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March 31, 2011

Nightsky Timelapses

Sub Zero - winter night timelapse in South Dakota by Randy Halverson:

Filed under Photography | permalink | March 31, 2011 at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

Well, that was fast

This cactus plant in my yard has sat patiently through all of cold November with literally dozens of flower buds arrayed across every pad like so many North Korean missiles. With the sudden improvement in the weather, it has lept into action, opening up about half a dozen blooms today.

Cactus Flower (0132)

Filed under Cactus,Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | March 31, 2011 at 09:00 PM | Comments (2)

Tedesco Park Clean Up On Saturday


EVENT: Neighborhood Clean-Up

DATE: April 2, 2011 DAY: Saturday / TIME: 9 A.M. to 11 A.M.

LOCATION: 12800 West Arroyo Drive, Desert Hot Springs, Guy J. Tedesco Park

On Saturday, April 2, 2011, Southwest Community Church of Indian Wells as part of their continuing outreach efforts will be in Desert Hot Springs to help clean up weeds and debris in and around Guy J. Tedesco Park. They will be using tools and supplies provided by The Desert Hot Springs "Neighborhood Toolbox" which were donated by local businesses and residents. Residents may encounter traffic delays on East and West Arroyo Drive from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M. during this event.

To organize a similar community service event or to donate tools and supplies to the "Neighborhood Toolbox", please call the Desert Hot Springs Code Enforcement Manager Al Sengstock at 760-329-6411 Ext. 267.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 31, 2011 at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2011

Cameron Barrows Optimistic About Joshua Trees

A story in the Press-Enterprise about a project that showed that the joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park "are better adapted to handle drought and are less likely to give up so easily" than suggested by previous studies. Joshua trees have stopped reproducing in the hotter areas of the park, but concentrations of one to two-year old joshua trees were found at higher elevations like Covington Flats. "'What this indicates is more of a hopeful scenario, in that if we as a world of people who consume carbon and expel it, start living more sustainably, then things like protecting Joshua trees in the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park are possible,' said Barrows."

Filed under California,Science | permalink | March 30, 2011 at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Desert Hot Springs

Mt. San Jacinto (0056)

Mt. San Jacinto (0050)

8th Street (0048)

DHS Spa (0049)

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | March 30, 2011 at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

Blue Alert System

A Blue Alert is issued when

  • A law enforcement officer has been killed, suffers serious bodily injury, or is assaulted with a deadly weapon, and the suspect has fled the scene of the offense.
  • A law enforcement agency investigating the offense has determined that the suspect poses an imminent threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel.
  • A detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle or license plate is available for broadcast.
  • Alerting the public may help avert further harm or speed the apprehension of the suspect.

Go here for more information and to sign up for Blue Alerts.

Filed under California | permalink | March 30, 2011 at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2011


A backlog of photos that aren't going to fit into categories.

A Wallace Neff House in Pasadena (0113)
A home designed by Wallace Neff in Pasadena.
I took a tour of six Wallace Neff homes on Sunday offered by Pasadena Heritage. Wallace Neff, IMO, is most famous for designing homes for celebrities. None of the homes on Sunday's tour were designed for celebrities. Photography was not allowed, unless you were standing on the public street. There were some interior details that I would have liked to photograph, but overall the homes were less than inspiring.

A Wallace Neff House in Pasadena (0114)
Another Wallace Neff house.

Tree in Pasadena (0115)

North Shore Marina (1709)
The North Shore marina.

Verbena (0116)

Clothing Tag (9614)

Flower (0010)

High Desert Bronco (0119)

Back Door (0030)
Testing the low light capabilities of a new camera.
This is a handheld photo.

Cactus (0117)

Kiwanis Club of Borrego Springs (1665)

Filed under California,Photography | permalink | March 29, 2011 at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

From City Manager Daniels

Edited and condensed.

