May 16, 2018

DHS Planning Commission, May 8, 2018

New Commish
The meeting began with the swearing in of new Commissioner James Nindel. This is Mayor Matas' appointment to replace Dirk Voss. Mr. Nindel's application for the position tells us he has lived in DHS for only 9 months. He retired from USAID's Office of Procurement. He has not been on a city board in any city before now. He moved here from St. Augustine, Florida. He said in his cover letter "I believe that DHS should demand (through code enforcement) that boarded-up windows be immediately repaired and bars taken down and replaced with electronic security systems. The trash on vacant lots between buildings on Palm Drive should be picked-up by the land owners and businesses."

The four other Planning Commissioners are Jan Pye (Chair), Peter De la Torre (Vice Chair), Larry Buchanan, and Gary Gardner.


Amendment to the CUP for Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility

The CUP was originally approved in November 2015. They want to convert 854 s.f. of their operations that were previously a secure storage room and a packaging room to a distribution area. This should not make any difference in their tax payments to the city. The address of the property is 13310 Little Morongo Road, the place with a lot of greenhouses.

Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility (1)


Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility (2)


After no testimony and no discussion at all, the amendment was approved unanimously.

If I understand correctly, the Planning Commission has final say on CUPs for marijuana businesses, so this decision does not have to be approved by the city council.


Amendment to the CUP for Maraparm DHS California

Maraparm DHS California wants to increase the size of their proposed facility from from 20,664 s.f. to 21,697 s.f. and to rotate the building to take better advantage of the sunlight. Their facility will be located on 15th Street (currently dirt) between Little Morongo and Cabot Road (also dirt there). Their CUP was originally approved in September 2017.

This facility will also have greenhouses. In the original plan the greenhouses were north of the building that will hold all functions other than growing. This very sensible proposal is to rotate the plan 180°, so the building will not cast a shadow on the greenhouses. (Kinda makes you wonder how it ended up the other way to start with.)

The cultivation area of the building will be 17,360 s.f. and will generate $218,600 in cultivation tax revenue annually for the city.

The facility will be on septic until sewers are put in there, but the septic itself is only for ordinary waste. Wastewater from cultivation itself has to be contained separately and not put into the ground.

After no testimony and extremely little discussion by the commissioners, approved unanimously.


Sign Variance for the Harborside Facility

Here is an interesting item, finally. Harborside, the very well known cannabis business in Oakland, will be running the dispensary to be built behind the Arco station at Palm Drive and Paul Road, next to the I-10 interchange. Their CUP was among the very first approved in the city, and it's taken quite a while to get to this stage.

Harborside has very high name recognition among cannabis aficionados.

Founded in 2006 by Steve DeAngelo, Harborside is the most respected and largest cannabis dispensary in the United States. Harborside has over 200,000 registered consumers and was first in the nation to support education for seniors, veterans and families with severely ill children; first in the country to offer CBD-rich cannabis; and the first to treat children with Dravet syndrome. Harborside continues to set an example of diversity and compliance, and is one of the prime advocates of diversity, sustainability and economic justice in the industry.

The sign will display Harborside's logo only, shown below. No green cross; no marijuana leaf.

Harborside Logo

The overall proposed height is 70 feet. Harborside proposed a 200 s.f. sign rated to withstand 160 MPH winds. City code would require only that the sign withstand 130 MPH winds. The usual height limit for a sign of this type in DHS is 25 feet and the maximum sign area limit is usually 125 s.f. So, Harborside is asking for a variance to allow this sign. A monument sign and the sign mounted on the building were also included in this package. The neighboring Arco sign is 49 feet high and 156 s.f. The Arco sign is further from the highway than the proposed Harborside sign, so the bridge there does not block the view of it. The Harborside sign needs to be higher to avoid being blocked by the bridge.

In the site plan shown below I've highlighted I-10 at the lower left as well as the two possible sites for the sign ("Second Choice" won out). Paul Road runs left to right across the top of this image.

