March 31, 2010
San Andreas Fault Presentation
For those who missed this popular program the first time, a slightly different version will be presented.
Updated San Andreas Program
Free at the Carl May Community Center May 8th
A new, expanded version of "Finding the San Andreas in Desert Hot Springs," a presentation which reveals where city residents can find the Fault as it runs through the city, will be shown Free by the city Emergency Preparedness Committee at the Carl May Community Center, 11711 West Drive in Desert Hot Springs, at 5:00-6:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 8th.
The 90-minute updated program will include hand-out maps, additional Photographs and a 30 minute question-and-answer session with the authors. The PowerPoint presentation has been produced by Great Outdoors, a local nonprofit. The FREE show will be presented by Ron Gilbert, Scott Connelly and Patrick Hinrichsen.
Popcorn and Soda will be available.
For more information call: Patrick Hinrichsen 1-760-660-3678
MSWD-CVWD Joint Meeting - March 30
They've got a desert-friendly garden there (as does MSWD in Desert Hot Springs) and I got a few photos:
|Blue Hibiscus Alyogyne huegelii in the color my camera saw.||The color closer to what I recall seeing.|
At the meeting we had the usual suspects from the MSWD board and staff, except Director Mary Gibson. On the CVWD board we had President Corky Larson, Vice President Peter Nelson, Russell Kitahara and Tellis Codekas. Absent from the CVWD board was Franz De Klotz. Steve Robbins is the General Manager.
Dick Cromwell [I did say the usual suspects were there, didn't I?] said this valley needs a true regional approach to infrastructure. He thinks it would be good if CVWD and MSWD began to talk about doing something jointly.
CVWD Water Management Plan Update
This was presented by General Manager Robbins. It covers the main basin of the Coachella Valley, not the Mission Creek basin. A separate water management plan will address the basins used by MSWD. The WMP deals with dependability of sources and tries to anticipate water demand over the next 35 years. The plan for the Mission Creek basin will mesh with the plan for the main valley basin.
The Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) is nothing more than the region getting together to prioritize projects for state funding. It's not a water management plan in the same sense that the Urban Water Management Plan or the Water Management Plan are.
President Larson said it struck her that MSWD had taken the lead on this and expressed her appreciation for that. General Manager Wallum said MSWD couldn't have done it without the staff assistance of CVWD. The meeting the IRWMP consultant will be on Friday this week. Mr. Wallum said that once all the parties involved in the IRWMP understand each other, it will lead to greater cooperation and savings. G.M. Robbins said that right now they are trying to keep costs and low and keep to schedule. He said that the sooner we can get an acceptable plan, then the sooner we can get state money. G.M. Wallum said we had been patient for five years already and said a good plan was a high priority.
President Larson said she doesn't think CVWD goes after grants as wholeheartedly as MSWD does. She suggested that if MSWD is particularly astute at getting grants, the two districts could work together. The CVWD could bring its size factor while the MSWD might "have a demographic need that is helpful." (I think that might be a suggestion that MSWD has more people who fit the definition of "disadvantaged community").
Vice President Brown said the process is very important, that stakeholders and disadvantaged communities must be involved. He again cited the fact the Metropolitan Water District's plan was rejected by the state because it didn't sufficiently involve disadvantaged communities. President Larson said she wouldn't stop as just disadvantaged communities, but thinks all communities should be involved. Marilyn McKay explained that a "disadvantaged community" is defined only by income (not education, not unemployment). It is any community with 80% or less of the state average income. That's state average, so there seems to be no allowance for the fact, say, that incomes in San Francisco County are far higher than they are in Inyo County.
G.M. Robbins said CVWD has greatly increased communications with Indian tribes and that includes some of the poorest of the poor [the Torres-Martinez Indians and Duroville, for instance]. CVWD has been having monthly meetings to which all the Indian tribes are invited. They all participate at some level, he said.
Mr. Robbins said he would prefer to use state money to assure safe (not tainted with arsenic) drinking water and use rate-based money to pay for a regional treatment plant. The safe drinking water is a higher priority.
MSWD Groundwater Quality Protection Program
G.M. Wallum said MSWD has been working on this for 14 years. Basically, it's to replace the septics with sewers. He pointed out that the city has the power to approve or regulate septics, but it falls to the water district to sewer the area. He described the history of AD 11 and AD 12, assessment districts to pay for sewers. Over the last decade the district has invested about $20 million in sewers. AD 12 sunsets in 2014. He said MSWD needs CVWD's support with our Congressional delegation to make sure we get the $35 million for sewers that has already been authorized. He went on to say that he thought our hot water basin was more threatened by the septics than our drinking water basin is.
November 2010 Water Bond
G.M. Robbins said we need the IRWMP completed so we can get funds from the water bond. He said if we don't fix the delta and related issues, California's "going to be in a world of hurt." When the economy picks up, the water issues need to be resolved, otherwise anyone who wants to stop growth will have a much better chance of succeeding.
