.

    1. I feel the same way about that I do the ACLU, Free Press and the NRA;

      I like that they fight for rights, but I don’t agree with all their ideology, and in some cases I need to hold my nose in order to agree with them.

      1. If you feel uncomfortable with the libertarians at Reason, take some time to think about how interconnected personal liberty and economic freedom (i.e. *physical* property rights and free trade) are. The libertarian insistence on “both” types of freedom isn’t arbitrary.

        1. This isn’t really the place to argue about why I dislike libertarian philosophy. My issue is that this source is the dailykos of libertarians. I just think news coming out of such sources tends to be more misleading than informative because their goal is not to inform but to propagandize. 

          1. Reason is a Koch brothers outfit. Not that they aren’t often useful and valuable in their critique, and the Koch brothers are not 100% bad (they have been generally anti-war, to their credit). 

            But you need to take the whole thing with a medium sized grain of salt.

            That being said, I read Reason fairly regularly, and journalism like this, government-corporate cronyism, or the excesses of the drug war is sorely lacking in the world today.

          2. But that’s the problem. If the Koch brothers wanted to develop something on this land, then this story would be absent or told from a very different perspective: “welfare squatters sitting on valuable land that could be developed to create American jobs for people who want to work!”

          3. Umm..OK. But have you ever actually READ Reason or any similar outfits doing something like this? If not, you are just projecting your worst fears about the vile nature of libertarians, without any connection to reality.

            Maybe a conservative rag could run something like that, I could see it on freerepublic or national review or whatever. But libertarians believe as a core principle in individual property rights, and this is a cut and dry case of violation of property rights.

          4. I just think news coming out of such sources tends to be more misleading than informative because their goal is not to inform but to propagandize.

            Not to play devil’s advocate too much, but can’t the same be said of any news source? After all, media organizations are made up  of people who have opinions, and any source will have something of an agenda, perhaps implicit, perhaps explicit. You have to take that into account when you’re evaluating what they’re saying, but that’s just wise to do under any circumstance.

            Even BB — which is a fine site, and I happen to agree with much (but not all) of their stances — has something of an agenda. And, frankly, many of Cory’s headlines come across as somewhat propaganda-like. That’s not a criticism, but again, you just have to take into account who you’re listening too.

            It’s possible that “taking into account who you’re listening to” could cause you to pretty much discount what is being said, but that’s driven more by the ethics of the speakers than their opinions on any subject. There are channels of communication I disagree with strongly who seem honest (or at least they think they are, and are not acting through malfeasance), and there are channels I agree with that I just can’t trust.

          5. You know Ambiguity if you agree with the position, it’s news.  If you disagree with the position, it’s propaganda.

          6. I agree. But I find some sources too wildly biased to trust. And I don’t think libertarians are any more guilty of creating propaganda than any other political group. My concerns are not on the philosophy, but on this particular source.

          7.  I don’t personally know too much about Reason but their material seems at least well-written, and their Libertarian bias is pretty explicit!

            I’m not a capital-L Libertarian (although I am a civil libertarian by most definitions), but I’m actually glad they are out there, contributing to the conversation (if the sorry state of public discourse can be considered a conversation). They’re pretty over-the-top, but in a strange way it helps to provide balance when contrasted to all the OTHER over-the-top groups who point in different directions.

          8. ALL news outlets have an agenda to some extent. There are no totally impartial, unbiased news outlets.

            In order to be a savvy news consumer in the 21st century, you have to read a wide variety of news sources, correct each one for it’s biases, and synthesize the truth somehow from all of them…

          9. “ALL news outlets have an agenda to some extent. There are no totally impartial, unbiased news outlets.”

            I’m not going to argue with the rest of your comment, because I agree.  I also agree that all news outlets have an agenda.  But while Reason may be playing the role of the news outlet here, they’re a libertarian-leaning publication with a specific, explicit agenda.

            This next bit also goes to the people who are a little miffed about the biased news source: this isn’t comparable to FOX News, who used to pretend to be impartial even though they were spewing propaganda.  Reason doesn’t hide their bias.

          10. “I just think news coming out of such sources tends to be more misleading
            than informative because their goal is not to inform but to

            This is a good point, and certainly something to keep in mind no matter
            what the source is. Obviously the folks at Reason tend to report on
            things that highlight problems with government regulation (and with The
            State in general). That doesn’t make the reporting bad or inaccurate,
            just selective like all reporting is by necessity. 

