November 19, 2016

Rare Double Survival Of Lost Desert Hikers

None of the details of how this all came down are included in this article and I imagine the couple haven't talked to any press about it. I was astonished that after being found they decided to go to Joshua Tree where they would spend the night. That is far from a direct route home. It sounds like they're continuing their vacation! They sound pretty tough. I hope they make some babies.

In the map below, Black Mountain Road, where they were found, is roughly diagonal across the center of the image. They seem to have been not too far from a broadcast tower. I wonder if the lights they spotted were on that tower.

permalink | November 19, 2016 at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2016

DHS Dispensary #6

The city's sixth medical marijuana dispensary is open, and this is the one that's only one block from where I live! Great for the day I'm in a wheelchair. They give their web address as IVTHC.com, but it looks like they let their domain registration slip, because there's nothing there now. They are on the west side of Palm Drive almost at 4th Street, 11555 Palm, immediately next to the dentist's office, in that set back building that used to be a dentist's office.

Here's their Weedmaps page. They opened only yesterday, November 3. Hours are 10 AM to 7 PM, every day of the week.


It's the building on the left.

permalink | November 4, 2016 at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable)

Over the last week I've had my first go-round with Spectrum, which has taken over Time Warner Cable, and it is not good. I've been paying about $80/month to Time Warner for internet service only, 30 Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload. I've been getting mailers from Spectrum that seem to say they are offering internet at 100 Mbps for only $30/month. But if you read the fine print you'll see that's only if bundled with other services that I don't want.

So I called Spectrum a week ago, Friday, October 28 to inquire. The deal I was given then was a bundle of only phone and internet, for a total of about $60, and the internet would be 100 Mbps. But they had to give me a new modem to handle the phone. The sales person said the 100 Mbps would be available within about 10 minutes (!) and the modem would be shipped FedEx and arrive Monday or Tuesday.

An hour later my internet was NOT 100 Mbps (using Speakeasy speed test), so I called sales again. Got a different person who said my order was "incomplete," and it wouldn't be complete until I got that new modem. He said that even though the modem I have now could handle 100 Mbps, they would not upgrade me until I received the new modem. It was not a hardware limitation, but solely a policy decision by Spectrum not to give me what I want immediately, even though they could do it. Further, this sales person told me that when I received the modem via FedEx I didn't have to do anything. My speed would simply jump up to 100 Mbps. I wouldn't have to call Spectrum or even install the new modem. The mere receipt of it would, of course, FedEx would update its tracking and Spectrum would see that I had it and that would trigger whatever needed to happen.

This seemed weird and unbelievable, but it satisfied me, because I didn't want phone service at all. My intent was to never take the new modem out of the box, get my 100 Mbps internet for only $60 for a year, and then when the special offer ended in a year I'd figure out what to do then.

On Monday, I got a call from Spectrum saying I needed to listen to instructions about my upcoming new phone service. What that is, is the explanation of how 911 works and how 911 may not have the location of my phone for a few days, and that if I moved I needed to update my info so 911 would be updated. No problem. Except I had listened to those instructions on Friday as part of the first sales call. I told this caller that, and she said there was no record of it. I told her if she needed to play some recording for me, then go ahead and play it. She played a recording, but it wasn't about 911. Sounded more like a sales offer. Then it ended. So I hung up.

By Wednesday I still had not gotten the modem and my speed checks showed my 30 Mbps had had actually fallen to less than 10 Mbps (sometimes less than 5!), so I called tech support. They could not find anything wrong, so they scheduled a tech visit for Friday, November 4 (today, as I write this). While I had the tech on the phone I asked him about the modem and he told me it would be delivered later on Wednesday.

The modem was never delivered.

On Thursday my service was back up to 30 Mbps and that seemed stable throughout the day, so late in the day I called Spectrum to cancel Friday's tech appointment. The technician I got on the phone, though, only wanted to talk about a service appointment he saw that had been scheduled for the same day I was calling, Thursday, from 10 AM to 7 PM! But that service call had been cancelled. Also, my entire order from last Friday had been cancelled. And he couldn't find any tech appointment for me on Friday! So, everything I had called Spectrum about over the last week had just disappeared.

So the tech on the phone offered to re-send the modem, but I asked if I could just go pick it up at the local office, so he set it up that way.

Today, Friday, I went over the Spectrum office on Palm Drive whereupon I was told by the service person that the ONLY way I could get 100 Mbps was to pay $99/month plus a $199 activation fee! So I told her to forget the modem and came home empty handed.

I called Spectrum sales again and asked what kind of deal I could get on internet. I was told I could only get a bundle of TV, phone and internet, for a total of $90, which is more than I'm paying for internet now, so I didn't want that. All I really want is faster service for the same or less money. I asked the sales person if there were any other options for getting internet service and he said no! No? We went back and forth on that for a bit, until he acknowledged that I could get 50 Mbps if I pay $110/month. So that was the end of that deal.

