October 7, 2016

Sambo's

I just learned that there is still one solitary Sambo's restaurant and it's in Santa Barbara at 216 West Cabrillo Boulevard. Here's their website.

In the story, Sambo is Indian.

Story.

permalink | October 7, 2016 at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2016

A Different Sort Of Map Of L.A. Restaurants

This map shows restaurants in Los Angeles that are identified with one of the 50 states. For Massachusetts there are two places: the Dunkin' Donuts downtown and Malibu Seafood in (where else?) Malibu.

It even lists four California restaurants, one of which is Smittens ice cream which comes from San Francisco.

Missouri gets only one entry, a St. Louis style barbecue. Fortunately, the map also includes a Kansas City, Kansas, barbecue joint: Charcoal Silverlake, although when I look at their website their description of how they cook their meet is not Kansas City style.

permalink | July 28, 2016 at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2015

You Can Get Anything At Amazon

You can buy cow dung patties from Amazon India.

2.2 Kg of cow dung for ₹99 (about US$1.49).

1.6 Kg of cow dung for ₹419 (about US$6.32). This must be of superior quality, but nothing like that is claimed.

This fine quality stuff can be had at the price of ₹249 for about 1 Kg (US$3.76)
stacks of cow dung drying

The camel in the background raises my suspicions. What if they are selling camel dung as cow dung?

If you're buying cow dung from Amazon, you might as well also buy cow urine. Or, for the squeamish, powdered cow urine in capsules.

Each of those items has customer reviews, some real, some joke.

permalink | December 29, 2015 at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2015

Coconut Harvesting

I never knew (or imagined) that 99% of the coconuts harvested in Thailand are picked by monkeys. Pigtailed macaques, to be specific. They've been doing it for 400 years. Here’s the website of a monkey school. And here is a video showing some monkeys training and working.

Naturally, there's a group in America that are accusing the coconut farmers of abuse, but the Americans have never visited any of the coconut plantations, however they've seen Youtube videos and we all know if it's on Youtube, it must be true. They don’t link to any of those videos on their website. They seem to be opposed to the use of monkeys for any kind of work on general principle. Dogs? Horses? Oxen? Are they opposed to them working too?

permalink | October 20, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2015

Miracle Frooties

Miracle Frooties Miracle Fruit Tablets
Miracle Frooties

These things really work. I sucked on one of them and then ate some plain, nonfat Greek yogurt - you know, the kind that's like spackling. It tasted like sweetened vanilla yogurt! Amazing!

permalink | October 7, 2015 at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2015

Quizno's Burns The Man

BMOrg takes issue with a Burning Man parody ad for Quizno's and so it is rattling its lawyers. So here's the ad:

permalink | September 11, 2015 at 03:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms Get Free Advertising On Snopes

Snopes' verdict is that they do exist, they do.

More proof.

And a review:

I pop one into my mouth, chew, and then immediately shovel a whole handful into my gaping maw. Regardless of your religion’s stance on the existence of the Great Pumpkin, you’d better believe that these suckers are real -— real tasty, that is.
If you’re expecting the strong, earthy, bitterness of espresso, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, the coffee taste of the chocolate here is a sweet, lightly nutty java experience with faint caramel notes. Accompanied by a tinge of cocoa and a heaping helping of milk chocolate’s dairy creaminess, it’s akin to one of those bottled Starbucks Chocolate Mocha Frappuccinos.

The reviewer says he found his at a Target store.

permalink | August 26, 2015 at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2015

Going Where No Farmer Has Gone Before

At Burning Man this year we will have kale, cucumbers and tomatoes growing right on the playa...inside a converted Airstream trailer. This enclosed garden "uses 95% less water than conventional farming, it's two times faster, it doesn't use pesticides."

permalink | July 27, 2015 at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2015

Believe It When You Taste It

And not before. A strain of dulse developed at Oregon State that when cooked tastes like bacon! "It has twice the nutritional value of kale." That's been why I usually skip the bacon. It's not nearly as nutritious as kale, and a healthy kale breakfast is what morning is all about.

