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February 29, 2012

Monkee Davy Jones Dies

From Rolling Stone: "In 1964 he had the misfortune of appearing in the cast of Oliver! on the same episode of The Ed Sullivan Show where the Beatles made their debut."

The Brady Bunch, third season, 1971-72.

Filed under Music | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

"Levitated Mass" Tweets!

Twitter account here. And its Facebook profile is self-deprecatingly enhandled "The Stupid LACMA Boulder."

Meanwhile, Simone Wilson of LAWeekly is clearly no lover of rocks, big trucks, art or hoopla, and she's already sick of it.

I'm beginning to suspect the problem isn't so much the boulder itself, but that it's coming from Riverside County to Los Angeles. Oh, if they had found a 340-ton boulder up by Palmdale, they'd be singing an entirely different tune. Hollywood moguls would be swarming out to see it at overnight stops just so they could try to snort some coke off its huge backside and pose for iPhone photos with it.

Filed under California | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

DHS Community & Cultural Affairs Commission - February 8

Swearing In

DHS Community & Cultural Affairs Commission (0684)
L to R: Dr. Brian McDaniel, George Fisher, Dot Reed, Joe McKee.
Dr. Brian McDaniel (0682)
Dr. Brian McDaniel
Joe McKee (0683)
Joe McKee

New Commissioner Luis Sanchez-Porras was absent from this meeting. I didn't hear an explanation for that.

Dot Reed nominated George Fisher for Chair. No other nominees. Approved 4-0.

George Fisher nominated Dot Reed for Vice Chair. No other nominees. Approved 4-0.

Public Comments

Donn Sholty said that three years ago he had suggested a Christmas time fireworks display. He said they do this in "his little town," and it drew about 1,200 attendees the first year. Now it's up to about 20,000 people who come to see it. He heard at the previous city council meeting he had heard the idea of doing fireworks before the Fourth of July. He wants that to be followed through with.

Adam Sanchez spoke next and said he had been brainstorming with City Manager Daniels. They are looking at some way to combine the tree lighting and the Christmas parade. He and Councilmember Betts are strategizing on that. Mr. Sanchez said he is also taking on the July 4 fireworks. He said that Mr. Daniels is looking at ways to "leverage some startup dollars from the city." Then some private funding will be sought.

Russell Betts congratulated all the commissioners. He said he's been working with Russ Martin and Larry DonVito on an event around the Fourth of July. He said the fireworks company will be in the Coachella Valley to do the Palm Springs fireworks show. He said that if we have them do a show on the weekend before the 4th, the price drops from about $30,000 to about $8,000. He proposes a concert and fireworks display. He expects we could a couple thousand people. He asked for a liaison from the CCAC.

Chair Fisher asked Martín Magaña to agendize this subject for the March meeting.

Carl May Mural

Carl May Proposed Mural #1
The first proposal from Bijan Masoumpanah.
This one was originally designed to cover the entire interior eastern wall. But with the big TV installed there, it wouldn't work so well.

Carl May Proposed Mural #2
Here's a revision intended for the exterior eastern wall.
It would fit between two columns.

Commissioner McKee had concerns about graffiti. He said that in L.A. gangs will not graffiti some murals because of who created them. But Mr. Masoumpanah is from outside, so it may be a target, he said. Mr. Magaña said it will have an anti-graffiti coating. Mr. Masoumpanah did the mural that's on the 8th Street Boys & Girls Club and it hasn't been tagged.

Vice Chair Reed said she liked the first proposal, but was not enthused about the second one. She thinks it gives too much prominence to Desert Hot Springs Park. It needs to focus more on history.

Chair Fisher said the fountain overpowers the whole mural.

Commissioner McDaniel said he agreed with Ms. Reed, and that it made it look like Miracle Springs Resort was the main focus of our city. "As much as I love Miracle Springs and I love what it does for our city," he said he prefers to see a more historical focus.

Ms. Reed moved to send it back to staff for a rendering that reflects the commissioners' comments - more history, less fountain.

Donn Sholty got up to comment. He asked whether it would be sized for the smaller interior space or the larger wall outside.

Mr. Magaña suggested that he could ask Mr. Masoumpanah to superimpose his proposed design on a photo that shows the entire eastern wall of the Carl May, so the commissioners could see how it would fit.

Approved 4-0.

Memorial Day

There is a proposal by residents of DHS who plan to build a scale replica of the Tomb Of The Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery.

The plan is to make it so that it can be easily assembled and disassembled, so that it could be taken to be exhibited not only in Veterans Park on Memorial and Veterans Day, but at other locations in Coachella Valley. It could be carried on a truck in the Veterans Day parade. Best Hardware in DHS and Home Depot have agreed to supply all the materials. Four men are ready to pick up the supplies and start building.

Kelly McDaniel has been asked to get a community choir together for the Memorial Day event. One of the high school bands will perform too.

They will put chrome stanchions and velvet ropes around the Tomb, just as they do at Arlington. The Junior ROTC will stand at attention while it is being put together in Veterans Park. After it is completely assembled there will be a red carpet and every 15 minutes a JROTC cadet guard will walk back and forth in front of it.

