Carnegie Freedom Day – Six Month Anniversary Coming Up

Posted by on June 11, 2010 under Events, Updates. This post currently has one response.

The six month anniversary of Carnegie Freedom Day is fast approaching. This anniversary is something that we can’t afford to forget because it is a reminder of what we can do with a little organization and planning. We are a formidable force because we share a common trait. We love our sport and we love Carnegie. Non-riders can’t understand the passion that motivates us and few can really describe the exhilaration that comes from riding a light weight, powerful machine over challenging terrain.

It all began last December when my husband and I were out riding at Carnegie. The rangers called a meeting and informed us that a lawsuit had been filed in Alameda Superior Court. The judge had issued an order closing the park until the state submits and gets approval for a waste discharge report from the regional water board. A waste discharge report is normally required from industrial polluters discharging toxic waste into the water supply. The judge agreed with the petitioners that heavy metal contamination caused by off road use was killing fish and it had to stop.

There is only one problem. There are no fish. The creek-bed is bone dry except during periods of heavy rain. In drought prone California, there is typically water trickling though the creek-bed only a few weeks a year (if that). But, to reiterate, there are no fish, never have been. Even during the wettest of rainy seasons the stream doesn’t go anywhere. It is absorbed into the flood plain and then lost to evaporation.

Also, the judge ignored the countless other potential sources of the supposed heavy metal contamination in the so-called creek (which wasn’t flowing that rainy afternoon). Those sources include Lawrence Livermore Labs, a Federal Superfund Site, and which operates a firing range where lead bullets are pumped into the hillside above the creek and where explosives are detonated nearby; abandoned coal mines; a former brick making factory with abandoned slag heaps from coal fired kilns; and illegal tunneling by Hetch-Hetchy.

We were incensed and organized a protest for December 28, 2009 which we called Carnegie Freedom Day. We also set up a website carnegieforever.org where anyone could sign a petition to keep Carnegie open. When I say “we” I am talking about Dave Duffin (our fearless leader), Gunnar Östergren, Hamid Majidy, Pete Krunich, Mark Speed, Mark Martinez and others.

With Dave Duffin (creator and director of Oasis for Kids Inc.) as moderator, thousands of off-road riders attended Carnegie Freedom Day in the rain on a weekday. Representatives from CORVA, Dirt Diggers, AMA, BRC, Oakland MC, and Club Moto were there, along with others. A diverse crowd of outdoor enthusiasts came to support our cause.

The rally featured a large contingent of children seated on and around the stage. Speakers included such notables as Suzuki’s Rodney Smith, who observed that Carnegie was the most challenging place he had ever ridden; Scott Dunleavy, owner of Berkeley Honda/Yamaha, who donated $200 dollars to the cause; and Pete Krunich, who gave the microphone over to the youngsters and let them say what they liked about riding at Carnegie. They all said that they enjoyed spending time with their families.

Also included on stage were Skip and George Horne (Carnegie Hill-climb promoters), who forcefully reminded us to keep up the fight and to vote the “so and so’s” out of office. Two local young up-and-comers, Pete Krunich, Jr. (Widow-Maker Hill-climb Champion) and Kacy Martinez (KTM sponsored WORCS Woman’s Cross County Champion and AMA Woman of the Year), who spoke to the crowd of growing up together riding at Carnegie with family and friends, and who expressed sorrow and loss at the possibility of loosing their favorite off road riding area.

There were many other speakers including Dave Picket from District 36: “We need your help. All you parents out there…You can do it…Use your vote”.  “Mr. Hangtown”, Ed Santin, took the microphone and reminded us that “Carnegie is managed, all the trails are managed, and it is our place to ride”. It is maintained with our green-sticker money.

It is said that the hero of the day was a nine year old young man who grabbed the microphone and said what everybody was thinking and nobody dared say; “Screw the judge…It’s the place to be… I want the judge no longer”. A few weeks later he received a gift certificate donated by Carnegie riders.

Then Don Amador, representative of Blue Ribbon Coalition, fake fishing pole in hand, jumped on stage and announced that they had made a mistake. “They had awoken the sleeping giant”. No truer words were ever spoken. To date the petition has been signed by over fifteen thousand riders.

OHV Division Deputy Director Daphne Green and Division Chief Phil Jenkins addressed the crowd to reassure them that Carnegie wasn’t going to close and if it did, it would not be closed for long. They discussed things that they were doing to protect Carnegie, such as filing a water discharge report.