    2. Here’s the ‘ideology’ driving “We need a magazine like yours to help fight the stupid
      drug laws, the stupid immigration laws, and stupid big government in
      general.” This video makes the need for that clear.

    1. Shopping mall?  Not likely since that area was decimated by the housing bubble bust.  More likely wind or solar farms.   I hear Hedley Lamar was seen round those parts getting read to pull a number 6.

      1. Not likely since that area was decimated by the housing bubble bust.  More likely wind or solar farms

        If you want to build anything like that a supply of local housing and labor will be essential. The amount of land recovered by kicking people out of their homes is relatively small.

        1. There are empty housing developments in the area that weren’t completed but only need to have water hooked up.  Small plots of land can cause big problems when you require large tracks of cintiguous land for a solar or wind farm.  But it s definitely speculation on my part. Plus, LA proper is not that far away.

  2. Why? I think this sentence pretty much explains it It’s because they are:
    ” the people who are the most defenseless and have the least resources,” 

  3. Yeah, there’s probably something in the land, or something to put on the land that has precipitated this.
    Or of course, some sociopath has gotten it into their head that they are the king of antelope valley, and we’re seeing the Lucifer Effect in full swing.

    1. Sure looks to me like it’s Mike Antonovich.  Did you see is his face when the reporter asked him those questions?

    2. I used to live out that way… and I think ‘sociopath in local government’ is the most likely explanation. The best land for wind & solar in that area is in Kern County, up near Mojave. The land up there is a haven for all sort of weirdos… they should be left alone along as they’re not directly harming anyone.

  4. Is it harassment or is it enforcement of building codes?  The original LA Weekly article leaves me annoyed but not quite as outraged as the video did.  I don’t have a big problem with requiring people to get rid of abandoned cars, tear down unsafe structures and require residences to come up to code. I do have a problem if the whole area is being targeted selectively for enforcement because the city would like to get rid of the residents.

    1. The codes for the Antelope Valley are the same as they are for urban LA county — applying them to these folks is inappropriate. I think someone in local gov’t has decided to get rid of the weirdos.

      1. wow really Cowicide?  You don’t see any moral hazard being created by a goverment mandate in CA to get 33% of power from renewables, coupled with a total roadblock for renewable development on public land because of some tortoise?  Now the only option for solar development is private land and it’s sooooo much cheaper to acquire that land if you can get some willing government officials to gin up some outrageous fines to force the inhabitants off that land in order to develop it for renewables.

        1. wow really Cowicide?  You don’t see any moral hazard being created … [blah, blah]

          I didn’t claim any moral anything so I’m not sure why you decided to take my one comment and then bloviate shrill assumptions, random tangents, etc.  I just haven’t seen any solid evidence that this is a conspiracy to plant evil solar panel farms out there.  Deal with it.

    1. correction, “capitalist state”  I hate it whenever a corporation makes the government its slave people just see big government and equate that with socialism.  If the govt is being dicks so a solar farm can be built you bet your ass there is a power company (you know, the ones who cause unnecessary blackouts for profit) behind it.

  5. I’m interested in the bit about “you need the building on the power grid to get a building permit.”  How did “electrical power” become a prerequisite for being a building?

    1. Way out in the middle of  nowhere, they like to pretend that they can make up the law as they go along. Who’s going to argue with pistols and tasers 10 miles from the nearest witness? A disgusting display of the use of law enforcement as, literally, brownshirts obviously in the service of private interests.

      1. Which private interests? None of the ones that have been floated make a damn bit of sense to anyone familiar with the area. I don’t think you get how empty that part of CA is.

  6. LA, CA: Where individuality and eccentricity are encouraged, but only if it’s conformist individuality or hipster eccentricity.

  7. I don’t know the long term reason behind it.  But right up front I betting money and power have a lot to do with it.  Somebody some where is either getting their jollies screwing with people and abusing their power, or is getting paid under the table to clear out some land and make it cheap.

  8. Could be they suspect that the area is home to potential right-wing terrorists. I only say right-wing because this doesn’t seem to be a hippy lefty commune, more of a libertarian deal. Like many people in the rural South or Northwest whether they know it or not, I’ve lived in the vicinity of compounds of armed right-wing fundy-Christian government-haters and it’s not pleasant. 

