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Yucaipa Citizens Group Accuses County of 'Suppressing Public Participation'

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a hearing for Lazer Broadcasting's radio tower application on Nov. 27, five days after Thanksgiving, according to Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living.

A group of Yucaipa residents who oppose a commercial radio broadcast tower near Wildwood Canyon State Park claim the county Board of Supervisors is attempting to "suppress public participation" by scheduling a hearing about the tower five days after Thanksgiving.

"Public hearings that occur during the holiday season traditionally have very low public turnout," a Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living representative said Thursday.

"We have requested that the hearing be continued until after the holidays to ensure that more people will be able to attend. The County has yet to reply on that request."

Representatives of the company that wants to build the tower, Lazer Broadcasting, could not be reached for comment.

Lazer Broadcasting owns and operates 19 Spanish language radio stations in 10 California markets, plus one affiliated station in Lancaster, according to the company's website.

"Lazer Broadcasting programs the top rated Regional Mexican format known as 'Radio Lazer,' the Adults Hits known as 'La Mejor,' and the Traditional Mexican Ranchero known as 'La Mexicana,'" the website states.

The total Hispanic population within Lazer Broadcasting markets represents more than 2 million Hispanics, about 37 percent of the total population in those markets, according to Lazer Broadcasting.

Mark Edwards, a partner with the law firm Mirau, Edwards, Cannon, Lewin & Tooke, based in Redlands, said his firm represents Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living. John Mirau, lead partner in the firm, is the group's president.

"CPRL formed in 2008, to preserve open space," Edwards said Thursday in a phone interview. "This tower is of particular interest right now because of its proximity to Wildwood Canyon State Park.

"The fire danger is a concern, the destruction of vistas, construction of an unsightly tower in what is otherwise pristine open space," Edwards said.

More than 16,000 individuals in the Yucaipa area have signed petitions opposing the tower, Edwards said. Others have written letters to the Board of Supervisors and attended meetings, Edwards said.

Asked how many members Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living claim, Edwards said the group does not publicly disclose its membership.

Plans for the tower have been discussed at the county level since 2007, Edwards said. The current proposed height of the tower is 43 feet, he said.

"The Board of Supervisors first rejected the tower in 2009 and it has since gone through several revised applications to the present proposal," Edwards said.

The Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living bill themselves as "a coalition of San Bernardino County residents, elected officials, environmental advocacy groups and Wildwood Canyon State Park and Pisgah Peak wilderness recreational users."

The group's website states:

"The members of CPRL are opposed to the commercial development of Wildwood Canyon State Park and Pisgah Peak wilderness by the Oxnard, California based corporation Lazer Broadcasting, Inc."

Lazer has offices in Oxnard, Brawley, and Reno, Nevada, according to its website.

As of Thursday evening, the Lazer Broadcasting public hearing was still scheduled Nov. 27, Edwards said.

"A lot of voices will not be heard because of the date it's scheduled," he said.

According to Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living, the hearing is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Tuesday Nov. 27 at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., 1st Floor, San Bernardino.

For more information about Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living visit www.stopthetowernow.org.

For more information about Lazer Broadcasting visit www.radiolazer.com.

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Inside Informer November 16, 2012 at 03:58 PM
While I don't own property in the area, I certainly support those that do as this would be such an eye sore in an otherwise nice area. Yucaipa has already allowed too much residential build out over there, but for industrial projects to invade it would be even worse.
Judy Bingham November 16, 2012 at 07:32 PM
To a sister group, Beaumont Citizens for Responsible Growth, bcrg.org , urges you to continue to fight the good fight. Let us know if we can help. See www.beaumontgate.org Truly a David and Goliath story. We need to take our rural communities back. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
Guy McCarthy November 16, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Here is an update: County Staff Will Not Recommend Rescheduling Radio Tower Hearing http://patch.com/A-z98R

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