It will be mounted on hidden casters. It will be about 4 or 5 feet high. A local graphic designer will be involved to design the exterior surfaces. It will be painted to look like marble. It will be stored in Bill Cook's garage. He was the speaker at the Veterans Day event last fall.

Ms. Reed said that the CCAC was responsible for creating Veterans Park and raising the money for it. Each year it has gotten better, and she thinks this going above and beyond and is just wonderful.

Mr. Fisher said there's a list of names waiting to be put into tiles for the park. He asked Mr. Magaña if those could be done before Memorial Day. Ms. Reed said she had all the information for that and would email it to Mr. Magaña. Mr. Fisher said one of the tiles waiting is for Bill Cook's son.

Dr. McDaniels said it would be a good idea to invite the JROTC units from other PSUSD schools to get them more familiar with Desert Hot Springs.

Decorating Utility Boxes

Mr. Magaña said he had prepared a draft process for this, but hadn't brought it with him. In discussions with the City Manager they decided it should be a policy, not an ordinance. A policy does not require formal public hearings. A policy is easier to revise.

In Indio and Palm Desert, the city provides $700 to the artist to offset some expenses. Mr. Magaña expects that in DHS the city will provide no funds. The artists proposal would be approved by the CCAC and then the City Council, and then the artist is on his own, so long as he gets it done within a certain time frame.

Dr. McDaniel said the high school had many award winning art classes. He suggested a request to the school to take charge of some of the utility boxes. This will also help to reduce the likelihood of graffiti.

Trails Committee Report

Jane Seawald gave this report. The Blind Canyon brochures are being worked on. She reported on clean ups in different canyons.

At the Little Morongo clean up there was a big turnout. Camille Linde is negotiating with various parties to try to arrange a final pick up of the trash that was collected. Her fallback solution is to call on the Marines at 29 Palms to help.

Mr. Fisher reported vandalism to a sign on "Brice's Trail." (It has since been replaced). Ms Linde said the best response to vandalism is to repair and rebuild and eventually the vandals get tired and go away. "They're lazy people," she said.

Dr. McDaniel suggested that student volunteers could be recruited from the high school, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts for trail building.

Ms. Linde said there will be a final clean up of Blind Canyon on February 25.

Staff Reports

Mr. Magaña gave an update on the Health & Wellness Center construction. He reported on the upcoming street rehab project for the area bounded by Pierson, Palm, Hacienda, and Cactus.

Mr. Fisher asked for an update on art in public places. There are a few pieces waiting for placement. Mr. Magaña said he is still working with staff to develop a budget for proposed locations. A piece has been accepted from Alibaba Farzaneh. The pieces from Tim Brophy and Ginger Hitzke have not technically been accepted yet.

City Clerk Jerryl Soriano explained the Statement Of Financial Interest that they must complete. The city is scheduling an ethics training class that the commissioners must attend.

Commissioner Reports

Mr. Fisher thanked Ms. Linde for all her work on the clean ups. He also said he went on the Spa Tour for the first time and was very impressed.

Ms. Reed summarized the history of the CCAC and her role in it. She said it was started by Mayor Weyuker and he invited her to put in an application. She wasn't picked on the first round, but did get picked on the second round. That was in 2002, and she has been on the commission since. She mentioned Veterans Park, several July 4 celebrations as past projects of the CCAC. She thinks it's a great idea to do fireworks on a day other than the Fourth, and she's delighted to see somebody else doing all the necessary work.

Mr. Fisher announced the earthquake expo scheduled for February 25.

Mr. McKee asked to be liaison to the not-quite-July-4 fireworks committee. He also wants to look at putting together a DHS concert series, similar to the Palm Springs Community Concerts.

He also wants to work on a theater series. When he was a music major in college they developed relationships with a bunch of "99 seat theaters" around L.A. that would put on plays year around. We might be able to bring in one of those productions once or twice a year.

Also, he wants to look into an art work. He suggest art could be displayed in the "RDA store fronts" downtown. There they could display art from professionals, COD, the high school, etc.

Ms. Reed recounted the history of the group of actors that put on one production about 3 years ago. They obtained a 501(c)3 for that. She suggested Mr. McKee get in touch with the organizer of that play.

Dr. McDaniel said he wants to create things for the youth of DHS. He grew up here. He said he hopes there can be a concert series, something with professionals and collegiate level players, perhaps with performances in the soccer park at night. He suggested that for the Christmas Tree lighting that some heaters be rented to create a warm zone in case we get another cold snap like we did this past December.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Life At The Temple

The best video I've yet seen showing how life happened at the Temple Of Transition at Burning Man last year. This includes clear photography and explanation of the Earth Harp:

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

For those following along on the DHS Spa/Miracle Springs TOT issue

At the February 21 city council meeting the almost-Perry-Mason-moment came when City Attorney Duran revealed that the city had received some recent communications from Mike Bickford's attorneys on the matter of the Transient Occupancy Tax audit of his hotels and that a previously unagendized closed session was called for right damn now. Mr. Duran said that copies of the communications had been made available at the back table for the public, but when I got back there I found none. Yesterday I was able to obtain scans of these documents from the city, and I want to share them here now, imagining that one or two other people in the city want to keep abreast of this ongoing matter - or maybe some of our younger citizens want to learn about the law and how some people practice it.