  • Incremental progressive steps on these well known issues: Village at Mission Lakes, Brisas De Paz, Western and Scenic paving, the planned land acquisition along Sonora, Safe Routes 2 Schools.
  • Camino Campanero Traffic Signal - Contacting the property owners for a grant of easement. If no favorable response, the matter will be turned over to the City Attorney for the condemnation of the required Right-of-Way.
  • Bids are being solicited for the improvements at Carl May.
  • Code enforcement has cited the owner of the Fresh & Easy building (the owner is not Fresh & Easy) for failure to maintain the property.
  • Citations have been issued for "non-permitted banners and temporary signs" at fast food outlets.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 29, 2011 at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2011

Arrested Wanted For Sexual Assault On 11-Year Old

Michael Sykes
Michael Sykes, age 19, got a fresh photo.


Update 03-28-11 - Arrest of Adult Suspect:

On March 28, 2011, investigators from the Moreno Valley Police Department conducted an interview with Michael Bobby Sykes (black male adult, 19 years old, of Moreno Valley) after he had been identified by witnesses as being possibly involved in the sexual assault that occurred on March 10, 2011. After an extensive interview, Michael Sykes was arrested for rape, sodomy on a child under the age of fourteen, forced oral copulation and aggravated assault on a child. Sykes has been identified as an active gang member of the street gang, South Side Mafia. After the interview, Sykes was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center.

In total, seven juveniles and one adult were arrested for the sexual assault that occurred on March 10, 2011. All of the suspects have been identified as members, or associates, of the South Side Mafia street gang.

The original press release:

Press Release: Sexual Assault on a Child
Agency: Moreno Valley Police
Station Area: Moreno Valley
Incident Date: March 10, 2011 Time: 4-6:00 PM
Incident Location: 25700 block of Los Cabos, Moreno Valley (Victoriano Park)
Reporting Officer: Sergeant Nathan Kaas
Suspect Photo: 03-28-11

Michael Sykes, 19 Years


On Thursday, March 10, 2010, at 9:00 PM, the Moreno Valley Police Department conducted a sexual assault investigation occurring at Victoriano Park, located at 25700 block of Los Cabos, Moreno Valley. The victim (11 years old) reported she had been sexually assaulted by a group of black male subjects inside of the bathroom.

After an extensive investigation the Moreno Valley Investigations Unit and Special Enforcement Team, arrested six juvenile suspects. There is one adult suspect, Michael Sykes (19 yrs), still outstanding. It is believed Sykes has since fled to the Los Angeles area, and a warrant for his arrest will be issued. All suspects involved in this investigation are suspected gang members and associates of a local street gang in Moreno Valley.

The juvenile suspects arrested were booked in Riverside County Juvenile Hall for charges of sexual assault on a child.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Duke Viveros of the Moreno Valley Police Department’s Investigation’s Unit at 951-247-8700.

| permalink | March 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2011

Wrapping Up The Death Valley Photos

Superintendent's Cabin (9662)
The remains of the Superintendent's Cabin above Wildrose Canyon.
My theory is that the superintendent would be required to live in the park year 'round, and before air conditioning in the summer months he would want a place at a high elevation (this was about 6,000 feet, IIRC) where there was plenty of water.

Superintendent's Cabin (9670)

Superintendent's Cabin Water Tank (9663)
A tank of some sort a little ways uphill from the Superintendent's Cabin
. A water supply? A hot tub?

Death Valley Salt Creek (9672)
Salt Creek with pupfish
. Flows reliably down in the hottest part of Death Valley.

Ed & Pete (9646)
Ed and Pete.

Stovepipe Wells (9621)
All lined up at Stovepipe Wells.

The complete set of photos from this trip to Death Valley can be seen here.

Filed under California,Photography | permalink | March 27, 2011 at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2011

Whitewater Jail Forum

The audio recording of this debate format on the subject of the Riverside County detention facility proposed for Whitewater can be found here. This was held Saturday morning, March 26, at the Camelot Theaters in Palm Springs. I understand that the theater donated their space and staff for this.

Supervisor John Benoit speaks at the beginning. The civilized debate is moderated by Hank Plante. The county was represented by Chief Deputy Steve Thetford and Rob Field from the Riverside County Facilities Management Department. The county's website for the detention center project is at saferstreets.countyofriverside.us

The opposition was represented by Paul Lewin, Julius Kazen, and Keith Brinson. The website for the opposition is at movethatjail.org

Supervisor Benoit said no matter what is decided, work won't begin on the jail for ten years. He has committed to a scientific, unbiased analysis of what effect the facility could expect to have on tourism in the Coachella Valley.

