Remembering Ed Waldheim; and cops at Starbucks
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.
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.