May 10, 2021

Desert Hot Springs and Marijuana

NBC News has an article about the cannabis industry in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. My comments are in italics.

'If you build it, they will come': California desert cashes in on early cannabis investment

“It’s been incredible to see the transformation,” said Doria Wilms, deputy city manager of Desert Hot Springs. “We don’t see it slowing down.”

May 10, 2021, 5:28 AM PDT
By Alicia Victoria Lozano
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Along a hot, dusty stretch of freeway in California's Coachella Valley, a green rush is booming that not even the coronavirus pandemic can slow.

Desert Hot Springs, once a sleepy retirement community overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, Palm Springs, to the south, is transforming into a cannabis-growing capital as businesses lured by tax incentives and a 420-friendly local government pour into the small city. [DHS is a city of lower- and middle-class workers, mostly Latino; not a "sleepy retirement community."]

"It's fun times right now to be the mayor," said Mayor Scott Matas, who has been in city government since 2007 and once voted to implement a moratorium on cannabis businesses.

Last year the industry contributed more than $4 million to city revenue, overtaking real estate as the biggest generator of tax profit, Matas said. City officials anticipate an even higher revenue stream from cannabis businesses this year.

Deputy City Manager Doria Wilms said: "It's been incredible to see the transformation. We don't see it slowing down."

A new industry blossoms

It took Gold Flora CEO Laurie Holcomb only 48 hours to decide to open a cultivation business in Desert Hot Springs after it began to allow large-scale operations. She already owned a real estate development company and saw an opportunity to expand into the growing industry.

In eight growing rooms inside Gold Flora's cultivation facility, insulated metal panels similar to those in walk-in coolers shield more than 9,000 cannabis plants from the unrelenting sun. Even without air conditioning, the building will never heat up beyond 80 degrees inside despite triple-digit temperatures outside, facilities manager Adam Yudka said. Plants are stored atop rolling benches that use an internal irrigation system to water crops individually.

Gold Flora owns and operates five warehouse-size buildings, some of which are rented to other cannabis businesses. The sprawling campus, covering about 23 city blocks, was built from the ground up.

"Most people, when they think about the desert, they think they're going out in the middle of nowhere," Holcomb said. "It made sense that if you build it, they will come."

A city brought back from the brink

Gold Flora and other companies like it represent a major shift for the desert economy. Matas, who was re-elected to a third term in November, remembers a time around 2011 when the city had just "$400 in the bank." City officials froze salaries, cut programs and considered filing for bankruptcy protection, Reuters reported. The city had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

The tax revenue has already helped to pay for a new City Hall, a library and roads, as well as more police officers. Housing developers eye the area as jobs attract more people to the desert. Residents also benefit from the boom — of about 29,000 residents, at least 2,300 work in the cannabis industry, Wilms said. [The new library was paid for by the county, not the city.]

Desert Hot Springs, about two hours east of Los Angeles near Joshua Tree National Park, boasted more than 200 spas throughout the 1940s and the 1950s that were fed by a natural underground aquifer, which still provides water for much of the Coachella Valley. But the city had fallen on hard times financially in the last 20 years. [The hot water aquifer supplies water only to hotels, spas and resorts in DHS, Desert Edge and Sky Valley.]

In 2013, the city declared a fiscal emergency to avoid filing for Chapter 9 for a second time, the Los Angeles Times reported. The city had emerged from its first bankruptcy filing in 2004, but less than 10 years later its reserves were dwindling again after an economic downturn and decreased development.

Only medical marijuana was legal in California at the time, but city officials decided to take a risk on what appeared to be a growing industry as states like Washington and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis. Adult-use recreational marijuana became legal in 2016.

In 2014, Desert Hot Springs became the first city in Southern California to legalize large-scale medical cannabis cultivation. Palm Springs followed, as did other desert cities in the Coachella Valley. Marijuana growers and real estate developers rushed to buy dusty plots of land even when the parcels came without infrastructure, including roads and utilities, hoping to cash in on the state's promise of becoming the biggest cannabis producer in the country.

Business zones were established to quarantine large operations in an industrial section away from residents. Much of the land remained barren and untouched until companies with a little sense of adventure decided to break ground.

"There was really no reason to cross the [Interstate] 10," Matas said. "People ignored the north side of the freeway for so long."