The county acknowledged the difficulty in siting any jail. They said that they knew the Whitewater location was flawed, but said it was less flawed than the other sites considered.

Much of the opposition's arguments would apply to the jail no matter where it would be located. Once you trim those out of what they say, you're left with NIMBYism or, to be more precise, "our NIMBYism is more important than their NIMBYism." Our NIMBYism is based on the fact that something like 75% of tourist dollars in Riverside County are spent in the Coachella Valley. They've got one analyst who says that siting the jail in Whitewater has the potential to harm tourism in the valley. And there is the unspoken assumption that our tourism dollar losses will be greater than some other place's noon-tourism dollars. There is no analysis yet to support that, but I would assume that would be a goal of the objective study Supervisor Benoit talked about, to show whether there will be dollar losses in the Coachella Valley and compare them to the losses that would occur elsewhere.

I've heard opponents of the Whitewater site say "There is a better place to put that jail." But they never go on to the next sentence, which should be "And that better place is blah-blah-blah." My main reason in going to this forum was to hear the opposition identify that better place. I was very disappointed that they did not do so.

It would seem obvious to me that since the county identified four other possible sites, all further west in the county and then eliminated them for various reasons, all the opposition needs to do is go back to the reasons those sites were eliminated and show where the county was wrong. This shouldn't be too difficult to do, but the opposition did none of that. They argued that all the other sites were closer to the population center of the county, but they didn't address the reasons the county ruled them out. They suggested that the March Air Base be added to the list of possible sites.

>Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit (0072)
Supervisor John Benoit

Riverside County's Commitment (0082)
The county's commitment

Hank Plante (0084)
Moderator Hank Plante

Chief Deputy Steve Thetford (0074)
Chief Deputy Steve Thetford

Rob Field (0076)
Rob Field

Paul Lewin, Julius Kazen, Keith Brinson (0105)
Representing the opposition
: Paul Lewin, Julius Kazen, Keith Brinson.

Flawed Assumptions In The County's Initial Analysis (0091)
Flawed assumptions in the county's initial analysis.
They assumed that the average jail visitor would be from the same demographic as the average tourist visiting the valley.

Irrelevant (0104)
Irrelevant at least, possibly fearmongering by the opposition.
This slide was about the attacks on tourists in the Tampa area in the 1990s. This had nothing at all do with jails, but did show the danger of letting criminals roam the streets to prey on tourists.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | March 26, 2011 at 03:57 PM | Comments (17)

March 25, 2011

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

The Wildrose charcoal kilns in Death Valley National Park were built in 1877 and used for no more than two years. They still reek of smoke. The NPS sign at the site said they were operated by Chinese laborers. The NPS website says there is no documentation to support that. The sign also said that the kilns had been rehabbed twice, once in the 1930s and again more recently.

Charcoal Kilns (9623)

Charcoal Kilns (9636)

Charcoal Kilns (9641)

Charcoal Kiln (9627)

More photos of the charcoal kilns here.

Filed under California,Photography | permalink | March 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2011

Parolee Sweep Throughout Coachella Valley

Press Release: Parole Compliance Sweep
Agency: Palm Desert Station
Station Area: Palm Desert
Incident Date: March 24, 2011 Time: 5:00 A.M.
Incident Location: Palm Desert Station Area of Operations
Reporting Officer: Lieutenant Andrew Shouse


On Thursday, March 24, 2011, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Palm Desert Station conducted a large scale parole compliance sweep known as "Operation Desert Force". At 5:00 AM approximately 150 law enforcement officers from agencies throughout Riverside County assembled at the Palm Desert Station for the operation. Fifteen teams of officers were sent into the field and conducted compliance checks at the residences of 100 subjects on active state parole. The purpose of the operation was to ensure that those individuals released into the community on active parole are in compliance with terms of their parole and state law.

