January 10, 2017


Snopes says this is genuine!

The television series Trackdown really did produce an episode featuring a "Trump" character who came to town claiming that only he could prevent the end of the world by building a wall (and also sold special force propelling umbrellas to deflect meteorites). The episode (S1, E30) aired on CBS in 1958 and was titled "The End of the World," featuring actor Lawrence Dobkin playing the role of "Walter Trump."

permalink | January 10, 2017 at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2016

The Guide To What To Do To Contain Trump For Four Years

I think this may be the workable, practical plan [PDF] to resist Trump that I hoped some knowledgable people would put together before January 20.

It's a guide put together by "former progressive congressional staffers" on how to keep Trump from putting his "agenda" ("whim" might be a better word) into effect. They want to be like the progressive counterpart of the Tea Party, but without all the horrid negative stuff. Their recommendations are pretty basic: pay attention to your Members of Congress, communicate with them, influence them. As former congressional staffers they can advise on the psychology of Members of Congress and how to make the most of that.

And what about the fortunate few like me with two Democratic Senators and a Democratic Representative? Here's their recommendation ("MoC" = "Member of Congress"):

Congratulations! Your Senators and Representative are doing what they should to fight racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. They're making the right public statements, co-sponsoring the right bills, and voting the right way. So how does this change your strategy? Two key things to keep in mind:

1. Do NOT switch to targeting other MoC who don't represent you. They don't represent you, and they don't care what you have to say. Stick with your own local MoCs.

2. DO use this guide to engage with your MoCs locally. Instead of pressuring them to do the right thing, praise them for doing the right thing. This is important because it will help ensure that they continue to do the right thing. Congressional staff are rarely contacted when the MoC does something good — your efforts locally will provide highly valuable positive reinforcement.

And (my personal add) we should avoid internal bickering and focus on the enemy.

» Donald Trump’s agenda will take America backwards and must be stopped.

» In order to work together to achieve this goal, we must model the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness.

permalink | December 21, 2016 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2016

Campaign Detritus

Johnie's Coffee Shop With Bernie Sanders Leftovers (3360)

Johnie's Coffee Shop With Bernie Sanders Leftovers (3354)

permalink | December 16, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2016

This Is A Good One

This is definitely a step above the usual star-studded political ads.

permalink | September 22, 2016 at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2016

A Comprehensive Report

permalink | September 14, 2016 at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2016


permalink | August 23, 2016 at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2016

Problem Solved! Republicans Declare Coal To Be "Clean"

The GOP's platform committee unanimously voted to declare coal "an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource."

The word "clean" was not initially included in the Republican platform committee's coal statement. It was added by David Barton, an RNC delegate from Texas. Barton is the former vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas and an evangelical leader, popular for his claims that the U.S. Constitution is a biblical document.

From a 2012 NPR report on David Barton:

"You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause," he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. "Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim.

The treason clause is is actually Article 3, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

I'm not even going to search for it, but if any Bible expert thinks they know where Article 3, Section 3 is in the Bible, I would be delighted to learn that amazing fact.

Article 2, Section 1, the requirement for the President to be a natural born citizen says this: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States."

Deuteronomy 17:15 in the Complete Jewish Bible: "In that event, you must appoint as king the one whom Adonai your God will choose. He must be one of your kinsmen, this king you appoint over you — you are forbidden to appoint a foreigner over you who is not your kinsman." King James: "Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother."

Clearly related, but I don't think Mr. Barton knows the meaning of the word "verbatim" nor the obvious fact that a verbatim quote from the Bible would never be in English.

permalink | July 12, 2016 at 11:22 AM | 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)

January 20, 2016

The latest NBC/WSJ Presdential Election Poll

Numbers from the latest Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies paid for by NBC and Wall Street Journal. I never like the way any press or media digest and spit out the results of surveys, so I went to the source and did some of own digestion and spitting, so maybe you want to clean up afterward.

800 registered voters; 400 Republican primary voters plus 400 Democratic primary voters.

"Now I'm going to read you the names of several public figures, groups and organizations, and I'd like you to rate your feelings toward each one as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative. If you don't know the name, please just say so."

