July 31, 2021

Bad Police Work in Desert Hot Springs

Here's an article in the Press-Enterprise about the false charges brought against Roger Wayne Parker after DHS Police detectives did a poor job of trying to elicit a false confession from him.

He continued in the memo: "Many of these questions cannot be answered by 'further investigation.' There were many mistakes made during the investigation of this case. These mistakes cannot be undone, nor can many of them be remedied by further investigation. Forensic evidence hurts our case against the defendant and illustrates the mistakes made by law enforcement during the case investigation. It creates very reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt. Therefore, it is recommended that this case be dismissed."

Ross' lawsuit sums it up this way: "The facts demonstrated extremely shoddy police work that coerced a confession from an innocent man with significant intellectual disabilities who plainly knew nothing about the crime. The evidence, in fact, pointed to another individual as the guilty party."

Desert Hot Springs Police Chief Jim Henson declined comment on the quality of the police work and why the case remains unsolved. Henson, coincidentally, was one of the lead investigators on the Stevenson murder case.

permalink | July 31, 2021 at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2021

Rick Daniels Makes The Front Page Of The L.A. Times

Rick Daniels, the former city manager of Desert Hot Springs, has been city manager of Needles since he left our fair city. The city is the water purveyor there. Water came from four wells until three of them were shut down for high levels of magnesium. The city has not adequately maintained infrastructure and doesn't have the $1.5 million to dig a new well. MSWD pays a lot more than that for a new well, but Needle's water table might be a lot higher, being right on the Colorado River.

One of America's hottest cities is down to one water well. What happens if the taps go dry?

By RALPH VARTABEDIAN
JULY 20, 2021 5 AM PT

NEEDLES, Calif. — Rick Daniels lies awake at night worrying about a rusty contraption in a forlorn field, littered with discarded pipes and fire hydrants.

It is the only water pump in Needles that meets state water quality standards, running 23 hours a day to keep up with demand, according to Daniels, the city manager. That's a thin margin in one of America's hottest cities, an urban speck in the desert near California's border with Arizona.

If this lone pump fails, 5,000 residents face the ultimate risk of taps running dry, as temperatures soar past 120 degrees and people need to gulp as much as two gallons daily. In June, a transient person died while sitting on a curb midday, one of about 10 people a year who succumb to heat, city officials say.

Across California and the West, the current drought is causing many wells to dry up, but few other communities are looking at their single water lifeline going to zero.

"We are incredibly vulnerable," Daniels said. "We are talking about life and death."

The Colorado River flows right through this isolated historic railroad town, carrying about 6 million gallons every minute. But under western water laws, the city can't pull a single drop from the river.

Historically, the city has depended on four wells that draw from the river's nearby aquifer.

That worked fine for decades until late last year, when California's water authorities notified the city that three of its wells failed to meet state standards because of a naturally occurring mineral — manganese — that affects health. A May citation found the city had violated state water law and ordered a corrective plan by the end of this year.

The city says it can't afford a fix, which would include a new well for $1.5 million.

So, Needles' single well works around the clock. The city has three tanks that could keep water flowing for 24 to 36 hours if the pump stops — assuming everything else were to go just right. By comparison, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California requires its member water agencies to have a seven-day emergency supply.

Needles officials say state officials don't appreciate their desperate situation and protested that the order could jeopardize public safety. The city wants to keep the decommissioned wells as a backup in case of emergency.

Eric Zúñiga, the district engineer at the State Water Resources Control Board who signed the citations, said the board is encouraging the city to make its system more redundant, either by filtering or treating the bad water or by finding new sources. In an email, he added that his citation does not forbid the city from using wells contaminated with manganese if it notifies customers, but city officials believe they will be forced to physically disconnect them.

It is doubtful that, in an emergency, the city would facilitate a mass casualty event by not somehow supplying water — even contaminated water or water taken unlawfully from the Colorado River. But it has entered unknown territory, a zone of risk where few other cities venture.

Daniels agrees, but adds, "This citation was outrageous, insensitive and out of touch."

By all accounts, the city's water system is decrepit. In 2020, a 16-inch city water main burst at a bridge abutment over I-40 and dumped roughly 500,000 gallons on the freeway, a main freight route from California ports. The spill halted eastbound traffic for hours until one lane was opened. It took days to remove 3-foot-thick mud.

A lot of California water agencies are in tough shape, because of aging infrastructure, drought, rising temperatures and political priorities lying elsewhere. Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, said that California has about 9,000 regulated water utilities and that as many as 1,000 of those systems have problems of some type.