I will keep an eye out for the Oregon State camp at Burning Man.

permalink | July 17, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2015

Maple Water

Saw this at Trader Joe's today and thought "What the hell?" Maple water is nothing more, nothing less than pasteurized maple sap. It's clear, water-like, and mildly sweet. It has a flavor, but I wouldn't think "Maple!" unless I knew in advance what it was, and then I could imagine a distant relationship between the flavor of this sap and flavor of the syrup. TJ's is making zero health claims for it, except that water is good for you.

permalink | July 13, 2015 at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2015

French Market Is Closing

The venerable landmark and safe fallback place to meet someone for a meal, the French Market on Santa Monica Boulevard, is closing.

Maybe it will come back:

Marc Ittah, the business partner of Michael Faze, who bought the French Market in 2011, said the restaurant would be reopened after the remodeling. But rumors continue to circulate that Faze intends to demolish the building and convert the property to another use. Ittah did not return calls from WEHOville for comment.

But for now, this coming Sunday will be the last brunch.

permalink | July 8, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2015

Good News!

You know how you thought that when you died and went to heaven you'd be able to have unlimited Girl Scout cookies all year long? The good news is that now you don't have to die! Coming soon, the Girl Scout Cookie Oven ($60) and cookie mixes ($7). It comes with the Thin Mint mix, and you will be able to buy mixes for Trefoils, Samoas, Do-si-dos, Chocolate Chip, Sugar, Oatmeal and Tagalongs.

Read the official press release here. The oven will be available in time for Christmas 2015. The press release gives the prices for the mixes as $15 each! If that's the case, it would be cheaper to just steal a truckload of Girl Scout cookies and rent a big cold storage place to keep them in. If money means nothing to you, there will also be a Girl Scout Cookie Stand for $80 with which you can, like, sell cookies. I would suggest you just get something like this basic folding card table for under $38, take it out to the curb in front of your house and sell your homemade Girl Scout cookies until the trademark police come along and shut you down.

permalink | February 26, 2015 at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2014

Lack Of Creativity In Today's Yoot

Once with a bottle of Fireball was creative. Some students at McGill University do very nearly the same thing with a bottle of rum. It's interesting to see how a GoPro responds to the different levels of light, but there is no other interest in this video. But I now suspect we will begin to see a string of binge-drinking GoPro videos. Let's hope they video the vomiting, the unpent anger, and all the other good things that go with drinking straight liquor.

I can find some GoPro videos featuring the use of bongs, but none yet where the camera is strapped to the lower part of the bong, facing up at the smoker. Let's get on it guys and show some creativity. Should be easy.

permalink | November 4, 2014 at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2014

Rabbi Sought

A Craigslist ad seeking a Rabbi for a $60,000/year job in the medical marijuana industry? Someone intending to grow kosher marijuana perhaps? Kosher edibles would be more likely, I suppose. Or maybe they just need a chaplain at their business. I'm curious.

Marijuana chicken soup, anyone??

permalink | October 30, 2014 at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2014

Grilled Cheese?

You are so behind in your technology if you still actually grill your grilled cheese sandwiches. You need a Boska Holland Toastabag (only $9.94 for a set of 3).

This smart little video will answer almost all your questions:

Unanswered question deserving some research: what happens if you put a couple of scoops of ice cream in the bag and toast that? Do you get ice cream that's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside?

The real advantage, as I see it, that will appeal to the young single man (which seems to be their target audience) is that any grease that drains off the item being toasted stays in the bag so that you can pour it out and onto your food, assuring that you will always get your daily need for fat.

permalink | September 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2014

Why We Need A Walmart

This is gonna bring everybody over to the pro-Walmart side: their ice cream sandwiches never melt. Never! Think of what a great relief that would be to the kids (and adults) of hot, hot Desert Hot Springs. (Didn't that 114° bring a smile to your face?!)

What I visualize is, after the Walmart has been approved, built and opened, we the residents of DHS celebrate summer by using Great Value Ice Cream Sandwiches to build a scale replica of the Washington Monument in the parking lot of the Walmart. Leave it for days. I think this would be good to do starting about July 1, so we could then blow it up with fireworks on July 4 (or 5 or whatever).

Ingredients for Great Value Chocolate & Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches from Walmart:

Ice Cream (Milk, Cream, Buttermilk, Sugar, Whey, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Contains 1% Or Less of Natural And Artificial Flavors, Mono & Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Carob Bean Gum, Cellulose Gum, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan, Annatto (For Color). Wafers (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Soybean And Palm Oil, Cocoa, Dextrose, Caramel Color, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Flour, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Artificial Flavor).

