Why anyone would want to own California's 'Slab City' is beyond me. It is a worthless piece of desert to anyone except the few folks who've decided to make the off-grid artist enclave their home. Salvation Mountain and Slab City are about the people and not the land they are on. Their independence and desire to be apart from community-planned water and power alone are testament enough. There is no way those artists need a landlord handing out Chick tracts.
A relatively new resident to the desert community has decided he wants to own it, however, and has offered $1.5 million to the State of California for the land. The self-claimed former pastor from a Christian Megachurch claims not to have plans and is just serving his lord. Though claimed to be from a family fortune, the source of this gentleman's funding has yet to be revealed.
Associated long-term residents have organized to offer the state a counteroffer. It does not serve California to displace happy individuals from their working community, and changing the ownership or title of this land seems unnecessary. Their community is working without this kind of help.
When SFGATE reached out to Salvation Mountain representatives for comment about Walton's proposal, they wrote that they "do not support his efforts in any way" and asserted that the purchase was "never going to happen," stating that they're making a concerted effort to buy the land once and for all. They've reportedly been engaged with the state since 2015 to ensure that the monument remains preserved and owned by Salvation Mountain Inc.
When asked about the Jim Jones comparison, Walton brushed it off and said that he felt the opposite was true. He explained that he ran a soup kitchen in the area and stated that his mission centered around serving the community — not expanding his small operation.
"I don't talk or recruit or anything like that," he continued. "We just serve food." (As recently as June 11, however, he's openly solicited volunteers and advertised New Eden on his Facebook page.) Walton said that both Salvation Mountain Inc. and the SCCG are "frauds" that have slandered him for years, but either way, he's not concerned that this will derail his proposal.
"God is in control, I just need to show up and serve," he wrote. "It's not about me."