I'm sticking with my 30 Mbps at $80/month. Let me know how your experiences with Spectrum go.

permalink | November 4, 2016 at 01:39 PM | Comments (7)

October 2, 2016

DHS in Palm Springs Life

Palm Springs Life has a good and accurate article covering all the aspects of marijuana cultivation coming to Desert Hot Springs.

permalink | October 2, 2016 at 03:15 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2016

Canndescent Ribbon Cutting

Canndescent is the first cannabis cultivator to go into real operation in Desert Hot Springs, which means it's the first legal cultivation site in California, outside of dispensaries themselves. Boy Scout Troop 1606 brought the American flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance, which the cannabis people thought was a bit unusual. But! One of the Scouts is trying to raise money for a trip to Washington DC for some Boy Scout function. Canndescent covered his remaining financial need with a check for $3,300. I would like to be there when he tells other Scouts how he raised his money.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3037)
"Transforming Agriculture."
I imagine in a few years as the cannabis industry settles down we'll get used to seeing slogans like you'd see in Iowa or any other predominantly agricultural state.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3043)
Canndescent also presented the city with its first tax payment of $135,000
. The tax rate is based solely on cubic footage of the grow area, so the city doesn't have to wait for a crop to mature and be sold to get taxes. I don't recall if the taxes are paid quarterly or every 6 months, and no one said if this tax payment is one full payment, or does it cover through the end of the calendar year or perhaps the fiscal year? Nevertheless, $135,000 is almost the cost of one cop for one year. So it's a start.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3031)

Canndescent Ribbon Cutting (0934)
Click for a larger size
.

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3026)
Their armored vehicle
which doesn't seem to use CNG.

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3028)
And it looks like they went all the way to Connecticut to get it
.

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3022)
Interior of the vehicle
.

Canndescent (3034)

Canndescent (3046)
An historical plaque that Canndescent will erect
. I suppose this fulfills their "art in public places" requirement. The plaque says:

CANNDESCENT

This marks the site of the first municipally-permitted cannabis cultivator operating in California. On November 5, 1996, California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis use. On October 21, 2014, Desert Hot Springs became the first city in California to legalize cannabis cultivation. On September 19, 2016, CANNDESCDENT commenced production.

Canndescent Grow Room (3050)
One of their grow rooms (with nothing growing)
.


Video of the grow room so you can see all the fans and appreciate the resulting noise.

permalink | September 29, 2016 at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2016

Joint Meeting Of The City Council & Planning Commission, September 13, 2016

This was a special joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission solely to consider an Ordinance Amending Chapter 17.180 "Medical Marijuana Facilities Location." The proposed amendment clarifies and expands the current law. The current law did not address manufacturing (making edibles, packaging product, extraction, etc.). The amendment would put manufacturing in the industrial zones along with cultivation. The amendment also included restrictions on extraction methods. Some extraction methods use flammable solvents.

Testing and distribution facilities are addressed in the amendment, too, and they will be restricted to the industrial zones. The definition of "delivery" is also in the amendment. The existing ordinance is silent about delivery which, I think, made it illegal. Does merely defining it in a zoning ordinance make it legal, in the absence of any sort of restriction? Maybe it does.

Attorney Jennifer Mizrahi first covered some corrections to be made to the proposed amendment. After that, Mayor Pro Tem Joe McKee said that section 17.180.060(d) Operational Requirements needed to be culled because as written it would be too burdensome. Here's my summary of the 12 paragraphs that make up that section:

  1. "Manufacturers are limited to certain equipment, methods, solvents, gases and mediums when creating medical marijuana extracts."
  2. "Medical Manufacturing Facilities with a state license of a Type-6 (non-volatile) or a Type 7 (volatile) classification may be allowed to operate under this Chapter."
  3. All of the usual laws regarding air, water, health and safety apply. The usual permits are required.
  4. Class I and Class II solvents (as defined by the FDA) are forbidden.
  5. But "butanes, ethanol, carbon dioxide, propane, heptane or other solvents exhibiting low to minimal potential human health-related toxicity for extraction, or other methods approved by the State" are okay. Any solvent must be at least 99% pure.
  6. Extraction using hydrocarbons must conform with the standards of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and with proper ventilation.
  7. If CO2 is used for extraction, that also must conform to ASME standards. And there has to be proper ventilation.
  8. If any other method of extraction is used, there must be proper ventilation and ignition source controls.
  9. "The amount of residual solvent per gram of finished extract cannot exceed 300 parts per million when quality assurance tested."
  10. An exact duplicate of 3 above.
  11. "Manufacturers may use heat, screens, presses, steam distillation, ice water, and other methods of extraction without employing solvents or gases to create kief, hashish, bubble hash, or vegetable oils or fats derived from natural sources, and other extracts."
  12. "Manufacturers using extract to create ingestible products shall only use food-grade ingredients."

Attorney Mizrahi said that in a discussion earlier that day with Mr. McKee he had expressed his desire to get rid of 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12; leaving the "less stringent" requirements.

Council Member Anayeli Zavala said she thought it was important to retain the level of detail in the paragraphs that Mr. McKee wanted to eliminate.

Ms. Zavala also spoke about another provision in the proposed amendment. That provision is 17.180.060(e) which requires marijuana manufacturing facilities to hire a Ph.D chemist to "supervise the design, installation and operation of the facility’s systems and manufacturing processes." She asked if the intent was for the chemist to be there only during setup, or is the chemist supposed to supervise on an ongoing basis.

