This kind of fight is always important, but because Arthur HQ is located in Joshua Tree, we are taking particular notice of this continuing local effort against a national predatory greedhead corporation trying to bully its way into a National Park gateway village in complete contradiction to that village’s Community Plan.

Here’s the latest, pulled from local newspaper The Hi-Desert Star (Dec. 6)…

Stunt man Carl Rice lights himself on fire for a crowd during a fundraiser Nov. 30 in Joshua Tree. The event raised money for a legal battle with the county over Dollar General.

Dollar General’s Joshua Tree foes stay fired up
By Courtney Vaughn, Hi-Desert Star
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 11:10 pm | Updated: 11:24 pm, Fri Dec 6, 2013.

JOSHUA TREE — Opponents of Dollar General raised about $4,000 last weekend and watched a man set himself on fire in protest during a fundraiser for their legal battle.

Proceeds from the event went to a legal fund for petitioners in a lawsuit against San Bernardino County. The lawsuit was filed in court in July by the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance and alleges the county improperly permitted a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General retail store to be built on the corner of Sunburst Avenue and Twentynine Palms Highway.

That suit was […] filed against the county after it issued a permit to Dynamic Development, LLC, which represents Dollar General. […]

The Downtown Business Alliance alleges the county’s Land Use Services staff and the Board of Supervisors didn’t follow California Environmental Quality Act procedure. Petitioners claim county officials should have considered Dollar General’s inconsistency with the Joshua Tree Community Plan and should have conducted an environmental impact report before making any permit decisions. In their opening brief, they accuse the county of trying to conceal the identity of the occupant by characterizing the project as a “general retail store.”

Babak Naficy, attorney for the Joshua Tree alliance, said by phone Friday that the project is inconsistent with the community plan’s goals and policies for Joshua Tree, which means it could have greater effects than what the county acknowledged.

“Ultimately, the objective of the lawsuit is to force the county to comply with the law,” Naficy said.

In a staff report, the county said it lacked evidence to show that a Dollar General would have major impacts like urban decay or blight.

“The county never actually engaged in that kind of analysis,” Naficy said.

Joshua Tree isn’t the first small community to oppose Dollar General. Similar community efforts have taken place in New Hampshire, Vermont, Mississippi, Massachusetts and Florida, in small or historic communities fighting to preserve a specific character.
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Joshua Tree community carpool caravan driving 90mi Thurs to County HQ to fight Dollar General invasion of our village

There is still a way to stop the 10,000-store-strong corporate Dollar General chain from building one of their generic, predatory retail stores in Joshua Tree, not far from the gateway to the National Park.

Over the last 14 months, many members of the Joshua Tree village community have submitted written testimony to the San Bernardino Planning Commission against Dynamic Development’s application to locate a 9,100-square foot Dollar General store here in Joshua Tree.

On this coming Thursday, January 17, 2013, many of our village’s wisest and most experienced stakeholders will be making presentations to the Commission in person.

It takes courage, expertise and wisdom to effectively speak truth to power.

We can demonstrate solidarity with this cause, and with those who are fighting for the soul of Joshua Tree, by simply being present at this important hearing.

Please consider joining our community carpool caravan to County offices in the city of San Bernardino this Thursday. The Commission meets at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., 1st Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415 in the Covington Chambers.

We will be meeting at 6:15am and departing 6:30am sharp from Myrtle the Turtle at Turtle Island in downtown Joshua Tree.

It is a 90-mile drive. Drivers who have been to these offices before will be leading the caravan. As of right now, we have carpool drivers offering at least 25 seats to fellow community members.

The Planning Commission meeting begins at 9am. The meeting agenda can be changed at any time.

As of right now, the Dollar General (or, as it’s being called by County staff, “Joshua Tree Retail Store”) proposal hearing is second on the agenda.

The first item on the agenda is expected by County staff to take 10 minutes. The Dollar General item is expected to take two hours.

If you cannot join our caravan, please still consider attending the Commission meeting. We will be providing driving and parking directions to the County building soon on this website.

If you need more information now about the meeting and how to get there, please read the following, from the County’s Land Use Services website:

All regularly scheduled Planning Commission meetings start at 9 a.m. and are located at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., 1st Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415 in the Covington Chambers. Please contact a Duty Planner or the Project Planner on the Agenda if you have any questions at (909) 387-8311 or (760) 995-8140.

For more information on the People of Joshua Tree v Dollar General, consult: http://defendjt.wordpress.com/