Harborside Site Plan
(click for a higher res image)

City staff had proposed reducing the sign size to 160 s.f., but the developer said that it takes so long for a sign like this to be made, they have already ordered it at 200 s.f. The difference in size is not great and if the city insists on the 160 s.f. sign, there will be a delay for some months and extra expense for the developer. It takes 14 weeks from the time it is ordered for the final sign to be delivered. The dispensary's owner said they had done a survey of signs along interstates and 200 s.f. was the biggest they saw, and they saw a lot of them. The sign costs nearly $100,000. He expects 80% of their business to come from those who do not reside in DHS.

They hope to open in July 2018, but it may be early August.

A motion was made to approve subject to moving the sign back away from the highway to the "Second Choice" location as shown on the site map above, and keeping the 200 s.f. sign. Approved unanimously.


Streamlined Process For Amending Entitlements For Cannabis Cultivators

Cultivators, if they want to include manufacturing or distributing or testing facilities, have to come back to the city to get their CUP revised. Normally, this would mean a return to the Planning Commission which is expensive and takes time. Last year an ordinance changed this process so that if they wanted to convert some of their area to manufacturing (and they are in good standing in relation to the city), then city staff could make the revision without a trip to the Planning Commission. The proposed ordinance before the Planning Commission this night was to do the same for distribution and testing.

Ryan Fingerhut from High Road Consulting Group rose to comment in favor of this ordinance. He added, however, that the city also needs to revise their ordinances to permit testing facilities in the commercial zones.

Moved, seconded and approved unanimously with no changes.

permalink | May 16, 2018 at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2018

Nixon Library

Photos from my visit to the Nixon Library a couple of weeks ago.

Nixon Museum Entryway
This video shows the corridor through which you enter the museum
with iconic images of the troubled '60s on both walls, leading to what I suppose is intended as the solution to all of the problems: Nixon. I added the music which is "Scene II: Interlude" from Orpheus by Stravinsky.

1972 Electoral Vote Map (9047)
The 1972 electoral votes
. I'd forgotten that in addition to Massachusetts, McGovern also carried the District of Columbia.

Apollo 11 Memorabilia (0028)
A moon rock and the phone Nixon used to talk to the astronauts
. I tried, but couldn't get, a clear shot of buttons attached the phone. They're for different extensions in the White House and were labeled "Haldemanm," "Ehrlichman" and so on.

Little Red Book (2609)
Can you believe it?
Right there in the Nixon Library a copy of Mao's Little Red Book.

Marine One (1826)

Nixon Birthplace & Childhood Home (0037)
Nixon birthplace and childhood home
. It is still in the exact location and with the same orientation as when Nixon's father built it.

Nixon Library (0040)
View of the library from the Nixon home.

Nixon Library Entrance Lobby (1829)

Sock It To Em button (0033)
Nixon wore this button on his Whittier College letter jacket.
I was very surprised that he was so far ahead of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. If you are old enough, you surely remember these six seconds from that show:

The 18½ Minute Gap (0031)
They had a substantial exhibit about Watergate that did not try to whitewash the scandal
. I have already listened to the 18½ minute gap, so I skipped this part of the exhibit. They had a display showing the locations of microphones used by FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon. Nixon had WAAAAAY more than any other President and was the only President who put a recording device in the President's office at Camp David.

Casualties Report From January 1969 (0025)
Casualty report from Vietnam for January 20, 1969.
Do you recall these casualty reports being delivered to the public weekly on national news? Every time there was some number of Americans killed, then the number of ARVN (south Vietnam) soldiers killed would be something much larger than the American number, and finally the number of Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnam) would be a astronomically higher than either of the other two. For example, for the current week shown in this photo there were 185 Americans killed, 336 ARVN and 2,742 VC and NVA. I think if you add up all the reported numbers killed for the VC and NVA throughout the entire war it would indicate every resident of North Vietnam had died at least twice.

Bob Dole Quote (1286)
Everybody's entitled to their opinion.

A Turning Point In History (0032)
How might history be different if someone had bought him some train tickets?

The complete set of photos can be seen here.

permalink | April 13, 2018 at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2018

Marijuana Sales Are Way Up

The West Hollywood location of MedMen (a marijuana dispensary) reported big increases in both revenue and customer traffic in January 2018. Revenues in January 2018 were 200% higher than in December 2017 and 500% higher than in January 2017. Customer traffic in January 2018 was also up 200% compared to December 2017 and 350% higher than in January 2017.