G.M. Wallum said that the MSWD board would do a resolution of support for the bonds. V.P. Brown said he is concerned the bonds may not be approved. He says we need to identify specific local projects that could be funded out of the bonds in order to provide good arguments to valley voters. Director Wright cited economic development as a reason to support the bonds. G.M. Robbins mentioned arsenic treatment, new sewers, a new sewage treatment facility could all be used as local examples. The bond designates a certain amount of money for the Colorado River Basin. Mr. Robbins said Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley will have the two IRWMPs in that basin. Mojave is split, so that part of its area is in the Colorado River Basin. President Larson said that Coachella Valley could vote 100% for the water bonds, but the votes are in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego and she hopes we are helping them.
Death Valley Photos
I've uploaded all my photos from the Great Outdoors trip to Death Valley in early March. To my own surprise, there are more than a thousand photos there. That's more than I shot at Burning Man in any one year! It must be that very positive feedback you get from the shutter noise of a DSLR that encouraged me.
March 30, 2010
Another Hike In The Mecca Hills
DesertXPress Organizes A Press Conference
DesertXpress is that privately-funded high speed rail proposed for Las Vegas to Victorville. They had a press conference in Las Vegas, and this thing is solid, solid, solid! Environmental approvals are taking longer than expected, but they will begin construction in 2010! Only five federal agencies are involved in the approval process, and part of the route crosses the Mojave National Preserve so the National Park Service is one of those five federal agencies. But hey, when that quick checklist is complete, they are go, go, go...after they settle on several different possible alignments, and choose among the four potential sites for a station in Las Vegas. After that, they build! They've already built a model of the Victorville station, and once they've chosen from among the three possible sites in Victorville, it's all green light! The automobile parking at Victorville will be 1½ times as big as Disneyland's parking lot - which makes sense, since Las Vegas is a lot bigger than Disneyland.
Real success for this line is possible if they can extend it to Palmdale and if Calfornia actually builds its high-speed rail. But that link to Palmdale is a sure thing because DesertXpress "has received assurances from transportation planners in Southern California that the link would be fast-tracked."
They still estimate the cost of a one-way ticket will be $50-$55 which they say is "an average," and that peak pricing and first-class will be higher. I don't think they know the meaning of "average."
I Googled "railroad ponzi" and discovered that this would not be the first such scheme.
The reader comments on the Las Vegas Sun article cover pretty much all the obvious failures in the DesertXpress scheme, so to make your reading more efficient, I'm going to list the comments that actually support the thing:
- BringTheRain asserts that some southern Californians WILL drive to Victorville and take the train, but he says Las Vegans won't use it. He points out that Ontario airport has flights to L.A. I think he's trying to equate Victorville with Ontario.
- Egohunt says the train actually doesn't stop in Victorville, but goes all the way to Los Angeles.
- Ishchelkunov thinks it goes all the way to Los Angeles, and in only two hours.
- MasterDgen says it'll bring 20,000 to 50,000 jobs to Nevada. He probably means for the construction phase.
- Dave23 says maglev is a bigger boondoggle.
- Stephenrblv says that if we ditch capitalism, maglev from Anaheim to Las Vegas could be done pretty quickly by 200 engineering students. (Yeah, I know this is not a pro comment, but I thought it was too good to ignore).
- Oldladyplayspiano says that if marijuana gets legalized in California, Nevadans will take the train to Victorville to buy their dope. (Like Baker wouldn't become a major cannabis supply point for Las Vegas.)
- Krases thinks it will work if the leg to Palmdale is built (and California high speed rail is built too).
- Rolly thinks this will do something now to improve "the economy: Jobs, tourism, traffic congestion relief, real estate appreciation, etc."
- AleRa says Victorville has Amtrak and Metrolink service to Los Angeles. There actually is no Metrolink service to Victorville, but he is correct that the Southwest Chief from Chicago comes through Victorville every day at 4:18 AM to whisk you into Los Angeles in only four hours. So the success of the L.V.-Victorville train would depend on the world's most failed passenger rail system.
- Speedstream says the casinos could comp rail passengers. He suggests similar lines be extended to Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Those, however, would not be similar lines. Lines to Spanish Fork, Utah, and Prescott, Arizona, would be similar.
- Patty says 11 million people are already driving through Victorville to get to L.V. And the top speed record for maglev is only 3 MPH faster than the steel wheel rail record. 335 vs 332 MPH.
March 29, 2010
Large Hadron Collider To Destroy Earth Tonight
Well, at least they are going to actually begin doing some colliding, and if they can do that, they may create some black holes (some say) and those might consume the Earth (some also say). If you wake up in the morning and read this, then it didn't happen tonight — or did it?