One customer tells us that besides not melting, they don't freeze either!

I am avid shopper for good deals and decided to get these instead of my usual, which is Mayfield. Now, granted that the name Great Value should mean just that, but by no stretch of the imagination or taste buds are they as great of a value than spending a little more to get your favorite. The ice cream was extremely soft, bland tasting and the cookies were bland as well. I mean I kept them in the freezer for about a day or two to see if the sandwiches would harden and I have to say, I was extremely disappointed with the ice cream still being soft and the cookie wafer did not improve the overall taste of the sandwich. I will not be purchasing these or any of the ice cream products from Great Value again. I have some right now that I have not touched.

Ingredients for their Great Value 97% Fat Free Sugar Free Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Fat Free Ice Cream: Fat Free Milk, Sorbitol, Polydextrose, Maltodextrin, Whey Protein Concentrate, Contains 1% Or Less of Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Mono-And Diglycerides*, Carob Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Polysorbate 80, Vanilla Extract, Vanillin, Sucralose, Calcium Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate. Wafers: Bleached Wheat Flour, Isomalt, Sorbitol, Caramel Color, Palm Oil, Cocoa, Corn Flour, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Sucralose. *Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount of Fat.

A customer review makes me wonder if perhaps Walmart sells a vanilla flavored bleach.

Previously I purchased the Great Value Ice Cream Sandwich with both Chocolate and Vanilla ice cream mixed together. Now that one was really good.

However, the store sold out of that particular flavor, so I figured the original flavor would be just as good, right? Haha, NOPE.

Best I can describe the ice cream taste is Bleach. It literally tastes like frozen bleach cream, with no resemblance to vanilla whatsoever. What's worse is the chocolate wafers, which turned out to be completely tasteless, like cardboard. I could have asked for a small favor for the darn thing to actually taste like chocolate so that it can mask out the bleach taste, but oh well.

It's a shame I bought two boxes of this stuff, since the other flavor left a really good impression on me. If you want to get any ice cream sandwich, definitely don't get this one. Get the one with chocolate ice cream mixed in.

P.S. The packaging is shoddy, too. It takes a long time to peel off the wrapper.

permalink | July 23, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)

July 1, 2014

Get Your Sugar On

Jack's Wholesale Candy Warehouse has moved to new, larger digs at 777 S. Central Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90021. Wholesale prices, but open to the general public. They even have free parking. If you want to shop for candy by color, they make it possible. (I want all my candy to be leopard-spotted.)

And, they've got a Facebook page.

permalink | July 1, 2014 at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2014

Lazy Pancake(s)

Your regular pancake recipe (no changes) into a rice cooker. Turn it on. When it's done, it's done. The article says about 45 minutes, but I'm sure that will vary depending on the cooker and the moisture content of your pancake.

If you try this, let us know. Pics would be nice. I don't do pancakes. But I don't think this has to be limited to just pancakes. Try any cake recipe. Or a cookie recipe to make one giant cookie.

permalink | June 22, 2014 at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2014

Hay

You know all those hay trucks we see coming from Imperial County and heading west on I-10? Some of it might be going to horses and cattle in California, but last year 575,000 tons were sold to China at $300/ton. "Faced with dwindling access to water and arable land, China has little choice but to turn to U.S. farmers to help supply feed for the country's growing herd of dairy cows."

"It is cheaper to ship a load of alfalfa from the Imperial Valley to China than it is to ship the same load to Tulare County," said Michael Marsh, president of the Western United Dairymen, which represents 60% of California's dairy producers.

About one-third of the hay production in Imperial Valley is exported.

Brokers regularly fly in from overseas, some staying at a local golf course and country club. Chinese buyers are wined and dined across the border in Mexicali, which has a long-established Chinese community.

"The Chinese food there is lousy, according to them," said Leimgruber, the alfalfa grower. "I take them to get a 22-ounce steak instead. They've never seen anything like that in China."

permalink | June 8, 2014 at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 5, 2014

DHS City Council - May 27, 2014

Public Comments

Paula Terifaj spoke about the Riverside County animal control ordinance. She said she would like to see every pet spayed or neutered, licensed and microchipped. But she doesn't think the county's ordinance is the best way to accomplish that. If you want pet owners to be in compliance you must first tell them they are not in compliance. Tell them what the ordinance says. She has been told the best way to gain cooperation is to first notify them they are not in compliance and then tell them exactly what they need to do to be in compliance, step by step. We must also understand that some people don't comply for economic reasons. Pet owners should be given 90 days to comply. There will need to be subsidies for households with income below $30,000.

