Ruth Musser-Lopez was drop kicked into politics and environmental activism in 1986, when as a federal archaeologist, she blew the whistle on the then-East Mojave Desert Bureau of Land Management manager who caused a stone age prehistoric site to be destroyed to make way for the new bureau office on Spike’s Road in Needles, California. The manager refused to extend her appointment but not before she learned of his intent to permit a national nuclear dump over the pristine underground water aquifer in Ward Valley, a tributary to the Colorado River. Concerned with the potential of radioactive contamination of Southern California’s water supply, Ruth wrote the first letter to the editor opposing the dump and after a long struggle with the help of Gray Davis, Byron Sher, Tom Hayden, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Native American Tribes, she wrote and circulated with the assistance of many volunteers a voter initiative prohibiting the disposal of radioactive waste above desert area aquifers. The over 20,000 signatures on that voter initiative proved instrumental in preventing the permitting of the dump project. This was not to be Ruth’s last battle to protect desert water, as several years later there were attempts by the Cadiz Corporation to privatize and heist the precious water supplying desert springs critical to the survival of desert wildlife, which had been “discovered” during the campaign against the Ward Valley nuclear dump. The continued battle against the Cadiz Corporation’s plan to extract water at a rate 10 times that which can be recharged and convey it to coastal golf courses with man-made lakes, car washes and other unsustainable developments is Ruth’s inspiration for running for SD16 which includes both Cadiz and Ward Valley.
Born in 1953, Ruth was raised with her eight siblings on a family dairy farm at the border of Ontario and Upland. She attended Vineyard Elementary, Imperial Jr. High, Chaffey High School, and Chaffey College. In 1973-74, while her brothers served their draft terms, one in Viet Nam (who died of Agent Orange poisoning) she devoted a term volunteering at a Brethren in Christ mission in New York City and supported sending residents at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home for Dependent and Neglected Children to support summer camp. Returning to California, she attended UCLA and then graduated from UCRiverside in 1976 with a degree in Anthropology (Archaeology). After working in the Archaeological Research Unit at the University, she moved to Oregon for a year while working on her first publication about rock art discovered while her crew surveyed a trail near the giant Blythe Intaglios. Musser-Lopez says her paper published in the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly was likely what landed her the job with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), where she ran the cultural program for 8 years, worked with rangers, biologists, realty specialists, geologist, range conservations and conceived of and during the Carter Administration, initiated the original Archaeological Site Stewardship Monitoring program.
She married Robert, a Native American in 1983, and after her first child, Bobby Jess, was born, she stepped down to an intermittent role with the BLM due to no family leave time off and no child care facilities in Needles in 1984. At the time, she was no longer a permanent government employee and lost her tenured job protection. It was during those two years that she blew the whistle on her Republican administration-appointed boss for building a BLM office on top of an important portion of the last standing remains of the Mojave tribe’s prehistoric village area without ever requiring professional data recovery and preservation. The Reagan appointee told the town to go pick up what they wanted of the artifacts. This incident, along with the later environmental battles Ward and Cadiz Valley against Republicans gave Ruth a firm grasp of the importance of solidarity and supporting the values and platform of the Democratic Party.
Ruth continues to battle for Democratic values. She was elected to the Needles City Council in 1993, was the “Top Dem” for California Senate District 16 in 2014, and Chair of the Inland Empire Region of the California Democratic Party Rural Caucus in 2015. In 2017 she was appointed as the chair of the Rural Caucus Bylaws Committee where she wrote the procedures for ranked choice voting. The chair of the California Democratic Party recognized Musser-Lopez’s commitment to Democratic Party causes by appointing her to the Organizational Development Committee in 2017 where she was assigned to assisting other caucuses develop and revise their bylaws.
