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Wind Power, Meet Power Struggle (Even Vernon is Involved)

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Many, many years ago, Mayor Villaraigosa promised that 20% of the city's power would come from renewable sources by the year 2010. And the mayor's goal of cleaner and greener is part of the reason why the LA Times covers the struggle over Onyx Ranch, a 68,000-acre ranch in Kern County (near Bakersfield), and the site of a planned wind farm. The characters here: Ari Swiller, local entrepreneur and a former campaign manager for the Mayor; the DWP; a cattle-rancher family descended from Russian Jewish immigrants (now battling among themselves over the land); developer CIM; and the city of Vernon. We just are partial to stories that mention Vernon, but Hollywood, you may have your newest post-"Chinatown" screenplay. Here's the crux of the story:

"In the case of Onyx Ranch, the venture headed by [the mayor's pal Ari] Swiller beat the DWP to the land, bought it for $48 million and, before the transaction was completed, offered to sell less than half of it to the utility for $65 million. H. David Nahai, the DWP's general manager, rejected the offer. Swiller's venture, a partnership between his and another firm, then sold the portion sought by Los Angeles for $42 million to the city of Vernon, a neighboring industrial community with its own electric utility. Since then, Los Angeles officials have been weighing whether to wage a potentially costly and lengthy legal battle against Vernon to gain ownership of the land, considered prime territory for towering turbines that would generate electricity from the winds that blow across the Tehachapi Mountains.

· DWP outmaneuvered on Kern County land purchase [LA Times]
· 68,000-acre Onyx Ranch in California Sells for $48 million [Land Report]