Why is Lazer Broadcasting so insistent on Wildwood Canyon when they have other options?
The Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living has presented Lazer Broadcasting with seven alternative sites. The alternative locations are far enough away from other radio towers to prevent interference, have
the proper line of site to the community of license, and allow for service to the largest population possible.
All of the locations are a significant improvement over the current proposed site and two would increase Lazer Broadcasting’s listener population by over 500 percent. Lazer Broadcasting has finally agreed that
several of these locations satisfy the requirements of the FCC. Still, they have refused to move from the current location that will negatively impact Wildwood Canyon.
These alternative sites meet Lazer Broadcasting’s goals for their listenership, while also preserving Wildwood Canyon State Park for future generations. Occasionally we need our elected officials to have
the vision and courage to make decisions that will positively affect our region, and the voice of the people on this issue is strong. Don’t do this for me: do it for my three young daughters.
I urge the Board of Supervisors to listen to reason and tell Lazer Broadcasting to choose an alternative
Living in San Bernardino County makes one quickly appreciate the region’s diverse communities, rich history, and layers of astounding natural beauty. Tucked in between the San Bernardino Mountains andthe desert, San Bernardino County offers a range of majestic landscapes that make its existing open spaces – like Wildwood Canyon State Park and Pisgah Peak – worth celebrating, visiting, and most importantly, protecting.
My passion for beauty and nature clearly derives from my own Mexican Native American background.As an indigenous Chicano/Latino born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, I did not readily grow up around natural spaces. Concrete ran along our streets, interconnected our homes, and surrounded our small, city-sized parks. Even the mostly nondescript channel shores of the Los Angeles River, just a mile from my childhood home, were paved with barren and bone-dry concrete. And while there was always a bustling energy that I enjoyed, the lack of open space in our community did deprive me of experiencing and understanding the beauty of the great outdoors at an early age, as well as the flora and fauna that
comes with it.
As an adult I now know how essential these open spaces are, and feel an intrinsic need to protect and preserve places like Wildwood Canyon – especially as a large radio tower project currently threatens its wondrous landscape.
After residing in San Bernardino County for nearly two decades, it is clear to me this park is one of San Bernardino County’s most coveted pieces of open space. The 900-acre park offers a multitude of natural
and cultural resources. It is home to a collection of native plants and animal species, as well as a culturally significant Native American site. Moreover, with hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails
across the park’s grasslands and hillsides, visitors can experience wide-scale panoramic views of the natural world around them. It’s a truly breathtaking place.
This is why it pains me to know that the park is still under attack by Lazer Broadcasting Inc., a non-local company aiming to build a four-story radio tower directly adjacent to Wildwood Canyon. After years of
fighting against the San Bernardino County community, Lazer has continued to try to push their development plans forward, which would leave the park’s vistas forever damaged.
This cannot and should not happen. Moving forward with this project will ruin the “WOW!” factor for park visitors– that jaw-dropping moment, where one is overwhelmed by the beauty of the untouched
landscape around them.
On March 20, the project will be before the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for a vote. To keep San Bernardino County’s beauty alive, we must protect its crown jewel, Wildwood Canyon State Park. It is my hope that the community’s voice is heard and the project is finally taken off the table.
Enrique G. Murillo, Jr. Ph.D.
Professor, California State University San Bernardino
After nearly a decade of fighting Lazer Broadcasting over their proposed radio tower project, we are almost at the finish line. 20,000 local residents have voiced their opposition to this tower and have demonstrated the importance of preserving the beauty of Wildwood Canyon State Park.
There are many reasons this project is bad for our community. Serious fire risks in the proposed location cannot be mitigated. The site for the tower sits upon Native American cultural landscape and is linked to
the Serrano Indians and their regional history – many Native American tribes including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians oppose the project.
Additionally,efforts to preserve Wildwood Canyon Park’s pristine vistas and native species would be obstructed. Our community is diverse and resides on beautiful land untainted by the urban expansion surrounding us.This is our last opportunity to save it.
I encourage anyone who can please attend the hearing on March 20, at 10 a.m. at the San Bernardino Government Center, 385 N. Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino.
We have been fighting for 10 years -let’s show them the undying dedication we have for Yucaipa’s rural community.
Chairperson, Trails and Open Space Committee
Thanks to the vision of a few people, the Crafton Hills Preserve remains a defining feature of natural beauty for Yucaipa and the surrounding communities. Similar visionaries brought us the Wildwood Canyon State Park and the El Dorado Park. These are important places to all who enter them as sanctuaries to escape urban life. These natural areas provide needed psychological well-being and renewal.
There is a very limited amount of land being held in perpetuity for preservation purposes in our area. Once the land is preserved, it needs to be managed carefully, and not become compromised by creeping urban influence. There is no end to urbanization. While development is of course appropriate in many locations, oftentimes it occurs too close to preserved wildlands. This creates the challenge of avoiding and minimizing the urban edge effects. Edge effects occur where development takes place adjacent to wildlands. Edge effects threaten the ecological integrity, recreational experience, aesthetic quality, animal migrations, and safety of preserved wildland areas. It is now well understood that in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and maintain biodiversity, attention must be given to minimizing impacts to wildlands from surrounding urban areas.
The Inland Empire District of California State Parks has published an in-depth analysis of Urban Edge Effects and their relationship with the natural environment. That document provides detailed guidance for minimizing urban influences on parks and wildlands. For example, it clearly would not support the installation of the proposed Lazer Tower overlooking Wildwood Canyon State Park.