Musser-Lopez supports peace and the right to a healthy, happy and creative living for ALL; equal access to justice and the courts; art and music in public schools; planned parenthood AND an end poverty and homelessness; humane treatment of animals; ending the privatization of our public hospitals and schools; state supported national public radio available on all major rural travel corridors/highways; internet neutrality; protections for personal choice including those surrounding reproduction and sexual preference; tuition-free college and apprenticeships; living wage for all workers, 100% renewable energy; the end of mass incarceration; body cameras turned on worn by officers making arrests; decriminalization of cannabis use; repair of Route 66 in the East Mojave and other crumbling infrastructure; focus on coastal rainwater runoff capture and other water recapture/recycling; end water privatization and heist schemes; single-payer healthcare/Medicare for ALL.
More About RUTH MUSSER-LOPEZ, she's seen 65 years of California sunshine and is campaigning for "sunshine" in Republican-controlled Senate District 16. Born and raised by Southern California dairy farmers, a sister of nine, they all pitched in learning through experience how the dairy and farming business works. Now a wife, mother, neighbor, friend, author, museum director, master's student, cancer fighter, political activist, and Archaeologist.
Currently the Chair, Inland Empire/Desert Region of the California Democratic Party's Rural Caucus, Ruth is a former elected Needles City Councilwoman, retired Federal Agency (BLM, USFS, FWS) archaeologist, and community activist. The Senate Democratic Caucus and the California Democratic Party gave her a 100% vote endorsement for the 2018 Senate seat.
Ruth Musser-Lopez has been writing resolutions and voter initiatives since the 1980s..at that time realizing that the Republic Party is for the Corporations she was protesting and that the Democratic Party is for Working People, she registered Democrat.
Tired of no one running against Republican Jean Fuller, in 2014 she pulled papers as a write-in candidate for the Senate seat. Ruth wouldn't let the Republicans run unopposed in 2018 either, so she puled papers and is determined to turn SD16 a golden shade of blue.
Here is a link to the resolutions Ruth has written and her record of leadership on issues in SD16 and beyond (click here). Briefly summarized, here are a few:
* AUTHOR 2016, VOTER INITIATIVE: NO TAX W/O A VOTE, Needles Voter Initiative to prohibit annexation of properties into a tax district without a vote of the people.
* TAXPAYER ADVOCATE/ACTIVIST, 2016-Present NO TAX W/O A VOTE LAWSUIT Fought the property tax the Republicans in San Bernardino County passed without a vote of the people--under the guise of fire fighting. Citizen lawsuit which she helped to prepare is being heard before Judge Cohn.
* AUTHOR 2017 CDP#9033421: NO TO SAN BERNARDINO REPUBLICAN’S “TAXATION BY ANNEXATION.”
* PILT FUNDS 2014-2016: worked with the California Democratic Party Rural Caucus for the return of federal "Payments in Lieu of Taxes" (PILT funds) to our communities including for fire services.
* CADIZ WATER HEIST LEGAL CHALLENGE 2012-14: Ruth filed the only federal legal challenge against the Cadiz Water heist forcing the BLM to review the project for its impact upon socio-cultural values and the hydrology system. The complaint was withdrawn when BLM intended to submit the project to federal review.
* AUTHOR 2017 CDP#9030596: OPPOSE TRUMP PLAN TO EXPORT AND PRIVATIZE EAST MOJAVE DESERT GROUND WATER.
Resolution against Trump's rescission of federal permit requirements of the Cadiz Corporation's privatization project. ADOPTED.
* AUTHOR 1990s NO WARD VALLEY NUCLEAR DUMP VOTER INITIATIVE: wrote and circulated the voter initiative to prohibit dumping of radioactive waste over desert aquifers (Ward Valley and Molycorp at Ivanpah Valley) getting over 20,000 signatures of registered San Bernardino County voters.
* AUTHOR 2017 CDP #9044132: GET YOUR KICKS ON RT66 to support the State of California’s acquisition, repair and maintenance of RT66 between Needles and Barstow for historic, recreational and safety purposes.