  • Handout 1
  • Handout 2
  • Handout 3
  • Handout 4 - this is the one that includes a declaration by Dean Gray that Scott Matas was present at the October 30, 2009, campaign event for Russell Betts at Miracle Springs Resort. Mr. Matas was not actually there. Here's my story about that event, written the day after. I showed terrible lack of foresight by not making an effort to list everyone who was not there, but I did point out that Robert Bentley was not in attendance - so we probably won't see his name in any affidavits submitted by Mr. Bickford's attorneys.
  • Handout 5
  • Handout 6

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

One Item From Last Night's City Council Meeting

I know...no, let me correct that...if I were a betting man, I would bet this issue gets distorted in the news, so let me share here now the letter that the City Council approved last night, 3-2, Mr. Betts and Mr. Sanchez voting against, some time after 10 PM.

Plain text version:

City of Desert Hot Springs
65-950 Pierson Blvd. ° Desert Hot Springs ° CA ° 92240
(760) 329-6411


February 29, 2012

Tom Kirk
Executive Director
Coachella Valley Association of Governments
73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 200
Palm Desert, CA 92260


Dear Mr. Kirk,

I am writing to express our support for the planning grant application to the California Strategic Growth Council for the Parkway 1e11 Project. The City Council is pleased to participate in the planning of this exciting project to promote sustainable community planning for our region and authorize the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) to submit this application and act as lead agency on behalf of the City of Desert Hot Springs.

The Coachella Valley is working as a region to advance greenhouse gas reduction efforts, air quality improvements, healthy living and alternative transportation options. We appreciate that the 54-mile Parkway 1e11 from the City of Coachella to Cabot's Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs is designed to be a multi-modal parkway, allowing neighborhood vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to travel along the Whitewater River and connect to residential areas, businesses and tourist attractions in our community.

This innovative project will revitalize our communities by bringing "Ecotourism" to the Coachella Valley, as well as creating a new network for alternative forms of transportation and stimulating the economy with new jobs.

The Desert Hot Springs City Council is in full support of a feasibility study to determine the overall cost, the revenue sources, (i.e., the amount of CPV mitigation monies, matching measure A funds, grant funding, etc.), the potential for city monies, over what period of time and to establish when construction would begin and how long it would take to complete.

At this time in the planning process, the City of Desert Hot Springs wants to be included with the rest of the Coachella Valley cities. In conversations with elected officials in other cities, they also support the concept and the planning process without a total commitment until the full project is brought to the Executive Committee for a vote.

We appreciate that CVAG will be working with cities in the areas of close proximity and environmental justice to ensure that there is equity in allowing for projects in these areas to acquire mitigation monies. We also understand that the final decision of the distribution of these monies is under the control of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).


Yvonne Parks

cc: DHS City Council Members
DHS City Manager

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 29, 2012 at 08:23 AM | Comments (3)

February 28, 2012

Levitated Mass Moves Tonight

After 10 PM, the 340-ton boulder will begin to travel on its 295-foot vehicle.

Levitated Mass carrier

Filed under California | permalink | February 28, 2012 at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

DHS Tire Recycling - Saturday, March 3

Oh, the fun never ends in Desert Hot Springs!

Tire Recycling Event: March 3rd, 8 a.m.-12 Noon. 65810 Hacienda Avenue, Desert Hot Springs, in front of city yard.

Public Service Announcement
Event: Tire Recycling
When: March 3rd, 2012, 8 a.m to 12 noon
Where: 65810 Hacienda Avenue, Desert Hot Springs, CA. 92240
Who: Residents of Desert Hot Springs
Contact: Desert Hot Springs Code Enforcement, 760-329-6411 Ext. 266

Description: This event is sponsored by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and the City of Desert Hot Springs. Each resident of Desert Hot Springs may drop off up to 9 tires for recycling. No truck or agricultural tires. No commercial or non-profit orginazations.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)

Marriage Equality Coming To Maryland

The Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have approved, and the Governor has said he will sign a marriage equality bill into law on Thursday this week. The law goes into effect in January 2013. Critics warn that Baltimore will no longer be considered the high moral bastion of America.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 28, 2012 at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

Low Achievement In Temecula

Press Release: Burglary of Apple Store
Agency: Temecula Police
Station Area: Southwest
Incident Date: 02/27/12 Time: 4:40 A.M.
Incident Location: 40820 Winchester Rd, Temecula


On February 27, 2012, at 4:40 A.M., Temecula Police officers responded to an alarm call at the Apple Store located at 40820 Winchester Rd, in the city of Temecula. Officers quickly responded to the store and observed a male subject inside. Officers formed a perimeter around the building. The suspect exited the store through the front door. Officers detained the suspect and determined that he was a fourteen-year-old juvenile. Officers located two 4S iPhones in the juvenile's possession.