Agencies participating in the operation included the following:

  • Riverside County Sheriff's Department – Palm Desert Station
  • Riverside County Sheriff's Department – Indio Station
  • Riverside County Sheriff's Department – Special Enforcement Bureau
  • Riverside County Sheriff's Department – Special Investigations Bureau
  • Coachella Valley Narcotic Task Force
  • Coachella Valley Violent Crime Gang Task Force
  • Riverside County – Gang Task Force
  • Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team (SAFE)
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – CPAT Team

Compliance checks were conducted on parolees in the following communities:

  • Palm Desert 32
  • Rancho Mirage 13
  • 1000 Palms 13
  • Desert Hot Springs 39 (unincorporated area)
  • Sky Valley 3

Total: 100

Twelve (12) subjects were arrested during the sweep. Nine (9) subjects were on parole; three (3) subjects were not on parole and happened to be contacted by officers during the sweep.

1. Jeanette Shelton39Desert Hot SpringsMisdemeanor Warrant – Welfare Fraud (non-parolee)
2. Joseph Antista45Desert Hot SpringsParole Violation
3. Andrew Fonceca26Rancho MirageUnder the Influence & Parole Violation
4. Larry Price36Rancho MirageParole Violation
5. Jerry Angulo39Rancho MiragePossession of Paraphernalia and Marijuana & Parole Violation
6. Joseph Wacker48Rancho MiragePossession of Paraphernalia & Parole Violation
7. Willie Moore40Palm DesertParole Violation
8. John Prock29Palm DesertParole Violation
9. Karina Castro21Palm DesertPossession of Marijuana (non-parolee)
10. Justin Simmons33Desert Hot SpringsMisdemeanor Warrant – DUI (non-parolee)
11. William Morrow43Desert Hot SpringsPossession of Methamphetamine and Paraphernalia & Parole Violation
12. Edward Peirce291000 PalmsMisdemeanor Warrant – Under the Influence & Vandalism

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Palm Desert Station is committed to ensuring the safety of our community. To that end, we are planning future multi-jurisdictional enforcement operations in our area. Anyone with questions regarding this operation may contact Sergeant Jeff Buompensiero or Lieutenant Andrew Shouse of the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station at (760) 836-1600. Criminal information may also be reported anonymously through Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-"STOP".

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | March 24, 2011 at 05:22 PM | Comments (1)

State Of The City

The text and graphics of Mayor Parks' State Of The City address delivered yesterday morning to the Chamber of Commerce is available here in PDF format.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 24, 2011 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

DHS City Council - March 22

The audio recording of this meeting of the Desert Hot Springs City Council is available here.

The meeting was preceded with a moment of silence for Officer Jermaine Gibson, who died in the line of duty. He had trained and worked in Desert Hot Springs as a reserve officer.

Public Comments

Copies of three written comments submitted to the city were made available.

One from Russ Augustine, Chamber of Commerce President, said that the Chamber will be behind the promotion of the festival at whatever date the council chooses.

Another from Judy Bowmen, Hoteliers Association President, said the festival could be a great thing. She suggested the festival should be held in the fall to avoid the breezes of spring. The consensus of the hotel owners is to hold it in the fall.

And this lengthier message from Maria Lease at The Spring Resort & Spa:


Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I would love to attend this evening but we are holding a debriefing meeting for last weekend's LA Travel Show and planning for next year's event.

The 2 comments I have to make are these:

Firstly, I hope the council will decide to hold the festival in October or November. The spring is far too risky. A horrible therapeutic breezy day would be the worst press for Desert Hot Springs. A chance that cannot be taken, in my opinion. I won't hold a wedding at THE SPRING in March or April for that reason.

Secondly and most importantly is the location. I hope that the council will consider other options than the Mission Springs Park. People won't even have a chance to enter DHS. They'll see unattractive strips mall and nothing more. They'll be taken to remote parking locations in a bus and will spend most of their time in a dirt lot overlooking Palm Drive. An uninspired location that has nothing to offer than the flat space.

