July 2, 2022

Kam Lun Chinese AGAIN!

There seem to be a lot of especially gross reports in this week's list of health department inspections in the Press-Enterprise, including this bit: "the inspector saw several dead cockroaches, including in a pot on the stove" [Pho TYC, Wildomar]. But there were only these three in the Coachella Valley.

Kam Lun Chinese Food, 66610 8th St., Desert Hot Springs
Closed: June 29
Grade: 81/B, failing
Reason: Failing an inspection while on probation. Among the 13 violations, the inspector saw rodent droppings in several areas including by the food-prep sink and a microwave; there were flies at the cook line; cooked meat was sitting at room temperature and an employee said the practice is to leave it on the counter until it’s ordered; shrimp, beef and eggs were at unsafe temperatures in a refrigerator that was impounded for not keeping cold; dishes weren’t being washed properly; raw and ready-to-eat foods weren’t adequately separated; and the floors, walls and ceilings needed cleaning. The restaurant has been on probation since last August after failing three inspections and being shut down twice for rodent infestations in a two-year span. This is its second failure and closure since going on probation. To reopen again, it would have to correct all violations and purchase a new health permit.
The restaurant at Desert Falls Country Club, at 1111 Desert Falls Parkway in Palm Desert, was inspected June 22 and received a failing grade of 80/B with one critical violation. Dishes and other surfaces weren’t being sanitized. Among the 11 other violations, the inspector saw a live cockroach in a walk-in cooler and two dead roaches in other locations, meat and cheese were at unsafe temperatures in a cook-line fridge, the bar area didn’t have hot water, the women’s restroom didn’t have cold water and there was a long list of items that needed cleaning and repair. On June 29, the restaurant passed a follow-up inspection with a 97/A.
The restaurant at Terra Lago Golf Club, at 84000 Terra Lago Parkway in Indio, was inspected June 20 and received a failing grade of 82/B with one critical violation. The inspector saw rodent droppings on top of the food prep sink, on the back of a unit for holding hot food and on the floors, and noted rodent and cockroach traps in the kitchen and bar areas, as well as dead flies in the bar area. Among the 10 other violations, some food wasn’t being kept hot, there was pink mold in the ice machine and equipment, floors and walls needed cleaning. On June 23, the restaurant passed a follow-up inspection with a 94/A.

permalink | July 2, 2022 at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2022

Herb Ritts Took A Photo In Desert Hot Springs?!

I had never heard of that before. "David with Lampshade, Desert Hot Springs, 1989".

permalink | June 27, 2022 at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2022

Desert Hot Springs LGBTA+ Pride Proclamation Video

permalink | June 22, 2022 at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2022

First-Ever Pride Proclamation In Desert Hot Springs

Desert Hot Springs' first-ever proclamation recognizing LGBTQIA+ Pride was delivered at tonight's city council meeting by Mayor Scott Matas.
Mayor Matas Reading Pride Proclamation (1104)
Mayor Matas reading the proclamation

James Nindel Speaking On The Pride Proclamation (1110)
Planning Commissioner James Nindel speaking on the significance and need for the proclamation

Pride Proclamation by the City of Desert Hot Springs (1117)

And while I'm on the subject, you should check out GayDHS.com.

The City Council meeting tonight was a lot of the usual administrative items that they always have to handle at this time of year: landscape and lighting districts, putting DVD bills on the property tax bill, etc. But there was one significant item: approval of $3,172,000 to Onyx Paving Company and approval of a total project budget of $4,298,600 for a total redo of Palm Drive north of Pierson. This includes not just resurfacing, but bike lanes, sidewalks, additional street lighting, a 4-way stop at 12th Street and newly painted crosswalks. Palm Drive north of Pierson will be reduced to two lanes for motor vehicle traffic. The additional space gained will be used for the sidewalks and bike lanes. Councilmember Nuñez suggested the sidewalks should be 8 feet wide. Assistant City Manager Porras said that 8 foot sidewalks could be constructed where there are no sidewalks, but to tear out all sidewalks to rebuild them to an 8-foot width would really expand the size of this project [and I think it would probably need to be re-bid and, thus, delayed].

