Go to Don Amador’s blog  and check out the link to the East Bay Regional Park District’s June 11, 2012 Comment Letter on the Carnegie General Plan written by Brian W. Holt, Senior Planner – Interagency Planning Division at East Bay Regional Park District to Chris Mundhenk, Senior Project Manager at AECOM in charge of the Alameda/Tesla expansion.

If this doesn’t make your blood boil you’re not a true off-roader. If you pay off road registration fees and support the OHV Trust Fund, you should be very scared. This is true whether you live in LA or San Francisco. A local park is stealing from the OHV trust fund to the tune of $7 million dollars. That is what we paid for the Alameda/Tesla Expansion to Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. They are are trying to control our park and take it away from us. That’s right it’s not just the state anymore. A regional park is grabbing our funds. No matter where they live, OHV enthusiasts are not going to be very happy about paying for a non-OHV park for residents of the East Bay.

The letter mirrors language used by Friends of Tesla and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Carnegie to exaggerate and mischaracterize the effect of OHV recreation on wildlife and historical artifacts. He plays very loose with the facts taking allegations directly out of the failed lawsuit.

All to convince Carnegie to adopt a general plan that allows a regional park to take over the Alameda/Tesla expansion for passive non-OHV use. He even tries to make the case that an abundance of wildlife in Tesla (based on whose observations…) is because it is scared off by bikes and four wheelers in Carnegie, ignoring the more likely explanation that our neighbor’s (Connolly’s) hunting business is causing them to seek sanctuary in Tesla. He also forgets to mention the cattle ranch, super fund site, rifle range and explosives testing and manufacturing sites surrounding our park No wonder that we see plenty of wildlife as we ride around Carnegie.  The truth is that it has nowhere else to go. It isn’t frightened away by our presence on a few off road trails.

It is very revealing to look at the resume of Brian w. Holt who drafted the letter. As he admits in his LinkedIn profile,   “My work is in advanced planning throughout the region, working with other public agencies, project developers, and citizens groups to continue to acquire an interconnected set of lands throughout the East Bay.”  Does  ”citizen’s groups” include PEER, CSPA or Friends of Tesla? I assume that he is talking about environmental groups dedicated to protecting wildlife corridors.

He is very adamant about protecting wildlife corridors mimicking Celeste’s language (or vice versa): “The state should come up with a bigger vision for the land, one which help build a corridor linking Mount Diablo with Mount Hamilton with trails and endangered species habitat. Species could then travel from one area to another. The land is also well situated to provide a nature corridor from the Bay Area to the Central Valley, said Garamendi.” What an expansive vision these people have; envisioning wildlife corridors while ignoring the extensive development that his taking place in the Livermore and elsewhere.

He specifically ignores that our our State Vehicular Recreation Area is surrounded by a superfund site on one side (with rifle range), a weapons testing and manufacturing facility on the other side as well as a 9,000 acre cattle ranch. Wildlife corridors, as he well knows, are not compatible with these uses.

He was also “President – SF Bay Area Chapter Assoc. of Environmental Professionals, a non-profit organization of professionals dedicated to the enhancement, maintenance and protection of the natural and human environment” Does that sound Familiar (think PEER)? Is he professionally acquainted with Karen Schamback, Mark Connolly or Celeste Garamendi?

If we go back a little further back we see that he was an “Environment Planner which involves environmental analysis, permitting, and preparation of documents and displays for large housing, commercial, and infrastructure projects throughout California.” Therefore, we can assume that he knows all about California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Let’s just say that from an attorney’s perspective (my own), CEQA is a big money maker for lawyers, experts and other professionals who are paid to help big developers jump through the hoops it imposes on them before they can move forward with their projects. It is all about money… lots and lots of money. You are not going to get your baby approved without raising a lot of money.

Many of these projects involve paving over nature with cement and asphalt. In one such project they were able to get CEQA approval even though there were problems with their mitigation plan. They agreed to mitigate the effect that development would have on wildlife by relocating all animals, birds and plants prior to any earth moving activities. Burrowing owls could not be relocated and they got approval by promising to protect them when the time came to move forward with the project. The actual plan was never divulged.