Barack Obama4742
Bill Clinton4536
Hillary Clinton4049
Bernie Sanders3831
George W. Bush3743
George W. Bush3743
Marco Rubio3129
Ted Cruz3135
Ben Carson3035
Donald Trump2958
Chris Christie2436
Jeb Bush1946

Asked of those who would vote in the Democratic primary: "If the next Democratic primary for president were being held today, which one of the following candidates would you favor?"


Voters who said they would vote in the Democratic primary were asked whether they perceive the following individuals as very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative or very conservative. I'll just list the top one for each.

Hillary ClintonModerate48
SandersVery Liberal41
Bill ClintonModerate48

Again, the following question was limited to those who said they would vote in the Democratic primary. "...would you prefer a president that is more liberal or less liberal, or about the same as..." the following individuals.

ObamaAbout the same56
Bill ClintonAbout the same55

No earth shaking surprise there. The majority of Democrats like Obama and Bill Clinton.

Republican primary voters were asked if they could see themselves supporting each of the following individuals for the Republican nomination. I'm just going to list the Yeses.

Jeb Bush42

But as to which candidate they want to get the Republican nomination, Trump comes out on the top when they ask the question a few different ways. BUT, if they eliminate all the candidates other than Cruz and Trump, Cruz comes out on top with 51%, Trump gets 43%. Between Rubio and Trump the Republican primary voters prefer Trump at 52%, Rubio at 45%.

How Republican primary voters view the following individuals on the very liberal to very conservative scale.

Jeb BushModerate44
CruzVery Conservative47
George W. BushModerate41

Republican primary voters were asked "Would you prefer a president that is more conservative or less conservative, or about the same as George W. Bush?" "About the same" got 43%. Again, the earth does not tremble.

And now we get down to the Presidential election.


Sanders has been correct that according to the polls he could defeat the likely Republican candidate better than Clinton.

"Has what you have seen, read, or heard so far during the Republican [or Democratic] presidential nominating process made you feel more favorable or less favorable toward the Republican [or Democratic] Party?" The majorities in each party both said it has had no impact on how they feel about their own party. But the results from all registered voters comes out differently. These are the top categories.

Republican PartyLess Favorable42
Democratic PartyNo Impact54

Those who will vote in the Republican primary still strongly support "the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman" (65%) and the NRA (62%). 33% say they are strong supporters of the Tea Party.

They gave more choices to those who said they would vote in the Democratic primary! There is strong support for immediate action to address climate change (67%), 62% strongly consider themselves environmentalists, 61% strongly support the gay rights movement, 54% are strong supporters of unions, and 50% are strong supporters of Black Lives Matter. Only 26% are strong supporters of "the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman" and 3% are strong supporters of the Tea Party!

11% of all surveyed did NOT vote in the Presidential election of 2012; 33% did not vote in the 2014 Congressional election. Those are pretty big numbers that could shift almost all of the results of the survey.

29% of those surveyed said they were employed in the "Professional/Managerial" category; only 5% were stay at home parents; 25% said they were retired. Those do not look like representative figures. Those seem to be people who might have the time to answer a lengthy survey. Other categories were white collar (17%), blue collar (17%), student (2%), unemployed (3% - "thanks Obama"), and 2% who are not sure if they are currently employed.

20% say their highest education level was a high school diploma, 26% have a four-year college degree. Only 2% say they dropped out of high school.

45% of those surveyed said they support or lean towards the Democratic party. 39% said Republican. Liberal 26%, moderate 37%, conservative 34%.

79% of those surveyed live in "non-union households."

24% never attend religious services; 34% say they attend weekly.

Household income: under $50,000 36%; $50,000-$100,000 32%; more than $100,000 27%.

permalink | January 20, 2016 at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2015

DHS Mayoral Election Decided By November 3 Ballots

The agenda for the city council meeting on December 1 includes details on how the voting went in each precinct, for each candidate, mail-in or walk-in. The last time I looked at this, I think about two-thirds of the votes in Desert Hot Springs were by mail. 71% of the ballots were cast by mail in this most recent election. One might think, then, that the outcome was pretty much decided before the traditional November 3 ballot. And you would be mostly right. Comparing mail-in totals with ballot totals below, one sees that the November 3 ballot moved Richard Duffle from last place to next to last, and it determined the mayoral outcome. Sanchez had the majority of mail-in ballots, but Matas got enough votes on the 3rd to defeat him.