After the speakers had finished, everybody got together for the Carnegie Freedom Day Ride. Hundreds of motorcycles and mini-bikes stormed quietly out of the parking lot and rode the access road from one end of the park to the other and back again. Mud flying up with the spray splattered riding gear and boots, but everyone seemed to enjoy the experience of solidarity as the day’s event came to a close.

Predictably TV crews weren’t able to find the creek. This lawsuit is retarded. There is a huge difference between mainstream environmentalists like those of us who ride at Carnegie who truly care about the environment, and the pseudo environmentalists who hate our sport and will do anything to shut us down. In the past, in theory at least, I supported groups like Blue Ribbon Coalition, but like so many others I put off joining. Instead I continued riding not giving much thought to overcrowding caused by recent land closures.

This was a wake up call and after attending Carnegie Freedom Day my husband and I joined Blue Ribbon and got involved. We discovered a lot of things by reading Blue Ribbon’s on-line magazine and visiting their web-site. One of those things is that we must stick together. We are under attack. Check out the National Monuments Act and the resurrected Road-less Initiative.

Although Carnegie is still open (we won the appeal), this has not ended the lawsuit. The battle will not go away anytime soon. We also need to form and join local groups like the non-profit that Dave Duffin and his friends at Carnegie Forever are putting together to represent our interests at Carnegie, and most importantly, we need to stay informed, vote, get involved and fight for our rights. “These are our rights”. ”We aren’t hurting anyone”. “We can’t let them take away our place to ride”. As Jason says, “Together we ride: Divided we walk”.

Our Friends at PEER and Their Dirty Little Tricks

Posted by on June 2, 2010 under Uncategorized. This post currently has 3 responses.

I was reading the paper the other day where I saw a humorous little political cartoon about red and blue states. I did a second take when I read the caption. In blue states inhabitants are a thousand miles away from the Wilderness and think that it is a good idea to save it. In the red states they live about five miles away and are pissed because they are being shut out of their own public lands. In the first frame there was a picture of a woman at an amusement park kissing a dolphin and in the second frame there was a picture of someone riding a four-wheeler in the wilderness drinking from an open container while shooting deer with a rifle.

This common, but distorted characterization, upholds the view that amusement parks are a better family resource than recreation on public land. Let’s see… The experience at an amusement park is totally controlled by the corporate owners. The user is just a passive participant. OHV use on public land, contrary to the above characterization, teachers our children skills and responsibility while building physical strength and stamina. I am not saying that there is no place for amusement parks (As a teenager, I received my first kiss on an amusement park ride), but on the whole taking part in a legitimate sport seems preferable to the amusement park experience. You can call me a red, even though I reside in California, a blue state.

Regardless, this humorous cartoon points out a common misperception that our friends at PEER are taking advantage of in their fight against off road recreation. Check out Dom Amador’s blog (linked to this site) where he reports the following: “Once again the far left enviro community launches an unjustified attack on OHV by lumping riders in with drug dealers and vandals who break into government buildings.” What is this all about? PEER takes a legitimate sport and lumps it together with drug dealers and vandals and ultimately terrorists. (Excuse me!!!!!!!)

The new 2010 PEER Report on Violence against Federal Officers states the following; “WASHINGTON – May 27 – Attacks and threats against U.S. Forest Service employees and National Park Service rangers reached an all-time record in 2009, according to agency incident reports released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). This spike in violent incidents reflects growing danger to both staff and visitors on federal lands.”

If you look at the report closely there is absolutely no link between these attacks and recreational off road riders. Based on the fact that these attacks occur on areas open to off road recreation, PEER draws the outlandish conclusion that attacks and threats against U.S. Forest Service employees and national Park Service rangers is symptom on out of control OHV use, ignoring the fact that drug dealers, poachers and illegal timber harvesters in these areas use four wheeled vehicles to perpetuate their crimes.

At the bottom of the news release you will see a link to PEER’s 2007 “report” that OHVers posed a major threat to the peace and security of this nation.

“One BLM ranger wrote bluntly, “User attitudes are atrocious. They are the single biggest destruction on public lands these days, far worse than grazing or energy development.” Contrary to that ranger’s assertion, the biggest threat to river systems reported in the Chronicle today are to the Gauley River in West Virginia (mountain top mining) and Upper Delaware River (natural gas extraction) which are both related to energy development and, I believe, both occurring on public lands.

Don Amador, (the General) contacted a number of federal law enforcement officers who reported that none of them had ever heard of the survey, let alone filled it out. “Most, if not all of those officers reported that commercial dope growers, poachers, those who steal timber and other natural resources, and various other non-OHV crimes are where they focus most of their law enforcement efforts”.