'Cannatourism' could be the future

Fast-forward to 2021 and that side of the freeway, which connects Southern California to the rest of the country, is dotted with hundreds of thousands of square feet of warehouses. There is no cannabis smell and there are no retail shops in the industrial zone. Instead, warehouses remain inconspicuous except for flashy cars and security guards outside the buildings. [If you regard two- and three-story buildings enclosing acres of cannabis just sitting alone in the desert and lighted up like military bases to be "inconspicuous" then you just might need glasses.]

In December, the City Council unanimously approved two measures to grow "cannatourism" in the region. One allows for the creation of cannabis "entertainment facilities," and the other gives hotels the green light to sell cannabis inside their properties. A House of Blues-style concert venue is already in the works, although under state law businesses cannot sell both cannabis and alcohol at the same time.

"The city has been awesome to work with," said Holcomb of Gold Flora. "You have to remember that four to five years ago, people didn't want to touch [cannabis], but Desert Hot Springs had the foresight to enter the industry early on."

Neighboring Palm Springs, with its rows of midcentury modern homes and golf courses, has already capitalized on the tourism side of cannabis. Retail stores and consumption sites are sprinkled among clothing stores and spas. Last month, the latest cannabis dispensary and lounge opened in an old bank building following $1 million of renovations. On Mother's Day, the Four Twenty Bank — a dispensary lounge, not a bank — offered all moms who visited free flowers, according to its website.

The idea behind cashing in on cannatourism comes from "treating cannabis like anything else," said Jocelyn Kane, vice president of the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network, which advocates for cannabis businesses in the desert.

"These spaces aren't just a place to light up," she said. "It's a place to have a night out."

Going green in the desert

Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs are in a kind of cannabis tax war as they now compete for new business. In February, Desert Hot Springs lowered its cultivation tax — $25.50 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet and $10.20 per square foot for each square foot over 3,000 square feet — to a flat rate of $10 per square foot. Palm Springs already charges $10 per square foot, and it offers a $5-per-square-foot rate in its "Cannabis Overlay Zone" north of the I-10 corridor.

Kings Garden, one of the first companies to break ground in the otherwise unforgiving landscape, operates 300,000 square feet of warehouse space near the overlay zone between Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. [NBC seems to have the same concept of geography as The Desert Sun. Kings Garden is IN Palm Springs as is the overlay zone.]

Chief Operating Officer Charlie Kieley, a Palm Springs native, spent 15 years working in Northern California's cannabis industry before he returned to the Coachella Valley. Up north, cultivators favor outdoor grow operations, but that was not an option in the dry, hot desert, he said. With constant sun and almost no rain, growing cannabis in the desert requires a mammoth water and power supply to keep indoor operations going when outside temperatures soar.

Kings Garden, which produces about 40,000 pounds of cannabis flower annually, uses a water filtration technology similar to what municipal systems use. Rather than let condensation and runoff water go to waste, Kings Garden recycles and reclaims its water supply, getting about 70 percent of what it needs internally. The remaining 30 percent comes from the municipal water district, Kieley said. Water that cannot be repurposed for cannabis cultivation is donated to a local farmer for use on seasonal crops. [I've no idea what they mean by "local farmer." The only agriculture in this end of the valley is cannabis. The non-cannabis farmers are all at the eastern end of the valley, but maybe they are trucking their wastewater way down there. Who knows?]

The desert has offered companies something other areas can't, the freedom and space to grow.

"We're working with municipalities who are very forward-thinking," he said. "The desert is not as crowded, like San Bernardino or L.A. It's a great place to do business."

permalink | May 10, 2021 at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 5, 2021

Here & There

Yellow Flowers with Bee (2)
Kodachrome, 1989

A Resort in the Warm Sands Neighborhood (1)
A resort in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs
, Ektachrome, 2001.

Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial (1)
The Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester
, Kodachrome, 2003.

Bunker Hill Monument (1)
The Bunker Hill Monument
in Charlestown. Kodachrome, 2002.

permalink | May 5, 2021 at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2021

Four Photos In Desert Hot Springs

Monday, December 21
Lomography Berlin Kino film

Wardman Park Pool (1)
Wardman Pool
, Lomography Berlin Kino film.

Cacti on West Drive
On West Drive
, Lomography Fantôme Kino film.

