March 10, 2014
The Numbers Are In
Taxes and fees generated by medical and recreational marijuana sales in Colorado in January 2014 were announced today. An explanation of the taxes can be found here. More detail about the law is here.
There are three taxes:
- The regular 2.9% Colorado sales tax (yes, their sales tax is only 2.9%).
- A 10% marijuana retail sales tax which can be raised to as high as 15%.
- An excise tax of 15% on "the sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana by a retail marijuana cultivation facility to a retail marijuana store, retail marijuana product manufacturing facility, or another retail marijuana cultivation facility." That amount is calculated using "the average market rate of unprocessed retail marijuana statewide on the date that it is sold or transferred."
Medical marijuana is not subject to either the 10% retail sales tax nor the 15% excise tax.
- $1,330,209 from the 2.9% sales tax.
- $1,401,568 from the 10% marijuana sales tax. $210,269 (15%) of that has been distributed to local governments.
- $195,318 from the 15% excise tax. All of this has gone into the "Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund."
- Total tax revenue: $2,927,095.
- In addition, $592,661 came from license and application fees; $496,361 from medical marijuana, $96,300 from recreational.
The first $40 million of excise tax collected annually goes to the "Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund." After that, it will go into the "Marijuana Cash Fund." The same with all sales tax after allocation to local governments; it goes into the "Marijuana Cash Fund." The "Marijuana Cash Fund" can be used solely to pay for the "direct and indirect costs associated with implementing" the marijuana law. The initiative presented to the voters said that the money has to stay in that fund; it can't be transferred to the general fund.
- "the direct and indirect costs associated with implementing this article"
- "The division of criminal justice in the department of public safety for the study of marijuana implementation"
- "The department of public health and environment for the monitoring of the health effects of marijuana">
- "The department of law for ... training"
- "The general fund to repay two million dollars to the general fund for ... transfers"
- $2 million every year to the general fund.
That last item is quite different from what it said in the question when it was put to the voters. One imagines that the Colorado constitution makes it easier for the legislature to revise an initiative approved by the voters than the California constitution does.
California Marijuana Regulations
California SB 1262: Medical marijuana: regulation of physicians, dispensaries, and cultivation sites was introduced last month by Senator Lou Correa, Democrat, for the 34th District which is in Orange County. The San Jose Mercury News reports that 1262 is "the brainchild of the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities."
- Local governments can ban marijuana dispensaries.
- Local governments can regulate signage, security, lighting and inspections of marijuana dispensaries.
- The medical marijuana recommendation must come from the patient's primary physician or "by a physician and surgeon to whom the patient is referred by their primary care physician." [I suppose those who lack a primary care physician will simply sign up with one of the regular marijuana doctors.]
- The physician must meet the patient face-to-face; i.e., no Skype.
- The physician's recommendation must address quantities, method of delivery and what kind of marijuana should be used, specifically including THC and CBD levels.
- The physician cannot recommend "butane hash oil."
- "A recommendation for medical marijuana provided to a minor shall include a specific justification for the recommendation and why the benefit of use is more important than the possible neurological damage that could be caused by the minor using marijuana." It must come from a pediatrician, must be for high CBD marijuana and cannot recommend smoking.
- A physician who makes more than 100 recommendations in a year will be audited to determine compliance with the medical marijuana laws.
- A certification process will be set up for physicians who want to recommend marijuana and it will include "mandatory training in identifying signs of addiction and ongoing substance abuse."
- The State Department of Public Health will license dispensaries and grow sites.
- Nonorganic pesticides are forbidden for use on marijuana.
- Dispensaries must store their marijuana in a locked safe.
- "A licensed cultivation site shall weigh, inventory, and account for on video, all medical marijuana to be transported prior to its leaving its origination location. Within eight hours after arrival at the destination, the licensed dispensing facility shall re-weigh, re-inventory, and account for on video, all transported marijuana."
On a related issue, California Democrats have officially voted to include a plank in their party platform to "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol."
March 9, 2014
16-year old charged with murder
CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Daniel Bressier, Chief of Police
DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT: Penal Code 187(a), Murder - Case # 1401D-6916
On Tuesday 01/28/14, at approximately 11:45 AM, DHSPD officers responded to the area of Buena Vista Ave. & Palm Dr. regarding calls of shots fired. Upon arrival officers located a male subject later identified as Isaac Paez (19) of Buena Vista Ave. suffering from gunshot wounds. Paez was transported to the hospital where he died as a result of the gunshot wounds.
