January 27, 2015
Well, it's getting to be that time of year again, meaning the time before the season after which is the holiday prior to Burning Man. IOW, ticket season. Don't worry. Whatever ticket you thought you were going to get is sold out, so give up. Better luck next year.
You'll be missing stuff like this.
Possibly Visible Vandenberg Launch Thursday Morning
DELTA LAUNCH VISIBILITY by Brian Webb
A Delta II rocket carrying a NASA scientific satellite and three small secondary payloads is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg AFB on Thursday morning, January 29. The Delta is set to lift-off from Space Launch Complex-2 West at 06:20:42 PST, the start of a three-minute launch window.
Following lift-off, the Delta will climb vertically for several seconds, gradually nose over, and head south over the ocean.
The Delta II uses liquid propellant first and second stages. For this launch, three solid rocket motors are strapped to the first stage for added thrust.
The first stage main engine and strap-on motors will ignite on the launch pad. The solid rocket motors will burn out at +1:05* and be jettisoned at +1:39. The first stage liquid propellant main engine will continue to burn until main engine cutoff (MECO) at +4:22.
Stage 1/2 separation occurs at +4:28 followed by second stage ignition at +04:36. Several minutes later, the second stage containing NASA's SMAP satellite and three small payloads will reach orbit.
Weather permitting, the first few minutes of the launch should be visible to the unaided from King City, Fresno, western Ventura County, and coastal Los Angeles County. Under good conditions, the event could be visible over a much wider area.
For the first minute of flight, the rocket will have a bright orange flame due to the solid rocket motors. When the solid motors burn out, the delta will decrease in brightness and resemble a moving white star.
Liftoff occurs 42 minutes before sunrise as seen from Vandenberg AFB. According to independent space analyst Rick Baldridge, the rocket will climb into sunlight during the first stage burn at +2:50 for a 06:20 PST liftoff and +2:40 for a 06:23 PST liftoff. Observers along the coast from King City to Long Beach should see the sunlit first stage exhaust plume suspended against the dawn sky during the last minute of the first stage burn.
Under good conditions, the launch could be visible to the unaided eye until first stage main engine cutoff. Second stage ignition and the second stage burn will probably not be visible without optical assistance.
*All flight events are expressed in minutes and seconds after liftoff.
LAUNCH AND COUNTDOWN STATUS
For launch and countdown status for Thursday's Delta II launch, consult the following sources:
January 23, 2015
A federal judge has declared Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional for all the same reasons found by all those other judges in all those other decisions in all those other states. But hey, some people need to hear ti 52 or 53 times before it begins to sink in.
There is no stay, so maybe there will be happy times tomorrow in Alabama.
Kevin Kelly, CEO, Two Bunch Palms Resort
Downtown Palm Springs
January 22, 2015
The Other Shoe Drops
The Desert Sun reports that Dean Gray resigned from the Planning Commission yesterday. The article gives no reason for the resignation.
January 21, 2015
Council Member McKee's Statement
There is a significant number of people in the Desert Hot Springs area who rely upon arguing that black is white, up is down, bad is good. They've tried to lie about last week's Planning Commission meeting. I expect they will try to lie about the reasons Councilmember Joe McKee sought to remove Chuck Parker from the Planning Commission, citing imaginary conspiracies and corruption. So here's a transcript of the statement made by Mr. McKee during the council meeting before the unanimous vote to remove Mr. Parker:
I apologize in advance for how long this is going to take, but we'll go through it. The meeting that took place of the Planning Commission last week was only the trigger for this action. It wasn't the only reason that it happened. During the period of time that Chuck has been on the Planning Commission especially them getting...he continuously came in and said things like "I wasn't able to read the packet" and complain about how much time he had to do that. Unfortunately, that's something that I've said a lot too. The problem is, we get anywhere between 250 and 1,000 pages of documents to go over every meeting - twice a month. That doesn't count special meetings of which during a period of time we were having every week, and we're going to start that up again. It is my responsibility to go over that documentation. I usually go over it two or three times and submit questions in advance to the city [staff] on Sundays so that they have a couple of days to work on it. That's the reason I don't ask a lot of questions in a lot of instances. Because they've already sent me a memo like they did today detailing the answers to a lot of my questions that I think the public doesn't really need to hear because a lot of them are pretty esoteric, to say the least.