Council Member Russell Betts said he didn't see anything in the proposed amendment that gives the city the ability to shut down a non-confirming business. The attorney assured him that provision was in there. [There's only one thing on the agenda, this proposed amendment, and it's only 10 pages long, but that's still too much for Betts]. The relevant bit is at 17.180.120(d): "Failure to abide by any laws mentioned in this subsection shall constitute a public nuisance and shall subject the medical marijuana facility to revocation of any and all entitlements, licenses and permits." Then again in 17.180.130(b) which begins "A conditional use permit approved for a Medical marijuana Facility may be suspended or revoked for any violation of this Chapter..."

Mr. Betts went on to ask if a testing lab could be safely located in a commercial zone. The amendment is written to restrict them to industrial zones, but his concern is that industrial land has become so expensive here that a lab might benefit from being able to open in a less expensive commercial zone.

Planning Commissioner Dirk Voss said he was ready to approve the amendment now.

Commissioner Paula Terifaj said she thought that labs should be permitted in commercial zones.

When Mayor Matas opened the public hearing, the first speaker was Jeff Ridge. He said that he thought the 99-plant limit for dispensaries should be changed so that cultivation in dispensaries is restricted in some other way, such as square footage or wattage used. He said the 99-mature-plant limit made it very difficult for dispensaries to operate. He also suggested delivery services should be required to have city or county permits from any city or county that bans delivery service before the service can deliver there. The intent would be to keep delivery services from going into cities where they are banned.

Bob Sellen spoke next. He was there representing a new group called DHS Can. He said they think it's good to have laws in place until the new state laws go into effect. He said there is no independent third party testing lab for marijuana.

Gretta Carter spoke in favor of the amendment, saying that until the state regulations come into place, city regulations like this protect the marijuana industry.

Dan Osborne with Clonetics Laboratories said the testing will keep the medicine safe for patients.

Brent Furman expressed support for the amendment. He said Ph.D. chemists are usually brought in after the "crude" oil has been extracted to oversee the refining process.

Andrew Milks supports the amendment. He said he would like to see the 99-plant cap removed. The coming California regulations restrict it by square footage, not by number of plants. The smallest state license will be 5000 square feet. He asked for a matching municipal limit.

Back when the original medical marijuana ordinance was debated and approved, the issue of whether the limit should be by square footage or number of plants was discussed quite a bit. I thought square footage would be a lot simpler to administer, but others said counting plants was easier. Representatives from the marijuana industry commented then that the 99-plant limit was fine and they could certainly work with that. Somehow it is now unusable! Five-thousand square feet is more square footage than any dispensary in town, and I mean the entire dispensary, not just the grow room. Organic Solutions of the Desert, the large dispensary on Ramon in Palm Springs is something closer to 5,000 square feet. Maybe it's a coincidence that Organic Solutions of the Desert is also the stinkiest of the dispensaries in the Coachella Valley.

Michael Dixon said he was concerned at the lack of a reference to the most recent state legislation, SB 837. He has found several inconsistencies between that legislation and the proposed amendment. He said the most qualified people in the marijuana industry are not Ph.D. chemists, but those who have had the most innovation in extraction. The proposed amendment's only quality standards concern potency and residual solvents. More than that needs to be tested. He also said there needs to be consideration of the fact that the amendment's definition of "manufacturer" is so broad it includes the simple re-packaging and labeling of products that goes on at a dispensary.

Nicole Salisbury recommended there be a neutral third party tester, rather than having each cultivator hire their own chemist. She also said that testing labs should be permitted in commercial zones. She expressed dissatisfaction with the 99-plant limit, saying it is too small.

Katy Podine said that the ordinance could be re-amended at any time, so there is no real risk in fast-tracking this amendment. She said that the definition of "manufacturer" was taken directly from state law.

Planning Commission Chair Cathy Romero said the discussions so far all focused on safety and quality and warned against the possibility of over-regulating. She said that if a business in Desert Hot Springs wanted to extract the oils of a lavender plant or frankincense or sandalwood, she doubted that the city would be so concerned with quality and safety.

Commissioner Voss pointed out that the provision in the amendment for a Ph.D. chemist already defines the position as neutral and third-party. Here is that paragraph people have been talking about:

As a condition of obtaining a City-issued medical marijuana regulatory permit and conditional use permit, a licensee of a manufacturing facility desiring to operate under this ordinance shall first verify that the licensee employs or contracts with a person who has a PhD in chemical sciences who shall supervise the design, installation and operation of the facility's systems and manufacturing processes. The licensee shall submit to the City a written statement that he or she certifies under penalty of perjury that the name of the employee/contractor is true and correct. The employee/contractor shall also submit a written statement that he or she certifies under penalty of perjury his or her educational qualifications and verifying that the supervisor is employed full-time to supervise the design, installation and operation of the facility's systems and manufacturing processes.

IMO, since the paragraph permits the chemist to be either an employee or an independent contractor, I have to disagree with Mr. Voss. He cited the fact that the paragraph requires certification. But the only verifications actually required are certifications of the chemist's name, qualifications and that he is employed full time.

Commissioner Andrew Cirner also warned against the risk of over-regulating.

Commissioner Terifaj expressed concern that the city might be approving something that would be in conflict with state law in 2018. The attorney pointed out section 17.180.060(f) [it's identified as "(e)" in the agenda packet due to a typo, but this comes right after the requirement for a chemist] which says state regulations take precedence over city regulations..

