In a very ambitious campaign to bully the residents of Tehachapi, Tia Torres has spun a wicked fairy tale to incite frothy rage in thousands of pit nutters across the US. The fantasy features "an individual on a witch hunt" ...who is... "spewing hatred" against the victim supreme - the pit bull. "Never in my
dreams would I think that such an angry and hateful woman co-existed there." Torres has the pit bull posse signing petitions left and right demanding that Tehachapi comply with the nationwide nutter population's demands to allow Villalobos to open a shelther there.
In reality Torres' "individual, angry, hateful witch hunter" is Merle Carnes, a woman in her late 60's and in poor health who just lost her husband a few months ago.Carnes is president of the Old West Ranch Property Owners Association and was acting as such when she wrote a letter to her neighbors in Old West Ranch. In the letter she urges her neighbors to weigh in against the dog rescue for many reasons. Most of her concerns would be applicable to a 100 dog rescue for any breed, though the fact that many of these dogs are no ordinary pitties, but demonstrably aggressive pit bulls already judged dangerous and removed from owners by court orders is a significant factor.
Carnes and 7 out of 8 of her neighbors are concerned about the impact of a large population of dogs will have on the community for a number of reasons:
· A much smaller rescue on the same site posed quality of life and safety problems for the community.
· Torres' rescue will be 12 times larger than the previous rescue.
· Concerns about the quality of supervision of both the dogs and the parolees
· High number of fighting dogs when dog fighting has been a problem in the past in the area.
· Negative environmental impact of 100 dogs with regards to water pollution and air pollution.
· Increased potential for air-borne dust spread disease Valley Fever
· Negative impact on roads and increased road maintenance costs.
· Concerns about 100 barking dogs diminishing community's quality of life.
· Torres' assumption she will have free access to her neighbors' properties with her dogs (trespassing)
Carnes is not making any of these concerns up. In June of 2010, before the community was aware of Torres' plans, Ken Mixon wrote a letter on the Old West Ranch Owners Association facebook page enumerating some persistent problems that needed to be addressed in the community:
· Stray dogs and owners not following the law
· Speeding on dirt roads - The Air Pollution Control set the speed limit for dirt roads at 15 mph. This is a health and environmental issue
· Tight budget
Ken Mixon has since decided to support the 100 dog rescue in the neighborhood. He transmitted portions of a letter sent to him from Torres to the OWR HOA facebook page in which she states that she has had "ZERO barking dogs complaints."
That directly contradicts what is reported in an interview with her that was printed Nov. 4, 2010. 'Torres not only contends with her neighbors, who don’t like the barking dogs, but with law enforcement. “It’s a tough battle here. We get harassed by law enforcement a lot,” she says, waving her black-tipped nails in the air. “We get phone calls from law enforcement from all over the country. They love us, except right here in our own county (Los Angeles County.) They hate us.”'
Carnes is not alone in voicing her concerns, however; Don Olsen on the OWR POA facebook page raises the following issues:
· Quality of life deterioration when triple chain link fencing and concrete perimeters and multiple storage containers create an eye-sore like the one in Agua Dulce
· Potential danger if dogs were released in the event of a wildfire
· Increased traffic from parolees and workers, visitors, and camera crews
· Unreliable "promise" that road maintenance will be paid for by the TV production company only so long as the show lasts
· Rumors of expansion to other properties
And in addition to the issues raised by community members, it would be wise for the community to question Torres about these additional issues:
· Reliability of supervision of the facility in light of the fact that there have been legal problems at the Aqua Dulce property both with drugs and stolen property
· Who owns and who will be responsible for the property since Tia Torres does not own it?
· How big will the rental cabin venture be? What kind of facilities will be provided for the renters?
· How many animals will actually be there including rescues, pets and exotic species?
But back to Merle Carnes, Tia's scapegoat created to bully an entire town. When a devastating wildfire broke out last summer, Merle Carnes delayed her own evacuation to make sure her neighbors had been alerted. When her car wouldn't start, a neighbor rescued her.
After the fire, "as board members of the POA, Buzz Grantham and Merle Carnes (led) the team on the Ranch working with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross and doing the coordination between them and the fire victims."
While supporting a large 320 wind turbine project by Terra-Gen, Carnes brokered an agreement to move or remove three turbines that would have been placed too close to the Old West Ranch area.
Carnes was publicly thanked for providing hospice care for a neighbor.
Merle was not alone in helping out after the fire. "Merle Carnes, said it’s the type of community where everyone checks on everyone else to see how they’re doing. Carnes, who is president of the local homeowners association, said they will be taking care of people who have suffered losses."
Not only is Torres attempting to scapegoat Merle Carnes, she is trying to create a rift in a community that has been able to be self-sufficient because they have helped each other out and taken care of each other.