Mr. Nuñez's really bonehead suggestion was to retain the current four lanes for motor vehicles on Palm Drive, but WIDEN the road to be able to add sidewalks (16 feet) and bike lanes (maybe another 16 feet or so?). I'd suggest Mr. Nuñez actually go look at that segment of Palm Drive. It has the least traffic of any segment of Palm Drive. Residences north of 12th Street already suffer cramped front yards and driveways and no street parking is permitted. A narrowing of this part of Palm Drive has been under discussion for years. There are businesses along Palm Drive north of Pierson, including the new Dollar General, that are close to the roadway. The city couldn't add 16 feet to a side without the considerable expense of having to tear out or rebuild some commercial buildings.

And then there's the utter lack of need for a 4-lane road that far north in the city. The population won't grow much at that end of the city, unless someone is planning on building multi-family housing up the sides of the mountains. The growth in the city is all farther south, west or east.

The item was approved 3-1 with Mr. Nuñez voting against. Councilmember Betts was absent tonight.

Finally, there was this:
Red Curb Parking (2269)
It was okay because no conflagrations were on the schedule for tonight

permalink | June 21, 2022 at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2022

Something Stinks, Do You Smell It Too?

For years now, Arden Wallum and Nancy Wright have treated MSWD board meetings as if they were their own little coffee chats, speaking spontaneously and freely without recognition from the board president, even interrupting other speakers, including board members, staff and members of the public.

Since the board meeting where then-President Duncan called the cops to eject Director Grasha, every board meeting has begun with the attorney reading the "rules of procedure." I'll summarize:

  • The rules of procedure were adopted by the board;
  • Rosenberg's Rules of Order are followed;
  • Directors should refrain from responding directly to public comments;
  • The President is responsible for maintenance of order and decorum;
  • No one speaks who has not been first recognized by the President;
  • No board member should speak more than once on a subject until every other board member has had a chance to speak;
  • No board member shall interfere with the orderly progress of the meeting; and
  • The President regulates the amount of time spent on each agenda item.

These guidelines are applied to Director Grasha but usually to no one else. Let me say up front that they do really need to be applied to Director Grasha. He cannot control himself and attempts to run amok at almost every meeting.

The board President is Russ Martin. Nancy Wright is Vice President, but that gives her no special rights when the President is present and presiding.

At the June 16, 2022, study session the discussion of the budget begins at 6:56 in the video of the meeting. President Martin said that before they began to get into the budget, he wanted to discuss some good news about the financing of the new wastewater treatment facility. He recognized staff member Steve Ledbetter to deliver the good news. Arden Wallum began speaking immediately, without asking for recognition and without apology. Mr. Wallum said it was good news, indeed, and asked Mr. Ledbetter if he would like to share the info. Then Mr. Wallum just kept talking. But Director Grasha interrupted with a "point of order," saying "This kind of news should be backed up with documentation." Vice President Wright, unrecognized and unapologetic, said something but she was too far from her microphone to be heard clearly. Mr. Grasha continued, "Making assertions that certain things have happened without the documents being forwarded to the board prior to the meeting." Then Mr. Grasha, never knowing when it's in his own best interest to just shut up, wandered into vague accusations that there have been many lies from other directors and staff. His suggestion that the board should never hear any news unless it's backed up by solid, printed documentation that has already been distributed to the directors is just nonsense. It's common for staff of any agency to share good (and sometimes bad) news with their respective boards as soon as possible, even though sometimes the paper verification won't be received for weeks or even months. If the staff did not do this, directors like Mr. Grasha would accuse them of attempting to hide something.

Ms. Wright began speaking again (unrecognized, of course). She said this is a public meeting so it will be public information...as if that were some sort of satisfying logic.

Mr. Grasha countered with another point of order, "Would you get your board member under control, please." President Martin asked Mr. Grasha if he had made his point. There was no response, so Mr. Martin again recognized Mr. Ledbetter and this time Mr. Wallum let Mr. Ledbetter speak.

He reported that he spoke to the State Water Resources Control Board on June 15 and was told that the assistant deputy director has approved that the new wastewater treatment facility can proceed "at 100% grant funding." Those grants will come from a number of different buckets, but the important thing to my ears is "100% grant funding" which on the bare face of it says to me that someone else will be paying for the construction of the new facility, and it doesn't get any better than that. 100%. He said 100%. The documentation will not be finalized for two to three months, because, jeez, do you have to ask? It involves water and government money from multiple sources. That is not a small and nimble operation.