You will also see that Zavala picked up a somewhat disproportionate number of votes on the 3rd, but they didn't change the ranking of the council candidates. Horton gained the smallest number on November 3 and slipped down to last place.

IOW, the increased campaigning in the last two weeks before November 3 is probably worth it in order to hold on to or grab a victory.

Mayor & Council

November 3, 2015 Election Results

permalink | November 26, 2015 at 05:06 PM | Comments (4)

November 25, 2015

"The Insanity Of Your Stupidity"

Scott Matas explains his opposition to the so-called “Good Wage Ordinance” at the November 17, 2015 city council meeting. Scott Matas is the new Mayor, to be sworn in on December 1. You can perhaps see why I thought it was so important to replace the current mayor.

permalink | November 25, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)

August 27, 2015

Scott Matas For Mayor

Scott's been playing a nice, polite, low-key campaign so far; so I was glad to get a campaign email from him that shows he plans to campaign on a realistic level. So glad, I'm just going to copy that email here:

Now is the time for the Desert Hot Springs residents to understand the difference between Council Member Scott Matas and Mayor Adam Sanchez. Scott Matas has a strong plan of action to lead Desert Hot Springs back to recovery from the last several years of financial difficulty.

Scott's five (5) point plan includes:
  • New Jobs & Strengthening Our Economy.
  • Enhancing Our Public Safety
  • Balancing Our Budget
  • Supporting Programs for Our Youth & Seniors
  • Improving Our Quality of Life

Scott Matas is a man of integrity and honesty who will have an open door policy with all residents of this community.

Adam Sanchez's plan "Keep Moving Forward."
  • No Economic Plan
  • No Public Safety Plan
  • No plan to increase income to the city
  • Plans to attend every "PHOTO OP" possible

Mayor Sanchez has a history of failure and unethical behavior since he came to Desert Hot Springs:
  • Terminated from every job he has had since he moved to Desert Hot Springs. FAILURE
  • As Mayor negotiated and accepted a $10,000.00 to $100,000.00 job with the first Medical Marijuana Company to receive a license, after making several votes to legalize Medical Marijuana sales in Desert Hot Springs. UNETHICAL
  • Ran for Mission Springs Water District – Not Elected (4th out of 5 candidates) FAILURE
  • Ran for City Council in 2005 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Ran for City Council Special Election in 2007 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Ran for Mayor 2007 – Not Elected FAILURE
  • Elected to the City Council in 2011 and failed to accomplish one campaign promise. FAILURE
  • Elected Mayor in 2013 (by 13 votes) [Was it 13? I thought it was 12. Maybe Scott is just being generous - Ron]

As Mayor Adam Sanchez has FAILED:
  • To balance the 2014/2015 Budget - (June 24, 2014 City Council Meeting)
  • To balance the 2015/2016 Budget – (June 16, 2015 City Council Meeting)
  • To have a Cash Reserve in 2014/2015 Budget - (June 24, 2014 City Council Meeting)
  • To have a Cash Reserve in 2015/2016 Budget – (June 16, 2015 City Council Meeting)
  • To establish any Economic Growth
  • To increase income to the city. (Two tax initiatives failed)
  • To develop any new retail business (except Medical Marijuana Shops.)
  • To reduce Crime
  • To show respect for fellow Council Members

Don't let PHOTO-OPS fool you into believing Adam Sanchez has accomplished anything except take credit for other people's hard work!!


Ph: 760-200-7428 ♦ Em: swmatas@gmail.com

Ph: 760-671-6904 ♦ Em: optigov85@aol.com

Let us know how you can help. We can use people to deliver flyers to homes and businesses, make telephone calls, assemble material, put signs in your yard or property, have a meet & greet, and register non-voters.



If I were going to quibble, I might point out that Sanchez has improved his own personal economy by getting that job he has. So at least one person's position has improved in the last two years.

Sanchez, in his billboard campaign, does a thing that I think is a problem with DHS thinking — maybe it goes on everywhere, but I never became aware of it until I moved here. And that is assigning complete responsibility for some failure or some success on one individual alone. He is claiming it was he alone who got the city budget to the barely survivable point where it is now. Funny, I thought I saw four other members of the City Council on the dais discussing and voting on it. I suspect there are some ingenious people on city staff that brought forward cost-cutting suggestions.