During the course of this investigation detectives identified a male juvenile (16 year old resident of Desert Hot Springs) as the suspect and he was arrested. On Thursday 03/06/14, murder charges along with special gang enhancements were filed against the juvenile by the district attorney's office. The juvenile is being held at the Riverside County Juvenile Hall with no-bail.
This case is still considered an on-going investigation. Citizens are encouraged to contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department should they have information regarding this case.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation please contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department and ask to speak with Sergeant Raul Sandoval. (760) 329-6411 ext. 330, email: rsandoval(a),dhspd. com, or Detective Michael Chilner (760) 329-6411 ext. 372, email: mchilner(a),dhspd. com. Citizens are also encouraged to contact Valley Crime Stoppers at (760) 341- STOP if they wish to remain anonymous
Dueling GoPro Stabilizer Startups
|Progress thus far:||£18,106 (32 days to go)||$62,114 Goal!|
|Which GoPro:||All! Hero, Hero2, Hero3+||Hero3+ only|
|Options:||3 models; one, two or three axes||1 model only; three axes|
|Mounting:||Standard GoPro, can go anywhere||Handheld only|
|Expected retail prices:||£139, £199, £299 ($232, $333, $500)||doesn't say, but a pledge of $599 would get you one|
|My review of their videos (irrelevant, really):|
This is how the Stubilizer video starts off. It's like he took the usual geekiness of GoPro and cubed it. He spends a lot of time talking about the need for stabilization, how he developed this, and how GoPro mounts work. All unnecessary. Good demonstration doesn't start until 4:44. There are a couple other videos on the Kickstarter page that get right down to business. I don't understand why uses the GoPro to video his butt on the motorcycle.
The video for EasyGimbal starts with this shot. Nice, smiling young men. You can see their eyes. I'll buy two of whatever they're selling. Odd that the man on our right does not pronounce the "G" in EasyGimbal. It becomes "EasyImbal" or "EasyYimbal." Demo video begins at 1:31. All of it shows someone (a dancer or athlete) doing something very vigorous...but they're not carrying the GoPro with EasyGimbal. That's another guy who's just walking around. I would really like to have seen the results from the dancer holding it. I already have a stabilizer that works well if all I'm doing is walking with it in my hand. The EasyGimbal is smaller than my stabilizer, but doesn't seem to work much better.
|The name:||"Stubilizer" could be a GoPro mount specialized for an amputee.||You know what an "EasyGimbal" is without any explanation.|
|My vote:||X (he just needs better marketing)|
March 8, 2014
Cadiz Water Project
Here's an overview of the plan for a private company to pump from an aquifer near Amboy and send that water to the Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County. Part of the plan involves the Colorado River Aqueduct, so the article includes a nice little map of that.
Santa Margarita Water District is the second largest water district in Orange County with 155,000 customers. Here's what they have to say about the Cadiz project.
Shop Michael Sam
The Michael Sam Shop. Buttons 10 for $25. T-shirts $22 each. Shipping is a flat $5.
Taser The GoPro Photographer
Video of a drone equipped with a taser being used against an entirely innocent photographer with a GoPro on his head. Wish we could see the GoPro video, but maybe that comes later.
You can see the problems. I have been told by our DHS Police that they shout "taser, taser, taser" before firing a taser. I don't know if this is to warn the potential taseree, or to warn other officers so they don't get in the way. In any case, the drone doesn't do that yet, but it would be easy to add.
The bigger problem is that the drone gets closer than the length of an average adult arm plus the length of an average baseball bat. IOW, you could whack that drone out of the air with a baseball bat before getting tased. Of course, you can't do that with a real live police officer, because they can react quicker than a drone.
Save The Date
Scientists have discovered a globular cluster in M87 that is approaching Earth at the rate of 1,026km/sec. Nothing in the known universe is approaching Earth faster than this. If it is heading directly at Earth, it will arrive in about 15.6 billion years, give or take some hundreds of millions of years depending on whether it's coming from the near or far side of M87. The sun is expected to expand and destroy Earth in about 12 billion years, so you'll want to make hotel reservations on one of the outer planets if you want to be near enough to see all the action.
