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The 29 Palms Marine Base – Are they really a good neighbor?

By   /   February 9, 2012  /   118 Comments

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I am often amused at how we in 29 palms are told that MCAGCC is a “National Asset,” and how it is eager to promote growth in its host city and county. Is the base is a good neighbor and our friend? Really? What is an asset?

as·set   [as-et]


  1. a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational abilityis an asset.
  2.  a single item of ownership having exchange value.
  3. assets,
a. items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill,fixtures, machinery, or real estate ( opposed toliabilities).
b. Accounting . the items detailed on a balance sheet,especially in relation to liabilities and capital.
c. all property available for the payment of debts,especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.
d. Law . property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.
Well in our case, the tail wags the dog. The base is a regular commercial paradise. Every kind of store and facility you can imagine, The place is bustling and money goes right into the hands of  Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS). All the while the majority of those who live in the basin are denied access to those commercial services. MCCS is like a velvet gloved Mafia that controls all commerce and community service activities on base in a manner that can only be considered as a government approved monopoly. While the lack of commercial competition and opportunity is one problem, an even more sinister activity is the successful control of local government and economic activity outside the gate of MCAGCC.
I recently posted a letter concerning hawking and peddling by the base, which raised a few eyebrows. We have a new letter.  A new business man being pushed around.  This new letter fell from the sky and into my hands this morning and makes my little complaint minor in comparison.
I know that we keep hearing that the Base is all for economic growth in the town and it is the city itself that impedes the march to growth and prosperity. This new letter sent to me seems to dispel the theory that the base is our friend and an Asset to the area.
A major developer has spent well over a million dollars, $23,000 alone to Charles LaClaire’s office to review his proposal only to be jerked around and delayed by MCAGCC’s heavy handed interference in local zoning laws and development codes.
Land along Condor Road from the Condor Gate to Adobe Road is for the most part zoned Commercial and Multi-family. A large developer wants to develop that area into a gated multi-family community with parks, swimming pools and neighborhood commercial opportunities. The area would be consistent with Multi-Family  Base housing that is directly to the north.
Once again the base is demanding a 1000 foot buffer zone. and other restrictions that would make it difficult if not impossible to complete the project or use the land that the company already owns. This 1000 foot requirement is in every since of the word a “Taking” in the eyes of the law. If they wanted a 1000 foot buffer shouldn’t they be buying up that buffer?
Please download the letter. Read it. You decide. Has the base gone too far in meddling in the legislative activities of Local Governments? Are they now going outside the base and deciding who the winners and losers are?

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  • Published: 2 years ago on February 9, 2012
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  • Last Modified: February 13, 2012 @ 3:53 pm
  • Filed Under: News

About the author

Dan OBrien


Cactus Thorns has been online in one form or the other since 2001. What started as a personal blog documenting the corruption and lack of Due Process of the 29 Palms Community Development Department has turned into over these many years into a hugely popular Independent Alternative News Media Outlet. We have partnered with other media including The Desert Star Weekly, Joshua Tree Star, other blogs, indie media and an incredible staff of volunteer Reporters, Commentators and Opinion Makers to create one of the most read, honest and dependable alternative to the Local traditional Media services in the country. Thanks to you the reader we are in the 5% of most read sites in the World.


  1. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    it is kind of a dam if you do and dam if you don’t, I have seen times when an airport was restricted from neigbors moveing close by well after the airport was established. I can understand the bases concerns if by developing near the boundries creates complant headacks. there is plenty of commercial futher south on adobe that is better suited, sad the developer didn’t do some research befor he invested, buyer beware.

    • michaelv michaelv says:

      I agree, while the base has taken valuable commercial business away from the City, we need to separate security issues from retail issues. The letter mentions that the revised general plan has a 1000 ft. buffer zone listed, while the new plan has not been put into effect, any developer investing that much money should look at all present and future plans the city is considering.
      I have been wondering why Robertson concrete was trying to build a batch plant on the property near the intersection of Valle Vista and Condor, I think I may have gotten my answer.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Hey the guy bought commercial/multi family property. He has an expectation to use that property for that purpose. If he is denied that use by government it is a “Taking” and he should be allowed to just compensation for that taking. If it is going to be a 1000 foot rule… buy the buffer. but then they will need to worry about the next 1000 feet and then the next and soon no private property at all in the east basin will be safe. What the hell, they do not want anyone to make a living, they will not share the customer base, they are telling the local government where to build and who is allowed to build or do business.