It is typical of the enviros to go on the attack instead of accepting any blame. Earth-First members spiked trees with hidden metal stakes threatening the lives of lumberjacks who were lawfully cutting down timber. PETA members stalked and terrorized university officials over alleged mistreatment of lab animals. At Donner Ranch some years ago someone strung a taught wire across a trail used by OHVs at neck level, in effect trying to decapitate off road riders who were following legitimate trails.

Then there is the mother of all crimes: the lack of adequate government oversight pertaining to the Horizon Deepwater oil drilling rig in the Gulf (see my comment dated May 28, 2010) “Ms. Birnbaum resigned “on her own terms and on her own volition,” Mr. Salazar said…” On her own terms”… Is that code for tucking her away in another low profile Federal bureaucracy and permitting her to retain lavish government benefits like gold plated health care and pension benefits?

Ken Salazar, a friend of the Obama administration, was Ms. Birnbaum’s boss. How does he avoid blame for this unprecedented disaster when the pattern of illegal behavior at the Minerals Service was occurring under his watch? It appears that Ken Salazar is more interested in attempting to put public land off limits to the public than actually protecting those lands. He busies himself promoting National Monuments designation and promoting additional Wilderness areas rather than in protecting our lands and waters from real threats.

What are his priorities? He is in bed with big oil (BP British Petroleum is not even an American company selling extracted oil to whom) and he is fighting to keep the public out of public lands. What’s with that?

Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

The Hangtown Nationals

Posted by on May 29, 2010 under Events. This post currently has 2 responses.

Lovely weather and clear skies greeted motor-cross fans this weekend for the start of the MX season with the Rockstar Energy Hangtown Classic sponsored by the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club (DDNMC). They did a great job with the track which was fast and flowing with multiple lines through the corners and along the straights. But as the racing progressed it became evident that passing on the rough and challenging track was easier said than done.

In the 450 class Chad Reed riding for Kawasaki got an early lead and took the win in the first moto with what seemed to be effortless ease. In the second moto things did not go so well for the veteran and with a mid-pack start he slowly picked his way through the pack. He needed a third or better to win overall. Chad gritted his teeth and showed the kind of determination that he is known for. Maybe due to the tracks roughness or because of its fast and flowing nature, passing was difficult, but Reed did not give up and kept pushing, making the game changing pass on the last lap for a third place finish which gave him the overall win.

In the second moto of the 450 class Mike Allessi got the hole-shot on his Jagermeister  KTM 350 and went on to win the moto for a second overall with a fourth in the first race. The displacement disadvantage did not faze him and he showed great overall speed and gritty determination. His victory speech after taking a triumphant victory lap was spontaneous and short, but his sponsor KTM must have been happy. He attributed his win to the new 350 KTM stating that it was the best bike in the field. Although he still manifests some rough edges, he has matured considerably and his ride in the second moto proved that he will be a force to reckon with if he stays healthy this season.

Red Bull Honda’s Davi Millsaps enjoyed a return to the motocross roots with a third in the first race and a second in the second race for third place overall. Davi has such a strong flowing style that it seems that he is not putting forth much effort. His finishes belie that impression.

The 250 class was no less exciting; in the first moto Christophe Pourcel got a good start and made his way to the front early on for what looked like an easy win. In the second moto with a mid-pack start Pourcel was struggling and after making his way up to third place was not able to make another pass and seemed to give up, following Trey Canard finishing in third place.

In the second race the GEICO Powersports Honda mounted Eli Tomac in his first pro race jetted his way into the lead and never looked back with what looked like an effortless win. He is the son of mountain biking legend John Tomac. According to his father he was not home schooled and took part in the life of a normal teen-ager with study halls, proms and hanging out with friends. John said that he did not want his son to get burned out and it appears his strategy paid off.

Tomac and Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel tied with 45 points each, but the Honda rider’s second-moto win put him into the overall (3-1 beats a 1-3). Trey Canard, Eli Tomac’s teammate, rounded out the podium in third place with a disappointing seventh place finish in the first race and a second in the second race, keeping Christophe Poucel at bay.

A Fish(y) Story

Posted by on May 26, 2010 under Uncategorized. This post currently has 8 responses.