Emerson College Hollywood Campus Interior Photos
Close shots of the interior of the new campus make Disney Hall look too conservative in comparison. The interiors of the dorm rooms themselves, however, look entirely ordinary. I am pretty sure those fixtures that look like fluorescent light tubes could not really be fluorescent light tubes. Clearly, some designer has put a lot of effort into putting together some sort of LED fixture that looks like the old fluorescent light tube...but I hope the color they emit is not exactly the same.
The Colorado River Aqueduct In Desert Hot Springs
Aaron Carlsson got this shot from the tram at the right time of day to reveal the location of the Colorado River Aqueduct west of Desert Hot Springs and east of Whitewater Canyon. I-10 crosses in the lower foreground. The highway running vertically on the right side of the photo is Route 62.
Hints: The blue line on the photo below indicates the Colorado River Aqueduct. The green line is the location of the Banning branch of the San Andreas fault.
If any eager student wants to also add the location of the Mission Creek branch of the San Andreas fault to this photo I will award extra credit.
March 7, 2014
GoPro In A Real Movie
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut discusses the use of GoPro cameras in the shooting of Need For Speed ("one beautiful work of art" according to Mr. Hurlbut). You can watch the trailer for Need For Speed at that link and enjoy the rather obvious homage to Thelma and Louise, which I guess is not the end of the movie in this case. (Oh, wow, I hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen Thelma and Louise.)
But whacha really wanna see is this short video in which Mr. Hurlbut identifies all the cameras used. Boy, I'd like it if every cinematographer did something like this. You will see the GoPro comes in for only two quick shots.
Mr. Hurlbut says their goal was to use no CGI, no green screen. He doesn't say how successful they were at achieving that goal. In this article he shows how they attached GoPros using Gorilla Tape rather than gaffer tape. So maybe that Chevy will have tape glue left on it, but at least they didn't lose very many cameras.
"What inspired me about the GoPro is that we could not kill it. I mean, we went to extremes once we saw how powerful this tool was becoming — lighting them on fire, throwing them off bridges, grinding them into asphalt and dirt," he says. It had not occurred to me to try to burn my camera. Maybe at Burning Man this year there will be an art project that involves burning a lot of GoPro cameras while they are shooting. Then we'll see how rugged those microSD cards really are.
Golden Eagles Nesting In JTNP
Some rock climbing routes in the Indian Cove area of Joshua Tree National Park have been closed so as not to disturb a pair of nesting golden eagles. Hikers are also advised to avoid that area.
The article goes on to say that other parts of the park are closed due to flood damage which, they say, has "churned up heavy metals over the past few years have shut trails to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Los[t] Palms Oasis, Mastadon [sic] Peak and Cottonwood Wash in the south end of the park." I had never heard that before, but I hasten to point out that gold and silver are heavy metals. There has been gold mining activity in that area of the park at times in the past.
Opulent Temple Returning To Burning Man 2014
After a one-year hiatus Opulent Temple will return to Burning Man this year. No word yet on what their design will be like, but I think we can be sure it will be neither small, quiet nor dark.
Video shot in 2012.
Opulent Temple podcasts if you want a lot more music.
New Flag For West Hollywood
Affordable Care Act Enrollment Survey
Of those selecting a plan available via ACA, 27% were previously uninsured.
Of those who were uninsured, 10% have enrolled in a plan.
More than 50% of those who have not enrolled cited cost as the reason. 80% of those people are eligible for subsidies. 66% of them were not aware of the subsidy or the amount of subsidy
The equivalent of 1,000 Burning Man admission tickets
A charcoal drawing of a Burning Man scene by Robert Longo was auctioned off this week for $380,000.
Untitled (Burning Man) by Robert Longo. The original is 90 × 96 inches, charcoal on paper.
I'm left wondering what sort of deal Mr. Longo has negotiated with BMORG, if any.
Floridian Dreams Up Odd Things To Worry About
The particular Floridian is Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist who also sits on the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board. What should Tampa International Airport do if Florida voters or legislators approve the use of medicinal marijuana, he wonders, and will the airport have to create smoking areas for legal users of the drug. Sheesh! Why not wonder if 7-Eleven will have to distribute rolling papers at no charge?
Here is the full text of the Florida initiative. You will see it is shockingly brief at only three paragraphs. It's even shorter than the original California Prop 215 text. Most states have learned from California's mistakes, but maybe not Florida.