But the most obvious involuntary assistance in getting the budget in line came from the employees of the city, especially the police. Even with sudden, gigantic pay cuts there was no strike, no slowdown, no sudden mass resignation. Of course, over the months most employees have left; and many of the best left first, as that is the nature of things, leaving behind the very loyal.

Sanchez should find it difficult to campaign on public safety issues. If he is the only one who saved the city budget, then he is the only one who cut police pay, and he is the only one responsible for our now weakened police force.

You know the best way to start improving public safety? Propose a public safety tax the voters will approve, get it passed, restore full pay and benefits to the police, hire more police.

permalink | August 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2015

WTF Inglewood?

The city of Inglewood, California, tried to copyright its Youtube videos of city council meetings. Was this done because someone had found a way to turn city council meetings into a commercial product and make fat profits on the backs of the lean and hardworking city government? Oh, hell no! Some horrible, horrible citizen was editing copies of those videos in order to make political criticism of the mayor! Well, we can't be having that in America, now can we?

A federal judge has ruled against Inglewood in this matter. Probably taking no more than five seconds to come to his decision.

Using a MacBook laptop, Teixeira taught himself to upload meeting videos to iMovie. He added text and narration to lambaste Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. The rookie producer distributed the DVDs at no charge. Later, he posted his work to YouTube.

See?! If you let that kind of shit go on, who knows what could happen. Maybe the mayor won't get re-elected and then where would the world be?

BTW, whoever is the law firm retained by the city of Inglewood should be avoided by other cities who do not want to be dragged into losing embarrassing civil suits.

permalink | August 25, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2015

Russia Boycotts You

Western nations imposed an embargo on Russia due to the war in Ukraine. Russia has responded by destroying food from the west that is already in Russia! This way, the money paid to the west for the food stays in the west. The Russians who paid for it, get to go hungry. It would be pretty great if other countries under embargo (Iran, North Korea, for example) would help us out by enhancing the damage done. North Korea could ban the heating of homes in the winter. Cuba would have petitioned to become a territory of the U.S. in 1961. Iran could shut down its entire electric grid. Let's have more of this Putin strategy!

permalink | August 18, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2015

Candidates For Office In Desert Hot Springs

As we come down to the drop-deadline for candidates to file for the November election, here are the names of those who have "pulled papers."

For Mayor:

  • Scott Matas
  • Adam Sanchez

For Council:

  • Russell Betts
  • Larry Buchanan
  • Richard Duffle
  • Asia Horton
  • Jeanette Jaime
  • Yvonne Parks
  • Anayeli Zavala

BTW, I ran into Al Schmidt today, and he's not running - in case you were holding your breath for that.

permalink | August 3, 2015 at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2015

Huckabee Triggers Godwin's Law

"...to the door of the oven." No one can fail to understand that Huckabee was calling Obama the new Hitler. Hence, Godwin's Law: "'As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1' —​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism."

"once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress."

IOW, Huckabee loses now and must withdraw from the race.

permalink | July 27, 2015 at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2015

"Probable Cause"

The Fair Political Practices Commission made a couple of findings of probable cause in the matter of Russell Betts. I've heard these findings misinterpreted by more than one person.

You can read the PDF report here.

First, they explain "probable cause."

Please note, a finding of probable cause does not constitute a finding that a violation has actually occurred. The respondents are presumed to be innocent of any violation of the Political Reform Act unless a violation is proved in a subsequent proceeding.

And then it goes on with two findings of probable cause:

In the Matter of Russell Betts, 12/289: After a hearing on January 13, 2015, probable cause was found to believe Respondent committed the following violations of the Act:

Respondent Russell Betts, in or about March 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence governmental decisions regarding the installation of a barricade, in which he had a financial interest because he owned real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.

Respondent Russell Betts, on or about September 18, 2011, as a member of the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council, used or attempted to use his official position to influence a governmental decision regarding a development agreement to develop an upscale restaurant in city owned property in downtown Desert Hot Springs, in which he had a financial interest because he held a leasehold interest in real property within 500 feet of the property which was the subject of the governmental decision, in violation of Government Code Section 87100.