The Tuscan Hills property across from the Flamingo is sensational. The property has been graded. The view is out of this world. It's not possible to stand on that hill and not be entranced with the view. Every festival attendee will notice. Every festival attendee will think, "What a breathtaking view" Their interest will be piqued. Will they come back when they're looking for a house in the desert? Will they want to explore the area later? Yes, those are possibilities because the location inspires. Just standing there is an advertisement for the city. We want to use this festival to showcase our city's strengths and to introduce thousands to our glorious location. Let's display this magnificent view to 10,000 on one night. They will remember! I've always feared the Mission Springs Park was a huge mistake, does not promote the city's strengths and might even hurt our image. (it ain't very glorious in that lot) Please consider this option.

Thank you for the chance to comment.

Maria Lease

I don't know if Tuscan Hills would actually be do-able, but it would be a genius location if it can be done.

David Hoopes spoke at the council meeting. Questioned whether Mission Springs Park is the best place for the festival. Neither that park nor Two Bunch Palms Resort would bring people very far into our town. He suggested that land that has already been cleared and leveled by developers would be good. He suggested Tuscan Hills [great minds think alike] or Skyborne. He suggested that the producer of the event should negotiate for a better site.

Lorraine Becker spoke next.

I preface my remarks with a quote from Peter Drucker. "What gets planned gets done." And as you know, he was quite the quality management guru. I really implore this council and city staff to push the pause button. I urge you to follow municipal code for conducting an RFP. I urge you to disseminate an RFP or RFQ with requirements that are rigorous and ensure that the city will deliver a high quality event. I speak as a resident and as a person who has done a lot of events and know that we want to have a high quality event and I'm in full support of a festival for this city. I urge us to step back and look at do we have the staff to manage the contract. We can't just expect whomever we contract with to produce this event without a significant management and time investment on the part of staff. And we all know that we have significantly reduced our staff. There are unknown budget constraints looming. I urge us all to de-politicize this event and move away from the election cycle. Event planning - even a minor one, such as a luncheon for a nonprofit - takes 6 to 9 months in the initial planning stages with a large team. I would suggest we move to fall of 2012 because fall seems to be the best time for an event of this nature, given our climate. I suggest we vet the work already done. We have one chance in this valley to get it right. This entire valley is looking at our planning, our follow through and implementation. Thank you very much.

City Manager Daniels said that now the assets of the festival have been assigned to the city, the city is free to move forward. He listed the many assets that the city has, the planning, the agreements, sponsorships, etc. The city will look for someone with a task-specific plan and who will report monthly to the city council, work cooperatively with the city and secure additional private funding. The city will not invest any more money in it. [Other than trivial amounts, Ron would clarify]. The process can be announced via an ad in the Desert Sun that will cost around $400. The city's website and all social media will be used to get the word out as well. Qualifications will be solicited. Mr. Daniels has received 15 to 20 phone calls from parties interested in taking on this task, but he has not engaged in any discussions because that was barred under the contract the city had with Tresed Ventures. The city is in the process of contacting all of those people now. A general notice will be sent out as an RFQ (request for qualifications): what have you done? who are you? what events have you been involved in?

Mr. Daniels suggests the city then organize a committee of industry experts, of people with experience in organizing events, especially musical events, wellness festivals. The valley is full of people who have retired from the entertainment industry. City staff can pave roads and arrest people, but it is not within their core competency to put on music festivals.

Next step would be for the committee to review those qualifications submitted to narrow the list to a few top-ranked parties. Those would be invited to submit proposals (RFP). The committee would review the proposals, interview people, ask for presentations, and finally make a recommendation to the city council along with recommendations for specific tasks. The site is an open question that would be resolved by whoever takes on the festival. The assets of the festival would then be turned over to that private party.

Mayor Parks asked how long the assets would remain viable. Mr. Daniels said it varies. If it stays at Mission Springs Park, for example, then the site plan is still good. The list of potential exhibitors will probably deteriorate rapidly. Sponsors will also have a short shelf-life. The marketing plan has a medium span of life, because the art of getting the word out is mechanical: billboards, press releases, etc.

Mayor Parks asked how the construction of the I-10 interchange will affect the festival. Mr. Daniels said that anything that restricts the flow of traffic will reduce the number who will attend, but he is not an expert in the field and couldn't say if the reduction will be 1% or 15%, for example.