Officers checked the store and did not locate anyone else inside. The juvenile was transported back to the Southwest Station for interview and processing and was later booked into the Southwest Juvenile Hall on the above charge. There are no other known suspects related to this incident.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Deputy Pinedo at the Temecula Police Department at 951-696-3000.

What kind of lame burglary is this? All the effort to break into an Apple store and he comes out with only two iPhones?! Here in the Coachella Valley, our criminals will break into schools and come out with 30 or 40 iPads - a decent haul, if you're committing a felony. Some entrepreneur should find a way to contract out our CV lowlifes to assist the juvenile delinquents of Temecula.

| permalink | February 28, 2012 at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2012

DHS Festival Committee - February 23

Committee Member Sabine Pollermann arrived late at the meeting.

Mary Stephens, who represented the CCAC on this committee, is no longer on CCAC, so she is also no longer on this committee. City Manager Daniels' opinion was that it was not crucial to fill that spot at this moment, but he would discuss it with Mayor Parks. He said the city council has full faith and confidence in the members of the committee.

Review Proposals

Over the last year or so, every time the festival or the festival committee got mentioned in the news, the city received a few inquiries from parties who confidently asserted that they could do this festival right. Eventually, the city built up a list of 66 of these confident entrepreneurs. With the RFP approved by the city council, copies were sent to all 66 parties.

Two proposals were received, plus a list of 50 questions from Bruce Walters, who was (or is) connected with Hot August Nights in Reno (but not Long Beach). The two proposals came from

  • Rick Jones Concert Tours who is involved with Coachella Valley INDY Fest in Palm Desert in October 2012.
  • Richard De Santos

Mr. Daniels said this raises the question of whether there was something in the RFP that unintentionally discouraged promoters. He proposed to survey some of the 63 who did not respond to see if there was a problem with the RFP.

Committee Member Lennon-Roth thought some of the questions from Bruce Walters were food for thought and worth consideration.

Committee Member Ryan said that although the first attempt at a festival didn't turn out well, he's not so sure that providing seed money to the promoter was the wrong way to proceed. If the seed money had been given to someone legitimate, he said, maybe things would have gone better. The proposal from Richard De Santos said he needed to be underwritten by a corporate sponsor or the city. He also said the proposal from Rick Jones seemed to saying how much the event would cost the city.

Mr. Ryan has an acquaintance who had shown interest in promoting the event over a year ago. He visited "the ball field" [I assume he meant the soccer park] on a couple of different dates. This person is involved with the Baltimore Inner Harbor Festival and other "big stuff." He told Mr. Ryan that he didn't submit a proposal to DHS because it was too risky to do it alone without a financial contribution from the city.

Mr. Ryan said the two proposals in hand didn't even seem real.

Mr. Daniels said no matter what is said or recommended, the city simply does not have the money to sponsor an event. He said the city wants to be in a posture similar to Indio in relation to Coachella Fest: providing public safety the first year, and the insisting on being reimbursed for that in subsequent years.

The City Manager went on to say that it's not unusual to reject all proposals and go back and reissue a revised RFP.

Committee Member Trost suggested that if the survey of the non-submitters was done by committee members rather than by Assistant City Manager Jason Simpson (as Mr. Daniels had suggested) it could reveal different information.

Chair Brian Michaelz said there's a difference between a concert promoter and a production company. A production company will have the capital available to put on a concert, while a promoter is more about managing an event.

Ms. Lennon-Roth pointed out that Richard De Santos proposed to partner with Classic Party Rentals, which is the largest party rental firm in the valley.

Mr. Daniels asked the committee how much of the problem might be due to lack of an appropriate venue. Mr. Ryan said that was part of what turned off his acquaintance. He said it was too windy at the park.

In response to a question about sponsor interest in the earlier Tony Clarke proposal, Mr. Daniels said he was told that there were dozens of people willing to make the $50 deposit on a $450/day booth.

He went on to say that in order to make a project like this happen, it needs to have a project champion who is fully dedicated to making it happen. He compared it to the Palm Springs Film Fest that wouldn't have caught on if it hadn't been for Sonny Bono pushing hard to make it happen.

It was decided to divide up the list of 63 non-responders amongst the committee members. Then each member would call some on their sub-list and ask why no proposal was submitted. Mr. Ryan excused himself from this process, saying that it might lead to awkwardness, confusion or an appearance of conflict, since he is in entertainment biz himself.

Mr. Michaelz mentioned the reference to Two Bunch Palms Resort on The Big Bang [so that makes two people who watch it]. This brought on some speculation on the likelihood that the new owners of the resort will construct an amphitheater and whether this might be favorable news for the future of a festival in DHS. Mr. Daniels admitted a lack of familiarity with Tron.