The problem I have is a lot of what Mike Picardi just said. I relish conflict. I relish people discussing things and being in a position that they come to some sort of conclusion with everyone's input being in place. What we have fought as a city council in the last year is the perception of everyone else in the city and in the Coachella Valley - in the state - about Desert Hot Springs being a city that cannot get along, that gets into a position that arguments become more than personal, and that we're in a position that we lose total control of meetings. Now, I listened to the meeting after people came to me and said things like that was the worst meeting they'd seen in their lives. And these were people that had decades of experience. What I looked at was the totality of the situation; not only the fact that he several times had said that he couldn't be involved in the process because he couldn't read everything. But the fact that over and over again he would yell at people in the city offices, also, about things. Not discuss things.
[City Manager] Martín [Magaña] and I have some pretty hard discussions about things going on in the city. But I don't run around the city hall yelling at people. I don't yell at the City Attorney that something he's doing should cost him his license. Let me just say something about that. We have a City Attorney that reduced his fee from $35,000 to $25,000 and has spent most of the last two weeks trying to put out thousands of pages of documents that people have wanted to see. Even though the points that were awarded have had no people come in and ask for them to be reviewed by the reviewing committee at this point. The problem is that technically the point system had to be discussed and a document put in requesting that a person needed to appeal them 15 days after the 10th of December. Not the situation with the Planning Commission that was dealing with the CUP. By the time this Planning Commission got this situation as something that they were looking at - they were supposed to be looking at the CUP, the point system had already gone through the period of time of appeal.
Now, let's talk about transparency a little bit. The City Attorney is getting members of the Bar and other people in the cities of California and other states approaching him, asking to emulate how transparent this process has been. Is that not true? [City Attorney Quintanilla acknowledged that it was true.] You can say anything you want. Tell me a process someplace that's more transparent than this. I understand that people think in the past things haven't been transparent, but the City Council was very, I think, forthcoming in dividing the process in such a way that exactly the sort of thing that was complained about, the Mafia being involved and everything else, that that would not occur. The City Council only set up the point system. The staff - multiple staff members graded everything. The CUP was supposed to be handled by the Planning Commission. The regulatory stuff was supposed to be handled by the City Manager, making sure that all the LifeScans and everything else took place, as far as that is concerned. The reason we did this, was to avoid even the inkling of any corruption, as far as people being bought off. Now, if someone has a process that would work better than that, provide it. Don't just say it's corruption, what we've done.
Now, attack on the staff. It's real easy to do, folks. They can't fight back. They can't fight back. And one of the things I've learned in my life is if you treat people with respect and ask them questions reasonably, they'll react to you. They'll work with you. Now, one of the things that people don't realize is how small the staff is and how much stuff they're having to do now. Last year, the City Clerk had to provide 60 public information requests in a 50-week period. That doesn't sound like much. The problem is, some of those were huge. You're also in a position that 60 are only the big requests he got. And then we have people complaining about the fact that he doesn't have time to do minutes. You pile work on the person and then you yell at him because he can't do something you think is important, even though the recordings of all these Commissions and everything else are on the computers right now, are on the internet. You can listen to them in total.
Now, as far as being a rubber stamp. What rubber stamp? What rubber stamp? Multiple people, not just the three [dispensary applicants] that are in a position that were chosen, chose to lease property, buy property, start construction. Multiple people, not just one or two that we're talking about here. They took the risk as businesspeople.
Now, the problem I have with this whole process is this: I want people on that commission that are going to question things. I don't want them to be maniacs. Questioning things is okay, as far as I'm concerned. And the person I will put back into this position I will expect that. I will expect them not to get along with me on everything, but we have to be in a position that we don't have Commissions and the City Council of Desert Hot Springs looked upon as being a bunch of crazy people. And that literally is what we've been fighting for years now. Again, I don't care about dissent. If you dissent, you can say what you want. You can vote. You can try and convince other people to do what you want to. I get frustrated at times up here. Sometimes I'm successful at getting people to vote with me. A lot of times I'm not. But I don't run around with my hair on fire, when it comes down to it.
This is the way the process works, as far as I'm concerned. Now, I don't feel good about this either. I wish I didn't have to do it, but if you look at the totality of the situation, I can see no choice, as far as I'm concerned.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Here is the audio recording: