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April 30, 2014

Family of John Winkler Seeks $25 Million

John Winkler, who was being held hostage by a murderous nutjob in a West Hollywood apartment, was shot and killed by L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies as he was escaping the nutjob earlier in April. His parents have filed a claim for $25 million. The family's attorney says that someone had shown the Deputies a photo of the actual nutjob before they went into the situation.

Filed under Public Safety | permalink | April 30, 2014 at 09:30 AM | Comments (2)

The Secret History Of Desert Hot Springs

Last week's Soup Supper with Audrey Moe speaking. This is a production of the DHS Historical Society. Ms. Moe shares the stories of some of the celebrities who have been coming quietly to Desert Hot Springs since before there was even a Desert Hot Springs (and still come today).

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,History | permalink | April 30, 2014 at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2014

Earlier Tonight In Oklahoma

Mother Jones summarizes the challenges states are facing in getting drugs to carry out lethal injections. Sodium thiopental, traditionally used in lethal injections, is no longer manufactured in the United States. European manufacturers refuse to ship it to the United States because they object to its use for lethal injections. States have been trying other drug cocktails. The article describes some of the problems that have occurred because states have bought contaminated drugs. Some states have gone overseas to buy drugs and then brought them into the U.S. illegally. Oklahoma pays for its drugs with actual Federal Reserve Notes so there will be no record of the purchase.

Oklahoma settled on a three-drug process which has been used in Florida. But in Florida, they inject five times as much midazolam as Oklahoma would. Midazolam is used as a sedative before medical procedures.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner were scheduled to be executed by lethal injection tonight in Oklahoma. Their attorneys had fought in court to have the sources of the drugs made known, but they lost. Tonight Clayton Lockett went first. His execution was scheduled to begin at 6 PM. The injection process actually began at 6:23 PM with midazolam. At 6:33 PM the doctor announced that Lockett was unconscious, therefore the administration of the remaining drugs could begin. One minute later it appeared that Lockett was not actually unconscious as he began to move his mouth. Two minutes later he began convulsing. One minute after that a prison official said "something's wrong."

Then the blinds were lowered so the observers could no longer see the process. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said he then "stopped the execution." It would have been more correct to say that he had ordered the injection process to be stopped, because once you've started to put that load of drugs into a body, you don't know if it's going to be an execution or not until the prisoner either dies or jumps off the table laughing.

Twenty-seven minutes later Lockett, still strapped to the gurney, died of a heart attack. Patton said that there had been a "vein failure" and the state could not determine how much of any drugs had actually gotten into Lockett's bloodstream.

[David] Autry, Lockett's attorney, was immediately skeptical of the department's determination the issue was limited to a problem with Lockett's vein.

"I'm not a medical professional, but Mr. Lockett was not someone who had compromised veins," Autry said. "He was in very good shape. He had large arms and very prominent veins."

Charles Warner's execution has been stayed 14 days by Governor Fallin. "She also ordered the state's Department of Corrections to conduct a 'full review of Oklahoma's execution procedures to determine what happened and why during this evening's execution.'"

Filed under Public Safety | permalink | April 29, 2014 at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

Long Beach Police

There are a number of poorly written news articles out there about the incident on Sunday afternoon where Long Beach Police shot and killed a man. The chronology seems to be:

  • Security at a Target store tried to detain him.
  • L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies arrived at the Target to help.
  • The man pulled out a weapon (scissors) and managed to escape to his vehicle.
  • Sheriff's Deputies pursued him.
  • Long Beach Police joined the pursuit.
  • He stopped at a dead end at the beach.
  • Cops ordered him out of the vehicle, but he didn't budge.
  • Fifteen minutes later he emerged from his vehicle with a big stick.
  • He ran for a stairway down to the beach.
  • A police canine was released and a Sheriff's Deputy fired a stun-bag, which was ineffective.
  • Long Beach Police who had stationed themselves on the beach fired on the man with real bullets and killed him.
  • Police on the beach say their view was obstructed by foliage, but they saw him reach for his waistband, so they fired.

The whole thing videotaped by a civilian in a nearby building with a good clear view of the stopped vehicle scene and the beach scene. Mainstream media stops the video just before he is shot, but this is the unedited video that runs until the Long Beach Police get to the man. They certainly took their time doing that. There is no visible gore or blood, no screams or moans, but you are watching a man die.

The L.A. Times has a video from a helicopter overhead which shows the same thing as the civilian video above. He dropped the stick; was empty-handed and never reached for his waistband.

L.A.'s Channel 4 has a video interview with "former LAPD detective Tim Williams, a police use of force expert, however, believes the shooting was unjustified" based on his viewing of the civilian video. I don't know, but this seems very similar to those psychologists who make definitive pronouncements on the mental health of the perpetrator when they get interviewed by TV reporters right after any especially heinous crime. Former detective Williams could have qualified his opinion with something like "but I'd need to see the police videos first" or "I'd have to see the whole body of evidence" before offering an opinion. But he didn't.

My guess (and what do I know?) is that the LBPD on the beach heard the shot when the the stun-bag was fired and failed to distinguish the sound as a non-lethal shot. Then they over-reacted when they saw him coming.

The man's name was Jason Conoscenti.

Filed under Public Safety | permalink | April 29, 2014 at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Apple Breaks

Breaks with tradition, that is. For as long as I've been using a Mac, the base price for the cheapest laptop has always been $999. As technology advanced, Apple just kept improving it to hold that price. But now, now for the first time, Apple has dropped the prices of MacBook Airs by $100, across the board. The cheapest is now $899. This is despite the fact that they have upgraded the processor.

For $999 you can get the 13-inch Air. The top o' the line Air, 13-inch with 256 GB drive starts at $1,199. Naturally, you will want to double the RAM to 8 GB for $100 more. You can also get a faster chip ($150) and double the storage ($300).

They really like that 100 number at Apple, because they dropped the price in the UK by £100 which is $168.31 today. The starting price there is £749 which equals $1260.64, so no need to rush over there to try to score a bargain.

Filed under Shopping,Technology | permalink | April 29, 2014 at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Chasing With GoPro

I ran across this video shot by a self-designated "storm chaser" of the recent Tupelo tornado. My first thought was "what a jackass!" Driving alone, unseatbelted into a storm while holding a video camera in one hand. But other observers are of the opinion he is even stupider than that.

Most of those issues I could shove aside and ignore because it is, after all, Mississippi. But there's that video camera and I wondered why so many (not that I actually follow these things) of the storm chasers do so with standard, narrow angle, handheld video cameras. You're bouncing down a rough dirt road while a 200 MPH wind is jostling you and your passenger (if you had the foresight to bring a passenger) is simultaneously panicking and trying to video the whole scene, jerking the narrow angle view from this gray thing to that gray thing, all the while supplicating some god, any god, to help.

Why, why, I asked, do these people not use mounted GoPro cameras. Everybody else in the world uses them. I went on a search for some, and wouldncha know, there are storm chasers out there using GoPros. Some are better than others. The best ones (probably from the smartest storm chasers) are shot with a GoPro mounted on the roof facing toward the rear of the vehicle...because the smart storm chaser is running away, not driving into it.

Julesburg, Colorado, May 28, 2013 - only 1:10, timelapse. This chaser includes some still shots from the GoPro as well. His Facebook page has more photos.

Same photographer, Booker, Texas, supercell, June 3, 2013 - 5 minutes, timelapse.

El Reno, Oklahoma, May 31, 2013, the widest tornado in recorded history (2.6 miles), winds approaching 300 MPH, lasted for 40 minutes while traveling 16 miles. Wikipedia. Lots of running away in this one, and he almost doesn't make it. I imagine speed limits were not observed in the last couple of minutes of this video.

Now this guy has the camera mounted inside the car. It seems to me it's six of one, half a dozen of another whether you put it inside or outside. Outside you run the risk of losing it and rain inevitably gets on the lens cover. Inside you won't lose it, but you've got the windshield wipers and occasional sheets of blinding rain hitting the windshield. Also, if it's inside you will probably want to remove the audio before making it public. I'm sure that when a tornado is hitting, you can't say "Oh my God" too many times, but afterwards in the video it gets a bit distracting. This guy seems not to be a storm chaser, but drives toward the May 20, 2013, tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. He gets right to the edge of the path of destruction before he is stopped by downed power lines. What's interesting is that even though he's not in any sort of official vehicle, not even a media vehicle, he considers it entirely acceptable to take whichever side of the road he wants in his rush to get to the scene. He must know this is not dangerous, because there couldn't possibly be other drivers on the road, and even if there were, their driving could not possibly be encumbered by blinding rain or the adrenaline rush of the nearby tornado. So away we go!

This video is not very successful. The GoPro is mounted on the roof of their Toyota Highlander, facing forward. They end up driving nearly into the tornado. "The tornado did crack our front window, took part of our roof rack and left debris embedded in our grill and front window." The trouble is, it's shot at night in the rain, and the power is out for some segments of it, so all you can see is the light from the headlights. I couldn't even tell when the tornado hit until I read the comments. It starts when they finally stop moving at about the 8-minute mark.

A suggestion I have for GoPro-using storm chasers is to do like we do at Burning Man. The first image on the memory card should be a picture of a clearly lettered sign with your name, address, phone number and email. Next of kin couldn't hurt either. Even if the camera is lost, some day the camera or memory card will surface somewhere and you (or your survivors) will want it back.

Filed under GoPro,Photography | permalink | April 29, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Ottawa Citizen Gushes Over Palm Springs

Somebody from Ottawa got treated really well on some recent visit here, and I suspect that visit may have included a visit to one of Palm Springs' three special health emporiums (soon to be four). They say all kinds of extremely positive things and seem to think that it's highly significant to Canadian visitors that Leonardo DiCaprio owns a house here now. I just double checked that DiCaprio is an American, not a Canadian, so I don't think our snowbirds will have any greater chance of being invited over for cocktails by the pool than anyone else.

Here's the mention of Desert Hot Springs: "It's so worth the trek out to Desert Hot Springs, and the unlikely situated but utterly sublime four-unit Hotel Lautner, a private compound that has a little dipping pool, to-die-for sunset views and couldn't be more perfect for an intimate wedding or, better yet, a girls-only weekend."

That's part of a list of features of the valley that they consider somewhat less than the One Big Prime Star Attraction. The list includes polo clubs, Coachella fest, Palm Springs Art Museum, PNB Parabis Open, the Uptown Design District, Just Fabulous, Trina Turk, margarita bars, mid-century furniture stores, the Food and Wine Festival, Bearfoot Inn, the Ace, the Saguaro, Hotel Lautner, DiCaprio, the film festival and its celebrities. Those are the lesser attractions.

This is how they describe what they consider the Numero Uno attraction:

This year, Facebook millionaire Ezra Callahan, who was one of the social site's first employees and reportedly walked away with $60 million in his pocket, is about to open his own Chris Pardo-designed modernist 32-room boutique hotel right on North Palm Canyon in Palm Springs, all kitted out with luxury amenities and sustainable sensibilities.

If that's what brings the Canadians, well then okay.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Travel | permalink | April 29, 2014 at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2014

Alaska To Arizona

A couple of bicyclists ride from Alaska to Arizona and document the trip with a variety of cameras, including a GoPro...but most of the shots come from some other camera. Their route included Tioga Pass (arrgh!) and Death Valley.

Filed under Cycling,Photography,Travel | permalink | April 28, 2014 at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Some Utah Republicans Supporting Some Equality

Ivan DuBois, former Executive Director of the Utah Republican Party, is actively campaigning for non-discrimination legislation that would forbid discrimination against gay people in housing and the workplace. The LDS church, BTW, supports similar legislation. Naturally, there has been some opposition, but the usual objections have been modified somewhat.

"Marriage is not a right; it is a privilege granted by government. That's why it requires a license." (This was said by a Republican candidate for county council in Salt Lake County.) Fifteen states plus DC recognize common-law marriage, which requires no license. The first colony in America to require marriage licenses was [drumroll please] Massachusetts in 1639. So before that time and outside of Massachusetts no one was married? The requirement for marriage licenses in England and Wales began in the 14th century, but those licenses were granted by the church not the government, so they would be invalid in that Republican's point of view. It was not until 1837 that England and Wales recognized statutory (non-church) marriages. If marriage comes from God, then why does that Republican think the permitting system should be handled by the government?

"The needs of children as a result of a marriage between a man and a woman should be foremost in the law." They used to say The needs of children should be foremost in the law. Now only the needs of children of heterosexual marriage are of concern. Children of unmarried parents, children of single parents, children of same-sex married parents are of no (or little) consideration. Well, okay, that does simplify their court defenses to the point of utter ridiculousness.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | April 28, 2014 at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)

A Fresh Direction In Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuits

"North Carolina prohibits couples of the same gender from obtaining a marriage license and makes it a crime for ministers to officiate a marriage ceremony without determining whether a couple has a license." The U.S. Constitution (and probably the North Carolina Constitution) guarantees freedom of religion. The United Church of Christ performs same-sex weddings. So you see where this is going. The General Synod of the United Church of Christ has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court saying the law is a restriction on their religious freedom.

Filed under Gay Issues,Religion | permalink | April 28, 2014 at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2014

Jumbo Rocks Campout

These are some photos from the Great Outdoors campout at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park a couple of weeks ago.

Samuelson's Rocks (5860)
We visited Samuelson's Rocks again

Samuelson's (5842)
We were able to find the site of Samuelson's cabin for the first time

Samuelson's Vehicle (5848)
And Samuelson's parking lot

Scott in Samuelson's Cellar (5846)
This is Scott in Samuelson's cellar
which was in pretty decent shape.

Jumbo Rocks (5907)
The Jumbo Rocks campground was completely filled

Jumbo Rocks (5897)
There were Joshua Trees and rocks

Jumbo Rocks (5892)
I think I was standing in front of my tent when I took this shot

Great Outdoors HIke
That tortoise again

Desert Flowers (5857)
Flowers were abundant

Cypress at Jumbo Rocks (5881)
Fellow campers informed me that a few million photos of this cypress and and rock were already on the internet

Crown Prince Lookout - Live Oak Canyon Loop (5918)
We went looking for the Crown Prince Lookout
which was an observation point during World War II. We made a wrong turn. The lookout is in those rocks over there, which we did not explore.

Cactus Flower (5926)
Flower with bugs

Many more photos here.

Bonus. Here's a brief GoPro video of our lunch spot one day.

Filed under Cactus,California,Photography | permalink | April 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Netflix Roulette

Too tired, lazy or intoxicated to fire up the necessary brain cells to select something at Netflix to watch? Netflix Roulette to the rescue.

  1. Select movies, TV or both.
  2. Select a genre, or not.
  3. Select a range of ratings (1 - 5 stars), or not.
  4. Click "Spin."
  5. One title is displayed. If you want to watch it, click "Watch On Netflix."
  6. Otherwise, spin again or just go to bed.

Netflix Roulette doesn't ask for access to your account, which is good for privacy, but it means it may show you movies you've already seen. But what do you care? You're tired. It also doesn't let you filter on MPAA ratings, but that's critical only if you have kids in the house and kids don't need Netflix Roulette to pick a movie. "Let's watch ___________ again!"

Filed under Film/Movies,Television | permalink | April 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

DHS Wild Life Sanctuary

Desert Hot Springs Wildlife Sanctuary (2137)
Can anyone provide some background on the Desert Hot Springs Wildlife Sanctuary?
I'm especially interested in seeing what the ordinance said/says. The ordinance was approved in the 1970s, I believe, but "Ordinance 117" doesn't correspond to the way our ordinances are numbered now and simply searching the city code doesn't turn up anything about this for me.

This sign faces west on Mission Lakes Boulevard between Little Morongo and West. I seem to recall there were one or two more when I moved here 10 years ago. I think there was one on Little Morongo at the former city line, but it's no longer there.

It'd be interesting to know the scope of the ordinance and whether it's still in effect. The day comes when polar bears wander our streets, we'll need to know if it's legal to chase them away.

BTW, I recall seeing this sign within my first year of living in Desert Hot Springs and being shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that the city had a leash law! I think the city was operating its own animal control then and it was worthless.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | April 27, 2014 at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2014

"Koyaanisqatsi in 5 minutes"

For those who have never been able to commit 86 minutes of their life to watching the full movie but were curious about the visuals, here ya go. It seems to include all the scenes in the film, but that is not the soundtrack...although it is by Glass.

You can hear the original soundtrack here.

Inexpensive digital photography and remote control copters have made many of the effects seen in this film almost ubiquitous. The film was released in 1982, shot entirely on film (what else?) and no CGI. At the time, there was nothing else like this of similar length.

Filed under Film/Movies,Music,Photography | permalink | April 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2014

Available Before The Winter Holidays

So they say.

Filed under Technology | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

Coachella In Infrared

Infrared Coachella
Click here for several more photos of Coachella Fest in infrared
by Mark Davis.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)


Earlier this month I visited the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard to see part of Mullin's collection of Bugattis and art related to the Bugatti family. This collection is open to the public only one or two days a month until the end of this year, then it ends. Advance ticket purchase is required, but it's only $15 for adults.

Bugatti Windscreen (4474)
Back when windscreens were literally wind screens

Bugatti (4281)
A re-imagination

Bugatti (4237)

1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster Chassis No. 2461 (4244)
1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster
. Go here to read the story, but basically this was pushed into Lake Maggiore in Switzerland in the late 1930s, suspended by 35-foot chains. The chains eventually failed. The car was found in 1967 resting at the bottom of the lake. In 2009 it was brought to the surface.

Schlumpf Collection of Bugattis (4304)
Let's hope they bring back the electric running board some day

Schlumpf Collection of Bugattis (4264)
Included in the display were several cars from the Schlumpf Reserve Collection
. These cars are unrestored. The Schlumpf brothers began collecting cars in the 1950s. They lost control of their collection from 1977 to 1999, during which time the cars sat unprotected in a barn. Go here to read the story.

Bugatti (4296)

Bugatti (4470)

Bugatti (4507)

Many more photos here.

Filed under Art,Automotive,History,Photography | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

DHS Community Cultural Affairs Commission - April 9, 2014

Commissioner Santacroce was absent from this meeting of the Community & Cultural Affairs Commission.

Urgency Item

As if to prove my lack of imagination when I thought there could never be a reason for an urgency item at CCAC, an urgency item was proposed and approved to discuss and prepare a budget request for next fiscal year. Waiting until the May meeting would make it too late.

Public Comments

Michael Burke said that a proposal for some murals in Palm Springs is creating controversy in that city. He suggested that the City of Desert Hot Springs should let it be known that we would welcome more murals, and maybe those artists should come up here. [And buy a house to use as a studio, I also suggest.]

Here's the news story on KESQ where City Manager David Ready says "There is no policy for murals because murals are not allowed." And this is not Indian Wells, but Palm Springs, a city that should be bulging at the seams with artists and art lovers. One of the commenters says that the city had covered up a utility box that had been painted decoratively.

Mr. Burke said he would try to get contact info of someone in Palm Springs for the Commission to contact.

More Murals For Ocean Springs Tech

This is a proposal for John Coleman to paint additional murals on the street frontage of Ocean Springs Tech on Two Bunch Palms Trail. The walls to either side of the driveway entrance will be painted in a waterfall motif. The gate across the driveway will be repainted so as to resemble a wooden gate.

The cost to the city is a flat zero. The private property owner pays for it, but the city has the ability approve/disapprove it because it is an exterior modification of the building.

Commissioner Buchanan was concerned that the painting of the gate did not constitute a mural, so the Commission would be overstepping to get involved. He compared it to his own painting of his garage door [which I think was probably one color].

Rich Malacoff said this was more than just repainting a gate a certain color, which could be a Planning Commission or Planning Department matter. But the painting on the Ocean Springs Tech gate will actually depict something other than just the gate, so therefore it is a mural.

The artist John Coleman came to the podium as most of the audience applauded. He said the owner wanted to tie the walls and gate into the other mural that's already been painted. He wants it to look like you're entering a resort. The waterfalls will be modeled after artificial waterfalls at a resort in the Coachella Valley.

Approved 4-0.

South Of The Border Mural

Mural For South Of The Border
Proposed mural for South of the Border
on 2nd Street.

This mural would also be painted by John Coleman. The subject is taken from a mural that's inside the restaurant.

Commissioner Voss said their chicken tacos are great and also praised the proposed mural.

With no more discussion this item was approved 4-0.


Commissioner Buchanan drew up a suggested budget:

  • 50th Anniversary $0
  • Holiday Parade $1,000
  • Memorial Day $1,000
  • Veteran's Day $1,000
  • Tree Lighting $1,000
  • Concert Series $1,000
  • Movie Series $1,000
  • Holiday Lighting $0
  • Yard Beautification $0
  • Reserve $0
  • Public Art Events $2,000
  • Total $8,000 which is $2,000 less than the budget for FY 2013/14

Mr. Malacoff explained that as the fiscal year went along, if the Commission found the need to shift money from one budgeted item to another budgeted item it could do so with out Council's additional approval. But if the Commission wanted to create a new event and shift money into that, then their request would have to go to the Council for approval.

City Councilmember Joe McKee came to the podium to explain an item Mr. Buchanan had listed for last year's budget that was "Reserve $3,800." He said it was just the amount that was left from this fiscal year's $10,000 budget. He said money is not rolled over from one fiscal year to the next.

Mr. McKee went on to explain that the current year's budget of $100 each for Holiday Lighting and Yard Beautification was to assure that if the signs for those projects were damaged, there would be some money for repairs. He thought the Commission should include those items in its budget.

Commissioner Voss moved to move $100 each into Holiday Lighting and Yard Beautification by subtracting $200 from the Holiday Parade, and approve everything else as proposed by Mr. Buchanan.

Approved 4-0.

Memorial Day Update

A committee was to have been made up of Commissioners Voss and Santacroce plus two members of the City Council. Mr. Voss had been under the impression that Mayor Sanchez and Mayor Pro Tem Betts would contact the Commissioners, but that didn't happen. Mr. Voss said he would contact the other members of the committee and move ahead.

City Entry Monument Signs

This subject came before the Commission at their February 2013 meeting. Follow that link to see a conceptual proposal for a city entry sign on Palm Drive near I-10.

Mr. Malacoff said that funds for city entry signs would come from the Art In Public Places fund and proposals would be brought to the Commission in May. Chair Terifaj asked if it were possible to do another RFP. Mr. Malacoff said that the CCAC would make some recommendation to the City Council. The recommendation could be to disapprove the proposal. Then it would be on to the City Council who could approve, disapprove or seek another RFP. Ms Terifaj asked if the previous proposal had already been approved by the CCAC and Council.

Based on my write-up of that meeting a year ago, it seems the CCAC asked for more designs to be brought back to them. There was no approval. The Council hasn't considered it.

Formation Of Subcommittees

Based on discussions with some of the Commissioners, staff recommended the formation of three subcommittees:

  1. Art, public and private
  2. Visual enhancements to public property
  3. Special events

There was a discussion about trails and which subcommittee they would fall into. Mr. Malacoff said it would be the second one, Visual enhancements to public property.

The subcommittees were approved 4-0.

The subcommittee for Art, public and private will be made up of Commissioner Gough and Chair Terifaj.

Visual enhancements to public property will be Commissioner Voss.

Special events will be Commissioner Buchanan.

When Commissioner Santacroce returns changes may be made.

Public Art Approval Process

The City Council suggested that a panel be formed to review art proposals before they get to the CCAC. They also requested that criteria be established that will tie the art on utility boxes into themes relevant to Desert Hot Springs.

Mr. Malacoff said there are 111 utility boxes on major thoroughfares. Twenty-two have been painted or approved to be painted, leaving 89 eligible boxes.

The issues to discuss were streamlining the process, the financial contribution to each project, the number of boxes one artist will be permitted to paint, and the approval processes for murals and sculptures.

Councilmember McKee had a list of suggestions:

  1. The CCAC select a specific number and location of utility boxes to be painted each year.
  2. The boxes should only be on the main streets Palm, Pierson, and possibly Hacienda.
  3. We announce a contest to all artists, giving some credit to artists living in Desert Hot Springs,
    with the goal being getting the best art possible on our utility boxes.
  4. A sub-committee of citizens, with the majority being professional artists, review the submissions and send them for final approval to the CCAC and Council.
  5. The request for submissions should be put out in May of each year for 60 days and selections made by September. This will ensure the art will be painted during the cooler part of the year.
  6. We should put a length of time the art will be guaranteed to be left on the box. I would suggest this would be 5 years with the artist subcommittee suggesting extensions for beloved artwork.
  7. I think Councilmember Matas’ suggestion that the art should be focused on Desert Hot Springs is

The Commission won't make a final decision on changes until next month.

Mayor Pro Tem Betts came up to the podium to speak. His concern was that the Art In Public Places fund would be exhausted by art on utility boxes. He said he didn't think it was the original intent for the CCAC to have control over this. He believes the CCAC is charged with the assignment to "do something dynamic, take a quantum leap." He said the art fun would soon be $120,000. Some day it will have a million dollars, he said. He doesn't want to see all the money going to utility boxes. He wants the art on utility boxes to be dynamic and awe-inspiring.

Filed under Art,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

Bubble Ball

Although this looks like a satire on overprotective parenting, it's probably pretty good exercise and training for travel to our future home: Mars.

Put lights inside these and you could have a great soccer match in the middle of the night...at Burning Man.

Filed under Health,Sports | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

Texas, Alaska


Texas state District Judge Barbara Hanson Nellermoe has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This comes subsequent to a similar federal court decision which is on appeal.

Read a copy of the judge's decision here. The basis for her decision is the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Not a direct ruling on the constitutionality of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled today that is unconstitutional to discriminate against same-sex couples in taxation. Opposite-sex couples who are seniors or disabled veterans in Alaska are eligible for a $150,000 property tax exemption; same-sex couples are limited to a $75,000 exemption.

The basis for the decision was the equal protection clause in the Alaska Constitution: "all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law." The state had argued that the anti-marriage provision of the Constitution could not be overridden by the equal protection clause because the anti-marriage amendment is more specific. The Supreme Court reasoned that although the amendment bans marriage, it does not ban benefits for unmarried (in the eyes of Alaska law) same-sex couples. The court had earlier ruled that the anti-marriage amendment did not ban public-employee benefits to a same-sex partner of a public employee. The state argued that those were earned benefits and the case at hand was a tax exemption. The Court says no matter, a conflict between the anti-marriage amendment and the equal protection clause is a conflict. Period. "The Marriage Amendment speaks only to the definition of marriage, not to the benefits of marriage." The Court has also found earlier that the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution is more "robust" than that of the U.S. Constitution.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | April 25, 2014 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)