State Regulations. In the event the State of California implements health and safety regulations applicable to Medical marijuana Manufacturing Facilities, upon implementation of such state regulations, all Medical marijuana Manufacturing Facilities operators shall immediately implement the state regulations. Should there be a conflict between the provisions of this Chapter and the state regulations, the state regulations shall control.

Ms. Terifaj suggested that the city go ahead and approve the zoning component of this amendment, while forbidding extraction until the state regulations are in place.

Commissioner Voss moved for approval of the amendment, with all of the corrections that the attorney listed. In 17.180.060(e) the reference to full-time employment (for the chemist) would be removed. In item 17.180.060(d) all items would be deleted except for 1, 2, 8 and 10. Here those are for your reference:

1. Manufacturers are limited to certain equipment, methods, solvents, gases and mediums when creating medical marijuana extracts.

2. Medical Manufacturing Facilities with a state license of a Type-6 (non-volatile) or a Type 7 (volatile) classification may be allowed to operate under this Chapter.

8. All other methods of extraction shall be conducted in an environment appropriate to the solvent being used, with consideration to proper ventilation and ignition source controls.

10. All equipment, systems and manufacturing processes must meet or exceed all applicable state and federal requirements and regulations regarding air, water, health and safety, and handling, processing and storage of hazardous materials, solvents, gases and waste. No manufacturing facility shall commence operations or be issued any form of certificate of occupancy without first obtaining all required fire, environmental, health and safety, planning, and building certificates, permits and approvals required under City’s Municipal Code and all other applicable county, state and federal regulations

The motion did not change the zoning rule that restricts manufacturing to the industrial zone. Commissioner Cirner seconded the motion. Chair Romero asked Commissioner Voss why his motion did not address the 99-plant limit. He said he feels okay with what we have in place.

The motion was approved 5-0.

Then attention went back to the City Council as they discussed the revised amendment approved by the Planning Commission.

Mayor Matas said he had received information about the dispensaries' problems with the 99-plant limit only the evening before, so he has not had time to fully inform himself on the subject. He said he will organize a subcommittee (himself and Mayor Pro Tem McKee) to meet with the dispensary owners and make sure their voices are heard.

Mr. McKee said that at a later date the council needs to address delivery modifications, the 99-plant limit, and labs in commercial zones.

Ms. Zavala moved to approve with the additional requirement that the Ph.D. chemist is required to visit the facility quarterly. Council Member Yvonne Parks seconded. Approved 4-1 with Mayor Pro Tem McKee voting against.

permalink | September 25, 2016 at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

Desert Hot Springs Fall Festival & Fireworks Show

What better to way to kick off the fall season than to get outdoors and attend a family fall festival? It will be a memorable event with carnival rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, fire trucks to climb on and police cars to sit in, an art gallery show featuring 25 artists, live music with three live bands, tasty food trucks, a Coachella Valley Brewing beer garden and a full professional fireworks display to top off the evening in grand finale festival style.

The event is privately funded by a generous contribution by the Cannabis Alliance Network "DHSCAN" and other private business contributors with a crew of volunteers working to organize and put on the October 1 event in Desert Hot Springs.

"A big shout out goes to all the businesses that helped make this event possible and especially Cannabis Alliance Network who stepped up with a real show of community support," said Councilman Russell Betts.

Betts, who is leading the organizing effort to put on the event, explained that the event, now in its third year, was coming up short on funding and that as soon as DHSCAN became aware of the need, it stepped in to assure the event would go on. "It is actually a greatly expanded event with their help," said Betts.

"Without hesitation our members said this is something we want to do for the community," said President of DHSCAN Jason Elsasser. "DHSCAN is very happy to support what is looking to be a big Desert Hot Springs fun family event and looks forward to this being one of many great events ahead."

The festival also boasts a Hospitality Patio especially for Police Officers, Fire Fighters and their families to enjoy the fall festivities completely free as a form of appreciation for their dedication and service to the community.

Food is provided at a charge by Bruces Cayote Kitchen serving up BBQ and Jolly Polly selling desserts.

The organizers ask everyone to give a hearty thanks to DHSCAN and its members, Desert Valley Disposal, Solar City, MSA Consulting, Desert Pacific Properties and Q&A Associates Law Offices.

For more information, call 760 333-1374. Ask for Russ.

DATE & TIME: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1 (2 P.M. TO 10 P.M.)


LOCATION: 64949 Mission Lakes Blvds, Desert Hot Springs, CA.
(Corner of Mission Lakes Blvd and Little Morongo Road)FOR THE KIDS – FREE from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Petting Zoo
  • Pony Rides
  • Super Mega Slide
  • Kiddie Chair Swings
  • Euro Bungee
  • Face painting
ART SHOW & GALLARY
  • Featuring the work of 25 artists
LIVE MUSIC – FREE 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Desert Country (Country Western)
  • Gin Piston (Danceable Rock and Roll)
  • The Brosquitos (Indie Fusion)
FIRE AND POLICE DEPARTMENTS FUN
  • Climb on a fire truck and in a police car.
  • Meet Smokey Bear and McGruff
FOOD TRUCKS
  • BBQ by Bruce's Cayote Kitchen
  • Desserts by Jolly Polly
FIREWORKS SHOW: 9:30 p.m.
  • Fireworks by Pyrospectaculars by Sousa.