West Drive (22)
Also on West Drive
, Lomography Fantôme Kino film.

permalink | April 26, 2021 at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2021

Chuck Maynard's Farewell

Chuck Maynard retired after five years as City Manager, during which time the marijuana industry was established in Desert Hot Springs, a new city hall was built, and unprecedented financial stability was achieved. This was his farewell in the new city council chambers in the new city hall.

permalink | April 24, 2021 at 02:34 PM | Comments (1)

April 3, 2021

Downtown Desert Hot Springs

I continue to add photos to my Downtown DHS account. Here are a few recent ones.

Kali Certified Bike and Repair Shop (2)
Kali Certified Bike and Repair Shop on Palm Drive
, Kodak T-Max P3200 film, December 2020.

Palm Drive at Pierson Boulevard
The southeast corner of Palm & Pierson
, Lomography Berlin Kino film, February 2021.

Dinosaur Sculpture at Casa Blanca Restaurant
At Casa Blanca
, Lomography Berlin Kino film, February 2021. I don't know if this is a genuine Ricardo Brecera or an imitator.

66011 Pierson Boulevard (26)
The tiny building on the southeast corner of Pierson Boulevard and West Drive has been demolished
, Lomography Fantôme Kino film, February 2021.

permalink | April 3, 2021 at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2021

Four Close-up Shots

Testing a recently acquired macro lens.

White Oleander Bloom (3351)

Lantana Bloom (3356)

Cactus (3357)

Spherical Bauble (3345)

permalink | March 25, 2021 at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

More About The Mission Creek Fault

L.A.'s biggest quake threat on overlooked part of San Andreas - Los Angeles Times Amina Khan

Scientists have pinpointed a long-overlooked portion of the southern San Andreas fault that they say could pose the most significant earthquake risk for the Greater Los Angeles area — and it’s about 80 years overdue for release.

But there could be a silver lining. If their analysis is right, experts say it’s possible that when a long-predicted and much more devastating earthquake hits, it may not do quite as much damage to the region as some scientists previously feared.

“That’s a significant reduction in risk for L.A. if this is true,” said longtime seismologist Lucy Jones, who was not involved in the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The San Andreas fault is a roughly 800-mile fracture that runs much of the length of California and is capable of producing a much-feared, massive temblor known simply as “the Big One.”

The San Andreas also serves as a major marker of the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. As the plates move past one another, so do the two sides of the fault.

But the fault itself is caught by friction, and as the two sides move, strain builds up until it’s eventually released through earthquakes. The southern San Andreas carries roughly half the strain resulting from the plates’ motion, as much as 25 millimeters (about one inch) per year.

Not every part of the fault carries that strain equally, though. In Southern California, the San Andreas fault system is made up of many smaller “strands,” and it’s difficult for earthquake researchers to identify which parts of the fault system are most at risk of rupture.

Case in point: the bouquet of fault strands — Garnet Hill, Banning and Mission Creek — that crosses the Coachella Valley. Scientists long thought much of the southern San Andreas fault’s slip occurred along the Banning strand and the Garnet Hill strand; the Mission Creek strand, they said, didn’t take much of the strain at all.

But the new findings turn that idea on its head.

Kimberly Blisniuk, an earthquake geologist at San Jose State University, went looking for evidence that earthquakes had caused landforms to move across the surface. She found them at Pushawalla Canyon, a site along the Mission Creek strand in the Little San Bernardino Mountains.

There, right next to the water-carved canyon, she saw a series of three ancient “beheaded channels” — long depressions in the desert that looked like they were once part of the original canyon before earthquakes shoved them aside.

Blisniuk walked the area to get a better look at these telltale signs of ancient rupture. In each of the channels, she and her team dated the ages of rocks and soil.

The oldest channel, which lay about 2 kilometers (more than a mile) away from the current canyon, was roughly 80,000 to 95,000 years old. The second, about 1.3 kilometers (less than a mile) away, was about 70,000 years old; and the third beheaded channel, about 0.7 kilometer (less than half a mile) away, was about 25,000 years old.

Based on these three landmarks, the researchers calculated that the average slip rate for the Mission Creek strand was about 21.6 millimeters (less than an inch) per year. At that rate, they realized, it accounted for the vast majority of the strain along the southern San Andreas fault.