Decision-making authority is diluted. Municipal water managers make most decisions and report to regional water boards. The regional boards are overseen by the state water board. The Department of Water Resources controls the supply of surface water. The California Public Utilities Commission oversees rate setting and service. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has some jurisdiction over state operations. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation controls the Colorado River.

"We have quite a few chiefs looking over this deal," Lund said. "If you are a regulator, you have all these systems all over the place, and you don't have much staff."

Needles, among the poorest communities in California, has always prided itself for persevering. But now an inhospitable climate is becoming unbearable in so many ways.

"Every time there is a heat wave, Needles is up there among the hottest temperatures of the day," said Brian Lada, an Accuweather meteorologist. A ranking of the nation's most blistering cities by Lada didn't include Needles because it is too small, he said.

A housing survey found that 55% of the residents are on some form of welfare assistance. There isn't a grocery market in town, though a well-stocked liquor store has a few aisles for canned goods and frozen food. A handful of cannabis dispensaries and shuttered 1950s-era motels cluster around the main drag, the historic Route 66.

The city's economy and its tax revenue are hurt by its proximity to Arizona, which is right across the Colorado River, and Nevada. On a recent day, gasoline was selling in Needles for $5.19 a gallon, but across the bridge it was under $2.90. A Walmart is 12 miles up Highway 95 in Bullhead City, Ariz.

Many of the highly paid in Needles live in Nevada or Arizona, spending their California income out of state. BNSF railroad has a crew station in Needles with about 500 employees, but the vast majority live in Nevada or Arizona, city officials say. Indeed, nearly all cars in the BNSF employee parking lot have Arizona or Nevada license plates.

Calling Needles "remote" would be an understatement. The city is more than 200 miles from the county seat, San Bernardino. Its state senator lives farther away in the Central Valley. The nearest major California city is Barstow, 140 miles away. Las Vegas is 100 miles away. It isn't clear what friends it would have in an emergency.

Even now, after begging for intervention, the city hasn't gotten much help. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state legislators and its congressional representative either didn't respond to letters or don't offer much, according to Needles officials.

"We need help," said Rainie Torrance, a city utility manager.

A nonprofit coalition of labor unions and contractors, known as Rebuild SoCal Partnership, has taken up the city's cause. It has helped contact state officials and prepare grant requests. Marci Stanage, the group's director for water and environmental relations, said she is surprised that nobody has responded to the city's problems or her group's efforts.

After visiting Needles to advise them on a new well, Dave Sorem, an engineer on the group's board and vice president of a Baldwin Park construction firm, said: "The city is in more trouble than it realizes. California has a $76-billion budget surplus, but it can't help out for a million-and-a-half-dollar well? Come on."

The city's single pump could fail for any number of reasons. Water wells have intake pipes at their bottoms, with screens to allow the water to flow into the pipe. The screens can collapse and plug the well, according to Bryan Hickstein, the city's chief water operator. The steel well casings can collapse, he said, or the motor can burn out, as it did last year. The city had a spare motor, and a contractor rushed out from Anaheim with a crane.

The city's problems began last November when the water board put the city on notice that three of its wells showed manganese levels above the maximum allowable level of 50 micrograms per liter. Then in May, the water board issued a citation, requiring a corrective action plan by the end of 2023.

Daniels said he complained about the list of requirements in the citation, and shortly after, the board issued a revised citation that moved the corrective action plan deadline to the end of 2021. Zúñiga, the water board engineer, said the original date was a typographical error and had nothing to do with comments from the city.

Manganese, not to be confused with magnesium, is a metal abundant in the Earth's crust. At low levels, it is an essential nutrient for humans, but at elevated levels it poses undefined risks. The state established a maximum allowable level, citing "aesthetic" issues with high concentrations, which stain clothes, sinks and stucco. It also leaves water with a bitter taste. Iron was another aesthetic problem in the wells, but it is generally not high enough to be harmful.

Water toxicologists say there is growing evidence that at higher concentrations manganese can cause neurological disorders, particularly in young children.

"We are moving toward a regulated level," said Donald Smith, a recognized national expert on manganese and a toxicology professor at UC Santa Cruz. "It is unclear whether a level of 50 micrograms per liter causes neurological effects. My professional opinion is that there is reason to be concerned. We don't know what level is safe and what level is unsafe."

California may be the only state to regulate manganese. Minnesota has a guidance limit of 100 micrograms per liter, twice California's level. Zúñiga said he is not aware of any other states that regulate the metal.

Janice Paget, a board member of the Needles Chamber of Commerce, said most people in town aren't aware of the manganese issue.

"I don't even know what kind of side effect it causes," she said.

Cost is a more common complaint, Paget said, noting that she and her husband, the only surgeon in Needles, had a water bill of $174 in June.

Drilling a new well would be one solution for Needles. The city hired a hydrologist who identified a site unlikely to be contaminated.

But the city doesn't have the roughly $1.5 million needed to dig the well, Daniels said. As it is, utility customers are more than $300,000 behind on their bills.

permalink | July 20, 2021 at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2021

Dollar General

About half of what this video claims are the conditions that Dollar General looks for when selecting a location do not apply in Desert Hot Springs, but they're building a second one here anyway. IOW, the selection process is more refined than the WSJ says it is.

permalink | July 18, 2021 at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2021

Some Health Department Inspections

From the Press-Enterprise.

DHS Spa again!

The restaurant at Desert Hot Springs Spa, at 10805 Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs, was inspected July 13 and received a failing grade of 81/B with one critical violation. Food was at unsafe temperatures inside two refrigerators and a freezer that were impounded. Among the 12 lesser violations, there were rodent droppings behind equipment in all three food storage rooms, and the floors, walls, ceilings and cooking equipment needed cleaning. This was the restaurant’s third failed inspection since 2019 and it was shut down twice last year for rodent infestations.

This place is in the county, not in Desert Hot Springs, but that's a small matter:

Mariscocos Culiacan #2, at 16760 Palm Drive Suite 2 in Desert Hot Springs, was inspected July 14 in response to a foodborne illness complaint. It received a failing grade of 80/B with one critical violation, for five pans of cooked meat and rice being at unsafe temperatures. Among the 12 lesser violations, there were multiple flies inside, containers of food weren’t being stored protected from contamination and there were areas in need of cleaning.

Rancho Mirage:

Joyce’s Sushi, 36101 Bob Hope Drive Suite E1, Rancho Mirage
Closed: July 13
Grade: Not graded
Reason: Cockroach infestation. The inspector visited in response to a cockroach complaint and saw two nymph roaches running across a floor, multiple live and dead roaches on a sticky trap in the same area and many more dead roaches throughout the facility. The owner said roaches tend to come into the restaurant during the summer, and he conducts his own pest control rather than using a professional service.

This one is way over in Corona, but it sounds like a horror story at an all-you-can-eat sushi dump:

Sushi Zen, 1525 E. Ontario Ave. Suite 108, Corona
Closed: July 13
Grade: 66/C, failing
Reason: Failing an inspection on probation. The restaurant had four critical violations: Multiple employees didn’t wash hands. Numerous items of food were at unsafe temperatures, including raw seafood in a cooler that wasn’t keeping cold and cooked seafood in a warmer that hadn’t been turned on. Food was contaminated, including lemons that had gotten moldy and sushi rice that an employee scooped up with a dirty wiping cloth. And some food-contact surfaces weren’t clean; one employee said they didn’t know how to sanitize dishes. Among the 14 lesser violations, there were flies landing on food-contact surfaces and the restaurant had to throw out 50 pounds of sushi rice that had been left out. This was the restaurant’s fifth failing grade since 2020 and fourth closure this year. Two closures in March were for not having hot water and a third in May was for failing its first inspection after being placed on probation. To reopen, the operator would have to correct all violations and pay double the fee to purchase a new permit.

permalink | July 17, 2021 at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2021

Four on Rollei Retro 80S Film

All of these were shot on Rollei Retro 80S film last month.
Grocery Outlet and Mt San Jacinto
Grocery Outlet framed by Mt San Jacinto
.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (2)
Another shot of the new DHS Public Library on opening day
.

Los Angeles Union Station (1)
Los Angeles Union Station
.

Los Angeles Union Station (2)
The interior of L.A. Union Station
.

permalink | July 14, 2021 at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2021

New Dollar General Construction

Construction has commenced for the new Dollar General on Palm Drive between 4th and 5th Streets. All photos shot on Kodak UltraMax 400 film.
Dollar General Construction (4)

Dollar General Construction (7)

Dollar General Construction (3)

Dollar General Construction (5)

permalink | July 12, 2021 at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2021

Two in PS, Two in DHS

These were all shot on Ilford Delta 100 film.
Plinth for "Forever Marilyn"
The plinth for Forever Marilyn
on Museum Way.

History Of Suspended Time by Gonzalo Lebrija (3)
History Of Suspended Time by Gonzalo Lebrija
at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Improperly DIsplayed American Flag at DHS Spa
The north side of the DHS Spa sign in disrepair
with an improperly displayed heavily damaged American flag. Looks like something run by a slumlord, doesn't it?