UPDATE, Tuesday morning: So much for those black hole theories.
Ricky Martin Comes Out
"Purple Sage Apartments" Located!
In our on-going search for information about filming locations for Robert Altman's 3 Women we've made a major advance. I was contacted by Mr. Gür who lives in Sweden and shared this remarkable information with me: "I was a guest at the Sunshine Inn, Palm Springs, during the shooting of Robert Altman's 3 Women in the fall of 1976." I wrote back to ask for more and here's what he told me:
Originally the Sunbeam Inn, 291 Camino Monte Vista, Palm Springs. Shooting took place during the fall of 1976. The Sunbeam's landlady was Mrs. Carmen Baptiste and the owner of at that time was her brother Mr. Richard Revnes Berlin, San Francisco. "Dodge City Bar" was located out in Rancho Mirage. I was a guest at the Sunbeam during the shooting of 3 Women.
As you can see, today it is Life's Journey Center, which is "a private state licensed and certified alcohol/drug detoxification and residential treatment facility for the recovering adult." If you follow that link you will find some good interior photos.
Today. Notice that it's the same sign (with a different message now). The small second story windows are unchanged. All of the roof vents that are there today can be seen in the movie still.
Now, of course, we can turn to trying to figure out where Dodge City was in Rancho Mirage. Anyone?
Stalingrad From The Losing Point Of View
This version of Stalingrad was made by Germans and is told from the point of view German soldiers, but it is far from pro-German. Rather, in an almost Band Of Brothers style, it follows your average non-Nazi Fritzes as they go from relaxing in sunny Italy to their ultimate fate at Stalingrad. The film is relentless as it follows the dwindling number of men as they try to survive the triple forces of Russians, the winter and their own fellow Germans who thought nothing of killing other Germans in an attempt to maintain discipline and morale. It hardly spoils the film to tell you that none survive.
I was surprised after watching this to see that it was made in either 1989 (IMDB) or 1993 (Netflix) or 1992 (in the film credits). It looks like a post-2000 film.
Michael Steele was NOT reimbursed for a night of West Hollywood debauchery; no, not Michael Steele
The Republican National Committee cannot say it often enough - when they reimbursed someone $1,946 for a night at Voyeur West Hollywood, that someone was not Chairman Michael Steele. "The Chairman was never at the location in question, he had no knowledge of the expenditure..." of $1,946 out of party coffers for a night at Voyeur West Hollywood. For those who are not quite up on the Santa Monica Boulevard scene, Yelp has some reviews of the bar that the RNC will pay people to go to. Vanessa from Pasadena writes:
this place knocked my f-ing socks off last night!
get there early and make sure you know your promoter WELL, cause its a bit of a cluster f^ck outside, but it is beyond worth the hassle of getting in.
inside the room is decorated with dark wood paneled walls there's a lounge area for bottle service as well as booths for bottles around the room too. there's one large bar and then the club snakes around to reveal the dj and a dance floor.
there's lots of entertainment/ eye candy hence the name voyeur. there's a net that strung across the whole of the lounge area and different lovely ladies in different states of undress roll around in it throughout the night. there's also a glass enclosed stage where different ladies preformed last nights outfits in the cage were fishnet body stockings sequin pasties and a tutu sounds crazy but it was so cool. on the other side of the room there's also another free standing stage where performers danced and then towards the end of the night did a bid of a mock s and m scene. it sounds dirty but it was really just sensual.
the drinks are strong and they are your usual hollywood prices $10 vodka soda. the music is fun there is actually room to dance in the lounge area as well as on the dance floor.
my feet still kind of ache from dancing all night yet i am ready to do it all over again and thursday can't come fast enough.
Erik Brown, president of Dynamic Marketing Inc., has stepped up to take the fall. He is not now nor ever was Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee that gave him $1,946 for a drunken night with topless girls faking lesbian S&M. He will reimburse the RNC. And in the memo section on his check he will write "Protecting the sanctity of marriage."
They call it "content-aware," and I'm sure you will agree when you watch this video that it looks damn amazing.
But after watching this video you will see that Adobe was being modest in its video. "Content-aware" can do much more.
I'm pretty sure this was the bordello. I was told the bordello was a two-room building near the jail, and this is the only place that qualifies, although it looks more like a doctor's or real estate office to me.
Archaeological site protected by rattlesnakes. I wish all agencies of the government were so efficient and economical.
Spawn Of McCain Calls For Marriage Equality
"I am not saying let's just abandon the core ideals that the Republican Party was built on," McCain said, repeating it for emphasis. "I am saying make room for all of the Republicans, and let's start evolving with the times. We must evolve or we'll die."
There were Republican protestors, of course.
Junior Emily Moore held the "Where does it stop" sign and said marriage was "a religious contract" that should not be institutionalized by the government. She said she worries that same-sex marriage could lead to "other forms of marriage."