The next meeting of the Festival Committee is scheduled for May 8 at 3 PM in the Carl May Center.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 27, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)

Military Life in the Spartan Manner

From the 1927 Oscar winner, Wings:

Marine Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells
Photo and story shared by Michael Bedwell.

[T]he returning Marine was Brandon Morgan, greeting his partner, Dalan Wells. He's written: "To everyone who has responded in a positive way, my partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can't believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn't do this to get famous, or something like that. We did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt. As for the haters, let em hate...to quote Kat Williams, everyone needs haters, so let them hate. We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform...it was a homecoming. If the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn't care...then why do you care what these random people have to say? In summation, thank you for your love and support. I received a lot of friend requests off this. I don't just accept requests so if your request was because of this post, message me and let me know. Goodnight all, and Semper Fi." Thank you for your service to our country, Sir, and to both of you for having the courage to live and love out loud.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 27, 2012 at 01:29 PM | Comments (2)

February 26, 2012

Excerpts from the Feb. 21, 2012, City Council Meeting

The POA comments again, but this time it wasn't President Tapia speaking. Transcript below.

Sgt. Ken Peary:

Good evening, Madam Mayor and council members. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ken Peary and I'm the Detective Sergeant for the Police Department, not a Sheriff's Department employee. And I am the Vice President of the Police Officers Association. This is Jason Hunter and Larry Essex, Secretary and Treasurer of the Association.

Over the last several months focus has been lost on why we are all here. We are here to serve the great City of Desert Hot Springs. We are not here for personal gain or agendas, and each of us needs to be reminded of what our purpose is: serving the community.

When the city looks for police officers to fill vacancies, they do not limit themselves to shopping local. Instead they find the best candidate for the position, regardless of where they come from. The same should go for any position the city is trying to fill. Who cares where they used to work, as long as they're the best person for the job. It should not matter who they know, or where they previously worked. They're welcome to make this city a better place as we all strive for the same purpose.

I chose to work for this city based on my interview with Chief Williams and City Manager Rick Daniels. They're the best in the business. There's a reason other cities try to recruit them, and it would be shameful if we lost them.

Much has been made of our council endorsements in the recent general election. Sometimes people get endorsed or elected to a position not because they are the best candidate, instead, they are the only option. Our membership supports the City Council as a whole. As a member of the POA's contract negotiations team, I appreciated the hard work of city staff getting a deal done, and we as an organization appreciate your five-zero vote.

As you know, the positions you hold do not allow for entitlement. Your roles are specific. State laws, the city charter, city ordinances, and council rules specify the dos and don'ts of your position. Those rules and regulations are set and need to be followed closely.

Recently many of us watched the marathon council meeting reminiscent of spoiled children not getting what they wanted. Not only was it unnecessary, it wasted time and was embarrassing to the city. We routinely hear the term "fair and balanced." Is it being fair to bus in picketers? Is it fair or balanced to side with one POA member, when there are 28 of us? Is it fair to waste your constituents' time?

The employees of the Desert Hot Springs Police Department and the members of our Police Officer's Association are dedicated to the residents of this community, and to the city as a whole. My co-workers and I go above and beyond to provide the quality of service expected by our command staff.

In closing, we are unified, we work together, and we know there's a brighter future ahead. The DHS POA would hope the council as a whole recognizes what we see, and we encourage all council members to pledge and do what's right for the city and community and to leave the political patronage at home. Thank you.

[Applause. Some stand. Councilmembers Matas, Pye and Parks stand. Councilmembers Sanchez and Betts neither applaud nor stand.]

At the end of the meeting, comments from Councilmember Adam Sanchez:

I was really disappointed with Sgt. Ken Peary. It seems to me he's a little upset Mr. Baker didn't win this last election. But the voters have spoken already and I think that he needs to just let it go. But I would request that the City Manager and the Police Chief arrange a meeting between me and Mr. Peary because he's carrying a lot of negativity out there. And it has already come across to me that he's said negative comments about me and Councilmember Betts. So, I think we need to put that to rest. And I think that, you know, we're not up here saying anything negative about the Police Department, but I think if he's going to be continue I think we need a really put that to bed already and I don't think we need to move forward with that. So if that would happen that would be great. And with that, have a good evening.

I have no idea where Mr. Sanchez got the idea about Karl Baker. The only time he's been mentioned at a City Council meeting since Mr. Sanchez was sworn in was at that January 17 meeting where a couple of times someone would mention that a particular committee assignment had been Karl Baker's.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Comments (22)

MSWD Workshop - February 7

Financial Master Plan Update

Preparations are being made for the third committee meeting. The first meeting covered history. The second one was about customer service. The next meeting should start touching on costs of service. Vice President Brown said that at the time the district was raising rates, it was made clear to the public that personnel costs are not what is driving up expenses for the district. So to spend a lot of time on the cost of customer service would begin to suggest that customer service drives up rates, which contradicts what has already been said about personnel costs.

The bigger part of the district's expenses are operational and delivery costs [like electricity] which the district has little control over.