Mr. Wallum, unrecognized, thanked Mr. Ledbetter and continued to talk, adding no substantive information. Then he asked President Martin if he would like him to introduce the budget. Mr. Martin said he would.

Here's the link to the agenda for the June 16, 2022, meeting with budget info included.

The board had discussed the budget at a workshop earlier this month (video).

Mr. Wallum introduced Finance Director Arturo Ceja. The district has 53 staff positions and this budget seeks to add one more in wastewater. The salary matrix is unchanged from the previous budget.

Director Grasha interrupted to repeat, using different words, his wish to see some documentation of the agreement by the state to 100% fund the construction of the wastewater treatment facility. Mr. Ceja repeated what Mr. Ledbetter had said, in essence. The documentation isn't there because the district doesn't have it yet.

Then Mr. Grasha went on to say that he couldn't find anything in the budget to reflect "the $10-million fine that we're facing that will be required to be paid in October." He's talking about the fine for untimely reporting of a sewage spill at the Horton wastewater treatment plant. The maximum possible fine would be $9-million, but nobody expects the maximum possible fine.

Several voices erupted at once; one of them might have been Mr. Ceja's. Someone sounding like Mr. Wallum said "Irrelevant." Other voices were unclear. Then President Martin spoke saying "You're getting off-topic." Mr. Wallum said "There is no $10-million." Mr. Grasha (who was never recognized to begin with, either) spoke up, "This is a board meeting, not a staff meeting, Mr. General Manager. This is between the five directors. This is the directors' budget. This is what you expect us to provide you and it needs to be complete and the public needs to be assured..."

President Martin called him out of order. Mr. Grasha countered saying Mr. Martin was out of order. Mr. Martin acknowledged that he never recognized Mr. Grasha, but he let him proceed until he "went on this rant."

So, while Mr. Martin may have been right on procedural matters, Mr. Grasha was right in what he said. If Mr. Wallum wants to interrupt a director he should seek recognition from the president before he does so. The only person who had been recognized to speak was Mr. Ceja.

The budget is anticipating a 38% increase in revenue from property taxes, from $1,517,480 this fiscal year to $2,099,989 next fiscal year. Salaries and wages are budgeted to increase about 12.3%, from $4,268,359 to $4,795,173. The biggest increase in budgeted expenses is in capital improvements which will rise from $30,589,349 in 2022 to $87,180,394 in 2023; an increase of $56,591,045, or 185%.

At this moment, the board secretary interrupted to report that Russell Betts had a question. The secretary's interruption was out of order, IMO. She should have either notified President Martin silently (but I don't think they have a way to do this) or wait until Mr. Ceja had finished his presentation. A public comment is not quite an emergency. Mr. Betts said he would be happy to wait until the public comment period, whereupon the secretary responded "Thank you. We'll allow Mr. Ceja to finish his presentation." Oh, we will, will we?! Who actually is presiding at these meetings? The board secretary and Mr. Wallum act as if they're in charge.

Director Grasha (recognized!) said he saw nothing in the budget to address the expenses of meeting the as yet unestablished chromium-6 standard two years hence. We don't know what the standard will be, we don't know what the expense might be, and it's not going to be in the next fiscal year, so what does he want? President Martin called on Mr. Wallum to answer that. Mr. Wallum said the district has no idea what the standard will be. Mr. Ledbetter pointed out the budget does have a line item for a chromium-6 compliance study.

Mr. Grasha continued, failing to acknowledge that no one knows what the target level will be, saying in essence that the district should follow the credo "Ready. Fire. Aim."

Ms Wright spoke up, unrecognized, saying that in the last few years some water agencies have found less expensive ways to deal with chromium-6.

President Martin called for public comments. Pamela Edmondson spoke first. She had three (maybe four) questions

  1. It appears to her that the total budget is $114-million. Is that correct? Does that cover some of the things brought up by Mr. Grasha?
  2. The budget shows a revenue increase. What is there to substantiate those increases? Can you really count on that revenue?
  3. Will those increased revenues provide for hiring additional employees, covering unexpected expenses like chromium-6, or even paving 20th Avenue to the new wastewater treatment facility?
  4. How close was the district on the 2021-22 FY budget?