permalink | September 25, 2016 at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2016

Hang Dog

Gabriel Gallegos
Gabriel Gallegos

August 10, 2016

Cpl. Christopher Saucier
760-329-2904 x 382 csaucier@dhspd.com

Burglary Suspect Arrested After Pursuit

On 08/10/2016 at approximately 0825 hours, DHSPD officers responded to the area of Hacienda Avenue and Tamar Drive in Desert Hot Springs regarding a reported vehicle burglary. The caller reported that he caught a subject burglarizing his vehicle and the suspect then fled the area on foot with the victim in pursuit before losing sight of the suspect. Officers arrived in the area and located the suspect running in the 12800 Block of Miracle Hill Road. The suspect continued running from officers and subsequently forced his way into a nearby residence. Officers then surrounded the home. At that time the suspect exited a side window from the home and attempted to flee again and was apprehended by officers in the back yard. Gabriel Gallegos (21) was arrested and later booked into the Riverside County Jail in Banning for charges including Penal Code 459 - Burglary 1st Degree, Penal Code 488 - Petty Theft, Penal Code 148 - Resisting Arrest.

permalink | August 10, 2016 at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2016

"The Journey" - For 2017

I saw this at a Burner presentation/party Saturday evening in Palm Springs.

The Journey model (0880)
It's a spiral wooden tube that has been bent into a donut
and you can play with it when it's on the playa. 42 feet across. The ring is 10 feet high. The perfect dimensions to attract all sorts of adventurous men who want to play jungle gym. Clothing optionally.

The Journey model (1315)
Although it looks tempting, it will not be burned
.

The Journey model (0892)

The Journey model (0893)
On the interior walkway
. Please to note that the structure had already attracted at least one adventurous man who wants to play jungle gym.

It'll have audio and video, too, that will respond to the environment somewhat. Dan Reeves, the brains behind this, specifically said it would respond to art cars when they approach. I consider that a commitment. Here's what the artist had to say - all becomes clear!

Crowdsourcing to come, he said.

He's looking for volunteers.

permalink | July 31, 2016 at 08:35 PM | Comments (1)

June 8, 2016

Marijuana Cultivation Groundbreaking

This took place on Little Morongo, between Two Bunch Palms and Pierson.

Marijuana Cultivation Groundbreaking Panorama
The site of the first groundbreaking in Desert Hot Springs for a marijuana cultivation site
.

Cannstruction (2785)
All these t-shirts bore the number 1411
, but I don't know the significance of that.

Peace Pipe (2805)
A genuine peace pipe as a gift from the Chamber of Commerce
.

Seed To Soul Farms (2782)

permalink | June 8, 2016 at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2016

Robbers Nailed In DHS

May 11, 2016

Sgt. G. Paiz

On Monday May 09, 2016, at about 1403 hours, Officers were dispatched to the 11900 Block of Palm Drive, regarding a robbery that had just occurred. The victim said two suspects, a male and female, robbed her of her purse and its contents, at gunpoint. The suspects were last seen running north from the location. The victims property along with the weapon were dumped at a nearby trash bin. An area check was conducted but the suspects were not found.

On Tuesday May 10, 2016, at about 1157 hours, the robbery suspects were detained to the front of 7-11, 65971 Pierson Blvd. One of the suspects had the victims stolen property on their possession. The suspects were arrested, booked and transported to RCJ-Banning.

Suspect-Marcus Eugene Benavidez-Downing 38 years old
M, H, 5-7, 250, Bro , Blk,
Desert Hot Springs resident

Suspect-Marlena Contreras 27 years old
F, H, 5-5, 200, Bro, Bro
Desert Hot Springs resident

Marlena Contreras
Marlena Contreras
Marcus Eugene Benavidez-Downing
Marcus Eugene Benavidez-Downing

permalink | May 11, 2016 at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2016

Meanwhile, in Palm Springs

A Palm Springs police advisory (with photo). This guy sounds dangerously aggressive.

On Thursday morning 4/21/16 at approximately 3:30 AM, the PSPD Communications Center received a 911 call from a distraught female reporting that a male subject had broke a window to her home in the 2700 block of E Mesquite Ave in Palm Springs, climbed through the window and physically and sexually assaulted her and her husband. The caller further stated that the suspect was still in the house. While on the phone with dispatchers the female caller began screaming that the suspect was attacking her. The woman's husband was able to pull the male off of her and pin him down until police arrived.

Officers arrived at the location within 6 minutes of the call and detained the male inside the residence. The male was identified as:

Thomas Mabe DOB - 5/10/1971 of Palm Springs.

Neither homeowner required medical attention.

During further investigation, officers learned that Mabe broke a window to the home, entered the residence and sexually assaulted the husband and wife.

The homeowners were able to push the suspect away but he remained in the home trying to get dressed. The homeowners and suspect moved into the living room where the wife called 911. While on the phone with 911, the suspect lunged at the wife and physically grabbed onto her while trying to take the phone from her. The husband grabbed the suspect and pinned him down until police arrived to detain him.