Mayor Parks said she spoke to an experienced source, who she did not identify. That person told her the project should be completed at no further cost to the city. It would be a pay-to-play contract with a performance clause. "That contract should be completed and entered into through an entertainment attorney who has the expertise and the knowledge of what is expected and what is in the industry." [City Attorney Duran was not present at this meeting.] In her opinion, we should find out what's out there. Make contacts. When those who are interested submit their qualifications and proposals, the city council can see if there's anything out there that we want to pursue.

Councilmember Pye asked if the CCAC was out of this process now. Mr. Daniels said it's a policy choice for the city council. The committee's recommendation could go through the CCAC before it comes to the council; members of the CCAC could sit on the committee. The committee does not have to be small. A member of the council or the Public Safety Commission could be on the committee as well. Ms. Pye asked who would select the committee. Mr. Daniels said he would gather the names and submit them to the city council, and the council would choose.

I think I need to put contact information for Rick Daniels here. His email is [email protected] The phone number is 760-329-6411 ext. 101
I'm sure he's standing by right now, waiting for your call. Do you want to organize a festival, bringing fame to the city of DHS and riches to yourself? Do you want to be on the committee that puts this thing back on track? Extra points if your name is Mickey Rooney or Judy Garland.

Mayor Parks says "Don't be shy."

Councilmember Scott Matas said that realistically there couldn't be an event in the fall of 2011. It would be a minimum, of 4 weeks just to get a committee together and choose a possible candidate to take on the festival. Mr. Daniels said it's closer to 6 to 8 weeks. He said he reached out via the Desert Sun, asking people to submit their comments to the city council. They got, as you saw, three written comments and two "live" comments. [Hey, I try to avoid reading the comments on articles in the Desert Sun, so that's my excuse. There were, however, more than the usual number of people in attendance at this special session of the city council.]

Mayor Pro Tem Betts said it sounded like the event was being put on an 18-month track. He complimented Ms. Becker on her comments. He said there isn't time to do it in October 2011 without a full-court press and everything else in the city put on the back burner.

Councilmember Baker cited "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," saying that on the way to the wellness festival a funny thing happened. "It crashed and burned, but we learned one heckuva lot of stuff." All of the comments received translates down to two words: "slow down." He said the city is looking for a "signature event." It doesn't have to be a wellness festival. He said that in his conversations with those experienced in the entertainment industry, up-front money is not standard at all. He said he agreed with Maria Lease, that Mission Springs Park was not the most ideal location. He suggested Skyborne as a possibility, but he didn't want to micromanage. The promoter will have to evaluate these issues and make a decision. He moved to have staff proceed and report back in a month.

Mayor Parks asked for a clarification between the RFQ and RFP. Mr. Daniels said he suggests a two-step process. First, they send their credentials. The committee reviews them and solicits detailed proposals.

Mayor Pro Tem Betts said we need to be sure to look at what exactly are we looking to get out of this festival. What are the demographics? What are the type of people that we want to come here? Their spending power? Will they stay at the spas? Will they have sufficient spending power to boost our economy. The goal is not just to be known, but to get economic benefit out of it.

Ideally, I think our target demographic is those people who are financially well off, want to buy a house in a small, up and coming desert city with a view and award-winning water, who either have secure jobs or don't need one, and who are personally committed to doing all of their shopping within a 5 mile radius of home. I don't know what you call that demographic. It's easier to identify the other end of the spectrum, the people we never want to appeal to. Off the top of my head I can name three groups, but there must be more:

  1. Homeless drug addicts;
  2. Parolees; and
  3. The North Korean army

Mr. Betts went on to say that timeframe needs to be long enough to allow for a genuine, detailed search, "to knock on every possible door that will be qualified." Mayor Parks asked him how he proposed to knock on every door and get every person who is qualified to apply for the job. He said that the regular process should be followed. You can't find every promoter out there who is qualified, he said. It takes time. Mayor Parks said generally RFQs and RFPs are simply a matter of public notice. Mr. Betts said to do more than that. "Who and how?" Mayor Parks asked.

"What if a qualified representative comes forward and says 'I can put this on in October [2011]'?" Mayor Parks asked. "Do we say no?" Mr. Daniels said the system will deliver that choice, if it is viable.