Mr. Wallum suggested Mr. Ceja would be the one to answer these questions. President Martin said he was concerned that the board couldn't have a back and forth with a public commenter. "You can," Mr. Wallum incorrectly advised.

The $114-million figure is the Gann limit, not the total budget. Mr. Ceja said he was very conservative in estimating future revenues. (The budget anticipates an increase in water revenue of only 1% and a 2.7% increase in sewer revenue.)

Ms. Edmondson asked if she could ask a follow-up question. President Martin told her to go ahead. Will the interest rate hikes have any influence that the district can foresee? Mr. Ceja said that the district has access to loans at lower than market rates as well as grants. Mr. Wallum spoke again without asking for recognition, saying that the district has already locked in some loans at low interest rates.

Ms. Edmondson said she had one more question. What about new employees or paving that road? Mr. Wallum said that the district had not yet been required to pave the road, but they might be expected to.

Now Mr. Martin called on Mr. Betts for his comment. He spoke about the spill at Horton and the impending fine. He said DWA had been fined $1-million for a sewage spill that they had. Ms. Wright began to speak. Mr. Betts addressed the President saying he would like to get his statement out without being interrupted. Mr. Betts said the Desert Sun reported the DWA fine was $1-million. His question was how is a fine ($10-million or whatever) handled in a budget. President Martin responded that the district was never facing a $10-million fine. The maximum is $9-million. "That's splitting hairs. I'll correct myself to $9-million," Mr. Betts said. Mr. Martin responded, "You're interrupting me."

At this point in the meeting there had been many interruptions by different people, and President Martin sat there silently every time. But now, when a ratepayer calls in with a very legitimate question of how to budget for a potentially large fine of an unknown amount, the President gets snippy and decides the rules will be enforced. Mr. Martin went on to say there had been a lot of back and forth (between whom he did not say) and they were not prepared to give any info. Then Attorney Pinkney spoke up to say there wouldn't be a $9-million fine or anywhere near that figure. The district has been in discussions over the matter but the discussions are still confidential.

Mr. Betts spoke again, "Mr. Chair, may I ask." Mr. Martin replied "Just a moment, just a moment." But Mr. Betts continued speaking "We're way off of the question. I didn't ask for any of these answers."

"You brought it up, sir," Mr. Martin replied. "No I didn't bring...I brought up a very specific question."

"Okay, that's enough. You're cut off," Mr. Martin announced.

There you have it. If you've followed MSWD meetings for as long as I have, you've seen their well-established practice, regardless of who is board president, of being very sloppy in allowing back-and-forths with public commenters. I don't think they should do it that way, but there is no question that the standard of conduct at MSWD board meetings permits casual back and forth conversations between the public and either staff or the board. But now that someone wants to ask a real question about how a potential $9-million fine can be budgeted for, the ax drops, the board is going to work to the rules and the ratepayer can just shut up and fuck off.

This is from the same board that knew about the spill and the potential fine, but never informed the public until Director Grasha brought it up at a board meeting. Some shit stinks here. I just can't tell yet how deep the shit is or who has stepped in it.

President Martin felt the need to add "One of the things that was another mistake that Councilman Betts made was the fine for DWA. Nancy can you clarify that?" Ms. Wright said the fine was $150,000-$160,000 plus building some project. "The $9.5 million what it was in the newspaper, that was somebody else made those. They took what the maximum fines could be. I don't think I've ever seen a maximum fine actually used." The $9.5-million figure was never put out by the regional board.

All still leaving Mr. Betts question unanswered. I'd like to know the answer too. Yes, the board can mut a public commenter who is abusing his privileges, but that doesn't mean the comment and question just go away. I'd like to know how it is budgeted and I'd really like to know why the board is so defensive that they can't even hear the question. The answer might be as simple as "We just don't put it in the budget; when we know the final amount, then we'll adjust the budget." Maybe. But nobody was willing to say that.