It takes lots of money and truckloads of lawyers and other experts, but these projects are not stopped by the implications of paving over nature. Compare this with getting CEQA approval to ride on our unpaved trails.

Think Joni Mitchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi – ‘They paved over paradise to make a parking lot”. We are not trying to pave over paradise, but instead build a few dirt trails in a semi-arid desert region. The environmental extremists are misusing CEQA to try to stop us from riding in one of our only off road parks. Our trails are specially laid out so as not to destroy wildlife habitat or impact cultural artifacts.

The OHV Division of State Parks is statutorily required to protect wildlife, wildlife habitat, cultural and historical resources as well as institute soil conservation practices.  What doesn’t he get about the strict environmental standards for OHV areas in California? Or is he just purposefully ignorant? Is he influenced by the false characterizations of the law adopted by his buddies who publish the Friends of Tesla website?

Once East Bay Regional Parks take over our property they will probably build an interpretive center and eventually lay down asphalt to make it easier for passive users to get to their favorite trails.

Riding on unpaved trails amounts to complete desecration of natural resources and cultural artifacts according to Mr. Holt, who ignores or is ignorant of the fact that Carnegie SVRA protects those resources as required by state law. It doesn’t matter to him. He gets his facts from Friends of Tesla and the lawsuit against Carnegie and doesn’t bother to fact check. His sole concern is to expand the East Bay Regional Park to encompass all the land that he can get his hands on.

They are already the biggest regional park in the nation, but that doesn’t satisfy them. They control 112,000 acres in the Bay Area none of it open for Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation. Now he wants to take away our only riding area within sixty miles of the East Bay. He has visions of grandeur competing with the visions of other great bureaucrats like Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler.They too have no regard for boundaries and prior ownership.

Mr. Holt asserts that “the unique bio- diversity in the Alameda/Tesla expansion is result of the unique transitional zones between the coastal hills of the Bay Area and the arid zones of the Central Valley”.

I have been going to Carnegie for over thirty years and coming from Richmond, my perspective it is that it is far from a coastal environment and certainly not a transitional zone. The temperatures at Carnegie are at least fifteen or twenty degrees higher than temperatures near the coast. The climate is indicative of the Central Valley. Maybe that is why the Central Valley Regional Water Board has jurisdiction over Carnegie. It is characterized as a semi-arid area by Bay Area Geologists.

And “although these species are not considered special status under state and federal regulations, they are unique to the Corral Hollow area given the unique habitat conditions resulting from the transitional zones.” Then he goes on to say that “EIR should consider the locally unique species that exist throughout Carnegie SVRA and the Alameda/Tesla expansion”.  Wait a minute…  I thought he was saying that OHV recreation scared off these unique species. His arguments aren’t even internally consistent. But the impact of his statements is that he wants to have input on how the Division manages the Alameda/Tesla addition (to protect the unique habitat in this transitional zone) and maybe eventually Carnegie itself.

Beyond protecting natural resources and cultural artifacts from the destructive effects of OHV use at Tesla, he goes on to assert that opening the property to OHV use will affect global warming. You bet it will but not in the way he envisions.

Motorcycles have much less mass and volume than cars and trucks and use much smaller engines to propel them about. That is the reason that they are allowed in commute lanes. I only use about a gallon or two of fuel in my motorcycle when I visit Carnegie. The majority of fuel burned is in getting there. The same is true for four wheelers. If OHVs are banned in the expansion, I will have to travel further to get to a place where I can ride my bike. This will definitely add to global warming.

Global warming will also be increased by passive users who would normally go to a park close to their homes. The closest city is Livermore which is fifteen miles away and it is sixty miles from my home in the Bay Area. In other words, opening the expansion for passive use will add to global warming because park users will drive further to get there when there are literally thousands of acres close to where they live where they can recreate. This is contrary to Mr. Holt’s assertions.