The initiative does not establish any requirement for public facilities to provide "medication rooms" for marijuana patients. If Mr. Crist wants to know how airports will handle medical marijuana in general, all he needs to do is look at what goes on in states that already permit medical marijuana.
One thing the Florida question has that Prop 215 lacked is this provision: "The legislature, however, may provide by general law for ... the regulation of the distribution and sale of marijuana to persons intending to exercise their rights hereunder." This will allow the Florida legislature to whip this into proper shape, if that's what the legislature wants to do. It would also allow the Florida legislature to so overburden it with regulations that it becomes a dead letter.
Delahunt Flubs His Metaphor
William Delahunt, whose company managed to secure three medical marijuana permits in Massachusetts solely through his plucky, Horatio Alger-esque hard work (we are told) warns that medical marijuana is not the golden calf. This metaphor had me wondering who he thought were the Jews fleeing Egypt in the medical marijuana business, who was Moses, and what would it mean when the golden calf was destroyed.
But farther down in the linked article is a quote from Taylor West, deputy director with the National Cannabis Industry Association. "It's an interesting situation in [that] a lot of people think that the industry is just one massive cash cow," she said. I think probably Delahunt heard that and ran it through a sort of George W. Bush transformation engine to come up with his reference to the golden calf.
TL;DR - the medical marijuana industry will be neither golden nor bovine, "experts say."
The Sky Is Falling [repeat as necessary]
I cannot believe it's been almost six years since California voters approved new regulations for housing egg-laying chickens. The national standard is 67 to 86 square inches of living space. The California law requires at least 116 square inches. Now, Attorneys General in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and two other states (that I have not yet identified) are filing suit to stop this claiming that California is attempting to regulate agriculture in other states. Pish posh, all those other sovereign-loving states can simply refuse to sell eggs in California. Californians, when faced with the reality of starvation, eating tofu, or repealing the law will obviously cave. Uh-huh.
If the logic of the lawsuit were correct, no state would be able to regulate anything that could potentially be imported from another state.
In Europe egg-laying chickens get "enriched cages" which have an elevated platform and a separate nesting area. Initially it was proposed that they all get condos in central Paris, but they backed away from that.
March 6, 2014
The Alcohol Kept Her Alive
According to this story in the Mirror an 18-year old woman drank 10 Jagerbombs in one evening (it was two-for-one). A Jagerbomb* is a shot of Jagermeister (70 proof) in a canload of Red Bull (80mg caffeine in 250ml). The alcohol protected her for 8 hours, but when that had pretty much worn off by 10 AM, the Red Bull took over. She had three cardiac arrests and was put in an induced coma for 52 hours. Now she lives with an implanted defibrillator.
* In the linked Wikipedia article about Jagerbombs it is noted that the Finnish name for this drink translates into English as "battery acid." I think the Finns generally have a firm grip on reality.
The MassDOT recently shared this timelapse video showing how they simply installed a new bridge on River Street in Hyde Park in 2012.
"The probe is on"
At a cricket match this past Sunday between an Indian team and a Pakistani team in Kashmir, "dozens" of Kashmiri students were heard cheering for the Pakistani team. The students have been suspended at their university and police are seeking 66 students for questioning. Some may be charged with sedition, which carries a possible life sentence. "However, the Indian Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, said any sedition charges would be 'unacceptably harsh'." Some of the students were accused of chanting "Hail Pakistan!"
India lost the match.
New DHS City Manager Status
At this morning's meeting of the Desert Hot Springs Historical Society Councilmember Jan Pye gave us a status update on the City Manager search. The city received applications from 86 people for the job. They narrowed that down to 7 and scheduled interviews with them this past weekend. One got hired away, so they only had 6 to interview. They've come to a consensus on one candidate and Attorney Quintanilla begins negotiations with him or her today.
This is Interim City Manager Robert Adams' last week regardless.
Photography In Joshua Tree
Using a variety of techniques and lenses, but no music.
March 5, 2014
Planning Commission Approves Oasis Plaza
This was a special meeting of the Planning Commission on Thursday, February 27. Commissioners Romero and Parker were absent.
The Planning Commission had first considered this item about ten days earlier. They had some requests for changes and clarifications. The developers hurried to respond because they want this project to be open before October this year. The proposal is to erect two buildings for retail or offices in the vacant lot on the east side of Palm between 2nd and 3rd.