      1. Read about the ‘suicide’ of Danny Casolaro, and the murder of DA David McGowan, and and the Cabazon Indian reservation (just up the hill) and you’ll discover that ‘batshit crazy country’ fits that area to a T.

    1. even if it was true, and I would dislike a compound like that personally too, it would still suck if they were run out of town by simple minor violations of building codes.  wrong is wrong even done for the right reasons.

      just keep watchin.. big solar farm is what this is about.

  9. Its a good thing the police have caught all the crooks who caused the economic meltdown and stole Billions of dollars, now they have the time to finally go have the really big cases, like “Phonehenge”…

  10. Edit: I hit back one too many times and wound up posting just: Meth labs.

    Which is not what I meant to post.

    They’re using building code violations as a smokescreen to look for meth labs. The Antelope Valley has had a serious meth lab production problem for years, though the problem has faded away quite a bit as meth production has moved away from DIY labs to full factory production in countries where pseudoephidrine isn’t as tightly controlled as the US.

    Now, it’s entirely possible that the desire to drive out the meth labs dovetails into someone’s desire to buy up large blocks of land, but there’s a bit more evidence needed to prove that.

    1. Wow, what a classist.  They wouldn’t have to bring in nuisance code enforcers to shut down a meth lab.  And really, the pastor is a meth producer?

      1. “And really, the pastor is a meth producer?”

        I know! Next you’ll be telling me that a Catholic Priest sexually abused a child! Ridiculous!

        1. I guess I missed all the news reports about pastors and meth labs as opposed to the priest thing.  Now truckers in Bakersfield….. that I would not argue with.

    2. Meth labs have a particular characteristic stink — one visit should be enough to figure out whether a site is regularly used for meth production or not. Of course, that may be what the asshole in charge of this may be telling his bosses.

    1. Oh noes! It’s all Agenda 21! All those wacky commenters on the site were right!

      But really, that makes sense. That’s money to be made.

    1. Unfortunately yes.  That camera-man was way out of line.  WAY out of line. The far left news sources jumped on that to delegitimize Reason.  I hope that camera guy was fired.  That’s not journalism at all.  Heck, he wasn’t even a journalist, he’s a CAMERA MAN.

  11. FYI the Antelope Valley is a hotbed of ultra right-wing extremism. A couple of years ago I heard the FBI opened an office there specifically to counter the actions of the KKK. Given Reason’s general slant it’s possible they’re giving a pass to some pretty egregious behavior.

    1. Hate groups have every right to assemble.  Reasons’ slant is protecting your 1st amendment Right to Association.  Mere group membership cannot be a crime.

  12. You live in an aggressive, abusive, police state, on par with various middle eastern and asian dictatorships. I feel for you, but isn’t it time you get your fat butts off the couches, and your fingers off your iPhones, and actually do something about it?

  13. You’re walking a fine line there Mike Norman, soon you’ll be claiming High School chemistry teachers would be willing to cook meth!

  14. It seems like an interesting story, but like others I question the source.  Let me give some examples of their libertarian propagandizing, lifted directly from the clip itself:

    “Castaneda lived in the desert for 22 years without an help from, or problems with, the government.”

    Oh really?  So for 22 years he never drove his car on a county road, or was visited by anyone who did?  He never needed emergency medical services?  He never used the public library to check out a book, or had a conversation with anyone whose mind was enriched by a public education?  He never visited a county park?  I doubt that Castaneda would go so far as to make such claims, but ReasonTV is willing to make them for him.

    And, repeatedly, the “rugged individualists” catchphrase and myth.  But these are simultaneously “the people who are the most defenseless and have the least resources.”  So which is it?  Or, why does their definition of “rugged individualism” have to go hand-in-hand with an ignorance of zoning law and building codes?

    Somewhere in here is an interesting story about some people with zoning and building violations being held suddenly accountable, but the county’s side is deliberately cut out in favor of innuendo and conspiracy theories.