He concludes that “The current process should include an alternative that provides for only passive non-motorized recreation use within the expansion area.  A broad range of stakeholders have expressed interest in passive non-motorized recreation use on the Alameda-Tesla site and have expressed concerns over user-conflict between passive uses and OHV use.  A passive non-motorized use alternative should be given equal weight as expanded OHV alternative during the development of the project alternatives.”

Who are these “stakeholders” that have expressed interest in “passive non-motorized use”? Are they on the board of directors for Friends of Tesla? Were they plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Carnegie? How is their input relevant to a park for off highway motorized recreation when they express total disdain for our sport and have no stake in Carnegie or the expansion? Did they pay one penny towards the purchase, maintenance and policing of the park? They did not; and they have no business telling us how to use a park created by the legislature for vehicular off-highway recreation..

They haven’t even opened the park and these “stakeholders” are already complaining about user conflict between passive users and OHV use.  When will they start complaining about OHV use in Carnegie itself? Probably not long after the Alameda/Tesla expansion is opened if they are allowed to use it for passive non motorized.

Non-OHV use contrary to the legislative intent to open State Vehicular Recreation Areas for off-highway vehicle recreation and obtain funds to purchase and maintain these parks from taxes and fees paid solely by the owners of off highway vehicles. There goal is undemocratic and a is in reality the very definition of tyranny.

Their goal is to completely eradicate off road recreation in California. Think what would happen if we had no place to ride. The economy would suffer terribly. Nobody would buy motorcycle parts and paraphernalia. Local businesses like restaurants and general food stores would lose business. Essentially a whole segment of our economy would be devastated.  But that doesn’t bother these people. They have an agenda for California and they just use eco-mumble jumble to justify their cause.

This communication by EBRPD ignores the fact that they have repeatedly been told that Tesla is not for sale and they can’t have it. I quote from a letter dated December 19, 2007 to Pat O’Brien, General Manager EBRPD and signed by Daphne Green. “This area will remain in operation and management by the California State Parks OHMVR Division, and is not under consideration for sale.”

That should have been enough, but it come up again in the report of the OHMVR Commission Meeting on September 15, 2012. “On July 10, 2012, OHMVR Division staff met with representatives of EBRPD to discuss the Carnegie SVRA General Plan and specifically the Tesla parcel. OHMVR Division staff provided background on the Tesla parcel and communicated to the EBRPD representatives that it was not available for EBRPD acquisition or management.”

So if they have been told that they can’t have our property for about five years, why is it still on their map?  And why, when I attend their meetings, do I get the feeling that this is a done deal? They are just dividing up the spoils.  How many trails for hikers, how many for walkers with dogs on leashes, how many for walkers with dogs not on leashes, how many for walkers in wheelchairs, how many for mountain bikers, how many for equestrians…

I’ll tell you how many trails they are going to give us, the people who paid for the Alameda/Tesla expansion, ZERO. My question is why hasn’t the Division sent a letter from their legal department telling EBRPD to cease and desist? Maybe it has something to do with Daphne losing her job. Do you think… There is something going on that doesn’t add up. Has corruption become so rampart in this state that nobody dares to say anything?

Maybe the time has come to take matters into our own hands like the early American colonialists when they dumped tea into Boston Harbor, protesting taxation without representation. Isn’t that is what is happening to us? We are being taxed without representation. Our OHV trust fund is being plundered by a local park. We either already support local East Bay Regional Parks with property taxes or it is outside of our area. For example in LA and they have no business taxing us for a park we will never use (OHV Trust Fund money paid for this park).


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  1. Dave Duffin says:

    The arrogance of the environmentalist trying to close Carnegie SVRA and affect the demise of the Tesla Property is a reflection of their ill-treatment of others as a method of demonstrating their own superiority. Their core values lack honor for and communion with other human beings. They worship the creed of modern ecology that allows no room for the needs of humanity. They worship this new religion while using fossil-fuel vehicles, and electricity generated by coal, and natural gas. These High Priests and Priestesses are exempt from the tolls of us “other people”.

    I’m sticking with the carpenters, plumbers, ranchers, police/fire of this world; not the elite intelligentsia who look down on us with scorn, derision, and dare I say pity.

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