* AUTHOR 2017 CDP #9036338: AUTO ARREST CAMS; #9044030: EXCESSIVE FORCE REPORTING STANDARDS
* AUTHOR 2015 EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE Equal Access to Justice Resolution (passed by the California Democratic Party). Return of local justice courts to rural communities. ADOPTED. The Justice Court in Needles is now reopened on a limited basis.
* AUTHOR 2017#9038610: MT. BALDY SAFETY SIGNAGE urge the Angeles National Forest to install signage at the trailhead and at the dangerous trail portals which signage would include written language and pictorial icons or ideograms expressing the danger of the trail ahead and what precautions might be taken; with strongly suggested language being “enter at your own risk—you may be liable for costs associated with your rescue or recovery;” ADOPTED.
* CONCEIVED AND FOUNDED the predecessor ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM. Ruth had been an exemplary award-winning Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employee, recognized with a monetary award after conceiving of and establishing in the East Mojave Desert the Adopt-A-Historic-Site Program in 1980, the very first program of its kind in the nation and ancestral to the now nation-wide Archaeological Site Stewardship program. WHISTLEBLOWER 1986. However, Ruth found herself without a job when she exposed her BLM Manager's indiscretions--a new federal office lease on his friend's Spike's Road property in Needles, an ancient Native American sacred site. She blew the whistle when the Manager acting as City Planning Commissioner told the community to go get whatever artifacts they want before the lease was let. She was drop kicked into politics and in 1993, Ruth blew the whistle on the City of Needles with regard to possible dumping of liquid toxic waste down unlocked sewer manholes which waste possibly caused a sewer plant bacterial kill and stench PLUS, untreated waste piped to middle of river and sludge took to the landfill owned by her former employer, the BLM. For this, the city retaliated by having her threatened with an unlimited jail sentence for "contempt" of their kangaroo court wrongly accusing she knew "who done it" and "who told her." Ruth exposed that City and County had also allowed PG&E to dump chromium 6 in the BLM's leased Needles Landfill resulting in a health hazard potential to those hauling refuse there and also to groundwater migrating to Colorado River, drinking water supply to millions. Ruth was the Erin Brockovich of Needles before the movie was ever contemplated. The dump is now closed...a Superfund site.
* UCLA, UCR WITH HONORS. Ruth is a San Bernardino County native and an honors graduate of the University of California having attended both the Los Angeles and Riverside campuses.
* EAST MOJAVE FEDERAL ARCHAEOLOGIST. Ruth relocated to Needles in 1980 with the Bureau of Land Management as East Mojave Archaeologist.
* NATIVE AMERICAN LOVE. 23&ME says he's 1/3 Puebloan Indian!....in 1983 she married Robert, together Robert and Ruth raised two children in Needles, now thriving in Portland...with daughter to be married this August to a very nice young Democrat man.
* UNION MADE. Ruth is endorsed by the California Labor Federation. Four generations of UNION, Ruth's husband Robert, father-in-law, and mother-in-law's father were all members of the union working for the Needles Santa Fe Railroad. Her son Bobby, is a union member at the Union Pacific in Portland.
* AFL-CIO Before retiring, husband Robert was a member of the AFL-CIO while employed as a welder for Southern California Edison at the Mojave Generating Plant in Laughlin. Ruth and Robert earned first hand what it was like to fight for a living wage. Robert participated in the strike while "scabs" tried to break through. He and others worked the banana boats on the shore docks to make ends meet.
* Ruth was both a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and PTA vice president before being elected to the Needles City Council in 1993 to stop international nuclear dump scheme in Needles.
* Ruth is currently an "A" student at Cal State University San Bernardino in the "Applied Archaeology" graduate program. She has received a $3,000 grant to work on her thesis. She hopes to obtain her Master's Degree next year, now that she has time to travel from Needles and can afford graduate school at $18.00/quarter. Wouldn't it be nice if all students were in the +60 program...so sad that talent must wait to get a higher education!