The dry well can handle 3.3 cu.ft./sec with a capacity of 250 cu.ft. Bomanite paving has been specified for the central driveway extending from Palm to the alley. ADA access has been double checked and it all meets code. Adjustments have been made in the parking lot that will eliminate some potential problems. Landscaping at the corners has been revised. Two Tipuana Tipu trees have been added to the street frontage. The earlier plans had shown vines growing against the building. Now the plan is to have the vines grown in a framework that will keep them about an inch away from the wall itself. This will reduce the likelihood of trash or mold collecting in the vines. The trash enclosure which is designed as in inset to the building to reduce the likelihood of blowing trash now has a gate and a hose bib. The details of the signage will be brought back for a final approval before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
The staff recommendation was to continue the item to the April meeting of the Planning Commission to allow the applicant time to provide more detail in response to the requests made earlier. Commissioner Gray asked Rich Malacoff why he recommended a continuance, since the things still undone are pretty minor. Mr. Malacoff said the recommendation for a continuance was made out of deference to the Commission's requests at the earlier meeting, but he said if the Commission decided to approve this project this night, staff was prepared for that too.
Chair Gerardi said he didn't want to negotiate with the applicant from the dais. He said he expects staff and the applicant to bring forward a proposal and the Commission would vote on that proposal.
Mr. Gerardi said he thought the Commission had asked for a more decorative fascia, and he thought the applicant should expand on that subject a bit, since it wasn't shown in the plans.
The project designer said that as signage was incorporated and lights were moved, those items begin to take up space on the fascia, so that when they tried to put a design there it was obliterated by them. Nevertheless, they trimmed the fascia all around and carried that detail around to the back of the building. The signs will be recessed about 1.5 to 2 inches.
Other discussion items on the agenda were postponed because Martín Magaña was indisposed and unable to attend this meeting. These items were to have been "General Plan/Coachella Valley Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Code Update" and "Vortex Specific Plan Review & Discussion." Mr. Gray pointed out that the Vortex Specific Plan was never officially adopted.
Remarks & Comments
Mr. Malacoff said planning staff has been very busy recently responding to requests for information, but there are not a lot of active applications in the pipeline right now. He said that 95% of the requests that come in by phone are responded to within 24 hours.
They are working closely with code enforcement. Non-compliant facades will generate conversations between planning staff and the property owner which, Mr. Malacoff believes, is gradually improving the appearance of the city. He cited a recent case where a business owner simply did not want to replace a broken pane of glass on the front of his building, but after some discussion he has replaced the glass.
Mr. Malacoff said that the developers of Pierson Professional Plaza are preparing to request a one-year extension of their entitlements. They are supposed to have a September 2014 deadline for the county building that will go there. He said they have been working on engineering issues but they are moving forward.
Someone Needs To Get A Clue
The Dating Ring, a dating website, has discovered that New York City has 100,000 more single, dating age women than men and San Francisco has 40,000 more single, dating age men than women. So, they have created a Crowdtilt page to try to raise $50,000 to fly New York women to San Francisco to meet men. Yes. Really.
The problem with this idea is obvious to everyone except The Dating Ring, a handful of women and the three single allegedly straight San Francisco men they were able to find. One of the New York women actually says that the problem with single New York men is that they are either "gay or awful." So she's hot to go to San Francisco. Well, at least the weather will be better.
What's going to happen is that some of these women will actually go to San Francisco and have their hopes dashed and their hearts broken and the responsibility will once again fall on the shoulders of gay men to comfort and entertain those women who have been unappreciated by straight men. They'll see the sights, eat at some very nice restaurants, drink drinks, smoke medicine and generally have a marvelously platonic time. Realizing that there's no place like home, they will return to NYC resolved never to venture very far away again.
Kentucky AG Joins The Club
The club of Attorneys General who refuse to waste taxpayers' money trying to defend a losing cause. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, said "I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do."
However Governor Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, has promised the citizens of Kentucky that more and yet more of their money will be poured into the rathole of lawyers defending the indefensible.
That the Nevada State Fossil is the ichthyosaur? It is, and that's why the ichthyosaur that was at Burning Man last year has a new home in the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno.
The California State Fossil is, of course, the sabertoothed cat.
