Re­mem­ber­ing Ed Wald­heim; and cops at Star­bucks

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - News -

Ed Wald­heim of Cal­i­for­nia City, who re­cently passed away, was one of the best ex­am­ples I’ve ever met of some­one who be­lieved in get­ting things done rather than sit­ting around com­plain­ing.

In do­ing so, he pretty much cre­ated a new in­dus­try in Eastern Kern, one that at­tracts thou­sands of off-high­way ve­hi­cle en­thu­si­asts an­nu­ally who spend money in lo­cal busi­nesses and help at­tract other vis­i­tors.

Some OHV en­thu­si­asts like Ed have de­cided to live here, fur­ther con­tribut­ing to the re­gion.

Ed was a pi­o­neer in the OHV hobby who be­lieved that its mem­bers should do their share by putting their time and money where it would help rather than de­mand­ing that some­one else foot the bill.

The most vis­i­ble mon­u­ment to Ed’s ef­forts is the Jaw­bone Canyon com­plex on High­way 14 north of Mo­jave.

What be­gan as a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment of­fice is now a full-fledged vis­i­tors cen­ter com­plete with the re­gion’s only book store fea­tur­ing vol­umes on the history and maps and at­trac­tions of this area.

From its be­gin­nings the OHV hobby has been self-sus­tain­ing, cre­at­ing a source of in­come to pay for its op­er­a­tions rather than de­pend­ing in taxpayers.

OHV en­thu­si­asts pur­chase an­nual red and green stick­ers sort of like li­cense plates for their ve­hi­cles.

Funds from the stick­ers are used to fund OHV op­er­a­tions.

Each year cities and coun­ties, in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia City and Kern County, ap­ply for OHV grants that are used to pur­chase equip­ment and serves as a lo­cal meet­ing place.

Much of the Jaw­bone cen­ter has been funded from those grants.

Ed also helped cre­ated his “Friends” pro­gram, vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Friends of Jaw­bone which helped de­velop the Jaw­bone cen­ter, the Friends of Dupont Dunes, and Friends of El Mi­rage.

At one of the monthly Friends of Jaw­bone meet­ings I at­tended years ago, Ed was ab­sent. Some­one said he was vis­it­ing Siberia, and I be­gan to won­der if he was form­ing a Friends of Siberia.

The Friends groups hold an­nual events, like Jaw­bone’s Moose An­der­son Days where vol­un­teers from all over South­ern Cal­i­for­nia gather to re­move trash from rid­ing ar­eas and main­tain trails.

Tours of the re­gion and other events are also held.

Trail main­te­nance goes on all year and Ed was al­ways right in the mid­dle of it, chop­ping weeds, in­stalling signs and per­form­ing other du­ties.

Com­mu­nity ac­tivist

He also sup­ported Cal­i­for­nia

City’s schools in which his wife Linda was a teacher at Ha­cienda Ele­men­tary.

Ed was ac­tive in the city’s Op­ti­mist Club chap­ter which he helped found.

He was also a vo­cal ad­vo­cate of OHV at the state level, serv­ing on the state OHV com­mis­sion where he served a term as chair­man, work­ing to en­sure that OHV re­ceived its fair share of state sup­port and at­ten­tion.

Lo­cally Ed was a fa­mil­iar fig­ure at City Coun­cil meet­ings as re­cently as June. He also at­tended hear­ings on projects af­fect­ing the desert in­du­ing re­new­able en­ergy pro­pos­als and ef­forts to ex­pand and re­strict land avail­able for OHV..

What I al­ways re­mem­ber Ed for most of all was his ac­tive ap­proach to get­ting things done.

So many peo­ple talk and whine about gov­ern­ment — Ed got to know the play­ers and the process and worked pos­i­tively to get what he be­lieved was needed.

He was one of the best ex­am­ples of com­mit­ted cit­i­zen ac­tivists I have ever met.

Ed was also rec­og­nized with awards at the lo­cal, state and na­tional level for his ef­forts.

And he was al­ways a good friend who could be counted on to help, what­ever the chal­lenge. We need more peo­ple like Ed Wald­heim.

Star­bucks and cops

The un­der­stand­able flap over the way Star­bucks em­ploy­ees have been treat­ing law en­force­ment of­fi­cers re­minds me of some sto­ries from an ear­lier time.

Back in the 1950s when I was a dis­patcher at the county’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter in Mo­jave, the equiv­a­lent in mis­sion if not in train­ing and tech­nol­ogy of to­day’s 911 cen­ters, folks in the culi­nary busi­ness treated peace of­fi­cers dif­fer­ently.

First of all, I don’t re­call any lo­cal CHP of­fi­cers or sher­iff’s deputies ever pay­ing for cof­fee.

This was not some sort of scam but re­flected the fact that restau­rant emlploy­ees and restau­rant own­ers ap­pre­ci­ated what peace of­fi­cers do for so­ci­ety.

One Satur­day night when work­ing the four to mid­night shift as a dis­patcher, I got a call from a man who in­tro­duced him­self as the new man­ager of the Mo­jave Club, a bar that had moved from its place on Sierra High­way to a new build­ing on Inyo Street, which is cur­rently the place where sev­eral peo­ple have tried un­suc­cess­fully to op­er­ate a laun­dro­mat.

He said he would ap­pre­ci­ate the night deputies stop­ping by be­cause there were a cou­ple of guys who were pes­ter­ing the other cus­tomers.

I sent the deputies and they took care of the sit­u­a­tion.

Two hours later he made a sim­i­lar call with the same re­sults.

Around 10 he called and iden­ti­fied him­self and I replied, “They’re on their way.”

He didn’t sound like a bar man­ager and didn’t last long.

Bill Deaver

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