Most readers will recognize that latter item was part of Jason Simpson's harassment complaint against Betts and Rick Daniels' letter of complaint.

permalink | March 26, 2015 at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2015

CV Link Route Identification Workshop #1

Tonight was the first of two community meetings in Desert Hot Springs to discuss the route and other aspects of the proposed CV Link as it may extend to Desert Hot Springs. The second meeting will be Monday, March 2, 6 PM, Carl May Center.

I'll just share the audio with you without comment:

The discussion wandered across many subjects not directly relevant to the CV Link, including access to Joshua Tree National Park. I want to share this map with you to give you an idea of the location of major landmarks north of the city, since these seem to be pretty slippery in the minds of many.
JTNP western end
The locations drawn on the map are rough approximations
. The blue squiggles from left to right are Big Morongo Canyon, Little Morongo Canyon, Long Canyon. The thin green line represents an approximation of the western boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. The yellow spot is Black Rock Campground. The pink areas are what are labeled as Lower and Upper Covington on the National Geographic map of Joshua Tree National Park.

But if one is considering access from Desert Hot Springs into the park, one must be aware of the wilderness areas in the park:
Wilderness Areas Of Joshua Tree National Park
The darker areas are designated as wilderness. The red lines are the paved roads. As you can see, the wilderness areas butt up against the entire western boundary of the park. The first break in wilderness as you travel along Dillon away from Desert Hot Springs is at Berdoo Canyon, where you can see they've carved that road out of the wilderness areas. At its narrowest, the Berdoo Canyon gap is more than half a mile wide.

What is wilderness, you may ask. The National Park Service explains it to you here.

Designated wilderness is the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. Only Congress may designate wilderness or change the status of wilderness areas. Wilderness areas are designated within existing federal public land. Congress has directed four federal land management agencies—U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service—to manage wilderness areas so as to preserve and, where possible, to restore their wilderness character.

The Wilderness Act prohibits permanent roads and commercial enterprises, except commercial services that may provide for recreational or other purposes of the Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas generally do not allow motorized equipment, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, temporary roads, permanent structures or installations (with exceptions in Alaska).

People can recreate in wilderness, though in most places individuals do so without mechanical transport. Visitors may hike, fish, camp, watch wildlife, photograph, or hunt (where legally authorized).

Those wilderness areas will remain a permanent challenge to connecting DHS to JTNP in the big way that I think some people envision. Can we get Congress to carve a chunk out the wilderness to foster the economic development of Desert Hot Springs? How persuasive do we think Congressman Ruiz is? As it stands now, Desert Hot Springs could be the stepping off point for hiking trails into the park, but that's about it.

permalink | February 26, 2015 at 09:22 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2015

The Other Shoe Drops

The Desert Sun reports that Dean Gray resigned from the Planning Commission yesterday. The article gives no reason for the resignation.

permalink | January 22, 2015 at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2015

Council Member McKee's Statement

There is a significant number of people in the Desert Hot Springs area who rely upon arguing that black is white, up is down, bad is good. They've tried to lie about last week's Planning Commission meeting. I expect they will try to lie about the reasons Councilmember Joe McKee sought to remove Chuck Parker from the Planning Commission, citing imaginary conspiracies and corruption. So here's a transcript of the statement made by Mr. McKee during the council meeting before the unanimous vote to remove Mr. Parker:

I apologize in advance for how long this is going to take, but we'll go through it. The meeting that took place of the Planning Commission last week was only the trigger for this action. It wasn't the only reason that it happened. During the period of time that Chuck has been on the Planning Commission especially them getting...he continuously came in and said things like "I wasn't able to read the packet" and complain about how much time he had to do that. Unfortunately, that's something that I've said a lot too. The problem is, we get anywhere between 250 and 1,000 pages of documents to go over every meeting - twice a month. That doesn't count special meetings of which during a period of time we were having every week, and we're going to start that up again. It is my responsibility to go over that documentation. I usually go over it two or three times and submit questions in advance to the city [staff] on Sundays so that they have a couple of days to work on it. That's the reason I don't ask a lot of questions in a lot of instances. Because they've already sent me a memo like they did today detailing the answers to a lot of my questions that I think the public doesn't really need to hear because a lot of them are pretty esoteric, to say the least.