By contrast, they calculated that the Banning strand had a slip rate of just 2.5 millimeters per year.

“I was really excited,” said Blisniuk, who said it took years to produce the data needed to make a convincing case that the ancient channels did indeed once connect to Pushawalla Canyon.

“The San Andreas fault is one of the best studied faults in the world, and there’s still so much we can do” to better understand it, she said.

Because the southern San Andreas fault is likely to experience ground-rupturing earthquakes at an average rate of one every 215 years or so — and because the last such earth-shaker in the southernmost section took place in 1726 — we’re about 80 years overdue, Blisniuk said.

About six to nine meters of elastic strain have likely accumulated along the fault since the last one, the scientists said — which means that when it finally releases, the ground will likely shift roughly 20 to 30 feet. Whether it takes a single quake, or many of them, to go that distance remains to be seen, Blisniuk said.

The discovery “looks like it could be a landmark study,” said Thomas Heaton, an emeritus professor of engineering seismology at Caltech who was not involved in the research.

Lucy Jones is now retired from the U.S. Geological Survey. But in 2008, she led a group of more than 300 scientists, engineers and other experts to study the potential consequences of the Big One in detail. The result was the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, which predicted that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas fault could result in more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damage and other losses.

The new findings could alter that scenario and make it less grim, Jones said. Here’s why: The Big One can only be triggered by a massive rupture on a long stretch of the San Andreas fault, something on the order of 200 miles. If that rupture ended up traveling along the Banning strand — as the ShakeOut model assumed — its east-west tilt would send energy into the San Bernardino Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and finally into the Los Angeles Basin.

But if the rupture were to follow the Mission Creek strand, its more northwesterly orientation would divert some of that energy away from the L.A. Basin, sparing it some of the devastation.

Sarah Minson, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Northern California, stressed that the new findings did not change the region’s total seismic hazard — just the way it’s distributed.

“I personally would love to see this sort of [analysis] applied to more areas,” she said.

Ultimately, Jones said, “This is a piece in an ongoing debate and not yet completely resolved — probably won’t be, until we have the earthquake.”

Heaton agreed.

“It would almost be a surprise to me as a scientist if the real earthquake, when it happens, plays out in a way that’s really close to what we imagined,” he said. “The earth is always surprising us — it’s always reminding us that we need some humility in this business.”

permalink | March 25, 2021 at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2021

8 More Millimeters

While [the Mission Creek strand of the san Andreas fault] was long believed to have a slip rate of around 14 millimeters per year, the paper, published in Science Advances, argues that it's actually around 22 millimeters..

Part Of The San Andreas Fault Is Moving Way Faster Than We Previously Thought

Updated March 24, 2021 11:17 AM Published March 24, 2021 11:15 AM

As if the San Andreas fault wasn't concerning enough, research just released today shows that a nearby portion of it is moving much faster than scientists previously thought.

It's called the Mission Creek strand and it runs from around Indio, through Desert Hot Springs and into the San Bernardino Mountains.

While it was long believed to have a slip rate of around 14 millimeters per year, the paper, published in Science Advances, argues that it's actually around 22 millimeters.

"This particular strand of the San Andreas fault has been interpreted to not be very active," said Kimberly Blisniuk, a geochronologist at San Jose State University and lead author on the study. "It's actually very active and is the fastest slipping fault for the San Andreas in Southern California. Therefore it has the highest likelihood of a large magnitude earthquake to occur on it in the future."

A few millimeters might not sound like a lot but when we're talking about massive tectonic plates pushing up against each other, the stress adds up.

"Higher slip rates on faults mean more risk," said Morgan Page, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena and one of the developers of the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast. Page was not associated with the recent study. "It means stress is accumulating faster on that fault and you would need basically either more earthquakes or larger earthquakes over centuries to relieve that stress."

All of which means that this particular strand on the San Andreas has a greater risk than was previously understood. How much of an additional risk? It needs to be assessed.

Any infrastructure in that area, like water or gas lines which run over the fault itself, will need to be looked at with a critical eye, given that offsets of as much as 30 feet could occur in the event of a major quake.

"Their study is in a region where the San Andreas fault is quite complex," said Sally McGill, a geology professor at Cal State San Bernardino. "This is a substantial step in improving our understanding of how the Southern San Andreas fault works."