    1. The county had ample opportunity to have their side told.  They never answered any questions.

      1. You saw the county board executive sit in stony silence when asked the direct question during the public comments phase, and I saw an elected politician, who didn’t know the answer to a question out of left field, wisely biting his tongue.  We both saw the press secretary Tony Bell come up to the camera crew afterwards and explain that they’re cracking down on violations now because of complaints from neighbors.  ReasonTV dismisses this line entirely (“I don’t have any neighbors, except for the one ten miles that way, and the other one ten miles that way, and the other one…”) because they start from the quite radical position that the zoning and building codes are illegitimate to begin with.  Whereas I find that line entirely believable, and worth investigating.  Who is filing these complaints?  New arrivals to the valley, like retirees and land speculators, who find the natives a little distasteful?  Or long-term neighbors who have grown tired of the eyesores?  Journalism responsible to the truth would pursue that; journalism responsible to an ideology does not.

        So, let’s entertain the following possibility:  LA County turned a blind eye to zoning and building codes in Antelope Valley for years, because nobody complained.  Then someone started complaining, and now they are trying to enforce them.

        Why is that so hard to believe?

        Sadly, this could turn into an argument against government *ever* turning a blind eye, because it undermines its own authority when the time comes to enforce the law.

        [Personal anecdote time: Just one year ago I bought a
        2-flat in Chicago, with a finished basement that could be a third unit,
        except that the site is zoned for 2 units max, and the lack of a front
        egress violates building code.  Now I would *love* to rent out my
        basement for extra income, but it would be illegal.  What am I gonna
        do, complain about big government overreaching?  No, the laws were there
        before I bought the building.  I knew what they were, and I accept the
        zoning and building codes because they keep me and the neighborhood safe
        and organized in many other ways.  (Similarly, I determined *before buying* that I can have goats and chickens and livestock in my backyard, as long as they are not being raised for slaughter.)  The previous owner, however, did rent it out
        illegally, to immigrant day laborers (whom I assume were undocumented). 
        The fact that the neighbors never complained does not give me the
        go-ahead to continue the practice; or, if I did continue the practice,
        and the city or county came and cracked down on me, “Why are you
        cracking down on me now when this has been going on for years?” would be
        the sorriest defense, don’t you think?]

        1. Don’t be silly; you don’t need faux SWAT to inspect a property five times without a warrant and then nitpick things that are in grey areas to begin with, levying piles of fines on things that are not truly dangerous.
          But you’re right about the neighbors thing; how hard would it be to interview the hundred or so people in antelope valley over the week before airing?

  15. Some one needs to check out Noah Cross on this one. Hollis Mulray “drowned”  in the city drinking water reservoir but its kinda funny that he had salt water in his lungs don’t ya think? 

  16. The meth-lab theory at least explains why a “nuisance abatement team” that’s ostensibly dealing with code violations is armed to the teeth.

  17. Our local meth lab (well, one of our local meth labs) was operating out of one of the oil change franchises. Pretty good way to cover up any odd smells.

  18. For every year I get an increasing impression that people are more free in socialist Sweden then free and brave USA. My subjective impression from inside my home country is that personal freedoms are increasing and if you are backsliding we might pass each other some day. It could of course be a selection bias for the stories that reach me.

  19. I get the feeling a high-speed rail to Vegas has something to do with it. I know this is something on the planning table. Terrible if it involves displacing people who have found a way to be self-sufficient in the most undesirable of living environments. They should be left alone and live how they choose.

    1. I find this and the highway theory hard to believe.  Couldn’t the property already be acquired through eminent domain?  The Solar Electric Farm theory is a little stronger, I think, because then you would have a big corporation, without the tools of eminent domain directly at its disposal, wanting the land.

  20. I’m not really buying the conspiracy theories. First of all, “Phonehenge” is in a completely different area than the rest of the folks in the video.  Though rural, it is more densely populated, and by more moneyed folks. So I wouldn’t be surprised that there were complaints. Not that I necessarily approve, mind you. I find it completely plausible that neighbors may have complained, though.

    Second, The rest of the folks are in a very remote part of L.A. county. There is some validity to the idea of an airport expansion. However, this has been an idea for something like 30+ years, with little advancement. The solar/wind generating is plausible. But it seems plausible without harassing anybody. This area, one must remember, is quite vast and mostly empty. The highway/train/mall development ideas seem least plausible. Even laughable.

    I can see local authorities simply trying to justify their jobs on the thinnest of excuses, and engaging local law enforcement to help out, who view the exercise as a sort of fishing expedition, since the area has a bit of a reputation for meth labs. Basically, harassment for the sake of officiousness and “following the law”.