BTW, the DWA fine was $181,947, but half of that amount will go to "purchase and install the Cathedral Canyon Lift Station Flow Meter Monitoring Vault and Sample Box to detect flow variations that indicate pipe breakages and take water samples to identify pollution in the river channel and local groundwater." But DWA's fine was for the sewage spill. It's my understanding (not that anyone on the MSWD board would ever feel the need to explain to the public) that MSWD's violation was that the sewage spill was not reported in a timely fashion, so we may be comparing apples and applesauce.

Mr. Grasha had another point of order. But now that President Martin had strapped on his testicles, he interrupted Mr. Grasha to say he was not recognized and Mr. Grasha stopped.

That was the end of the budget discussion. The board meets again on Monday, June 20 (no Juneteenth holiday for them!) to vote on it.

If you'd like to see a meeting properly and efficiently conducted in accordance with the Brown Act, you only need to look to the City Council of Desert Hot Springs. It's extremely rare for the City Manager to speak up unless called on by the Mayor. If anyone tries to speak over another person, Mayor Matas will shut that down instantly. He never, never, ever permits a back and forth with a public commenter. And no one is on a first-name basis while the meeting is proceeding.

permalink | June 17, 2022 at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2022

Photos From The MSWD Groundbreaking

Yesterday was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new wastewater treatment facility for the Mission Springs Water District.
MSWD Wastewater Facility Groundbreaking (2265)

MSWD Wastewater Facility Groundbreaking (0765)

MSWD General Manager Arden Wallum (0772)
MSWD General Manager Arden Wallum

Mayor Scott Matas (0762)
Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas

Free Lens (0774)
If you're missing a 50mm Canon lens
, you left it sitting like this atop a loudspeaker.

permalink | June 11, 2022 at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2022

The Fire Was Where?

There was a fire last night around 7 PM in Desert Hot Springs. The Desert Sun phoned it in, relying on the fire department's tweet that said the location was "66700 Blk 6th St." But the fire department included a map in their tweet that pointed to the coordinates 33°58'07.4"N, 116°29'47.1"W, which is on 8th Street just east of Mesquite.

KESQ actually sent out a reporter and camera, but they were even less specific than the newspaper. KESQ said it was at "Mesquite Avenue, just off of Palm Drive." Since Mesquite parallels Palm, that's the equivalent of saying "somewhere on Mesquite."

So I put on my Brenda Starr boots and headed out to investigate. The fire was right where the fire department's map was pointing; they just mistyped 6th for 8th.

permalink | June 4, 2022 at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2022

That Was A Nice Slam!

Heard it coming. Felt it coming. And then it came. Most distinctive slam of an earthquake that I've ever felt. It didn't sound like I had any damage. It was small, but sharp. I'll get you the numbers as they become available.

It was in Long Canyon, within walking distance (a long walk). 4.27 miles (6.87 km) from me, measured on a direct line according to Google. Some boulders have moved.

USGS info. Currently estimated at 3.8. Noticeable.

permalink | May 15, 2022 at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2022

Voting By District

Here in Desert Hot Springs the city is going through the same process that Mission Springs Water District and Desert Water Agency have already gone through; that is, switching from at-large elections to election by district after receiving a demand letter from whatever law firm that is taking advantage of this process. There have been those who have suggested the city should ignore the demand or fight it. Santa Clarita thought they could fight it, got sued, and have now agreed to settle by paying the plaintiff $370,000 and they still have to switch to voting by district. If they had simply gone along with the demand while also flushing $370,000 down a toilet, the result would be the same for the city.

permalink | April 14, 2022 at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2022

Tracy Turco Buzz

Maybe this Tracy Turco thing will work out well. A point of view from waaaaaay outside the city could be good for generating tourism, but I find it a little grating when she refers the city as The Desert Hot Springs as if we were a freeway or a formerly occupied nation (The Ukraine, The Congo, The Sudan). But I do want to draw your attention to this "logo" (is that what it would be called?) that she has designed with a faux-neon font. It looks like something from Hot Springs Hotel, the "adult" TV show that was shot in the Miracle Springs Resort in the 1990s.
Tracy Turco design

On the plus side, so far the city has given her only $25,000; her scope is limited to one block of Pierson Boulevard; she has real experience; and she's putting her own money into other investments in the city. The city will be getting some benefit from the time and money spent on the Downtown Vortex plan from years ago which tore down some of old buildings that were too small for commercial use, and bought up parcels so they could be combined to a practical size.

permalink | April 12, 2022 at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2022

IGLA Water Polo in Desert Hot Springs

The International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association (IGLA) is holding a competition in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. Today and tomorrow it's water polo at the Furbee Aquatic Center. I walked over this morning and got a few photos. Here are four of them.