Anna Matthews said that after the last time she spoke to the Council she continued to be illegally locked out of her home. In the past two weeks she has been arrested and detained. They tried to destroy all the evidence in her phone, but did not succeed. They accidentally recorded their own conversation, the Commissioner "Mickey Reed" and the Bailiff who manhandled her. She can prove her neighbor is going into her house with a key illegally. She has been warned to shut her mouth. There is retaliation going on. She hasn't got a change of clothes nor her Bible. She fell in the courtroom and was hospitalized and has been in bed for almost two weeks. Police Officer Davis accidentally recorded his conversation with the Commissioner against the crimes they were committing against her. Ms. Matthews has that conversation. She wants access to her home again. She's not going to shut up, she said. Somebody's ticked off at her for saying something. She's requesting immediate help. She asked for advice and Mayor Pro Tem Betts attempted to speak to her, but as he was just winding up she spoke over him and refused to allow him to speak. Mr. Betts stopped saying "I'm done, thank you."

Medical Marijuana

The Mayor skipped over item 3 on the agenda "Appointment of City Attorney." On the agenda for the closed session prior to this open session there was an item "Public Employee Appointment; Position: City Attorney." When the open meeting began, Attorney Quintanilla had said there was "No reportable action" from the closed session. When Mayor Sanchez Mayor asked for Attorney Quintanilla's report on medical marijuana the first thing Mr. Quintanilla said was "I'm here on a volunteer basis tonight." That's all that was said about the matter, which could lead to a lot of speculation. I had intended to ask Mr. Quintanilla what this was all about after the meeting, but forgot. But the next morning the Desert Sun reported that Mr. Quintanilla intended to leave his law partnership and form his own firm here in the valley. This would require a new contract for the attorney. That's all.

He said the California Supreme Court had ruled that every municipality (or county) has the discretion to permit or prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.

You can read the decision here. That ruling pertains only to dispensaries. Local jurisdictions cannot override the state law that allows medical marijuana patients to grow, possess and consume marijuana. The original Prop 215 addressed only the cultivation and possession of marijuana by patients or their primary caregivers. (It also protected physicians who recommend marijuana to a patient.) It is silent on the concept of dispensaries, coops and collectives. The "Medical Marijuana Program" adopted in 2003 includes section 11362.775"

Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients and persons with identification cards, who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.

That's all it says about dispensaries, other than requiring them to be at least 600 feet away from any school.

Attorney Quintanilla had provided a "laundry list" of regulations and taxes in other cities.

Larry Buchanan came to the podium to say he is in favor of dispensaries primarily because they can be a source of revenue. Also some people don't have the transportation to get to Palm Springs. That encourages illegal sales here in DHS.

Juliet [no last name given] also spoke in favor of dispensaries. She said it does keep a lot of crime off the street. Also the dispensaries will pay taxes. "You have a sister city already that is a pattern for you to follow." She said the tax revenue to the City of Palm Springs is $900,000/quarter. [That figure is far higher than other figures I've heard for Palm Springs.] She said this number was in city records that "you can pull up at any time" [but I haven't been able to find it].

Phil Kern is a resident of DHS. He supports Measure F. He also supports a measure for medical cannabis. He and his partner will apply for a permit, if it is approved by the City Council. They would support a 10% tax on the gross sales. He came here in 1978 as Captain of the fire station. In 1982 he was promoted to Battalion Chief. His headquarters were in the fire station and Pierson and West. He retired after 30 years.