    1. I think the most likely reason is that LA is broke as a joke despite which they continue to spend money like a drunken sailor and is desperately searching for any revenue stream they can find. :edit: wait this is the county not the city. my bad :edit:

  21. As a former Antelope Valley resident, I’d like to point out that “weird houses, with property with a lot of eccentric crap” are… really common out there. (edit) In the desert, at least – not really near the “populated” parts, at all.  It’s hardly “rugged individualists.”  Though I don’t know  how one could describe them.

    Now, in general, the AV is a shithole.  Palmdale is Palmdale.  Lancaster is in the middle of trying to reinvent itself.  But it is – and has been, for a long time – a shithole.

  22. I’m not seeing my prior post (hooray?), but again, former Antelope Valley resident.

    The idea of any meaningful development where these people likely are is… laughable, at best.  Mall?  Ha, no, the one they have is barely surviving the economy as-is.  Highway?  No.  Plenty of those.  Train?  Man, they wish.  But again, pretty much plenty of those.

    Wind Power mostly stays out of the valley proper – it’s quite common up in Tehachapi, though.  Solar Power is getting a big -big- push around the valley, but… there is -plenty- of land available out there for that (and a lot of the solar development seems to be centered around property that’s already seeing use – schools, parking lots, or other, similar, things).

    The less inhabited part of the valley have always had weird and eccentric people living out there, often with… stuff all over their property.  I don’t know why you’d bother to go enforce most codes on those people, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that most were very, very out of compliance.

  23. Kudo to BB for posting this story about a few helpless people being railroaded, rights ignored, with lies and fear. It’s because of such stories that I’ll tolerate the stink of Disqus to keep returning.

  24. If code enforcement were really the goal, NAT could spend years in East LA, downtown LA or any other non burb part of the city. In fact look up real estate listings for LA under 250000 dollars. I bet every one of the non-condos has compliance issues. Since most of these are in highly populated areas where fire safety, health and property values are more impacte,d I would expect to see code enforcement there on a daily basis. No, they are out in the least populated area of the county. There has to be a reason and as in most things follow the freakin money. LA will need more landfills, more energy and more transport as the city grows. In LA nothing is done without payoffs.

  25. It’s totally possible that they aren’t corrupt, but rather just a manifestation of a problem that afflicts our whole society: a zealous prosecution of the letter of laws and rules, without any connection to the actual purpose and intent of those laws in the first place.

    Laws are not a power in themselves. They are merely a means by which society decides what is needed to maintain peace and order.

    But the primary concern should be peace and order, rather than the laws themselves. This is a problem Americans suffer from acutely.

    Makes me think of the old Zen story, of not confusing the finger pointing at the moon with the moon itself.

  26. Ed H got there before I could (and I suspect a few earlier comments may have been references to it, but it’s been too long since I last watched it to be sure): watch “Chinatown” which is great fiction based on reality quit similar to what’s been a part of SoCal for ages. Normally, when Western desert areas are involved in mysterious gov’ment actions  it’s water or water rights, but it’s hard to believe that the AV has any significant claims to be jumped in that area. 

    As several people have pointed out, development in the area is not a likely motive as there are too many plum parcels sitting unsold there and elsewhere. Way too many developers are ruthless scam artists, but even the worst usually have a better sense of what would make a profit. And the AV sure as hell isn’t going to magic into another Phoenix or Vegas. Just because you can get the land doesn’t mean you can get the water, and that is key. And yet, that developer lust seems to be what many of the locals are convinced is driving this. Here are a few URLs for the curious that give more details starting with a LA Weekly report

    A two part story run on “House the Homeless” (which certainly doesn’t have any libertarian bias)

    And a really well done 17 minute documentary on Phonehenge.


    Phonehenge is one of the more visible “projects” where enforcement seems a wee excessive on the surface, but as you listen you always have to wonder if the Roshomon effect is at play. For those who rely on “visual” learning, this vid does offer a good look at both a specific eccentric project, and what the high desert and surrounding area look like. However, notice that it is within easy eyeshot of town, so not exactly beyond the black stump as they say in Oz.

    Anyway, long way to say I’m betting on land developer motivation, even though it’s likely to prove wrong time and wrong place. 