Brilliant! I'm not sure she realizes that if the government gets out of the marriage business, then ALL marriages become valid.
Travis Korson, president of the George Washington Young Americans For Freedom said "If you're not toeing the party line then you're not really that party affiliation." One wonders how the Republican party ever changes any of its positions with a rule like that.
"Oh Lord, you've got a snake head in the green beans!"
No two ways about it. No religious interpretations have been expressed...yet.
March 28, 2010
Shady Lady's Male Prostitute Moves On
Markus, the first legal male prostitute in Nevada, has left his job at the Shady Lady and will return to porn. He has already been replaced by a gentleman who calls himself Y. Not. If Mr. Not has compared himself to Rosa Parks, no word of it has reached the press.
Art In Public Places - in Rhyolite
Rhyolite has some very impressive art out on public display around the Goldwell Open Air Museum. Here is some of it.
Tribute to Shorty Harris, 1994, by Fred Bervoerts. At first it looked like a miner and a penguin, but then I thought the bird's beak looked more like a puffin's. Then I began to wonder if that was really a miner. If that's a pick, it's somewhat stylized and might just as well be a small umbrella or parasol. But, according to the museum, it IS a miner and a penguin.
Ziplines Coming to Catalina
It's in 5 segments for a total length of 3,671 feet. The zipper will reach speeds of 40 MPH above a drop as great as 300 feet. Opening April 14. Only $89 for all five. Max rider weight = 245 pounds (minimum 60 lbs.).
Darwin, California, is a semi-ghost town. That is, a town on its way to becoming a ghost town. The post office still flies a flag there, and we did see a few people in town. But the town seemed mostly empty.
"All are prey to his distorted desires."
March 27, 2010
MSWD Workshop - March 24
Special District Association of Riverside County
President Furbee won't be able to make it to the April 15 meeting. Vice President Brown was chosen to go as his stand-in.
Water Resource Management Plans
The district has multiple plans related to water resource management. This presentation was intended to help clarify how they relate.
There's the Water Master Plan, the Urban Water Management Plan, the CVMSHCP, the Water Management Plan for Mission Creek/Garnet Hill ("MC/GH") and the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. The Water Master Plan deals with infrastructure. It's used as a management tool. The Urban Water Management Plan is a regulatory requirement. It focuses on the reliability of the water supply. The UWMP goes to the Department of Water Resources who "accepts" it, or not. Currently, the MSWD may be the only water purveyor in the valley with an accepted Urban Water Management Plan. The Water Management Plan for MC/GH focuses on basin management by the MSWD, CVWD and DWA. Every decision made in that plan requires unanimity by the three agencies.
The MSWD Strategic Plan has 7 elements. A matrix was presented that listed all 7 elements and identified the tactic, action, current activity, resources and target completion date for each one. Lots of info about everything the water district is doing. Download the whole shebang here: MSWD Strategic Plan Goal No. 2 Alignment Matrix.
The seven elements:
- Continuously identify and report on potential problems and opportunities. Like replacing Wells 28 and 30.
- Safeguard water supply and quality for current and future users. Septic monitoring, for example.
- Implement water master plan. Bringing Wells 34 and 35 on line, for example.
- Optimize operations. Such as land acquisition and improving emergency backup (you can hear the noise of that in the background, occasionally).
- Active basin management through water management and IRWMP. Rain water recovery is an example, which led to a discussion of retention ponds.
- Encourage conservation and expand education. Investigating methods to supply non-potable water for construction use, for example.
- Study hot water basin, which will probably NOT include lounging in a hot tub.
Director Bowman said that Riverside County Health Department doesn't understand our hot water. He said it's important for the MSWD to monitor the quality of our hot water.
April 21 will be the first public input meeting on the Water Management Plan for Mission Creek/Garnet Hill with DWA and CVWD. It will be at Miracle Springs at 10 AM. Stakeholders will be invited. There was some discussion of whether the tribes will be invited (MSWD wants to, the CVWD and DWA are reluctant). Director Bowman asked a good question, "Why should somebody attend?" I had been forming a general impression of why it was important to the water district, but I had no clue what interest the general public might have in it. Director Brown suggested that the district should make sure that the press is there. General Manager Wallum indicated that DWA and CVWD may not like that. My interest in this meeting increased when I heard that. A public meeting where some of the parties hope no press shows up? Time to be the fly on the wall.
November 2010 Water Bond
More information was presented to the board, including a draft resolution. There were guidelines included on what a public agency is permitted to do relative to ballot measures. Here's some info about the water bonds. And I think this is the full text of the proposition. It's only 18 pages, in contrast to General Manager Wallum's opinion that it's "hundreds and hundreds..." So maybe I'm really missing something. Here's a cleaned up, more readable 26-page version.