There were also large increases at their Santa Ana location.

permalink | February 7, 2018 at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2018

Mountain Lion P23 Killed

This is the female mountain lion who hangs out in Malibu Canyon which is where the CMEN gatherings are. She was hit by a vehicle.
P23 eating deer on Mulholland Highway
This photo of P23 feeding on roadkill on Mulholland Highway got a lot of press a few years ago
.

permalink | February 2, 2018 at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2017

Palm Springs Panorama from 2001

Coachella Valley - Kodachrome - 2001
In 2001 I shot this panorama with Kodachrome from the intersection of San Luis Rey and Sky Point Drive. Today that would put me immediately between Lowes and Walmart on Ramon Road.
In this photo Lowes would be on the right end of the photo, Walmart on the right.

Clicking the image will get you the full size version.

permalink | December 27, 2017 at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2017

No Smoke Here

Desert Hot Springs - December 9, 2017 (1504)
Desert Hot Springs today.

permalink | December 9, 2017 at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2017

Reverse Logic?

California has a new law that will increase the punishment for some crimes if they are recorded on video. Here's the business part of the new law: "667.95. In sentencing a person convicted of a violent felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5, the court may consider, as a factor in aggravation, that the defendant willfully recorded a video of the commission of the violent felony with the intent to encourage or facilitate the offense."

But those videos have been helpful in getting convictions and lengthening sentences. Why do we want to discourage that? I'm all for some additional punishment if the video is made public, but if it's not made public what's the reason for an enhanced sentence?

permalink | October 12, 2017 at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2017

New Twist For The Cadiz Water Project

It has been determined that the state owns a parcel of land that the pipeline would cross.

The parcel is a tiny piece of the millions of acres that Congress in 1853 granted to California for the benefit of public education. The state sold most of the so-called schools lands but still owns desert tracts controlled by the commission.

[State Lands] Commission spokeswoman Sheri Pemberton said the state never sold the 200-foot-wide strip because in 1910 California granted a railroad right-of-way over it. Now, the commission says Cadiz needs a state lease to use that portion of the right-of-way for the water pipeline.

permalink | October 9, 2017 at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2017

Ivan Sewell New Commissioner At MSWD

With a unanimous vote, the MSWD board selected Ivan Sewell to take John Furbee's spot on the board until the next election, November 2018. Then, the voters will get a chance to re-elect him to the remaining 2 years of Furbee's term, or elect someone else.
Ivan Sewell Being Sworn In As MSWD Commissioner

The two other candidates were perennial candidate Malcolm MacLean and Steve Grasha. Mr. Grasha is the inventor of the misting system, which is so ubiquitous here in Coachella Valley, if I understood him correctly. He's also working with the Trump campaign in some capacity and said that after the meeting today, he was heading over to Arizona. He seemed a bit reluctant to bring this up, at first saying he had been working for a candidate for "national office." There being only two elected national offices in this country, it wasn't hard to guess who he meant, but it became clearer when he referenced Arizona and said that he knew his views on who is in the President's office were not popular in DHS. He never named Trump.

I have been disappointed with the MSWD board's reluctance to replace Mr. Furbee before he passed away. We could have had Mr. Sewall working for the public good months ago.

permalink | August 21, 2017 at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2017

Los Angeles Neon Tours

Recently I went on two different bus tours offered by the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale. We toured on two Saturday nights, starting at 7:30 PM in downtown Los Angeles. The tours, while mostly about neon, become tours of architecture and history as well as drinking and dining suggestions. The buses rarely stop and stand still just where you want them to, but the surprisingly good image stabilization and fast focusing of one of my cheap Canon cameras managed to produce some good images.

Tower Theater (1024)
Tower Theater, which has been acquired by Apple to become the downtown Apple Store
.

The Last Book Store (1459)
Just like it says, in downtown LA
.

Palace (1537)

Out Of The Closet (1599)

L.A. City Hall (1485B)

KFC (1601)
Neon KFC!