President Wright said it needs to be kept in the proper perspective. Director Martin agreed, but said the district doesn't want situations where it has to keep sending employees out to a residence because they have faulty plumbing. He said maybe there could be a policy where a customer gets one free service call per year and after that is required to pay for visits.

Director Bowman suggested that streamlining customer service, making it more efficient would free up staff time for more important matters. But to suggest to the public that it will save the district money could be counter productive.

Finance Director McCue pointed out that labor is about 50% of operating expenses, so they can't just be ignored. Customer service includes far more than just going out to check on leaks, he said. It includes a vast array of activities the district does to support its customers.

Mr. McCue said the next committee meeting would probably include more recommendations from the consultants for savings. They will also start to look at special charges and fees that are designed to recover some customer service costs.

Ms. Wright asked if the citizens' committee would be brought back at the very end of the financial master plan process to bring them up to date on things. Mr. Martin asked if it would be an on-going committee that could meet on some sort of regular basis going into the future. General Manager Wallum said he was seeking input from the board and that could be one of the outcomes.

Mr. Brown said he thought Mr. McCue's estimate of how much labor costs accounted for in the operating budget (50%) was higher than he had heard before. He said he recalled a figure that was much lower. Mr. Soulliere said that he was referring to the wages-only figure, which is about 30%. Benefits brings it up to about 48%.

Mr. Wallum said that if some people could be moved from customer service to construction to work on replacing leaking service lines, the potential money savings would be considerable.

Water Management Plan

Brent Gray said that representatives of CVWD and DWA were in attendance at this meeting. They were Chuck Krieger and Patty [never got a last name for Patty].

While we waited for Mike Thornton to arrive Dick Cromwell brought up John Husing's use of incorrect figures when reporting the cost of water in the districts in the Coachella Valley in his annual address to CVEP. Dr. Husing says MSWD charges a flat $1.74/HCF. Mr. Wallum said they have advised him twice that he is incorrect and have supplied correct information. Mr. Martin suggested that if it happens again, then someone should call him on it during the Q&A after his address. Mr. Soulliere said a written letter has been delivered to CVEP instructing them to verify the data with MSWD before putting together the written report.

The Water Management Plan is a history of Technical Memos (TM).

  • TM 1 - Goals & Objectives
    • Meter water demands reliably
    • Deliver affordable water supply
    • Protect water quality
    • Minimize environmental impacts
  • TM 2 - Planning & Resources
    • Planning area
    • Basin characteristics
  • TM 3 - Historical & Future Water Requirements
    • Historical consumption data
    • Assumptions to meet demand through 2045
      • CVAG growth scenarios [IIRC wildly optimistic]
      • No conservation
  • TM 4 - Existing water resources/modeling
    • Modeling components
      • Natural recharge
      • Pumping
      • Imported water recharge
      • Return flows
      • Evaporation and transpiration
      • Basin storage
    • Steady state & transient models
    • Water quality
      • TDS (total dissolved solids) focus
      • Nitrate
      • Uranium
  • TM 5 - Management plan issues and strategies
    • Water supply issues
      • TM 1 Goals and Objectives
      • Overdraft
      • Imported water supply reliability (50 current, with Delta fix 77%)
      • Recycled water (return flows)
      • Water quality (TDS, nitrate, uranium, etc.)
      • Environmental impacts
      • Cost of water
      • Demand
    • Water supply strategies
      • Maximize natural recharge
      • Increasing local groundwater production
      • Participate in local and statewide desalinization projects
      • Developing recycled system
      • Developing sewer systems in unsewered areas
      • Explore availability of additional State Water Project (SWP) and non-SWP supplies
      • Explore treatment of imported water for recharge
      • Developing water conservation programs
    • Evaluation strategies
    • 47 projects
    • Funding strategies
  • TM 6 - Development of management alternative to meet TM 1 Goals and Objectives
    • No management action
    • Maintain water levels at 2010 levels
    • Increate waster levels to 15 feet above 2009 levels
    • Minimize imported water
    • Maximize water quality
    • Minimize imported water & maximize water quality
  • TM 7 - Projects and alternatives evaluation
    • All projects except storm water capture are considered
    • Project alternatives modeling
    • Evaluation criteria
      • Water cost
      • Water quality (TDS)
      • Groundwater levels
      • Imported water supplies

We got a table:
Table 1 - Summary Of Historical Production in the Planning Area

Note the total production which peaked in 2006. The "planning area" is the Mission Creek subbasin and the Garnet Hill subbasin. The data ends at 2009 because the table was prepared in 2010.

Then we were presented with future water use projections based on three CVAG growth scenarios: Low, Medium and High growth. Low growth would predict total production from the two subbasins of 18,773 acre-feet in 2010. So right there you know you've got to make an adjustment. If water use dropped each year from 2007 to 2009, and 2009 was only 15,156, the chances that a record 18,773 AF was produced in 2010 is pretty much zilch. Knock 3,000 to 4,000 off of that and you'd be closer to the truth. Continuing with the low-growth scenario, it predicts water production from these two subbasins of 31,158 AF in 2045. Medium growth would have us reaching 41,253 AF in 2045. High growth puts us at 47,170 AF in 2045.