  27. Just found myself chasing down the inter-tubes ratholes, to follow up on Michael D. Antonovich; the self styled “mayor” of LA County. A long, long time LA County Supervisor, who was ultra-conservative before it was de riguieur. He’s likely setting the tone for throwing so many resources into moving the riffraff out. His web page has this prominent on the front page:

    “If you’re an entrepreneur considering opening a business in L.A. County—or if you’re looking to expand your existing business here—the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) can help. 

    “Created by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to implement the county’s economic development program through land development, project financing, and marketing activities.”’s really hard to remember that even though a substantial number of Americans are currently living through the realities of an economic great depression, there are a significant number of very wealthy who are blissfully isolated and living in a perpetual state of late 80’s bullishness. Those of you espousing paranoid conspiracies to explain this don’t really need to look any deeper than the fact that the far right has won the class war that they un-ironically accuse progressives of waging, and are going about bid-niz as usual. 

  28. Antelope Freeway one half  mile…
    Antelope Freeway one quarter  mile…
    Antelope Freeway one eighth  mile…
    Antelope Freeway one sixteenth  mile…

  29. I wonder how many people commenting on this thread have ever lived in a middle of no where rural area? It is very, very different from living in a city or town. You don’t have any where near the amount of interaction with government entities. It’s crazy to think say that a neighbor is complaining about your property because, a) in that kind of place, you ask a neighbor before calling in a complaint. b) you live so far apart that you’d not notice. 

    As far as a motive for the county goes, it’s anyone’s guess. It could be that the county supervisor just doesn’t like the way the place looks and so he’s “cleaning it up”. 

    1. OK, so I live east of the Mississippi, so there’s not really any “middle of nowhere” here, but I understand what you’re talking about.  Once you’re beyond towns, even here in Illinois, it’s different.  God, if the nearest town ever annexes this property, I’m going to have to move.  If they were to take a ruler to my grass this week…*shudder*

      And it depends on the county government.  I live in Southern Illinois (not downstate Illinois, I mean, my God, Chicagoans think Kankakee is “downstate”, we’re talking about an hour’s drive from Cairo) and most of the counties are too poor to have much in the way of such regulations.  The county east of here used to check for things like old tires on properties, because those tend to be mosquito breeding grounds, and nobody enjoys malaria and West Nile.

  30. The Supervisor is a major head strong religious right republican and I smell something fishy is happening here. I do feel a Koch Brother type plan to buy the land for energy producing purposes. We need to look at who is donating to the Supervisor’s campaign fund and I believe there should be a State or Federal investigation into why these raids are happening. When a neighbor lives miles from these isolated locations and we here of neighbor complaints something does not sound right. The Supervisor is an elected official and he has a responsibility to meet with these people. When he refuses then there are questions to why he is not meeting them.

  31. Beurocrats and petty law enforcment go where the enforcement is easy ,not hard, it’s why the lefts vision of society will never work.

  32. I have personal experience with the LA County NAT. They respond to complains. If a complaint is filed, they have to follow up. If the complaint involves several agencies (e.g., law enforcement, building code violations, animal cruelty, heath code violations, etc) then the NAT is sent. They are accompanied by armed sheriffs because many of the houses they visit to follow up on complaints are involved with gangs and drugs. 

    I was visited by this team as a result of a complaint from a neighbor this year. This neighbor was angry because I was hosting a fund raiser for a local community organization and they thought this was bringing too many people into the neighborhood, and was causing their house to be broken into. Although the NAT was very friendly, and apologized for the guns etc, and found that the complaints were baseless, they did site me for several minor things while they were here. In the end it was expensive and time consuming–I had to move a fence, get a permit for a new heating system, etc–but in my case it was more of an annoyance than anything else. 

    I suspect that what’s happening in the AV is the result of a battle between people who have been living there for a long time, and people who are involved in illegal activities, filing complaints back and forth to try to get rid of each other. The NAT is likely just responding to these complaints rather than having a coordinated effort to remove anyone in particular from their land.

  33. Experience would seem to dictate that where this kind of egregious action by county officials out in the middle of nowhere, there is money and influence behind it. You don’t have to call it conspiracy theories, just plain fact, The only parties that use conspiracy to describe the reasons behind such activities are those that want to discredit the questioners.

  34. As an urban planner, I appreciate the fact that people are finally recognizing us as the evil overlords we are.  That’s the same music I play in the background while I edit master plans!

  35. If anyone here is truly interested in why this type of intrusion has become more and more common in the US,  check out this woman’s research…
    Talk about a wake up call !

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