Councilmember Pye said she is okay with fall 2012, but she's concerned about the quality of the entertainment. She is concerned about the demographics as well. She said she was "going to ask the elephant to sit at the table." She is glad that this is not being added to the agenda of the election season. By October 2011 she hopes the plans are so concrete that after the election, it can't be messed with.

Councilmember Baker again moved to authorize staff to proceed, with a report back to council in four weeks. This type of event does not fall under the usual purchasing regulations, he said. "There is no procedure that governs this type of thing," he said. We need to broaden the scope of invitees, but he questioned the need to spend $400 for an official newspaper notice, because we've gotten enough free press on this. The world knows there's a process and that they just need to contact the City Manager to get put on the list.

Councilmember Matas seconded his motion. Mayor Pro Tem Betts asked for more specificity, which Mr. Baker declined to offer. Then Mr. Baker clarified that he meant for staff to proceed as discussed by the council, not as outlined in the staff report.

Mayor Parks said the process is call for RFQs due in 10 days, the city will organize a committee of experts who will reviews the RFQs and select three to interview further within 5 days, making a recommendation to council within 2 weeks, council will select and authorize or continue. Mr. Baker said that was too fast. Mr. Daniels said that the "10 days" doesn't mean 10 days from now. He asked to be able to reserve the ability to fine tune the schedule as things move along. He suggested the outline in the staff report is probably too aggressive. Mr. Baker said the intent of his motion is to give the City Manager the green light to go ahead, but not to make any firm decisions until he gets back to the council. "Slow down. Start with as much of a blank slate as possible. Determine whatever the assets may be." He said that "we" [whether council or staff wasn't clear to me] still have to review how Tresed spent our money, but that's an entirely separate issue from how we proceed to a future festival.

Mayor Pro Tem Betts moved to amend the motion to say that the council be provided all of the documents related to this within 30 days, so the council could have a clear idea of the assets. The motion died for lack of a second. "Okay, so nobody wants the documents," Mr. Betts said. The other four member of the council all spoke at once saying that is not what they said. "I stand corrected," Mr. Betts said.

Mr. Baker's motion was approved 5-0.

Mayor Parks said she wanted to comment on the demographics. Those in the wellness industry have said they want a venue to share their wares, and there hasn't been one. Those are the demographics we are looking at, the holistic community, the alternative medicine community. Mr. Betts said that may be part of what we will get from a promoter. Let them analyze that.

City Manager Daniels said that from the beginning the festival was a private event, of which the city was sponsor. We have now gained ownership of certain assets, and those assets will be turned over to someone else who is going to run the festival. The city attorney has gathered all the information and it is in the process of being packaged up to be forwarded to the council and media based on public records requests. Mr. Betts said he understands that a whole bunch of information has already gone out to the news outlets, but not to the council.

Mayor Parks said the major thing based on all the comments about the festival is that everyone concurs that it is a good thing for Desert Hot Springs. Slow down, take a look, and take baby steps as we go forward, she said.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

The Seri Indians at Cabot's, April 16-17

The Seri Indians of Sonora, Mexico April 16 & 17, 2011

The Seri Indians of Sonora, Mexico are famous for their traditions that have been handed down for hundreds of years including basket weaving, wood carving and jewelry making.
Seri Basket Weaving

For art fans and fans of handcrafts, Cabot's Pueblo Museum is featuring the Art of the Americas: Seri Indians of Mexico. The special craftsmanship of the Seri people includes basket making, wood work and jewelry making. These traditions are kept alive generation to generation for hundreds of years. They live in a coastal area where they use the local plants and trees, like the Ironwood, to create their beautiful work.

During the two-day exhibit and lecture at Cabot's Pueblo Museum, the Seri representatives will be sharing their art, culture and lifestyle that has been perpetuated for over 500 years.

Back in 1961, their wood carvings were for utilitarian reasons such as musical rasps, animal yokes, and oar blades for their boats. But in 1961, José Astorga, one of the tribe members, was asked to create a wood carving as a paper weight. Over the years he perfected his craft. He was inspired by his environment with sea animals like turtles, sting rays and fish, as well as figurines and other animals. Eventually he taught other villagers and their fame grew.