Mr. Thornton passed out information related to TM 4. It included actual data for the various modeling components, but the numbers are still confidential so we of the public had to return the handouts after they were discussed. Unfortunately for us (fortunately for MSWD) my photographic memory is entirely dependent on literal photographs.

They've got two models. One is called steady-state and is a 1936 simulation. 1936 is as far back as they can go and still have good data. The other is called transient and it's a 2009 simulation. There were graphics where they varied different components of the models. Mountain flow recharge averages 10,500 AF/year, but that's an average. That's one component they did not fiddle with. Flow from the Desert Hot Spring subbasin (our hot water) is estimated at around 1,800 to 2,200 AF/year. Water moves from the Mission Creek subbasin (our drinking water) to Garnet Hill subbasin and to the Whitewater subbasin. In response to a question from Mr. Bowman, Mr. Thornton said some water does make its way through (under) the Indio Hills.

The technical committee has worked its way through a process of looking at 41 different projects. Some have been eliminated from further consideration, one being pumping water out of the Desert Hot Springs aquifer.

Recharge water from the Colorado River Aqueduct is apportioned between the Worsley Road facility for the Mission Creek subbasin and the Whitewater River facility for the Whitewater subbasin according to how much is pumped from each aquifer. Both MSWD and CVWD pump from the Mission Creek subbasin. Growth in the MSWD district is projected to be greater than in the rest of the valley, which means more pumping, which eventually will mean increased deliveries of Colorado River water to the Mission Creek Worsley Road recharge facility.

There has been discussion about whether the Worsley Road recharge facility should be enlarged, or should a new facility be constructed elsewhere.

Charts were distributed that showed the history of water levels at the district's active wells from 2001 (or from the date it became operational, if later than 2001) through the present. There was a massive amount of water delivered to the Worsley Road recharge facility last year that caused the water level at Well 34 (on the northern edge of Skyborne, the well closest to the recharge facility) to "shoot up" from about 960 feet to more than 1,140. Water deliveries to Worsley Road have ceased and the level at Well 34 has dropped back to 1,117 feet.

Well 30 (at Indian and Mission Lakes Boulevard) and Well 38 (on Mission Lakes east of Indian) have also risen, but less dramatically. Well 30 went from 713 feet in July 2010 to over 746 feet currently. Well 28 went from 701 feet in July 2010 to over 726 feet currently. Well 30 is not currently used. Well 28 is on standby and has treatment on it to remove uranium. So some of the rise at those two wells may be due to the reduced pumping from them.

Well 35 is the other Skyborne well, and it's a little further south than Well 34. The district has been watching it carefully, expecting it to respond similar to Well 34. From July 2010 to now the levels at Well 35 rose only from 723 feet to 736 feet. This tells us that there is some geologic obstruction between the two wells that prevents water from flowing freely between them.

Wells 22 and 24 are the ones on the south side of Pierson Boulevard not too far east of Little Morongo. From July 2010 to now the levels at 22 have risen from 696 to 706 feet, and at 24 from 698 to 707 feet. They are in regular use. Well 29 (west from Cholla and West) is in use and rose from 689 feet to 693 feet over the same period of time. Wells 27 and 31 are in North Palm Springs, south of Dillon Road. Well 27 rose from 696 to just under 700 feet. Well 31 rose from 703 to 707 feet (July 2010 to now).

Work will continue on the basin management plan. At some point all three districts must approve it. Consideration is being given to whether that should be done at a joint meeting of all the boards.

Richard Cromwell asked about tribal involvement in the basin management plan. Mr. Wallum said the tribes are involved in the IRWMP process, but don't have much interest in the Mission Creek or Garnet Hill subbasins.

Director Comments

Director Martin has suggested sponsoring a Little League team. Staff said they are proceeding with that.

Closed Session

The board went into closed session to discuss two items: the referendum court case, MSWD v. Verjil, and real property negotiations on the Calvary Chapel building at 66574 2nd Street, just west of MSWD headquarters.

After the closed session they announced they approved (5-0) the purchase of the building for $130,000 plus escrow fees NTE $5,000. This will be added to the capital budget. The building was the original offices for MSWD. President Wright said they had the building inspected, including any applicable seismic inspection and despite its age it was found to be "only ¼ inch out of plumb." The intended use is for additional office space. It will also be used for board meetings while the flood damage in the basement of the headquarters building is repaired.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

How eager are you to hear Two Bunch Palms mentioned on network TV?

If you are really, really eager, perhaps even desperate (like maybe you're one of the guys who just invested some millions in it), then you might want to watch this episode of something called "The Big Bang Theory." Just skip ahead to 6:30, wait for the reference and then shut down the window. You'll thank me. I never heard of this show, and was surprised to see that it had been on CBS for five years, and it has actually won awards! Network TV programming has gotten far, far worse than I had even imagined.

BTW, is there really a Trevor at Two Bunch?