Water Leak at Miracle Springs Resort
A water leak in front of Miracle Springs Resort
. I reported this to the resort and to Mission Springs Water District. The water district told me it was the resort's property and responsibility. I never heard back from the resort.

permalink | July 11, 2021 at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2021

Four On Ilford Delta 100 Film

All shot with Ilford Delta 100 film.
Reclining Figure by Henry Moore
Reclining Figure by Henry Moore
at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Public Art (2)
Public art at Cholla and Pierson in Desert Hot Springs
.

Public Art (5)

Shadow On A Wall
Desert Hot Springs
.

permalink | July 9, 2021 at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2021

Four More in Desert Hot Springs

All of these were shot with Ilford Delta 100 film.

Mailbox (1)
In Desert Hot Springs
. Shot in May this year.

Abused American Flag at Miracle Springs Resort (1)
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
on Palm Drive. This was shot on May 24. I find it hard to conceive that all the employees of this hotel going past this flag twice a day, every day, and not a single one of them tried to do anything about it. The American flag at the neighboring DHS Spa (same owner) is just as bad.

Easy Street
Cactus Drive
.

Desert Hot Springs Recreation (1)
Formerly the Boys & Girls Club
.

permalink | July 8, 2021 at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 5, 2021

The Latest Coachillin' Promotional Video

permalink | July 5, 2021 at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2021

Four in Desert Hot Springs

All of these were shot on Rollei RPX 100 film in May of this year.
Massage
On Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs
.

Fifth Street
Colorized in Photoshop
.

Cactus (5)

Mural at 12380 Palm Drive
At 12380 Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs
.

permalink | July 3, 2021 at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2021

DHS Public Library Grand Opening

Today was the grand opening of the new Desert Hot Springs Public Library at Park Lane and Palm Drive. Let's get the one negative out of the way.
Desert Hot Springs' New Library (6)
Here's how it looks from the sidewalk on Palm Drive
if you approach from the north. Very nice. But there is no walkway from Palm Drive to the library. The ground slopes and is covered with loose landscaping rock. You could continue to Park Lane, take a left there, walking around the south side, then the east to come back to this northern side where the entrance is. Or, you could take the obvious shortcut, this sidewalk to the county building next door:
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (2192)

But that sidewalk only goes to the entrance of the county building. To get to the library you have to walk across the parking lot and driveway. There are no curb cuts there, so if you need a curb cut, you'll have to bear left to get to the curb cut on the east side of the building where the parking lot is.
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6531)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6526)
Looking back from the library entrance toward the county building
. Fine for cars. Not so fine for those on foot or in wheelchairs.

If you want to avoid walking in the driveway, you'll have to travel 270° around the building, where you will be presented with this face:
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6537)

This, then, is the face the library presents to almost everyone arriving by vehicle or on foot or wheelchair. I know every building has to have a utilitarian backside, but when your utilitarian backside is the face most users will see most often, then there should be an attempt to make it look as nice as the other faces of the building.

Years from now when the library needs expanding, this buffer of land along Park Lane will be the obvious place to do it, and then they could improve the appearance of this corner. Or, they could just build a more direct sidewalk from the library entrance to Palm Drive.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6551)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6554)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6560)
That's a power outlet on the table with a single 120-volt outlet and two USB
.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6570)
American history here
. Don't tell Caitlyn Jenner!

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6578)
There are two of these AV cubicles
without ceilings, so you won't be able to really crank up the volume.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6586)
The southwest corner
.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6602)
A banquette with power outlets where disaffected youth can gather
. It just needs ashtrays!

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6623)
Conference room with its own separate entrance
.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6635)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6638)
I used to check out audiobooks from the library
, but 80% of their stock was romance novels. Of the remaining 20%, I was interested in about half, and borrowed and listened to all of them. Good to see their selection has expanded quite a bit. I took a look to see if they had anything by Delany, meaning Samuel. But there was only one novel by someone else named "Delaney." I suppose the library accepts donations.

The complete set of photos is here.

permalink | June 26, 2021 at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2021

Revenue Sources For The City Of Desert Hot Springs

This came from a graphic presented at the June 2, 2021, city council meeting.
DHS Revenues FY 21-22

permalink | June 3, 2021 at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

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)

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 25, 2021

Four Shot On Lomography Fantôme Kino Film

Shadows on West Drive
West Drive in Desert Hot Springs
.

Escutcheon by Khang Pham-New
Escutcheon by Khang Pham-New at California Botanic Garden
.

Joshua Trees (1)
Joshua Trees in Claremont at California Botanic Garden
.

Pergola (15)
California Botanic Garden
.

permalink | April 25, 2021 at 07:21 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

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)