Note: If you are a frequent visitor here, you know how much work Diana puts into her comments. We will try to give them more exposure going forward by posting them on their own. Here’s the first comment elevated to a “post”:

A FISH STORY – A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CARNEGIE LAWSUIT AND THE DEEPWATER HORIZON DRILLING PLATFORM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
A New York Times article entitled Crisis Focus on Beleaguered Agencies Chief dated May 26 2010 discloses a connection between S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, director of the Mineral Management Service (MMS) ensured with ensuring the safety and environmental security of offshore rigs and Paula Dinerstein, senior counsel for the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/us/politics/26birnbaum.html

PEER, as we all remember, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit which attempted to shut down Carnegie due to off road riding which they alleged caused heavy metal contamination in a normally dry creek bed resulting in the death of nonexistent fish. The Deepwater Drilling platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico which is spewing estimates of from between10,000 to 75,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf has caused the decimation of an entire commercial fishing industry. Do you get the irony?

The following is taken from the article.

“Agency scientists and other employees complained that since taking the post in July, Ms. Birnbaum has done almost nothing to fix problems that have plagued the minerals agency for over a decade. She rarely visited the agency’s far-flung offices, so few staff members have ever seen her. ..
In her testimony, Ms. Birnbaum expressed regrets about the loss of life and damage to the environment from the disaster. ….

Before she took the job at the minerals agency, Ms. Birnbaum, 52, had virtually no experience with the oil and gas industry, but that was seen as a plus, according to a top Interior Department official.” (At least unlike others in charge of overseeing BP operations in the Gulf she had not previously worked for BP, See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/us/politics/26energy.html )  “She worked at the Interior Department in the last year two years of the Clinton administration on natural resource issues, leaving as an associate solicitor in 2001 to become a top lawyer and advocate for American Rivers, a conservation organization.

Ms. Birnbaum had never supervised more than a few dozen people, and the problems at the agency were daunting… Investigations found that some employees at the minerals service literally got into bed with oil industry representatives, accepted lavish gifts from them and allowed companies to fill out their own inspection reports.” For more information See

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/us/25mms.html?pagewanted=1

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/minerals_management_service/index.html?inline=nyt-org

“Those who know Ms. Birnbaum said they were puzzled that she failed to make a public push to fix these problems.

“We sent her a couple of letters and basically got nonresponses,” said Paula Dinerstein, senior counsel for the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), who knew Ms. Birnbaum before she was appointed. “We were disappointed that she wasn’t going in and trying to right the wrongs of the past.”

Agency employees have echoed this view, saying Ms. Birnbaum has done virtually nothing to address the problems…”

Paula Dinersein, who knew Ms. Birnbuam before she was appointed to the agency in charge of ensuring the safety of the deepwater drilling operations was “disappointed” because Ms. Birnbaum did not respond to her letters. I ask you, is that any way to treat a friend?

I have another question to ponder. Why did we have three environmental impact reports prepared and we still can’t ride on land we own when deep water drilling projects such as Horizon received a waiver from the requirement to produce environmental impact reports contrary to the spirit and law of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)? In fact since the explosion of  Deepwater Horizon, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for Gulf drilling projects, and at least 17 drilling permits most of which were for the type of work like that of the Deepwater Horizon at the time it exploded. See

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/us/24moratorium.html

Obviously our mistake is failing to send lobbyists to Sacramento and not sending off road enthusiasts to work for the California Environmental Protection Agency. Anybody willing to volunteer? Come on Dave, Gunnar, Pete, Mark, Jason, Hamid, anybody?

Hangtown National MX Race, Saturday May 22, 2010

Posted by on May 12, 2010 under Events. This post currently has no responses.

Here is a plug for our sister organizations, AMA District 36 and Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club (DDNMC) which sponsors the annual Hangtown National MX Race. This event has a 43 year history in the area. The skill and professionalism of these competitors sets a high bar for many of the young people coming up in the sport and the racers are also great role models for OHV. With this in mind we ask you to support the event that will take place on Saturday May 22, 2010. During these tough economic times our support is critical. The Dirt Diggers and D36 are supporting Carnegie and it seems only fair that we ALL support them and the many OHV vendors they have at the track. Please use their web address www.hangtownmx.com to make plans to go see the best in the world compete in Northern California.

As an example of the support from leadership groups for OHV recreation rights, AMA D36 donated $10,000 to the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the check was presented to the BRC at
Hangtown.

OHV More Popular Then Fishing!

Posted by on May 11, 2010 under Press. This post currently has no responses.

This is pretty funny considering CSPA’s (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance) support for the lawsuit against Carnegie SVRA …

Full article svailable at: InsideOutdoor Magazine (Page 29)

Thanks to Chris Gubera for the tip!

