Colonial Land Situation Keeps Owens Valley Down

Of the more than 10,000 square miles in Inyo County, private individuals own less than 2%. The federal government owns 92%, but the LADWP owns almost 4% – that’s a critical 4% since it’s mostly surrounding the towns of the Owens Valley and Mono County. So, when some citizens in Lone Pine heard that DWP made an offer on 100 acres outside Independence, their concern shot up. With a no growth, declining society in southern Inyo in particular, Scott Palamar of Lone Pine called for re-thinking a DWP land purchase.

A couple of months ago, Palamar and real estate agent Jennifer Castenada went to the Inyo Supervisors to express this concern over the loss of still more privately held land. They pointed to goals in the Inyo General Plan for land releases and maintenance or expansion of the amount of privately owned land. They met with mostly hostile views of unwilling officials, seemingly afraid to deal with DWP.

Now, Palamar said he has learned that DWP has made a $5 million offer to buy the Oak Creek property and has expressed interest in the purchase of land under and around the old convalescent home in Big Pine.

Palamar said he has spoken with a number of people in the Owens Valley. He said, “No one wants to see DWP acquire more private property when the area continues its slow economic decline and loss of local population. “Owens Valley,” he said, “has seen enough domination and destruction on the part of LADWP.” Palamar sent his petition against these land deals to locals and to the L.A. City Council and Mayor Villaraigosa. Palamar wrote to them that “It is my hope that the City of Los Angeles will reconsider these imperial aspirations, especially in this time of budget cuts, water rate hikes and environmental concerns.”

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