South Inyo County people call it a slap in the face the abrupt give-away of a new $30 million court building from Independence to Bishop.
Judge Brian Lamb told the Board of Supervisors that he made the decision to switch the project, long-planned for Independence, to Bishop where more people live.
Now, citizens have started to galvanize their opposition. Judges Lamb and Dean Stout will speak at a public meeting at the Independence Legion Hall Thursday at 6:30pm. Tonight, citizens will gather in a pre-meeting to solidify their opposition. That meeting is at 5:30 Tuesday night at the Independence school multi-purpose room.
Public points of opposition to the move to Bishop include the fact that Independence is the official County Seat of government. It is located at the geographical center of the County. The jail is there. Potential growth could multiply the southern Inyo population.
Bruce Ivey of Independence had pointed to the fact that the only economic development in Inyo County in the last 20 years happened in southern Inyo the Crystal Geyser Water bottling plant and Coso Geothermal with solar development on the way and more people with it.
People point out that the judges and others promised that the new court building would go up in Independence. In fact, the State granted the new project based on conditions in Independence.
Another point of contention that Judge Lamb unilaterally made the switch without any public input. Jenifer Castaneda, Lone Pine real estate broker, has stated that It isnt right that Judge Lamb asked for our vote and worked hard to get the State of California to build a new courthouse in Independence only to have him change his mind and decide it should be in Bishop.
As Independence struggles to maintain any services at all, the news that this large investment would go to Bishop instead of Independence has sparked widespread anger.