Thomas Mabe was recently arrested by PSPD on 3/1/16 for Child Annoyance where he approached a 16 year old girl on foot who was walking to school, made sexual comments to the girl and attempted to grab her when a passerby witnessed the incident and stepped in and rescued the child. PSPD filed the case with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on 3/2/16 who subsequently filed one count of 647.6(a)(1) PC – Child Annoyance with victim under 18 years old and 1203.2 PC – Violation of Probation.

Thomas Mabe plead guilty and was placed on probation for that incident and released from jail on March 19th.

Mabe was also arrested by PSPD on April 17th for being under the influence of a controlled substance and booked into the Riverside County Jail. He was released from custody the following day on April 18th, 2016.

Mabe was arrested on 4/21/16 for the following charges:

459 PC - Residential Burglary

1203.2 PC - Violation of Probation

243.4 (a) PC - Sexual Assault

667.61 (c)(3) PC - Commit Oral Copulation during course of a burglary

288a(f)(1) PC - Oral copulation while victim asleep

290(b) PC - Failure to register as a sex registrant within 30 days

permalink | April 22, 2016 at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2016

The Desert Hot Springs Marijuana Meeting

Everything you missed at last night's meeting. For the most part, a very interesting couple of hours. That is I, in the red t-shirt on the left of the screen as the video starts.

And this:

"I am a very conservative individual. I have totally done a 180 on my opinion" regarding marijuana, said [Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott] Matas, who describes himself as a right-of-center registered Republican.

permalink | April 21, 2016 at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

GoPro goes onstage at Coachella

From a fan's hands to the singer's.

permalink | April 21, 2016 at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2016

Three Cultivations Sites And One Dispensary Approved

I listened to last night's meeting of the Planning Commission from my private personal health facility, where I can exercise my right shoulder and hack up my left lung without disturbing the general public. Got to keep track of which marijuana facility is going where.

Last night the commission approved three more cultivation sites and one more dispensary.

Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative

The dispensary (Lawrence Bynum - Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative) is going to occupy the long-former location of Thai Palms on the northeast corner of Palm and Acoma. FINALLY, something to fill that blank in a prominent corner location. This is certainly going to be the most visible dispensary right here in the city. The site, which the dispensary will be renting, is connected also to the empty lot just east across the alley. There will be parking in that lot and quite a bit of discussion was about how MUCH of it would be used. There also was a general lamentation about the planning standards of the 1940s and '50s in this town. Yup. That's our legacy.

The site will have no more than one green cross displayed, and that will be painted on the south-facing Acoma side of the building. There will be potted plants along Acoma as well, including a few palm trees.

Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative-interior plan
You can see on this interior plan
that the dispenary's space includes the area behind the barber shop next door. More than half of the space can be used for cultivation. This is, as far as I can recall, a larger space than at other dispensaries in town, but all the dispensaries are limited to 99 mature plants.

Approved unanimously.

After the approval, there was some discussion about a billboard on Palm that can be seen as you are coming into the city that is promoting a low price at some dispensary. I don't recall seeing that sign, but there did used to be a sign that you could see as you headed south on Palm Drive that advertised "Home of the $5 Gram," but that was for PSA Organica, which is one of the newer dispensaries in Palm Springs. The city attorney explained to the commission what the city was able to control and NOT able to control in public advertising. At least one commissioner thought advertising like that could sully the image of the city as "Dime bag DHS. While it did look like the low class sort of advertising you can find in Los Angeles, I think some price competition between dispensaries could be beneficial to the patients.

DHS Diversified

The first cultivation site on the agenda last night was by Ryan Po of DHS Diversified located at 65441 Two Bunch Palms Trail. That building has been used as a recycling center up to now.

One thing I have not heard is where are the tenants of these industrial buildings that are being snapped up for marijuana cultivation, relocating to? The Pentecostal church surely has enough money from its sale to relocate into a residential area of the city, but the industrial businesses must be leaving town. There are no spare buildings in our industrial zone now, and anyone who tried to buy a site to put up a new building would be competing with the marijuana industry. I hope all these cultivation sites become fully developed and employ as many people has they have been saying they will.

An advantage to going into an existing building, is that electric service is already there. Mr. Po said he has 400 amps, which was plenty.

Approved unanimously

Blue Mango

Kamran Amirianfar for Blue Mango was there last night for two different sites, each requiring a separate CUP. The Planning Commission handled them separately. The first will be at 65118 San Jacinto Lane; the second at 65265 San Jacinto Lane.

Cultivation Sites at April 12 2016 Planning Commission
This map shows all three cultivation sites that the Planning Commission addressed last night
. Here's a live map link.

The interior of 65118 is divided into 18 separate units which have been rented out to industrial tenants. The interior will be redone to create space for four large cultivation rooms and five smaller rooms for curing, processing, shipping, etc. Chair Romero encouraged them to removed the ficus and palm trees that decorate the street frontage, to be replaced with more drought tolerant plants.

65265 San Jacinto Lane will not require nearly as much work to re-arrange the interior. They'll keep most of the existing interior partitions and have two large, interconnected, double-deck growing rooms. The interior features a mezzanine from which, I imagine, one could gaze across the big spread of green leafy plants, as any farmer likes to do. They will also be cultivating up on the mezzanine.

Both sites were approved unanimously.

