At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, it was a love fest for the Action 29 Chalk Fest. It was the most mentioned topic of the evening. I was beginning to wonder if some kind of magic dust was used in the chalk, or maybe there was a bet on for who could say the phrase “chalk fest” the most without looking foolish. I am betting no one won. I was also a little worried about what was in the chalk, because the 5 men certainly seemed to be a band of merry men. Every item on the agenda went 5-0. Well, almost every item.
First up: An Agreement to Produce Four Economic Development Videos by Wounded Warriors of Command Media. The Wounded Warriors train wounded Veterans in many aspects of the filming industry. The company has a local officice and has filmed a video for First Lady Michelle Obama. The film was centered on the children of military families and the difficulties that they face while their parent/s are overseas. Sgt. Brandon Delfiorentino, representing Command Media, was present to answer any questions for the City Council. The Council voted to hire Command Media to shoot four economic development videos to promote 29 Palms as a place to start a business, visit, and as a place to live. The cost was 60,000 dollars. I have to give my appproval to this decision. I like giving back to our heroes and at least this time we are keeping most of it local.
Next up: The big ticket item. Groundwater Protection Plan and Wastewater System. The price tag of 300,000 will be shared evenly with the 29 Water District. Stuff happens and Stuff rolls downhill, so I suppose we should prepare for it. I like the money being spent on real stuff, rather than the fake stuff on storefronts.
Item #3- City Council is going hi-tech. Marshall Networking will provide online viewing of City Council meetings. Price tag $597, at this time, it is on a 6 month trial. Council wants to see how many “hits” the site will get.
Oh, Supervisor Neil Derry was at the meeting and he and Mayor Harris shared a warm fuzzy moment over a San Bernardino County Vision.
Just when it looked like the band of merry men were going to pull off a quick meeting….The General Plan was last on the agenda. This is where Corbin went rogue. (Before this, everyone stayed on script and by script I mean the staff report.)
I have to say after 6 months of not attending meetings, it didn’t take long to catch up, much like watching a soap opera. You can miss a month or two of episodes and it only takes watching one every few months to see what Erica, Vickie, and Dorian are up to.
Agenda Item 9.4 (voted most interesting of the night by pollsters most likely to vote, if a voting was held now) City Council Policy Decisions and Guidance on Draft General Plan Update and Draft EIR so that Final Documents can be Prepared and Forwarded to the Planning Commission. We were painfully reminded that this has been a 3 year, 1.1 million dollar process. and then we were shown why it’s been so. GPAC had submitted a 47 package, described as a “big package” by Pat Flanagan, during public comments. GPAC had submitted 24 items for a response or guidance from the City Council. It seems that Council Member Corbin was the only council member to respond to these 24 items. Pat Flanagan was disappointed that the councilmen didn’t respond to their concerns.
Staff explained that the council had 3 choices: go through each of the 24 items and give guidance on each, pick only items considered important by Council, or forward the GPAC’s comments and General Plan to Planning Commission as is.
Joel Klink made a motion to send it to PC as is, but Corbin wasn’t happy with that. Jay wanted to give specific direction to the Planning Commission regarding the excessive non-residential build out, the excessive infrastructure, the clustering of residential zoning, and rural standards. Jay provided a substitute motion of directing the PC to consider those specific items after questioning Nelson Miller, Hogle-Ireland. Inc. if they could use language in the GP such as the City will develop rural standards and not develop them now. That was acceptable language according to Mr. Miller. No one would second the substitute motion. After a few semi-heated exchanges between Joel, John, and Jay. John made another substitute motion that the first two items would be specifically mentioned to the PC for consideration and then the plan come back to City Council for final approval. Joel Klink and Danny Mintz voted no, but the motion passed with Mayor Harris’ vote of yes.
My advice is to expect little change from the Staff Report, tonight almost went word for word, even to Kevin Cole’s comment that the Online video would be useful to 29′s display at the Yucca Valley Welcome Center. Read the book, skip the movie, until they buy more comfortable chairs and hire better actors.