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Tejon Ranch Co. Decries False and Misleading Campaign Organized by Opponents to Recently-Approved Centennial Master Planned Development

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Demands extremist groups remove knowingly false, inaccurate and
misleading material and video from websites

Tejon Ranch Co. demands that the California Native Plant Society (CNPS)
remove material, including a video, from an anti-Centennial website
which Tejon Ranch believes contains recklessly, if not knowingly false,
inaccurate and misleading material. California Native Plant Society has
partnered with the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity
(CBD), a longtime litigant against Tejon Ranch projects, in opposition
to Centennial and this latest action to mischaracterize Centennial is
true to form for both groups.

"90% of Tejon Ranch—240,000 acres—will be permanently conserved.
Amazingly, that is not enough for some extremist groups," said Michael
R.W. Houston, Tejon Ranch Co.'s General Counsel. "We call upon them to
cease and desist their campaign of presenting false, inaccurate and
misleading statements to the public in an effort to undermine Los
Angeles County's recent approval of Centennial, as well as their efforts
to damage the overall Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement,
which is supported by major respected conservation groups like Audubon
California, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club,
Endangered Habitats League, and others."

The video falsely accuses shareholders of Tejon Ranch Co. of engaging in
unlawful activity. Here is a portion of the text from the video:

The Tejon Ranch Corporation is a Wall Street traded company owned
primarily by a large group of Hedge Fund looters

The video summary claims the building of Centennial would destroy 6,000
acres of wildflower habitat, leaving the impression that all the
landscapes shown in the video are from the Centennial site. This is not
accurate.

California Native Plant Society
Published on May
1, 2019

Photographer Richard Dickey captures the magnificent beauty of Tejon
Ranch, where LA County has just approved a new city of 55,000. More than
6,000 acres of wildflower habitat will be destroyed.

In fact, most of the landscapes shown in the video are not from, or
do not show the Centennial planning area, and a significant percentage
of the land depicted in the video is not even part of Tejon Ranch.

Given that the author of the web-article in which the video appears
claims to have spent over "200 days on Tejon Ranch", and the
photographer/producer of the video claims to have spent 30 years
photographing the area, it is appalling that both the author and video
producer would so recklessly insinuate, if not blatantly assert, that
the land shown is located either on Tejon or in the Centennial project
area – when much of it is not.

Depicting locations that are either not on Tejon Ranch or not located
in the Centennial project, while representing such sites are located in
those locales, is false, severely misleading and fraudulent.
This
sort of deceptive activity is consistent with CBD's past practices.

CBD used a similar tactic against Arizona rancher Jim Chilton when it
posted knowingly false and misleading pictures of his ranching lease on
its website back in 2002. Chilton successfully sued for defamation and
was awarded $600,000 by a jury, which included punitive damages. The
case shows the lengths CBD will go to in pursuit of its radical agenda.
They clearly do not feel constrained by the truth, even asserting to the
Arizona appellate court in Mr. Chilton's case that they had a First
Amendment right to lie, an argument the court rightfully rejected as it
affirmed the jury's verdict and damage award.

In addition to having a history of using false and misleading
information to damage those they oppose, CBD appears to spend most of
its time and its substantial resources on litigation, all designed, in
the words of CBD co-founder Kieran Suckling, "to create severe economic
pain." CBD has consistently and continually sued proposed housing
developments in California, which does nothing to help, and actually
exacerbates the housing crisis in California. Given its agenda to
oppose, delay and obstruct, it's clear that the "economic pain" CBD
wants to inflict is being felt by young and middle-class Californians
who find decent housing to be unavailable and unaffordable.

Approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on April 30,
2019, Centennial addresses the serious need to provide additional
housing that's within reach of middle-class families in Southern
California. Centennial also creates a new job center for Los Angeles
County as it gives companies the opportunity to locate in an area where
their employees could afford to live. Centennial is expected to create
23,000 permanent jobs on site and nearly 25,000 construction jobs, with
at least 30% of those jobs going to local residents. Centennial will
offer price attainable homes and 18% of the housing units will be
officially designated affordable units. With Governor Newsom proposing
to build more than 400,000 homes a year, Centennial can be part of the
solution to the housing crisis in California. All while still conserving
90% of Tejon Ranch.

CBD has initiated seven different legal challenges against Tejon Ranch
over the last 16 years in both state and federal court. It should
therefore come as no surprise that its representatives recently promised
to sue Los Angeles County over its approval of Centennial. Given that
CBD sued and lost, both at the superior and appellate court level, when
it challenged Los Angeles County over its approval of the Antelope
Valley Area Plan-- which designated the site where Centennial is located
for future development, it would be simply rehashing issues on which
it's already sued and lost. It's no wonder CBD has been called nothing
more than a lawsuit-factory, spending much of its time and resources
either in court or issuing press releases, rather than engaging in
proactive conservation.

CBD had the opportunity to engage in proactive conservation on Tejon
Ranch. It was initially involved in negotiations, along with respected
environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Natural Resources
Defense Council, Audubon California, Endangered Habitats League, and
others, that led to the historic and science-based Tejon Ranch
Conservation and Land Use Agreement, in which 90% of Tejon Ranch will be
conserved. This agreement was supported by two previous Governors'
Administrations, and because of this agreement, Tejon Ranch can play a
vital role in the building of residential units to help meet Governor
Newsom's housing goals for California, all while conserving 240,000
acres in perpetuity.

Even though published reports indicate it was CBD representatives
themselves who advocated for and demanded the 90/10 ratio of
conservation to development, the organization walked away from the
negotiations just months before an agreement was reached. CBD is
recently quoted in a different publication saying it preferred to retain
the right to sue (and presumably collect attorneys fees) than
compromise, even if that compromise would result in a guaranteed
positive conservation outcome.

If it does sue—again—over Centennial, it's likely to hypocritically
raise the issue of wildfires, as it did in a recently-filed lawsuit
against another housing development in Los Angeles County. In another
instance of what clearly appears to be CBD taking whatever position best
suits them, even if it's contradictory to other positions it's taken,
CBD opposed Governor Newsom's emergency declaration streamlining 35
wildfire mitigation projects that would help protect 2.2 million
Californians in over 200 communities from future wildfires, claiming it
would undercut environmental protections. In that instance, CBD said the
best measure to protect homes against wildfire wouldn't be to thin
forests and remove dead and dying brush from nearby at-risk communities,
but to retrofit houses to current building standards and create
defensible space around them, something that clearly could not be
accomplished before the next wildfire season.

But the prescription that CBD claims is the best defense against
wildfire is exactly what the plan for Centennial requires. Though, at
Centennial, instead of needing to retrofit homes, houses and other
buildings will be constructed from the very beginning based on the most
stringent fire codes and building standards in place at the time. These
plans have been reviewed and approved by all appropriate State and
County Fire authorities. The defensible space standards at Centennial
also far exceed state requirements.

Tejon Ranch Co. calls upon CBD and CNPS to cease their false and
misleading campaign against Centennial, to support the Ranchwide
Agreement that permanently conserves 90% of Tejon Ranch, to respect the
overwhelming community and state support it received, and to recognize
the deleterious impact of their positions on the urgent need to produce
more housing for thousands of families in California.

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