Vinyl Fencing

The single non-marijuana item the Planning Commission considered was a request to be permitted to erect vinyl fencing on top of existing "retaining walls" between new homes in the Gallery Vista Santa Fe homes at the northern end of Sonora Drive. The agenda packet describes them as "retaining walls," but it seems unlikely there would be an actual retaining wall between each house, unless they were built on a fairly steep hillside. Nevertheless, the fencing was proposed only between the newest homes (which I think are Coachella Valley Housing Coalition sweat equity homes). There would be no vinyl fencing facing the street.

The Planning Commission rejected the request.

permalink | April 13, 2016 at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2016

DHS Walmart Petition

I finally got around to reading the Walmart petition. There's no game-playing in it that I can detect. No exemptions from any taxes or fees. In fact, they'll kick in an additional $75,000 on top of the DIF fees. That's supposed to help pay for something at what will be the future intersections of Cactus and Camino Aventura and Claire Avenue—although I don't think $75,000 would cover very much. Here are some of the bits I found interesting:

  • Permitted to be open 24 hours.
  • Exterior payphones permitted. Open 24 hours, outside payphones, right across the street from Dos Palmas. Potential for a public safety issue there.
  • Landscaping will be xeriscape, but they don't say they will conform to MSWD's ordinance on this.
  • They will need to extend a 1,806 foot sewer line from Camino Idilio.
  • Palm Drive will be widened to allow for a right-turn lane.
  • Traffic signals will be installed at Camino Aventura and Palm Drive.
  • All (or almost all) of the lighting will be LED. There will also be a daylight harvesting system (is that like a sophisticated skylight?) and a computer controlled continuously active system that adjusts lighting up and down.
  • Waste heat from refrigeration will be captured and used to heat water.
  • The site will be inspected for desert tortoises and burrowing owls. But they don't make any promises about any other endangered creatures or plants.
  • They will also observe the usual rules if they discover archaeological artifacts.

Summary: if you want the Walmart, you can sign this petition with a clear conscience. Unless somebody wants to point out some heinous provision in it that I missed.

permalink | April 3, 2016 at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2016

DHS Planning Commission - March 8, 2016

Box Score
Dispensaries approved: 3
Total dispensaries approved: 12
Dispensaries open: 5
Dispensaries denied: 1 (technically a continuation, but it's going to be denied)
Cultivation facilities approved: 1
____

Dirk Voss presiding at first, as Chair Cathy Romero was late, but Ms. Romero arrived before the Commission had even approved the agenda.

City Manager Magaña and Financial Director Tanner spoke at length about the budget and taxes. After years of underspending and cutbacks, whaddayaknow, there's a lot of critical stuff that's going to start failing. Like staff, even. And some taxes are going to expire. [My editorial: meanwhile the City Council (well, three of 'em) have voted not to even study new or revised taxes.] But I'll spare you the really bad news.

As with last month's report, just the marijuana:

Benno Pabst and Valley Compassionate Care

This is a proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary at 11522 Palm Drive, which is the southeast corner of 4th and Palm, the old chiropractor's office which is 1,207 square feet. Parking for 6 vehicles is proposed to be on the south side of the building (where there may also be a mural) with access via the alley. Four head-in parking spaces on 4th will be eliminated.

Commissioner Cirner recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest.

Benno Pabst was not present this night for health reasons, but his representative was there and spoke. Pabst owns the building outright.

There was a lot of discussion about the parking. Staff had first laid it out with diagonal parking so that patients would drive in from the alley and exit on Palm Drive. The Commission thought it would seem more sensible to drivers coming up Palm Drive to reversed that. Now, the thing I wonder about is left turns from southbound traffic. That entrance on Palm Drive is only 25 feet away from 4th Street.

Approved 4-0.

Yes, there will be two dispensaries directly across the street from each, so there will be no need to run across Palm Drive at night wearing dark clothes, right? And that ought to solve the problem of left turns too.


Lisa Lozano and Stephanie Bodde and Desert Hot Springs Dispensary

Another proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary. This one was continued from last month. You may recall that potential neighbor Rose Mortuary raised objections about inadequate parking. There were other issues as well.

Proposed Location for Lisa Lozano and Stephanie Bodde and Desert Hot Springs Dispensary (0390

Chair Romero said that she could see all of the issues she had with this CUP had been addressed.

Thomas Moen, manager of Rose Mortuary, said he was concerned a dispensary could conflict with his business. Parking only in the street is still an issue.

Michelle and Michael Lally both expressed their support for medical marijuana generally, and spoke well of Stephanie Bodde. Mr. Lally also criticized Rose Mortuary, saying they both serve the same community, one in life and one in death.

David Lally (son of Michelle and Michael, if you hadn't guessed) talked about the tax benefits to the city. He described the personal experience with medical marijuana by a friend.

Jordan Bratonburg, owner of Rose Mortuary, also shared a personal experience in his family. He was concerned that some of his clientele would be offended by the proximity of the dispensary.

The applicant said that her security guard would not let her clients park in the Rose Mortuary parking lot.

Vice Chair Voss said that he, too, was concerned about the parking situation, especially the lack of a designated handicapped parking space. He also wanted to clarify what will happen with the small house in the rear of the property. He said this is the wrong location for a dispensary.

Commissioner De La Torre said he agreed with Mr. Voss.

Commissioner Terifaj said these were all the same issues brought up last month and that she, too, thought it was a poor location for the dispensary.

