Bobby “Walking Stick” Wallace, national chief of the Longest Walk with the Barona Band of Mission Indians, announced few days ago that his tribe is stepping in to join locals against a sand mining project in El Monte Valley, Lakeside. The Viejas Band is joining, along with other bands from afar that will pack the room this evening (September 25) at 5:30 p.m. when the county will held a public meeting to discuss the plan to dig on almost 500 acres of land..
The valley is a sacred Kumeyaay land; a place where the indigenous tribes have buried their ancestors and left behind archeological and historical artifacts. They were removed before the El Capitan Dam and Reservoir Lake was built in 1935. The tribe split in two and was relocated in Barona and Viejas and had to start over on a bare land. The people of the Hokan stock lived in these areas for over 10,000 years before Europeans came.
Kumeyaay tribe member Bobby Wallace said, “It’s only about the Mother Earth. We must all stand strong on these types of issues, as one.” Wallace braved rubber bullets at the Standing Rock and states, “This is everyone’s Lakeside. We all need to pull together.”
The project is linked to accusations of conflict of interest involving County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the chairman of the San Diego County Planning Commission Michael Beck, executive director of the Lakeside River Park Conservancy Robin Rierdan, and Bill Adams, president of the sand mining company renamed as El Monte Nature Preserve.
The sand mining company applied for permit with the county after digging in the valley under the cover of a golf course company. Next steps will be for the public to comment on the subsequent Environmental Impact Report just published by the county before the deadline on October 29. Then it would go back to the county for revision and from there would come to the Lakeside Planning Committee for discussions, but this entity only has an advisory role. San Diego Planning Commission would then take a vote on it, led by chairman Beck, appointed by Supervisor Jacob. Beck was a partner with the sand mining company for almost two decades. He was recently hired for the aftermath restoration. The county supervisors will have the final vote.