IGLA Water Polo at Desert Hot Springs (9483)

IGLA Water Polo at Desert Hot Springs (9458)

IGLA Water Polo at Desert Hot Springs (9454)

IGLA Water Polo at Desert Hot Springs (9481)

permalink | April 7, 2022 at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2022

PBR Comes To Desert Hot Springs

"Pabst Labs, a cannabis beverage company, unveiled its brand new manufacturing facility and distribution center in Desert Hot Springs." "Pabst Labs produces Pabst Blue Ribbon’s 10mg High Seltzer, Not Your Father’s Cannabis-Infused Root Beer, as well as ST IDES Cannabis product lines, including its 100mg infused 4oz shots."

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that High Seltzer will be available for sale anywhere in the Coachella Valley. Their website lists dispensaries and delivery services up and down California, but nothing out here in the desert. How demoralizing!

permalink | March 25, 2022 at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2022

Carniceria Rancho Grande

From Riverside County Department of Health inspections reported in the Press-Enterprise.

Carniceria Rancho Grande, at 13313 Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs, was inspected March 16 and received a failing grade of 81/B with one critical violation. Multiple items of food were at unsafe temperatures, including a container of cooked tomatoes sitting on the floor and a container of pickled carrots that had been at room temperature since it was delivered a week before. Among the 11 other violations, there were many flies in the facility, with some landing on the cutting boards, as well as some other small bugs on a wall and a dead cockroach in a hole in the wall; an employee kept wiping his hands on his dirty apron; dishes were being washed but not sanitized; and several areas needed cleaning or repair. This was the market’s second failed inspection in less than two years so it now faces an administrative hearing.

Wilma & Frieda’s, at 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, was inspected March 16 and received a failing grade of 80/B with two critical violations. Food was at unsafe temperatures in three coolers that were impounded for not keeping cold. A dishwasher also was impounded for not dispensing sanitizer. Among the nine other violations, there was an empty cockroach trap next to food in one of the nonfunctional coolers, cooked chicken wasn’t being cooled down fast enough and several areas needed cleaning.

Rick’s Restaurant, at 1973 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, was inspected March 15 and received a failing grade of 80/B with two critical violations. Some food was at unsafe temperatures in a refrigerator that wasn’t keeping cold. Also, a fly landed on biscuit dough on a prep table. Among the eight other violations, there were old rodent droppings in a food storage area (but no evidence of live rodents) and the facility needed cleaning.

permalink | March 19, 2022 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2022

Four More On Ilford XP2 Super 400

These were shot with Ilford XP2 Super 400 film in January or February 2022.

New Gas Lines Under West Drive
Putting new gas lines under West Drive

The Church of St Paul in The Desert (1)
The Church of St Paul in The Desert in Palm Springs

DHS High School & Mt San Gorgonio
Mt San Gorgonio and DHS High School

Dollar General (49)
Dollar General sign

permalink | March 17, 2022 at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2022

Proposed Voting District Maps For Desert Hot Springs

The agenda for thee March 15 City Council meeting is now available. Included in it are the two draft maps for voting districts in DHS. This is a link directly to that item in the agenda packet.

Draft Map #1
Draft Map 1

Draft Map 2
Draft Map #2

permalink | March 10, 2022 at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2022

$20 Million(-ish) For New MSWD Headquarters

On March 3, 3033, the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors held a workshop to discuss the proposed Critical Services Center And Administration Building. The video of the workshop is available here. Director Duncan was absent.