Torres, talking out of both sides of her mouth, first condemns Merle Carnes as a meddling, disinterested person, suggesting that "(t)his woman lives nowhere near the new place yet she, for some reason wants to shut down an organization..."
Then Torres turns right around and threatens to bring in people from hundreds or thousands of miles away to somehow legitimize her cause.
'A hearing has been set for March 10th where the community and Torres will get a chance to speak their minds.
"It's gonna be a packed house. We have supporters coming from all over the country," said Torres.'
Torres and her friends have been spreading the word that if the county board denies her a permit and a variance, Villalobos will be destroyed.
If villalobos is moving to Tehachapi and leaving Agua Dulce, then Torres needs to explain what she is going to do with all her animals. At Agua Dulce, she has over 120 pit bulls, uncounted dogs of other breeds, about 20 wolves, her own pets - dozens of cats and dogs, and a couple of bears.
On the other hand, if this is an expansion, then it is an outright lie that Villalobos will be shut down if they aren't successful in bullying their way into this community. And if it is an expansion, who is going to be supervising 100 pit bulls and parolees at the Tehachapi rescue, her daughters?
In addition to Torres, the actual owners of the property should also be present at the hearing on March 10th because they will be legally responsible for the maintenance and any accidents that occur there. That's right, Torres' name is not even on the deed to this property. The deed holders are Tia's daughter Mariah Harmony Kaye, a 19 year old judgment-proof girl and a real estate agent named Veronica (RoniR) Raczkowski. Raczkowski is also the "California Team Leader for Best Friends Network."
The town of Tehachapi should know what kind of people are bullying their way into their town. Tia Torres, mother of two daughters and "adoptive mother" to twin boys, describes herself this way:
"I'm a rebel, I'm an advocate for the underdog and I've become disenchanted with the "system." (don't count on her to care about traditions,rules, or laws). My kids are my pride and joy even if they don't think that's the way I feel about them. I have a husband (in prison) who adores me more than life itself (she's got no competition) and I am overwhelmed with his heart (but his brain that put him back in prison, not so much). My dogs have been my life saviors and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. My life revolves around all of the above. And though I'm am perceived as a thick skinned, hard as nails, don't give a shit kind of person, its' only because of what our family has had to endure (it's the world's fault if she's a selfish outlaw). We are true believers of Karma and feel that because of all the good things we try to do as a family, that she (karma is not a goddess, but whatever) will protect us and if need be...become one hell of a bitch (the gods are on her side, not yours). Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. Fuck me a third time...watch what happens (did this suddenly get literal?)."
Aren Marcus Jackson, Torres' currently incarcerated husband on the 3 strikes rule was arrested for possession of stolen property which was found at Villalobos and which he blames on one of the other parolees.
The twin adoptive sons, Kanani and Keli'i, "started off by just working here on weekends...and they're still here. And they fit right in with the rest, getting speeding tickets and getting their cars impounded...and you know, they're now part of the moll's extended family." Remember, people, 15 mph for the environment and the neighborhood! yeah right. The twins fit in even better with the parolees when one of them got busted for meth and heroin at Villalobos.
Both of her daughters are following in Tia's footsteps, pussyfooting way past independence into the land of the outlaw.
Here's Mariah, co-deed holder of the Tehachapi property and her older sister Tania in October 2010:
Giving the nutter salute
And here is their new motto as of February 26, 2011:
Lyrical, isn't it?
In addition, there are the parolees. Torres assures the neighbors she doesn't hire sex offenders but I guess apart from that anything goes. She also claims to have forgotten one of her current parolees offenses...FANTASTIC supervision and very reassuring to the community.
The town of Tehachapi also should know the kind of people Tia has whipped into a frenzy of hate and spite and will be coming to Tehachapi from all over the country for the hearing on March 10th.
This is a smattering of responses to Tia's call to arms:
Chris Burk "This woman (Merle Carnes) is nuts!!! It sounds to me like she is trying to draw attention to herself Because of the TV show. Some people have nothing better to do that to try to cause other people problems!!"
Then there is Lynda Fleming Wright:
who says of Merle Carnes, "So sad that some people never do any Good in their lives, only try to stop people like Tia...This woman I'll just call her Cruela Diville needs to step up and get involved in something worthwile..."
And Tehachapi, please be on the alert for creepy riff raff like this guy invading your town on March 10th to intimidate you:
"I'm behind you all the way Tia !! Making some calls to legal peeps :) I met some really good ones since the last time I was here !"
Who knows maybe Stevil Helmer, his band Die Hard Til Death, and his pit bull might all be there to visit:
With Hanging Friends
the nutter salute
The pit bulls, the parolees, the Torres, and their fans - who wouldn't want that circus to move into their remote, independent, close knit, and environmentally fragile neighborhood?