(STUNT)MAN SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE IN FIGHT AGAINST DOLLAR GENERAL BULLYING ITS WAY INTO JOSHUA TREE

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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