The local officials and media in Barstow count on you to not care about your own health and safety.
I’ve notified Desert Dispatch of volumes of citizen complaints, about locals experiencing rashes, itching, burning, or blisters after taking a shower, that we have been receiving for over a year, from the residents of Barstow, Lenwood, and Grandview.
Much like Flint, Michigan, the City of Barstow and Golden State Water tell people, “The water is safe.”
I lived in Lenwood. While I was there, after I would shower, I endured the most terrible itching on my legs and back when I would try to go to sleep at night. My kitty would eat and then immediately vomit, causing me to repeatedly change her food, trying to figure why she was getting sick. There were nights where I was so flustered from itching that I took off in my car, at 2am, looking for cortisone cream.
I remember slathering my legs with ointment before I would go to bed. I later learned that by doing so I was damaging my immune system from our resident patient education expert, a man with years of medical research and patient education experience. In trying to stop the itching, I was hurting myself and wasn’t even aware I was doing so.
Then, when I moved away from Barstow, immediately I stopped itching, and my kitty was healthy again.
Later, when I ran a Facebook post asking people if they had the same problem, many people came forward with the same complaints. People said, “We’ve always had bad water here.” The local homeless shelter came forward and told us a story of how residents had been informed by an area doctor that the blisters and rashes the homeless were experiencing after taking a shower were caused by the water.
In 2015, I went to the local newspaper, Desert Dispatch, with the complaints, and Mike Lamb did nothing. I took the complaints to Los Angeles, to KTLA, LA Times, and LA Weekly, and none of them would report on it or about our ongoing battle in Hinkley, trying to find answers to why Hinkley is the only city in the entire country that has been leveled with bulldozers because of Chromium-6.
Also, based on the rest of the country, there was no justification for the lowering of the property values in Hinkley, and the eventual demise of the notorious town from the film Erin Brockovich. Making this situation even more painful is that many of the people now living in Barstow were the people of Hinkley.
Alex, a Facebook engineer who works for SuperfundResearch.org, has seen Silicon Valley property values go up, on average, $100,000 a year, and there are twenty-two toxic waste sites in the area, in Mountain View, and Sunnyvale. Not one, like Hinkley, twenty-two of them, one of which is underneath of Google, and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. There is a growing cancer spike being investigated by The State of California, and still the values of the homes in Silicon Valley continue to rise.
After years of fighting environmental battles around the country, I’ve learned that when the local media doesn’t report on volumes of citizen complaints about bad water, or any other issue, that the local writers and public officials laugh and say, “These people don’t care about themselves so I don’t have to do shit.”
That’s how Mike Lamb feels about the people of Barstow. He sits at his desk, high and mighty, playing with your lives, barely listening to the pulse of the people.
In a rich neighborhood, if the water was like Barstow’s alleged issues, the situation would get dealt with immediately because the citizens would say, “Not in my neighborhood!!” An example is Malibu, where when it was discovered that there was a cancer cluster at the high school there was an investigation triggered within a week. If Mike worked in Malibu and behaved the same way they’d fire him out of a cannon into the sun for looking the other way as their children suffered.
Why? Because the people of Malibu have money and power. In Barstow, where real people live in reality, it’s a struggle just to survive. People say, “What can I do about it?”
I understand this.
I was poor for many years of my life. I had no voice. I was powerless. If I saw corruption happening I wanted to fight but really what could I really do about it? I could barely afford to buy enough ramen noodles to make it through the week, like I could take on a corrupt public official! Exposing corruption is the job of the local media, and The Desert Dispatch is a classic example of a when journalism fails.
Mike Lamb of the Desert Dispatch has been made aware, twice now, that the citizens are complaining of itching, burning, rashes, and blisters after coming in contact with the water, especially in Lenwood and Grandview, and it’s clear that he does not care. He says, “Let ’em burn because I need to protect my buddies and none of these people are going to do a damn thing about it.”
He knows what we know. If Mr. Lamb doesn’t write about it, there is no third party media sourcing for the citizens complaints, making it harder for us to issue press releases that could result in breaking the status quo in Barstow. We’ve experienced the same thing during our battle in Castle Homes, in Akron, Ohio, a couple of years ago. We know this game, and the tactics they use to fight back, and silence is one of their key weapons.
If Barstow had a better reporter working in town, you’d have cleaner water, because that’s, essentially, one of Mike’s jobs: holding local officials, and the government responsible for their failures. He thinks that you don’t care enough about yourselves to fight.
We think he’s wrong.
We think the residents of the Barstow area will stand up for themselves.
Our plan now is to bring in a reputable third-party water research team to do a full water and medical study of the affected residents. We’re working on holding a series of public protests, because it’s clear that the only way we are going to get anyone to listen is if there is a peaceful revolution of people who demand to be treated with the same respect and dignity as the people in Malibu.
I’m asking you to help us by writing to Mike Lamb and demanding he step up and do the job he is supposed to be doing and investigate Barstow’s water issues, because the health and safety of you and your loved ones depends on it.
I’d like to thank all of you for your ongoing support.
Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org