United we stand, divided we continue to fall. Look around the region some of us are calling, and I hope more will think of it in this way, the Mojave River Valley (MRV), and you continue to see a lack of coordinated political stance when it comes to addressing the major problems confronting us socially and economically. When I say political it is in the context of the peoples of this region buckling down and working for our common good.
As an example, four years back some of us had had enough of the ineptness of county and state highway/transportation planners/builders, and your column writer put together a layman’s presentation of what could be done to help MRV motorists get up and down Cajon Pass. It was six or seven pages with as much detail a person without all the engineers and planners at our county and state highway departments assisting, just using Google maps and the experience of 60 years living here and commuting the Cajon Pass.
It went out to all the newspapers in the region, our county supervisor, many of the city officials, state elected representatives and to state and county offices. Without a bully pulpit, it is hard to get it to the everyday Joe or Jane commuting up and down Cajon Pass, but I tried.
If there were more of our residents who read the local newspapers we’d have a chance, but anymore, the Joe’s and Jane’s of the world aren’t reading local newspapers, most aren’t listening to local radio stations, they stream their TV or watch cable channels, so have little or no contact with what is going on in their backyard.
It is up to elected officials to understand what has to be done and move to make the improvements to our MRV, and hopefully the people will come to understand that with these improvements, this rag-tag MRV will become something to be proud of. By the way, the MRV moniker was a brainchild of Hesperia’s Hazel Stearns and yours truly five years back and while we took criticism by the local historical society, we’re happy that others see the value of a unifying and easily identifying name for our region.
The efforts by the new Mojave River Valley study group, spotlighted recently in the Daily Press, is an important step in the right direction. From Barstow to Wrightwood, Pinon Hills to Lucerne Valley, Hinkley to Hesperia, the people have to be polled, and more importantly, informed on how powerful a voice they could have if they rose up with one voice and put forward a list of demands for making the region a better place.
My broken record, the Route 66 Parkway that would add four passenger car lanes down Cajon Pass tying into a four-lane Highway 138 from the LA. County line in Pinon Hills to Lake Arrowhead Road in Hesperia, is just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, Hesperia needs to follow Apple Valley’s success with Apple Valley Road and make a beautiful and effective parkway out of Ranchero Road, thus creating a positive entry into the community of Hesperia from the Mojave Freeway, instead of just another Main Street. Victorville has to wake up to the sad state of affairs they have let their city become. No more than a bunch of subdivisions and strip shopping centers, Victorville is a joke when you compare it to its mirror city just 45 miles to the west, Lancaster, in the Antelope Valley.
There’s so much to do, and I salute Joe Brady and his cohorts who have banded together to finally try to save our region before it sinks further into mediocracy. One doesn’t have to go to the success of South Orange County to see how community leaders and their people create a wholesome lifestyle. Just drive through the newer areas of Rialto and Fontana and see residential communities on parkways that have as neighbors huge warehousing compounds, attractively landscaped with broad streets…created by community leadership that understands quality neighborhoods, those communities create quality residents.
Tom Pinard lives in Wrightwood and is a former member of the Daily Press Editorial Board.