2012 California Spring Retreat and Study Tour

Friday, March 23, 2012 (All day) - Sunday, March 25, 2012 (All day)



Corona, CA

Switzer Fellows Spring 2012 Retreat and Study Tour
California's Inland Empire:  A land of contradictions - an examination of water management and social equity in a rapidly developing region

The Inland Empire of southern California (east of Los Angeles) is at the center of several critical environmental management, agriculture and water policy issues.  The annual spring retreat is an opportunity for Switzer Fellows and environmental colleagues to examine these critical environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and to share expertise and a creative exchange.

The study tour will highlight:

  • The cumulative impacts of development and goods movement on low-income communities.  A "toxics tour" will be hosted by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ).  We will visit railyards in San Bernardino, neighborhoods facing air quality and goods movement impacts near a school and other critical locations where community activists are working to protect their air, land and water quality.  We will be hosted by statewide and local community leaders on our tour, including Penny Newman, Executive Director, and Sylvia Betancourt, Organizing Director of CCAEJ.
  • Innovative leadership by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and its General Manager, Celeste Cantu, who has years of experience in water policy and management with award winning programs.  The organization is based in Riverside, CA, and we will visit several sites and programs in the watershed and hear about their 21st Century Vision.

Other events:


Accommodations at Hotel Paseo Corona.

Resource people for the weekend:

Cantú joined the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) five years ago
and has been working on the crest‐to‐coast, corner‐to-corner Integrated
Regional Watershed Management Plan called, One Water One Watershed (OWOW) that
addresses all water related issues, joins all entities and hundreds of stakeholders
seeking to create a new vision of sustainability for the Santa Ana River
Watershed.  SAWPA
owns the Inland Empire Brine Line, a utility that collects salt from the upper
watershed groundwater to improve water quality in the Santa Ana River and
benefits the lower watershed. Celeste served as the Executive Director for the California
State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for water rights and
water quality for the State.  During the
Clinton Administration, Celeste served as the USDA Rural Development State
Director for California.   Celeste
was born and raised in the Imperial Valley to a pioneer family. There she
served first as Planning Director for her hometown, Calexico, and later as
Executive Director for the Imperial Valley Housing Authority. Celeste has a BA
from Yale in Urban Planning and Policy and a Masters in Public Administration from
Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Temecula with her husband,
Dr. Barry Stampfl, an English Professor at SDSU, Imperial Valley Campus. They have
two sons.

  • Juan D. De Lara, Assistant Professor, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Juan De
Lara rec
eived his Ph.D. in geography from UC Berkeley. His research interests
include: the geographies of global commodity distribution, emerging scales of
metropolitan and regional growth, the role that labor and community
organizations play in the social production of space, urban political ecology -
especially as it relates to environmental justice and the green economy
movement, and the politics of race and representation in California's rapidly
expanding inland counties.

Penny Newman has been active in environmental justice issues for more than 34 years and lives in the small rural community of Glen Avon, California.  Trained as a Speech and Language Pathologist with an emphasis in neuropathology, Penny began her organizing career through the battle to stop exposures from the Stringfellow Acid Pits, California's worst toxic waste site.  Penny has written extensively on environmental justice issues and is featured in several books on environmental justice.  Penny is a highly sought after speaker, trainer and advisor locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, conducting workshops around the nation and in China, Russia, India, and Cuba.  Penny has appeared on television in shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Today Show, and was featured in the HBO America Undercover documentary movie, Toxic Time Bomb.  In 2008, Penny received the California Leadership Sabbatical Award from The California Wellness Foundation, was named Woman of the Year by the California State Senate in 2005 for District 32, is featured in the California State Museum exhibit on California's Remarkable Women, and was named a Woman of Achievement by the Riverside YWCA and the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce, as well as Citizen of the Year by the West Riverside Business Association.