A Friend is Lost at Carnegie

Posted by on March 31, 2010 under Events. This post currently has no responses.

On Sunday March 28th, Bob Cunningham’s life was taken in a tragic accident. He was taking his young daughter for a brief ride to show her the hills at the park. Unknown to them a quad had been left unattended and in neutral by its owner farther up the hill. The quad began rolling downhill and reached a high speed on the descent. It hit Bob and he was taken away instantly. His daughter was shaken but survived.

Bob attended meetings of CORE and wanted to do all he could to help our park. He also was a youth leader at his Church where he taught bible lessons to young people.

His friend Lefty Freuh sent us news of a Good Friday (April 2nd) burial and service.

If anyone can attend here is the information below. Please attend, pass it on and make a donation to his wife Laura.

Burial:  11:00 am – Lodi Memorial Cemetery, 5750 Pine St, Lodi, CA

Memorial / Meal: 3:00 pm – Vinewood Community Church, 1900 W Vine St. Lodi 95242

A fund has been established at the Church listed below.

Donation: Vinewood Community Church – Bob Cunningham Trust Fund

We Have Something to Celebrate!

Posted by on March 16, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 18 responses.

For all the details, download this document.

Here’s the conclusion:

“The Palma procedure is appropriate “when petitioner’s entitlement to relief is so obvious that no purpose could reasonably be served by plenary consideration of the issue.” (Ng v. Superior Court (1992) 4 Cal.4th 29, 35; see also Lewis v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1232, 1236-1237, 1240-1241.) Here, given the existence of the Porter-Cologne Act’s detailed administrative scheme, no purpose would be served by further briefing or oral argument.

Therefore, let a writ of mandate issue directing the Alameda County Superior Court to vacate its order overruling demurrer and granting petition for alternative writ of mandate, filed December 8, 2009, and to enter a new and different order dismissing the petition for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In light of our determination that the administrative exhaustion requirement was not met, we will not reach the other issues raised by this petition. Upon entry of the superior court’s dismissal order, our December 28, 2009, stay shall be automatically dissolved. Petitioners are entitled to their allowable costs. ”

Put in plain text, the park remains OPEN. We should definitely celebrate this. And then get back to the long term issues. Thanks everybody for your support. It means a lot to us here at CarnegieForever / CORE.

Update: Additional info directly from the court website.

CORE / CarnegieForever Update

Posted by on March 5, 2010 under Updates. This post currently has 3 responses.

  • Our organization (CORE) is meeting with a blue chip San Francisco law firm to assist us in setting up a non-profit corporation. This will be necessary in the near future to offer tax-exempt donations to our financial supporters and give us status in legal venues.
  • Our Internet staff will continue to prepare an effective strategy to communicate with the 15,000 people who signed our “Save Carnegie” petition.
  • At our meeting on Wednesday March 3, 2010 (graciously sponsored by Tri Valley Moto the KTM dealership in Livermore across from the airport), the first Carnegie Hero Award was awarded. The winner is 10 year old Max H. This young man who came up on the stage at the “Save Carnegie Rally” took the mike and spoke his heart. Max was given a round of applause from the CORE members assembled and received a $100 gift certificate issued at Scott Dunleavy’s  Berkeley Honda-Yamaha.
  • There have been no updates on the lawsuit (now at the Appellate Court in SF) from the OHV Division office in Sacramento as many brace themselves in anticipation of the outcome.
  • The Carnegie California Hillclimb series start on March 20. George Horne indicates the park is the process of approving his layout for the event. The Pro Hillclimb is set for April 10/11. Visit skipspromotions.com for details.
  • Don Amador of the Blue Ribbon Coalition wants us to help put this information out to all CORE fans: http://www.sharetrails.org/letters/letter.php?id=50

Carnegie Still Open II

Posted by on February 19, 2010 under Updates. This post currently has 7 responses.

Greetings to all the faithful riders, businesses and supporters of our effort to keep the park open and alive.

The news of the potential closing, and current uncertainty, has had some negative effects on a lot of us and especially MotoMart, the concession store at Carnegie. Tony and Vicky Shipman and their extended family of workers have been our lifeline for riding with all and any service, repairs and supplies. Tony spends many hours on the concrete pad outside the store in all kinds of weather working on every bike that reports to his emergency room.

Pass the word out to all your friends and contacts to come out to the park and stock up on supplies while the dirt bike season continues. I’m going to do my part and buy 8 sets of new knobbies!

Dave Duffin, CORE

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