KLYT Entrance (1447)
To my utter surprise, I learned this is the oldest gay bathhouse in LA!
I'd never heard of it before...nor had any of my friends who I asked. Klyt (I don't know what it stands for) opened in the 1920s on 4th Street not as a gay bathhouse, but evolved into one. How this escaped the 1980s, I can't imagine. My fear of bedbugs will keep me from exploring this one, although I'd really like to check it out.

K.G. Louie (1507)

Hotel Rosslyn (1453)

Downtown Los Angeles August 2017 (1488)
The Chinatown Chevron must have the highest prices in the state
. The price at Furnace Creek this day was only $3.069.

Downtown Los Angeles (1464)

Downtown Los Angeles (1440)

Coffee Breakfast (1615)

Chinatown (1510)

Bradbury Building (1437)
The Bradbury Building
.

Angels Flight (1426)
Angels Flight
, which is supposed to return to service in 2018.

2nd Street Tunnel - Los Angeles
2nd Street Tunnel video
. Click through to see the video.

US Bank Building (0899)
Still the tallest building in L.A., IMO
.

Eric Tour Guide (0821)
Eric, the tour guide for the first tour I went on
. The guide for the second tour was also named Eric, but looked a little different.

New Chinatown dates from the 1930s (0855)
"New Chinatown" is Chinatown
, which was moved here in the 1930s to clear way for the construction of Union Station.

Hotel Normandie (0936)

Bend (1010)
"Bendix," of course, but the bus was rolling and by the time I got the camera aimed, this is all I got
.

Axis on 12th (1008)

Mayan Theater (1002)
Mayan Theater

Eastern Clock (1018)

Clifton's Cafeteria (1029)

Bradbury Building New Lights (1046)
The Bradbury Building with its controversial new lighting
.

Main Street Garage (1051)
A parking garage at 4th & Main
. I think it's just art.

The complete sets of photos can be seen here.

permalink | August 11, 2017 at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2017

Dore Alley 2017 Photos

A few photos from this year's Dore Alley ("Up Your Alley") in San Francisco.

Dancers (1289)

Pink Man (1191)

Hug (1400)

Dore Alley was a sausage fest (1082)

Dore Alley (1114)

Dore Alley nude

Dore Alley nude seated

Many more NSFW images available here.

permalink | August 4, 2017 at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2017

Speed Check

If you enjoy watching the military jets over the greater Death Valley area, you may like this story.

permalink | July 17, 2017 at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2017

Some Photos

Some photos not previously shared.

The Perfect American - Long Beach Opera (3397)
The stage at Long Beach Opera at intermission during The Perfect American
.

Precision Electric Company (3909)
This is not an old sign
.

Pink Barbie (6811)
I've got my eye on this pink Barbie
.

Edward Wenzlaff Education Center (0484)
Edward Wenzlaff Education Center
, formerly Edward Wenzlaff Elemntary School in Desert Hot Springs.

Desert Hot Springs Police (0486)
Like it says on the label
.

permalink | June 30, 2017 at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2017

Queer Burner Retreat

Over Memorial Day weekend I returned to Saratoga Springs, this time for what used to be called the "Queer Burner Retreat," but has been renamed to the meaningless "All Of Us." As a result we got one paying guest who feeling the need for a meditative weekend Googled and found Saratoga Springs, which led her to "All Of Us." She read no further, knowing that she must be one of us. She submitted her credit card and showed up to be rather surprised to find a Burner party underway. She stayed one night and then escaped.

Dan Reeves
Dan Reeves, the artist behind The Journey Project
.

The Journey 43
About one-quarter of the Journey Project
.

The Journey 19

The Journey 20

Home at Saratoga Springs
My little camp
.

Tent View
The view from my tent door
.

Comfort & Joy cabin
The well-known colors of Comfort & Joy, the biggest gay camp at Burning Man
.

Hottub
The jacuzzi, all fresh and clean when I arrived
.

Hottub after a couple of days
After a couple of days of hard use
.

Main Lodge Front Porch - Saratoga Springs
On the front porch of the main lodge
.

Rand Larson & Me
Rand Larson on the left
.

Saratoga Springs 23
A new fire escape and an entirely new deck!