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 03:41 PM | Comments (1)


That is, the 1966 Incubus, starring William Shatner, the only feature length film in Esperanto. The trailer for the 1999 release of the restored version:

Coulda been far worse than it was. Two stars. Available via Netflix.

Filed under Film/Movies | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

The Former Mr. Anita Bryant Dies Lonely and Bitter

Apart from the sanctity of his marriage that ended in divorce he was called Bob Green. He married Anita Bryant in 1960.

Robert [Green,] Jr. said his father "grew up a nominal Lutheran" and became a devout Christian after his marriage. The family's pastor persuaded Bryant to launch the successful anti-gay-rights campaign, Mr. Green told the Miami Herald in 2007.

Flush with victory in Miami-Dade, the couple founded Anita Bryant Ministries, which offered "deprogramming" and halfway houses for gays and a lecture series called "Design for Successful Living," aimed at battling divorce.

In 1980 Anita Bryant filed for divorce. "The following year, she told a woman's magazine that the marriage 'was never much good to begin with' and hinted that both had been unfaithful."

In 2007, Mr. Green told the Miami Herald that he blamed gay people for the turmoil in his life because "their stated goal was to put [Bryant] out of business and destroy her career. And that's what they did. It's unfair."
She had multiple Top 40 hits in the '60s, including three gold records by age 21, and made TV commercials for Coca-Cola. They adopted Robert Jr., then had three more children, whom they raised in a six-bedroom mansion on Miami Beach's tony North Bay Road. After the divorce, they sold the place for $790,000 and split the proceeds in 1982. Once millionaires, they'd lost most of their fortune.

"I jog past the house and I say, 'I wish I was back there in the good old days,' " Mr. Green said in the 2007 interview. "I used to jog on North Bay Road and cry all the way. I don't have any friends. I have my family and people in the neighborhood. I'm kind of like a hermit. I'm not antisocial. It's just the way I've become."

Mr. Green died at age 80 last month. His body was found on January 26 in his Miami Beach home.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Traveling with kids

The report of an intense visit to the area by a couple with two kids, 1st grade and 4th grade. Let me outline:

  • Day 1
    • Midday arrival at John Wayne - rented a Tahoe.
    • Drove to Palm Springs and checked out the windmills.
    • In n Out - likes it.
    • Coachella Valley Preserve - nature walk, helpful volunteers.
    • Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs - a little rude service.
  • Day 2
    • Joshua Tree N.P. - snow [so we know what day that was].
    • "Cactus Garden" - probably Cholla Garden.
    • "The Arches" - possibly the arch at White Tank.
    • Pioneertown - "I don't recommend that particular side trip- it didn't seem like very much there- just a couple of shops, and ice cream from the freezer."
    • Return to Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs where the room's door lock has totally failed and has to be drilled out!
    • Mexican dinner in P.S.
  • Day 3
    • Anza Borrego State Park.
    • Font's Point.
    • Visitors Center - she notices that there were far more restrooms provided in Joshua Tree than in Anza Borrego.
    • Fish Creek.
    • Split Mountain Trail.
    • Not enough time to do the Wind Caves or the Amphitheater.
    • Julian.
    • San Diego - first time, and surprised to see it is close to the mountains.
    • Liberty Station Homewood Suites - she recommends it.
    • Johnny's American at Point Loma for dinner.
  • Day 4
    • La Jolla.
    • Seals.
    • Whale watch.
    • Return to the hotel, dinner at Oggi's.
  • Day 5
    • San Diego Zoo.
    • Coronado Island, Lowe's, for a conference - this was work for the husband.
    • Walking the beach.
  • Day 6
    • Return Tahoe to San Diego airport.
    • Fly home, using a bag of treats ("small packs of skittles, tootsie rolls, lifesavers, blow pops, etc.") to keep kids quiet.

I want to know why all the parents I know with kids about that age look sort of harried and tired almost all the time, while Ms. Laura seems to carry it off like Barbara Billingsley. Is she really onto something with those sugar treats?

Click here to see more tavel reports by Raleigh Laura. I haven't read the others, and maybe she tells us where she lives in one of those other reports.

Filed under California,Travel | permalink | February 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2012

When it's a VERY slow news day in Des Moines

Their headlines scream VCRs' days are numbered in Des Moines area. Next they'll be telling us we have to switch to unleaded gas.
VCRs Days Are Numbered
Check it out, the date is February 25, 2012.
It is relevant to point out that the Des Moines Register is a Gannett paper.

The article says the VCR was introduced in 1963, an oversimplification of history. This Wikipedia article provides more information. It was November 1975 when the Sony Betamax hit the market.

My crystal ball tells me that in exactly 20 years, the February 25, 2032, Des Moines Register will alert us to the declining popularity of the CD. They will tell us the MP3 player was introduced in 1995. Lamentations will fill the comments.

Filed under Technology,Television | permalink | February 25, 2012 at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

Tortoise Action Shot

Tortoise (1919)

Filed under Photography | permalink | February 25, 2012 at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)