Councilmember McKee asked if any of the regulations in the laundry list are also required of a regular pharmacy. Attorney Quintanilla said that he was not familiar with pharmacy regulation, but he could say that most did not apply to pharmacies. Mr. McKee said DHS has a reputation as a city where it's difficult to do business. He thinks some of the requirements in other cities are onerous. He said that we permit pharmacies to sell serious drugs and alcohol, but we don't want marijuana dispensaries to sell alcohol. He doesn't understand that. The inspection requirements enable city officials to check books, check inventory, etc. He said he doesn't think the city has the resources to do that, and we don't require that of any other business. There is no city ordinance that limits any business to only $200 cash on the premises. He has no problem with applying a tax. He asked why we wouldn't apply some of these same requirements to Rite Aid. Some of their drugs are far worse than marijuana. Dispensaries should be brought in as any other business.

Before we go too much further, let me answer some of that. First, some of the onerous requirements in other cities were put in place years ago when dispensaries first began to be established. At that time there were fears that people who had been illegal street dealers, gang members, or illegal growers were going to move into the dispensary business and cities wanted to be sure the dispensaries were on the up and up. Cities were also afraid that dispensaries would be attractive targets for criminals. Experience since then has shown that most of those fears and regulations were unnecessary. Second, pharmacies (and other businesses) are subject to a tremendous deal of government regulation. It just doesn't come from the city. The federal government has a lot to say about what goes on behind a pharmacy counter, and I'm sure that part of that is maintaining an up to date inventory. Alcohol sales, we all know, are heavily regulated by the state. There is no type of business in California that gets to operate in a laissez-faire atmosphere. There is no state regulatory body for medical marijuana, as there is in other states. There's just the law and how the Attorney General wants to interpret it. This is because Prop 215 was overly simple and too brief. The only way to make it more rational and uniform would be with another vote of the people. Until that happens, all the responsibility of regulating dispensaries falls on the cities and counties because of their powers to regulate land use. As for special taxes that apply to only one business, some already exist, but they are not applied by the city. Alcohol and gas taxes are examples of this. As far as I know a city could legally impose taxes focused on other products as well, if they could get the voters to approve them. Haven't some cities tried junk food taxes?

Mayor Pro Tem Betts said he had received only one phone call expressing opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries. He said this process needs to go through the Planning Commission as well as the City Council. He pointed out that in some cities some restaurants are required to put in some sort of exhaust control so that neighbors don't have to constantly smell the food cooking. He said he too could smell the marijuana at Organic Solutions of the Desert [the dispensary on Ramon near the airport] even with his car's air conditioning running. Environmental controls must be part of the approval process. He thinks the dispensaries should be located in a retail storefront. He is not opposed to it being on a main street. He doesn't want something like a red light district. It should be the dispensaries decision to install cameras or not. The city should not require it. He does not want an onerous process like Palm Springs where they review patient records. We need to be able to audit a dispensary to make sure we are getting the proper tax amounts. He said the first reason to approve dispensaries is for the health and convenience of the residents. Taxation is secondary. Why should the city tax this one item when it doesn't tax pharmaceuticals. He estimated tax revenue at $120,000 year with a 10% tax, which would not be enough to get the city out of its current fiscal crisis.

Councilmember Pye said that the records being accessed by the City of Palm Springs are the identity of each patient, identity of caregivers, the doctor's letter of recommendation, and the patient's application [to join the collective, I think]. This excludes the diagnosis of the patient. She said that because of the city's budgetary problems, they should be looking at revenue sources in addition to cutting expenses. She said it was the Desert Sun is the source for the claim that 40% of the patients at Palm Springs dispensaries live in Desert Hot Springs. [This only increases my feeling that this figure is unreliable.]

The Palm Springs dispensary ordinance says "The cooperative shall maintain patient records in a secure location within the City of Palm Springs, available to the City Manager to review upon demand. Such records shall include without limitation a copy of the physician's referral." The physician's referral does include the patient's address and I suppose whoever is reviewing those records could count which cities are represented.

Ms. Pye suggested have the Planning Commission review this to address the zoning issues. She also suggested a standing commission that would last for only one year that would review the process and review applications, making recommendations to the City Council. She thought the Commission should be made up of three patients, one doctor, and a current or retired law enforcement officer. [I would suggest adding one owner or manager of an existing dispensary who will not open a dispensary in DHS.]

Organic Solutions of the Desert in Desert Hot Springs (2339)
The location of the illegal Desert Hot Springs dispensary today
. It was open briefly in 2007.