Rich Malacoff asked the Commissioners to specify which findings in the prepared CUP the Commission would determine had not been met. Then staff would use that information to craft a legal resolution of denial and bring it back next month. Staff prepared only the positive resolution of approval for the agenda packet, not wasting time on a negative just in case.

Ms. Terifaj cited the parking issue as the reason to deny.

The applicant came back to the podium to say that an elderly gentleman lives in the house in the rear and that he is a member of her collective. She does not want to kick him out so that she can tear down the house for parking. She was not aware of any problems with parking until this meeting. (It did come up as an issue the previous month, though.)

The Chair reopened the public hearing at the suggestion of the city attorney.

The applicant said she had an informal parking survey done at the Brown Dog dispensary which is east of Palm on Pierson. Over the course of a week there was only one time during the day when there were three cars there and the overlap was for only two minutes. In the evenings there would sometimes be as many as three cars there. She expects the same traffic at her dispensary. Street parking would handle that small amount.

Vice Chair Voss moved to continue this until next month at which time staff will have prepared the proper denial paperwork. Approved 5-0.


Eduardo Rivera and D.H.S. Alternative Healing Corporation

How about another CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary? This one is also continued from last month (and the month before that, IIRC). The continuance was to allow a neighbor to come in and comment on this. No changes have been made from last month. This one is going to be at 66328 Pierson Boulevard.

>Proposed Location For Eduardo Rivera and D.H.S. Alternative Healing Corporation (0388)

Unfortunately, the aggrieved neighbor did not show up. There were no public comments at all.

Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the additional requirement that there be no neon lighting. Approved 5-0.


Dino Sogoyan - Desert Hot Springs, Collective, Ltd.

This item is a CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary to be located at 66292 Pierson Boulevard. That's just to the east of Wiefels Mortuary.

66292 Pierson Boulevard (0326)

The monument sign in front of the building will have to be upgraded to meet current sign standards. The applicant is buying the property and said he plans to tear down that monument sign.

Commissioner Cirner moved to approve with the additional requirement that they come up with a different color scheme (and no neon). Approved 5-0.


Adrian Sedlin - Canndescent, MBC

This is for a CUP for a marijuana cultivation facility at 65334 Two Bunch Palms Trail, which is currently occupied by an auto repair business and tire recycling business. The two buildings are about 4,800 square feet each.

The applicant says he hopes to be operating by June 15.

Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the addition of a ban on neon signs. Approved 5-0.


Other Things

The Planning Commission also approved a design review and development permit for a warehouse and retail facility for Angel View on Dillon Road.

They also appointed Andrew Cirner to the Arts District Committee.

permalink | March 13, 2016 at 09:47 AM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2016

MSWD Approves Water & Sewer Rates

At the 218 Public Hearing tonight, after listening to comments from many residents of the district, the MSWD board approved the proposed new rates for both water and sewer by a vote of 4-0, John Furbee being absent for health reasons. One commenter railed against the folly of fluoridating the water. MSWD board President Nancy Wright explained that MSWD does not fluoridate.

One complaint heard repeatedly was that the board was going to "double the rates." This began with, I think, one person who had pointed out the very low per gallon rate and didn't consider all the numbers after the decimal point before rounding.

From 2016 to 2020 the residential rate for 13 units of water (the average amount used in this district) will go from $28.94 to $43.40, a 50% increase, not a doubling. The cost per gallon will go from 0.3¢ to 0.45¢. Again, a 50% increase, not a doubling. Half of that increase will go to pay for chromium 6 abatememnt, which is a complete waste of money, but mandated by the state.

Residential sewer will increase from $31.23 to $50.16 over the same time period. That's a 61% increase.

permalink | February 16, 2016 at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 9, 2016

Surprising Guzzler Discovered In Joshua Tree National Park

Tom Mahood, investigating an artifact seen in Google Earth, found an interesting guzzler way back in some nearly inaccessible corner of JTNP. Built in 1993 and well camouflaged, the guzzler for bighorn sheep is protected from discovery by a 25-foot dry waterfall.

permalink | February 9, 2016 at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2016

Southern California Geology

Brand new: "Roadside Geology of Southern California." And only $22.

Since Mountain Press started the Roadside Geology series forty years ago, southern Californians have been waiting for an RG of their own. During those four decades which were punctuated by jarring earthquakes and landslides geologists continued to unravel the complexity of the Golden State, where some of the most dramatic and diverse geology in the world erupts, crashes, and collides. With dazzling color maps, diagrams, and photographs, Roadside Geology of Southern California takes advantage of this newfound knowledge, combining the latest science with accessible stories about the rocks and landscapes visible from winding two-lane byways as well as from the region s vast network of highways.

Join Arthur Sylvester, an award-winning UC Santa Barbara geologist, and Elizabeth O Black Gans, a geologist-illustrator, as they motor through mountains and deserts to explore the iconic features of the SoCal landscape, from boulder piles in Joshua Tree National Park and brilliant white dunes in the Channel Islands to tar seeps along the rugged coast and youthful cinder cones in the Mojave Desert. Whether you want to find precious gemstones, ponder the mysteries of the Salton Sea, or straddle the boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates, be sure to bring this book along as your tour guide.

permalink | February 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)