  • Sylvia Betancourt, Organizing Director, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

At CCAEJ, Sylvia has worked as policy advocate, A Team Coordinator, coordinator of the program to prepare individuals for the U.S. citizenship exam and interview, community organizer on the goods movement action team, and acted as Executive Director in Penny Newman's absence.  Her formal training is in mental health/illness research.  Her lived experience as a community member surrounded by polluting industrial facilities, particularly those industries directly tied to the global movement of trade goods, has redirected her attention to community organizing full time.  She dedicates her efforts based on the belief that leadership and responsibility in our communities must be shared.

  • Francisco Donez (2009 Switzer Fellow), Environmental Protection Specialist, EPA Region 9
  • Nancy Steele (1993 Switzer Fellow), Executive Director, Council for Watershed Health
  • Jessica Hall (2000 Switzer Fellow), Senior Associate, Restoration Design Group



Friday, March 23, 2012 

~1-4 pm*               Rancho
Santa Ana Botanic Garden
tour hosted by Switzer Fellow Naomi Fraga (a behind-the-scenes tour is available!) -
Claremont           (*exact time TBD)

5-7 pm                  Dinner
in Claremont

7-8 pm                  Travel
to Corona, check in to Hotel Paseo Corona

Saturday, March 24, 2012

8:00-9:00 am      Breakfast
at hotel

9:00 am                Board bus, travel to Riverside, where Juan de Lara will set the context for the morning tour

9:30-12:30 pm     Toxics Tour, with Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.  The CCAEJ is a progressive, multi-issue, non-profit organization based in Riverside and Westside San Bernardino, whose focus is to address disproportionate environmental impacts in working class / working poor communities.  CCAEJ's mission is to bring communities of people together to find opportunities for cooperation, agreement and problem solving in improving our social and natural environment.  This tour will visit several sites in Riverside, Mira Loma, and San Bernardino.

12:30-1:00 pm      Travel time, lunch on bus

Afternoon -  Water and land management issues, icons, and challenges:  Site visits in the Santa Ana Watershed.  Our host for the afternoon, Celeste Cantu, has dedicated her career to addressing complex water management issues in the state of California and most recently in her current role as General Manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA).  As a Joint Power Authority (JPA) that is involved with several utilities, stakeholders and water management efforts, SAWPA is playing a visionary role in planning for the region's water future, with many lessons for the state and beyond.  Fellows will have a rare opportunity to look at large scale water management challenges with a well-respected policy expert.

1:00-2:30 pm        Visit to Galleano Winery.  The Galleano Winery is an icon of local history, operating as a "dry farming" (non-irrigated) winery for generations.  We'll spend some time with the winery managers to hear about their agricultural practices, land use pressures as goods movement infrastructure builds in around them, and how they have placed their efforts in the context of the region's history as well as its best aspirations for water management and land use.

2:30-3:30 pm        Visit to the SAWPA Headquarters and de-salting facility (the Inland Empire Brine Line).  Celeste Cantu will give us a tour of their facility and the opportunity to learn about salt management - how a region with high natural levels of salt in the soil and water manages its resources for drinking water, conservation and effective treatment.  This often overlooked source of slow and incremental harm to human health and land will be described.  In addition, we'll hear about SAWPA's 21st century vision for water management, One Water One Watershed (OWOW), that addresses all water related issues and stakeholders to create a new vision of sustainability for the Santa Ana Watershed.

4:00-5:30 pm        Prado Dam - a model for water conservation.  SAWPA staff and Army Corps of Engineers staff (TBD) will show us Prado Dam and tell us about its operational strategies for water conservation.

5:30 pm                 Return to hotel in Corona

6:00-7:00              Reception

7:00-9:00              Dinner at Citrus City Grille, Corona

9:00 +                    Late
night conversations

Sunday, March 25, 2011

8 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9 am - noon         River recreation (TBD)

Noon-2:00 pm     Short hike and lunch, location TBD

2:00 pm                Depart

Registration:  Registration is officially closed, but please contact Erin if you are interested in attending.  If we can make room, we will!

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