March 4, 2014
It's "Scenario 3"
The City Council voted 4-1 to put "Scenario 3" ($372.68/acre on undeveloped land) on the June ballot. Councilmember Matas was the single "no" vote.
Pelican As Stabilizing Device
That's Not The Playa
Equipment used seems to have been right off the shelf DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-2D Camera Gimbal for stabilization and a GoPro Hero3 Black. The drone and gimbal are only $869 at Amazon. Not very expensive, but this photographer had at least two. He says one crashed and sank (can't do that on the playa!) losing not only the drone and gimbal, but also the $400 GoPro camera.
March 3, 2014
Hasselblad 50MP Medium-format
I just wanted to see what it looked like. €20,900 (US$28,680). For that you get one (1) shooting mode - and that is Single Shot. What, you need more than that? Get off your butt and do some work, photographer. Uses Compact Flash. No SD. Or you can just cable it right into your computer. If I read the specs correctly, it has only one port and that's Firewire! No USB. With a lens mounted it would be 2,290 grams - which is about 5 pounds. Better get that motorized tripod. You want a lens for that camera? Nothing under $2,000.
Okay, now we've got the camera for the astronauts to use when they first walk on Mars. So we should probably start planning that trip.
Got A Spare Tomato Harvester?
Burning Man tickets sold out, burnal equinox passed, everybody knows the next step: Kickstarters for Burning Man art projects. First out of the gate this year is a proposal to convert a tomato harvester into a Bixi, a creature with the body of a tortoise and the head of a dragon. Bixi. They say they need $15,000 to pull it off.
Public Safety Parcel Tax On The City Council Agenda March 4, 2014
Under the current parcel tax there are four classes of undeveloped land: commercial, industrial, hotel and residential. The parcel tax is assessed per acre for commercial, industrial and hotel. Undeveloped residential property is assessed per parcel.
The city covers 14,192.14 acres. 2,107.2 acres (14.8%) are developed; 12,084.94 undeveloped (85.2%). The total parcel tax in 2013/14 is $1,956,213.10. $1,596,137.28 (81.6%) comes from the owners of developed land; $360,075.82 (18.4%) from the owners of undeveloped land. If you take those figures and calculate an average/acre this is what you get:
|Total Acreage||Total Parcel|
Developed residential land covers 1889.22 acres. The total parcel tax being assessed on developed residential land is $1,120,624.16. That averages out to $593.17/acre.
The proposal coming before the City Council on Tuesday, March 4 is to revise the parcel tax so that all undeveloped land would be taxed at the same rate regardless of whether it is residential, commercial, industrial or hotel.
Staff has presented the calculations for five scenarios to the City Council, and the City Council can select one of those rates or any other rate or means of assessment that they like, or they can even do nothing.
|Scenario||Parcel Tax/Acre On|
|Total Parcel Tax|
From Undeveloped Land
|Total Parcel Tax|
From All Owners
It's Scenario 5 where the rate on undeveloped land matches the rate on developed residential land. It is about the same as the rate for developed industrial property, but much less than the rate applied to developed commercial property. Also, Scenario 5 is the one where the parcel tax would generate revenue that begins to be in the neighborhood of our costs for public safety.
I'd like to bring up a point that was discussed in 2010 when we approved the parcel tax extension, but I haven't heard it brought up this time - yet. Unavoidable facts:
- We are basically a bedroom community. Our retail sales (and therefore our sales tax proceeds) are much less than other city's in the valley (except, believe it or not, Indian Wells). We get about $1 million a year from the bed tax, but that is far less than, for example, Palm Springs which simply has a lot more hotel rooms. In Palm Springs they collect about $1 million/month. Our property values are low, so the ad valorem tax is not going to produce much, and only a tiny sliver of that goes to the city.
- We want prime quality police services as good or better than any city's and that requires more and better paid police. We want a 5-minute response time from the fire department, which means we have to have at least one more fire station. We want code enforcement that gets so good it becomes a money-losing operation that we will have to pay for. We want good animal control...I think we want better than what we have now.
We can either tax ourselves to pay for what we want and deserve or we can forget those things and resign ourselves to being a second-class city plagued by underfunded public safety. When we get more retail here, an increased sales tax would be an effective way to get nonresidents to contribute to our city coffers, but until then it's taxes on us. And by "us" I mean all property owners and residents in the city.