Councilmember Matas said he has seen a lot of progress since that one dispensary tried to open up in DHS without so much as a business license. He think Palm Springs has done a good job. He thinks a dispensary will be the target of criminals, so he is in support of security requirements. He wants collectives to be at least 5,000 feet apart. He has seen those neighborhoods in Los Angeles where there are door-to-door dispensaries. He doesn't want to see that here. He doesn't want more than three collectives. They should not be in the industrial areas. They should be in commercial areas, but away from schools, churches and parks...similar to ABC restrictions on alcohol. He would like to restrict them to age 21 or older.

While the city can set an age restriction on who can enter a dispensary, it can't restrict the use of medical marijuana on the basis of age. The Medical Marijuana Program addresses the issue of patients under the age of 18, saying they need the consent of a parent or guardian. I could lay out a heartstring-tugging story of a Marine who becomes seriously injured in some heroic action, comes home in great physical pain and suffering with PTSD, gets a recommendation for medical marijuana, but he's only 20 years old, so he can't go in the DHS dispensary, so he'll have to get someone age 21 or over to agree to be his caregiver (at some additional expense) to go in and get his marijuana for him. Or...he could take advantage of one of the delivery services. But more than likely, he would just go to Palm Springs. I think setting the age limit at 18 would work best.

Mr. Matas doesn't want illegal dispensaries alongside the legal ones. "This is about business, that's all I see it about," he said.

Mayor Sanchez said he supports it because it represents the health and wellness of Desert Hot Springs. He disagrees about the age limit suggested by Mr. Matas. The safety and security of the business is important. DHS covers a lot of area. If we had two or three dispensaries, they should be spread out. He doesn't want to see 2 on Palm Drive. He wants to hear from the city residents. He asked the attorney if he was familiar with any other cities having a marijuana commission as suggested by Ms. Pye. He said he was not, but there may be some.

This is California, so we know there must be marijuana commissions...and they're right where you might expect them: Oakland and Berkeley.

Ms. Pye said the City Councilmembers are not experts on this. Patients are experts, as are law enforcement, and doctors. She asked if anyone would join her in putting the commission idea on the next agenda so it could be discussed.

Mr. Betts said that the county Public Health Department inspects restaurants, the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology inspects hair salons, and the city never knows. He said there's somebody in the state government who regulates the marijuana industry. [He is not correct in that assumption.] He said this city cannot be the regulatory body. We don't have the staff or time. He doesn't want to adopt Palm Springs' excessive regulations. He suggested each Council member should give their input to the city attorney who could then draw up an ordinance based on that. He said the city needs to hear from the Police department. He said he was leery of the idea of a marijuana commission.

Mr. McKee said the businesses with the greatest security problems in DHS are liquor stores and banks. The banks have on their own protected themselves, and there hasn't been a bank robbery in a long time. The city doesn't impose special security requirements on liquor stores. He has no problem doing the same sort of auditing and monitoring that we do with hotels. He agrees with Mayor Sanchez that an age 21 limit should not be set. He wants to move ahead with this as quickly as possible, but he likes the idea of a commission to choose which dispensaries to admit to the city. He suggested the city could impose fees to cover the cost of services.

Ms. Pye clarified that she didn't think it would take a year to get the marijuana dispensaries set up. She wants a marijuana commission that would recommend dispensaries to the council, the council would approve them, and then the commission monitors the situation to see if further recommendations are needed. Then after a year the commission goes away.

Mr. Matas said the city hires an outside firm to come in and audit the TOT tax. The same process could be done with marijuana collectives. He thinks the Conditional Use Process provides sufficient ability to regulate a dispensary. He said a lot of experts support an age limit of 21 and older.

Andrew Milks came up to comment. He said he runs a cooperative. He said there two pending bills in California; one in the Assembly, one in the Senate: SB 1262 and AB 1894. He said he had not heard of any city requiring more than 1,000 foot distance between dispensaries. Although DHS has a lot of area, we've got only a small retail area.

I want to point out that the intersection of Pierson and Highway 62 is zoned commercial.

Mr. Milks continued, saying there are also a high number of churches. He said younger people need access to CBD preparations.

The next speaker was Marcel [last name unclear] who said he was all for it, that he is a land owner and property owner.

Joseph Miller spoke next, saying he has been a medical marijuana patient for about four years for stomach cancer. He's been with a collective in Thousand Palms and Palm Springs for the last five or six years. He suggested the city might begin to permit some dispensaries on a trial period.