The problem I have is a lot of what Mike Picardi just said. I relish conflict. I relish people discussing things and being in a position that they come to some sort of conclusion with everyone's input being in place. What we have fought as a city council in the last year is the perception of everyone else in the city and in the Coachella Valley - in the state - about Desert Hot Springs being a city that cannot get along, that gets into a position that arguments become more than personal, and that we're in a position that we lose total control of meetings. Now, I listened to the meeting after people came to me and said things like that was the worst meeting they'd seen in their lives. And these were people that had decades of experience. What I looked at was the totality of the situation; not only the fact that he several times had said that he couldn't be involved in the process because he couldn't read everything. But the fact that over and over again he would yell at people in the city offices, also, about things. Not discuss things.

[City Manager] Martín [Magaña] and I have some pretty hard discussions about things going on in the city. But I don't run around the city hall yelling at people. I don't yell at the City Attorney that something he's doing should cost him his license. Let me just say something about that. We have a City Attorney that reduced his fee from $35,000 to $25,000 and has spent most of the last two weeks trying to put out thousands of pages of documents that people have wanted to see. Even though the points that were awarded have had no people come in and ask for them to be reviewed by the reviewing committee at this point. The problem is that technically the point system had to be discussed and a document put in requesting that a person needed to appeal them 15 days after the 10th of December. Not the situation with the Planning Commission that was dealing with the CUP. By the time this Planning Commission got this situation as something that they were looking at - they were supposed to be looking at the CUP, the point system had already gone through the period of time of appeal.

Now, let's talk about transparency a little bit. The City Attorney is getting members of the Bar and other people in the cities of California and other states approaching him, asking to emulate how transparent this process has been. Is that not true? [City Attorney Quintanilla acknowledged that it was true.] You can say anything you want. Tell me a process someplace that's more transparent than this. I understand that people think in the past things haven't been transparent, but the City Council was very, I think, forthcoming in dividing the process in such a way that exactly the sort of thing that was complained about, the Mafia being involved and everything else, that that would not occur. The City Council only set up the point system. The staff - multiple staff members graded everything. The CUP was supposed to be handled by the Planning Commission. The regulatory stuff was supposed to be handled by the City Manager, making sure that all the LifeScans and everything else took place, as far as that is concerned. The reason we did this, was to avoid even the inkling of any corruption, as far as people being bought off. Now, if someone has a process that would work better than that, provide it. Don't just say it's corruption, what we've done.

Now, attack on the staff. It's real easy to do, folks. They can't fight back. They can't fight back. And one of the things I've learned in my life is if you treat people with respect and ask them questions reasonably, they'll react to you. They'll work with you. Now, one of the things that people don't realize is how small the staff is and how much stuff they're having to do now. Last year, the City Clerk had to provide 60 public information requests in a 50-week period. That doesn't sound like much. The problem is, some of those were huge. You're also in a position that 60 are only the big requests he got. And then we have people complaining about the fact that he doesn't have time to do minutes. You pile work on the person and then you yell at him because he can't do something you think is important, even though the recordings of all these Commissions and everything else are on the computers right now, are on the internet. You can listen to them in total.

Now, as far as being a rubber stamp. What rubber stamp? What rubber stamp? Multiple people, not just the three [dispensary applicants] that are in a position that were chosen, chose to lease property, buy property, start construction. Multiple people, not just one or two that we're talking about here. They took the risk as businesspeople.

Now, the problem I have with this whole process is this: I want people on that commission that are going to question things. I don't want them to be maniacs. Questioning things is okay, as far as I'm concerned. And the person I will put back into this position I will expect that. I will expect them not to get along with me on everything, but we have to be in a position that we don't have Commissions and the City Council of Desert Hot Springs looked upon as being a bunch of crazy people. And that literally is what we've been fighting for years now. Again, I don't care about dissent. If you dissent, you can say what you want. You can vote. You can try and convince other people to do what you want to. I get frustrated at times up here. Sometimes I'm successful at getting people to vote with me. A lot of times I'm not. But I don't run around with my hair on fire, when it comes down to it.

This is the way the process works, as far as I'm concerned. Now, I don't feel good about this either. I wish I didn't have to do it, but if you look at the totality of the situation, I can see no choice, as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Here is the audio recording:

permalink | January 21, 2015 at 06:21 PM | Comments (4)