Regardless of what happens on the Mission Creek strand, we know that sizable earthquakes on the San Andreas are possible.

Like... at any moment.

So now is always a good time to get your earthquake kit ready.

permalink | March 24, 2021 at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2021

Old & New

Edward L. Wenzlaff Education Center (1)
In Desert Hot Springs
, Kodak T-Max P3200 film, December 2020.

It's Always Christmas Somewhere
Also in Desert Hot Springs
, Kodak T-Max P3200 film, December 2020.

Niels Esperson Building (2)
Atop the Niels Esperson Building in Houston
, Kodachrome, 1989.

Hiking in Baxter State Park
Hiking in Baxter State Park with Andy and Alden
, Kodachrome, 1988.

permalink | March 13, 2021 at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 6, 2021

Palm Springs on T-Max

These were all shot in January 2021 in Palm Springs on Kodak T-Max 400 film (120 format) using a Plastic Fantastic Debonair camera.

Isabelle (2)

Isabelle (1)

Fiat (1)

Graffiti Art in Palm Springs (2)

permalink | March 6, 2021 at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2021

Lantana Bloom

Lantana Bloom (3356)

Got a new Canon macro lens and this is one of the test shots. Here's the album with other test photos.

permalink | February 26, 2021 at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2021

Four at Sunnylands

All were shot at Sunnylands using Ilford HP5 Plus film.

Sunnylands (13)

Sunnylands (9)

Sunnylands (10)

Sunnylands (2)

permalink | January 5, 2021 at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2020

Four At The T Cross K Guest Ranch

All were shot with Lomography Potsdam 100 film. The T Cross K Guest Ranch remains are in the Mission Creek Preserve on the west side of Desert Hot Springs.

T Cross K Guest Ranch (4)

T Cross K Guest Ranch (7)

T Cross K Guest Ranch (1)

T Cross K Guest Ranch (3)

permalink | December 29, 2020 at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2020

Four From All Over

Dedication of First LGBT Veterans Memorial - May 2001 (3)
Patricia Nell Warren (left) at the dedication if the first LGBT Veterans memorial
, Kodachrome, 2001.

Ruggles Station (2)
Ruggles MBTA Station, Boston
, Kodachrome, 1987.

Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
, Kodachrome, 1986.

Historical Homes
Ektachrome, 1987

permalink | December 27, 2020 at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2020

Four From The Living Desert

All of these were shot at the LIving Desert on Rollei Retro 400S film.

Nolina - Living Desert (17)
A nolina

Cholla - Living Desert (30)
A cholla

Creosote Blooms - Living Desert (27)
Creosote with blooms

Living Desert (33)

permalink | December 10, 2020 at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2020

Four Almost Random Photos

50 Years - Living Desert (36)
At The Living Desert
, Rollei Retro 400S film.

Full PsΨcle (2)


Big Barn
Kodachrome 1991

permalink | December 7, 2020 at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 6, 2020

Four in Palm Springs

What's For Lunch

Palm Springs in Sculpture – Past & Future (2)
"Palm Springs in Sculpture – Past & Future" at Union Bank in Palm Springs

Public Art (2)

Union Pacific at Amtrak Station (1)

permalink | December 6, 2020 at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2020

Four Palm Springs Photos

Bank of America (2)
The Palm Springs Bank of America

Graffiti (3152)
Graffiti in Palm Springs

Pongsprings (3147)
Palm Springs

Chairs on Palm Canyon Drive
On Palm Canyon Drive

permalink | December 5, 2020 at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2020

Four Photos At North Shore

These were all shot on LomoChrome Purple film using my Yashica Mat-124G

Salton Sea Sunset, North Shore (2)

North Shore Beach & Yacht Club (2)

Lots For Sale - North Shore

Salton Sea Sunset, North Shore (6)
Looking north toward Mt San Jacinto and the Banning Pass

permalink | December 4, 2020 at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2020

Two Old, Two New

Saguaro National Monument 1988 (1)
Saguaro National Monument
, 1988, Kodachrome.

Saguaro National Monument 1988 (3)
Saguaro National Monument
, 1988, Kodachrome.

Copa (3128)
Copa in Palm Springs
, September 2020.

Discard (3153)
A discarded shoe in Palm Springs
, September 2020.

permalink | December 2, 2020 at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)