City Manager Magaña said the Planning Commission has authority over land use. When they deal with entitlements the issues are time, place and manner. The Planning Commission needs some direction from City Council indicating how the Council is expecting to regulate marijuana dispensaries. He explained, too, that if the tax to be assessed on marijuana dispensaries is to be a general tax, then it can't go to the voters until November 2015. If it's a special tax (meaning designated for a specific use) then it could go on the November 2014 ballot, but would require a two-thirds majority.

Rich Malacoff explained that if the rules are very specific for where a dispensary could be located, then a Public Hearing would not be required for each dispensary.

Attorney Quintanilla said that many of the regulations in other cities are based on a white paper from California Police Chiefs, but that white paper was written before there were any dispensaries so it's mostly speculative. The law does allow for oral-only recommendations from physicians, so the city could not require a written recommendation.

The Council members agreed to email their preferences to the attorney who would then compile an ordinance based on that. The ordinance would come back to the Council at a study session on June 24, where it would be further refined.

Food Trucks

It was only in April of this year that Riverside County began permitting food trucks. Rich Malacoff described what other cities in the Coachella Valley are doing. Palm Springs passed an urgency ordinance prohibiting food trucks for 6 months. Cathedral City has drafted an ordinance, but it has been continued. The Cathedral City ordinance (which hasn't been approved yet) prohibits them from being closer than 750 feet of a fundraising event. Otherwise it's pretty flexible. In Rancho Mirage food trucks can operate only under a special permit at special events. Palm Desert does not permit food trucks within 750 feet of a restaurant. Neither Coachella nor Indian Wells have any rules yet. Indio allows food trucks within 100 feet of an intersection. [I wonder if the rule actually forbids them from being within 100 feet of an intersection.] They cannot be within 100 feet of a school. La Quinta passed an ordinance in 1994 that allows food trucks to operate for no more than 10 minutes at any one location. [General laughter upon hearing that.]

The county has jurisdiction over the health and sanitation issues; the same as any restaurant.

Michael Burke came to the podium to comment. He said anything that will bring us more revenue should be considered. He doesn't think it should be too heavily regulated.

Heather Coladonato from the Chamber of Commerce spoke next. She said the Council should consider the need for food trucks in DHS at special events and daily food opportunities. She has spoken with a few DHS restaurateurs who are not opposed to food trucks. But they are concerned with food trucks located in the proximity of their restaurants. OTOH, they are intrigued with the possibility of operating their own food truck. At our special events food trucks might help buffer some wind while creating additional sources of revenue. Since we have so few empty storefronts in town, food trucks present a good option for additional revenue.

Mr. McKee said he would like to create as much opportunity as possible for food trucks so long as some distance requirements are in place.

Ms. Pye said that Cathedral City's ordinance is the most lenient and she thinks DHS should use that as a template. She thinks the organizer of any special event should be the one to decide if food trucks can be there. They should not be at parks with snackbars, where they would be competing with the fundraising for little league or soccer.

Mr. Matas said he foresaw the only problem being competition with snackbars at parks. A few years ago they had that problem with ice cream vendors. He said the trucks should have professional signage. Ice cream vendors sometimes would just buy some stick-on letters to make a sign.

Mr. Betts said he saw a "food court block" right across the street from restaurants in Portland. It was busy. He would like to see a designated area for food trucks in the commercial part of the city.

Mayor Sanchez said he likes the Rancho Mirage policy. It's very simple - special events only. It fits the Chamber's needs. Then they could expanded from there.

Mr. Betts moved to allow food trucks at Salsa Blast (October 25, 2014). A discussion ensued about whether a simple motion like that could achieve the desired result while an ordinance is still being worked up. Attorney Quintanilla said he doubted very seriously that anyone would sue the city over the issue.

Mr. Matas said it needed to be kept simple. The Council should direct staff to put together an ordinance based on the Council's discussion. There should be no problem with having an ordinance in place before Salsa Blast.

Mayor Sanchez suggested that should be made a friendly amendment. Mr. Betts did not object.

Approved 5-0.

Mary Jane Sanchez asked about religious organizations, would they be able to use food trucks? Mayor Sanchez told her "It's going to be fine."

permalink | June 5, 2014 at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)