Unicorn Poopie

The complete set of photos can be seen here.

permalink | June 8, 2017 at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 9, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park this past weekend

These photos are mostly from Wonder Valley, but some are around Intersection Rock.

Bee & Friend In Wonder Valley (0309)

Intersection Rock (0092)

Joshua Tree National Park - West Entrance (0043)
In line at the West Entrance
.

Joshua Tree National Park (0079)

Joshua Tree National Park (0472)

Mojave Yucca (0460)

New Flower In Wonder Valley (0218)

Rock Climber In Wonder Valley (0271)

Rock Climbers in Wonder Valley (0325)

Wonder Valley (0184)

Wonder Valley (0352)

Wonder Valley (0399)

Wonder Valley (0411)

Wonder Valley (0427)

Wonder Valley (0430)

The complete set of photos is here.

permalink | May 9, 2017 at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2017

To Report Graffiti In Joshua Tree National Park: jotr_graffiti@nps.gov

Joshua Tree National Park as well as many other parks across the country, has experienced a notable increase in visitation in recent years. With that increase also means an increase of graffiti and acts of intentional vandalism within the park. Superintendent David Smith says, “99% of visitors are respectful and truly appreciate the pristine scenery the park has to offer. Unfortunately there are visitors who feel it necessary to damage what Mother Nature has produced."

The park, in its efforts to more closely monitor and mitigate graffiti, is asking for the public’s help and providing some easy ways for visitors to aid in the process. Park officials ask visitors to report incidents of graffiti that they encounter to a new email address, jotr_graffiti@nps.gov. In addition, new graffiti reporting forms will be available at park visitor centers and entrance stations. Keep in mind, when reporting graffiti; to provide a good, detailed description of the location. Photos and GPS coordinates are also very helpful in order to insure a quick response.

Joshua Tree National Park is a magical and unique landscape. Your vigilance and taking a few moments to report graffiti that you happen upon will insure that the park stays that way.

permalink | April 11, 2017 at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2017

Good Nude Bowl Video

permalink | March 29, 2017 at 05:28 PM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2017

Joshua Tree Moonrise

I shot this in Joshua Tree National Park this past Saturday. When you buy (and register) a GoPro camera, you get access to GoPro's library of royalty-free music, including the over-wrought stuff you hear in a lot of GoPro videos. So I thought it might be fun to waste some of that here.

permalink | March 13, 2017 at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 6, 2017

P-45: The Studly Mountain Lion King of Malibu

Here's a really interesting New Yorker article about the mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains which run from Malibu to Griffith Park. The highways have isolated this area, in terms of mountain lions traveling. P-45, however, was able to cross a highway to get into this genetic island and sow his genes. The article describes the isolation of the mountain lions which may result in their extinction (in the Santa Monica Mountains) within 50 years...which is why a land bridge is going to be built in Agoura Hills.

On this map you can see the underpass at Liberty Canyon that they believe P-45 may have used to get across the 101 and into the Santa Monica Mountains. You can see there are gaps in the residential developments there that would allow a mountain lion to pass through without having to deal directly with humans. This is where the land bridge will be built.

permalink | March 6, 2017 at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2017

Amargosa Opera House & Death Valley Junction

I was camping with Great Outdoors at Tecopa Hot Springs this past weekend. One day we took a little drive up to Death Valley Junction to see the Amargosa Opera House. My first visit there. Read all about the opera house and hotel here. Marta Becket died January 30, 2017, at age 92.

Marta Becket (3665)
Marta Becket.

Amargosa Hotel (3622)

Amargosa Hotel (3644)

Amargosa Hotel (3647)
Amargosa Hotel lobby.

Amargosa Opera House (3626)

Amargosa Opera House (3637)

Amargosa Opera House (3694)

Amargosa Opera House (3698)

Amargosa Opera House (3702)

Amargosa Opera House (3703)
The stove is the only source of heat and was burning with a low fire when we were there
.

Death Valley Junction Garage (3716)
Death Valley Junction Garage

Death Valley Junction Garage (3720)

Pink Tutu at Amargosa Hotel (3662)
Historic pink tutu not for sale.

More photos here.

permalink | February 28, 2017 at 11:13 PM | Comments (2)