The original vision for our designated natural areas should be perpetuated, as a legacy for current and future generations. Preservation of these natural areas is now our greatest challenge.
After discussing it for almost three hours, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 13, to delay its final vote on the proposed Lazor Broadcast radio tower at Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa.
A strong citizens group has attempted to block the 43-foot pole/radio tower for over a decade. Time and time again, the Citizens for Preservation of Rural Living of Yucaipa have been successful in halting the project. The group shows up at every county planning commission and board of supervisors meeting to voice its opposition.
Over the years, many opponents noted the project would ruin the aesthetic feel of Wildwood Canyon Park and create a catastrophic fire hazard.
Seven alternative sites were proposed to Lazer representatives, but it opposed the plea, stating the current site is ideal, and to move it would not be cost effective, among other reasons.
John K. Mirau spoke before and after the meeting. “Instead of building a tower in a high risk fire safety zone, we are asking Lazer Broadcasting to choose one of the seven alternative locations that a highly respected FCC engineer recommended. Lazer now admits that six of those seven sites satisfy FCC rules and regulations. Five of those locations would increase their current radio power by more than 400 percent and two of the locations would increase their broadcasting power by more than 450 percent.”
Yucaipa resident and Yucaipa Valley Conservancy President David Miller said, “Today we are gathered here, again, to see if democracy actually works, or if it is just the rhetoric of politicians,” said Miller.
“This is not a pro-business versus anti-business confrontation, as was implied the last time we were here, this is an exercise in political will. Twice, the very pro-business city council of Yucaipa has voted unanimously against this proposal. They heard the overwhelming voices of their fellow citizens and experts, and recognized the inherent dangers this proposal contained. ”
Overall, a couple dozen spoke in opposition to the project and many others left the meeting after a couple hours, to return to work or other business.
Mark Miller, former CAL FIRE Captain spoke on fire dangers inside the state park, from firsthand experience.
The site is deemed a “Let it Burn” area, inaccessible to the fire department.
Yucaipa City Councilman Dick Riddell also spoke at the meeting, “I have served on the city council for a quarter of a century, and on the planning commission and in all my time in public service, there has never
been an issue that has disturbed people and has upset people as much as this radio pole.”
After listening to public comments and testimony, the board voted to hold the item. Vice-chair Curt Hagman said he wanted more time to evaluate the alternative sites. Supervisor James Ramos suggested there’s value in listening to the local people. Chair Robert Lovingood said the board has relied heavily on local councils to advise on these types of
issues. Public comment is officially closed but the board will revisit the item on March 20, for its final decision.
Following a nearly 3-hour public hearing Tuesday, San Bernardino County supervisors suspended voting on an appeal by a citizens group that for a decade has attempted to block a broadcasting company’s attempt to erect a radio antenna on an Oak Glen mountainside, above Wildwood Canyon Park in Yucaipa.
Oxnard-based Lazer Broadcasting Corporation, which operates several Southern California radio stations, is seeking to build a 43-foot pole antenna on a 38-acre property it owns next to Wildwood Canyon Park,
near the intersection of Oak Glen and Wildwood Canyon roads, west of Pisgah Peak Road, so it can boost the signal of its Spanish-language station KXRS in Hemet.
While seven alternative sites were proposed, six of which were FCC-approved, Lazer representatives insist the Oak Glen location is the only one that will allow it to expand its reach by 1.5 million listeners.
Among the benefits include serving non-English speaking Latinos during emergencies, Lazer representatives say.
The project has been scaled down significantly from its original design: a 140-foot tall lattice tower with a 250-square-foot equipment building and a 500-gallon propane tank to run a backup generator.
Opponents, however, are not accepting anything less than relocating the antenna site. They maintain the project would damage the terrain and ruin the aesthetics of Wildwood Canyon Park. Additionally, the site
sits within the largest nonprofit nature preserve system in California, overseen by The Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen.
“Ultimately, saving our treasured landscapes from development means educating and instilling the love of nature in future generations,” said Dana Rochat, director of acquisitions at The Wildlands Conservancy.
“Since we had several thousand acres of land in the Oak Glen and Pisgah Peak areas, we felt we had a keen interest in the Lazer radio tower project, which would be seen from our properties and visitors.” She said the proposed antenna pole is incompatible with the surrounding open spaces of Wildwood Canyon Park and that there are numerous and better alternative locations for it.
Dick Riddell, a Yucaipa councilman and city resident since 1989, has long opposed the project and is part of the grassroots group Citizens for Preservation of Rural Living, which has been fighting the project
“In all my time in public service … there’s never been an issue that has disturbed people and has upset people as much as this radio pole,” Riddell said. “With all that’s going on in the world and all the things
that’s going on in Washington, you’d think people would be talking about that. But in all the coffeehouses, the restaurants, other public places, the topic is this radio pole.”
Gregory Ramirez, Lazer Broadcasting’s general counsel, said he respects the residents and their values,but that the issue was a private property matter, and so long as a property owner abides by the law they
can do whatever they want with their property.
Redlands attorney John Mirau, who represents CPRL, disagreed, saying Lazer Broadcasting still has to go through the same permitting process and legal process, which sometimes doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
“They do not have it as a matter of right,” Mirau said.
Following the hearing, Supervisor Curt Hagman said that, while he supports private property rights and is leaning toward denying CPRL’s appeal and allowing Lazer to move forward with its project, he said he
wanted additional time to review the matter, especially the alternative sites opponents are pushing for.
The board voted to continue the matter to March 20.“ It is important to the local community, and to makesure that we are listening to the local voice, because it is about local control at the end of the day,” Supervisor James Ramos said.