Their wonderful basket weaving was a craft that almost vanished. According to one book about the Seri, at one point there were only 30 tribal members who knew how to weave the baskets. It is hard and tedious work. They use their teeth to split the torote, Jatropha cuneata, which is then wrapped with the inner bark of torote stems. Once a year, the women create a basket that can be as large as a compact car. Although that will not be at the Cabot Museum, artists and admirers from around the world marvel at the skill and patience to create this work of art.

To learn more about the Seri Indians of Sonora, Mexico visit www.SeriIndians.com

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 24, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Death Valley National Park, Nevada

One day we went exploring in the "Nevada triangle," that part of Death Valley National Park that juts into Nevada. Easy to see on this park service map.

Death Valley National Park - Jeeps (9511)

Scott (9500)
Scott, the organizer.

Beatty, Nevada (9513)

Nevada (9516)
Not California cows.

Death Valley National Park - Nevada Triangle (9520)
Crossing the park boundary.

Death Valley National Park - Phinney Mine (9600)
Phinney Mine.

Death Valley National Park - Phinney Mine Area (9591)
Near the Phinney Mine.

Cliff maneuvering in the snow.

Death Valley National Park - Seismographic Equipment (9585)
Seismographic equipment operated by the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9544)
Strozzi Ranch.

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9542)

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9526)
Strozzi Ranch facilities.

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9563)

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9570)
Strozzi Ranch.

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9573)

Death Valley National Park - Strozzi Ranch (9574)
Shopping for just that right thing at the Strozzi Ranch.

Bullfrog, Nevada (9610)
At Bullfrog, a ghost town next to the ghost town of Rhyolite.

Bullfrog, Nevada (9615)
Hanging out next to the remaining wall of the Bullfrog ice house.

Bullfrog, Nevada - Art In Public Places (9609)
Bullfrog art in public places.

Bullfrog-Rhyolite Cemetery (9619)
Bullfrog-Rhyolite cemetery.

Bullfrog, Nevada (9613)

More photos in the Nevada triangle are here.

Filed under Photography | permalink | March 24, 2011 at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2011

The Very Definition Of Knucklehead

Watch this video (warning: offensive language).

That's not just three fools playing at reality TV. They were plotting and executing the real thing. They were caught in the midst of the crime by an alert police officer. Smoking Gun story here. Why spend money on police cameras? Just give cheap video cameras to all the young men with a history of knuckleheadedness and it's sure to pay off.

| permalink | March 23, 2011 at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

Seismic Research at the Salton Sea

geologists at night on the Eagle Mountain railway
L.A. Times photo by Don Bartletti.
"Beneath a star-filled sky along an abandoned rail line that's close to the San Andreas fault, USGS geologist Mark Goldman monitors a pair of computers that will record explosions from 16 blast sites across the desert. Analysis of those seismic waves will help scientists to accurately map the shape, depth and location of fault lines near the Salton Sea. Some sensors are hard-wired to the cord that stretches through the scrub."

That "abandoned rail line" is the Eagle Mountain railway. In the photo above it's very close to the active Union Pacific line that goes along the eastern side of the Salton Sea.

News story here about a large research effort called the Salton Seismic Imaging Project that took place earlier this month in the Salton Trough.

A geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, [Gary] Fuis is overseeing an ambitious project to create an underground image of one of the most seismically active and geologically complex regions of the country, a triangle of land extending from Palm Springs to the Mexico border.

This work, he believes, will change current assumptions about the earthquakes that originate here, especially the Big One expected on the San Andreas fault. For nearly three weeks his teams have worked night and day to cover hundreds of miles and position thousands of instruments.

More info and photos here.

Filed under California,Coachella Valley,Science | permalink | March 23, 2011 at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

2011 Climate Change and the California Desert Conference - April 2

Complete info here. "The purpose of the conference is to educate youth, citizens, elected officials, students and the staff of land management agencies about how climate change will affect our California desert and our California desert national parks." Admission is free. Open to the public.

Filed under California,Coachella Valley | permalink | March 23, 2011 at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)