General Manager Arden Wallum said that of the five major water purveyors in the Coachella Valley, MSWD has the worst administrative building. The site where they plan to locate the new headquarters was purchased about 2000. GM Wallum said there was a consensus in favor of one of the designs presented at the previous meeting. There was actually no consensus. He wasn't sure which one was preferred. Vice President Nancy Wright couldn't recall any consensus. President Russ Martin said he had said he preferred Option 2 only because it was the cheapest, but that any of the three designs would be acceptable. Actually, at the previous meeting he had said he preferred Option 2 before he knew that it was also the cheapest. VP Wright thought that Option 1 was cheapest. Her memory was incorrect.

The three options are options in the external appearance only. The interior layout is the same in all three. VP Wright asked which way was north on the site layout. The layout has a compass rose showing north is up, but the architect walked her through the compass directions. Director Ivan Sewell asked about the more compact site layout that was presented as a possible cost saving choice at the prior meeting. The architect said that could reduce the cost about $600,000. At the prior meeting it was said that could have reduced the cost by $1 million to $1.5 million. Now, with a range from $600,000 to $1,500,000 I would call those just wild-ass guesses.

MSWD currently has a staff of about 52 people. The architect said the new headquarters would be designed to accomodate "70-some-odd" staff. Further expansion will be possible on the site.

Ms. Wright mentioned that the district paid only $25,000 for the site originally.

There was a long discussion with Directors sharing their opinions on details of the different designs. If you want that in detail, go to the video.

Option 3 was preferred by the Directors. Directors Sewell, Grasha and VP Wright preferred the shallow curved dais for the boardroom.


They plan to pay for the new building using only property tax revenue and "other general administrative revenues." They do not intend to use the revenue from water and sewers to pay for it.

MSWD HQ Financing

It was pointed out that it would be more correct to say that $20 million is the estimated cost of the full project, not just the building(s).

The annual property tax revenue of $1 million would be sufficient to cover either a 20-year loan of $13.5 million at 3.9% or a 30-year loan at 4.1%. Some grants may also be available. Director Grasha recommended financing the entire $20 million in order to preserve the district's cash on hand for emergencies or changes in state regulations. He also said he expects the final cost to be $30 million.

permalink | March 9, 2022 at 05:47 PM | Comments (3)

March 5, 2022

Kam Lun Chinese

From the Press-Enterprise:

Kam Lun Chinese Food, 66610 8th St., Desert Hot Springs
Closed: March 2
Grade: 80/B, failing
Reason: Failing an inspection while on probation. There was one critical violation, for an employee using the same scoop for raw shrimp and raw diced vegetables. Among the 12 lesser violations, the inspector saw one live nymph cockroach at a handwashing sink and a dead roach on the food-prep sink, there was a dead fly on the dishwashing sink drainboard, there were rodent droppings in an outdoor storage area, a spiderweb was hanging from the ceiling near the walk-in cooler, cooked wontons were at an unsafe temperature, multiple containers of food were not being protected from contamination, and equipment and other surfaces throughout the restaurant needed cleaning. The restaurant has been on probation since August after failing three inspections and being shut down twice for rodent infestations in a two-year span.

permalink | March 5, 2022 at 06:52 AM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2022

Four More On KONO! Monolit

These were all shot on KONO! Monolit 64 film.
Hairy Cactus (1)
A hairy cactus in Desert Hot Springs

Petroglyph (1)
You can see some petroglyphs near the center of this photo

Mt San Gorgonio (1)
Mt San Gorgonio viewed from Cathedral City through a telephoto lens

Fifth Street Trailer Park (1)
The Fifth Street trailer park in Desert Hot Springs
is very gradually getting into better shape.

permalink | February 23, 2022 at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2022

Tour de Palm Springs

I went out to watch the riders on Little Morongo Road during the Tour de Palm Springs.
Tour de Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs (8132)

Tour de Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs (8114)

Tour de Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs (8119)

Tour de Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs (8124)

permalink | February 20, 2022 at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2022

Four Digitals In DHS

Misson Lakes Market Place (8183)
You can see some riders in the Tour de Palm Springs coming along Little Morongo Road
after their rest stop at Mission Lakes Market Place.

Cholla (8110)

MedMen Cannabis Cultivation Facility (8939)
In front of the inactive (AFAIK) MedMen cultivation facility

Mt San Gorgonio (8101)
Mt San Gorgonio
catching the morning light above Desert Hot Springs High School.

permalink | February 19, 2022 at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)