      We have been screwed so long by the base we should be given a military dependent card. At least it will make the screwing a legitimate act.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        Lets look at santa monica airport, been there dating back to early in the last century, then came the encroachment by developers and the citizens that bought from the developers who now want the airport closed.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Apples…. Oranges.

          • michaelv michaelv says:

            I lived in Point Loma, San Diego the place is crawling with military installations AND homes, businesses etc. It works there. I am not sure what the deal is here, but I do understand that if it is written in the new and improved GP (?) then it should be considered.
            This is the first military town/city that I have been in, even just in passing that lacks retail businesses. It is very noticeable, and I cannot figure out a way to stop it. Could it be that when the base was annexed with the City we gave up the right to bring in retail? Did it give them the right to develop their own retail establishment? I do know that the more people that I speak to, no one really cares. They complain, shrug their shoulders, get into their car and drive to Yucca or down the hill. In the past everyone shopped local, not just here in 29 but everywhere. As people started driving farther and farther for work, it became easier to drive to the next town/City for shopping. As people drove, local stores closed. I think with the mobile family and the internet it has become less important to shop in a persons home town/City. The bare necessities are here, drugstore, check, grocery’s,check, gas station, check, place to worship, check and internet connection, check. Do I agree with this or believe it is fair for those of us who want to be able to purchase within the City, no not at all, however we are in a City that is not going to attract business when it all comes down to how much inventory a store can turn over in a given time.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              The amount of Retail Leakage for 29 Palms is unbelievable. My guess based on some old statistics, it’s over half a million a year, maybe more.

              Over the years, 29 Leadership has rejected, made conditions of approval almost impossible (i.e. the Hawlers Solicitors & Peddlers Codse) for Big Box & Franchise businesses in favor of Mom & Pops, giving the impression to the business community that 29 wasn’t “Business friendly”. The word spread fast, believe me. That persona still exist today, as perceptions is everything for most people. Most of the Mom & Pops have closed for many reasons and now 29 is loaded with Smoke Shops, Tattoo Parlors, Massage Parlors, Barbershops filling those retail buildings. Everyone tends to say the “Free Market” will dictate. Well, the free market idea ain’t satisfying the desires of the Citizens of 29. One closes, another opens. So now the impression of 29 is not very favorable. Having rift raft businessess scattered in the main commercial corridor is the norm and totally acceptable to Leadership and leaves a negative impression on our visitors and many people passing through.

              You have to overcome this objective. The only way to accomplish this is to hire an “Economic Development Specialist”. Yes folks, you have to spend money to make money, it’s an investment to the economic future of 29 Palms. When I campaigned for CC I supported and believe in this recommendation from the current 29 Palms Economic Development Plan.

              I spent 3 years of my life as a marine Corps Recruiter. beating the bushes looking for young people to join the Corps in the 80′s. Had to compete with 3 other services. I do understand what it takes to sell someone on a organization.

              29 needs a true Economic Development Specialist who is dedicated to smile & dial on behalf of 29 daily, selling 29, using the same demograpics package the base uses. Advertising in Tourist magazines or sending out videos will never attract the type of services and businesses the Citizens desire. You have to “sell” why investing into 29 makes sense and that it can actually make them money.

              Some will object, but 29 can only grow as big as the infrasture allows. Having 1 or 2 decent retail big box stores and a decent franchise food establishment, say in front of the Fairfield Inn and we’d be set. Ask yourself this question: How much longer will the old Rite Aid building remain vacant?

              The only way to change this situation is a total over-haul in the thought process of Leadership.

            • Frothard Audiganus says:

              Hear! Hear! A million times hear!

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              That economic specialist is what I thought the city pays the Chamber For… Unless I am missing something wouldn’t that job be duplicitous or … and I mean this in a non judgmental way….should the city get out of the business of supporting the chamber and other PR organizations run by others and put their eggs in one basket to hire this Economic specialist? What guarantee can be given things will change?

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              The City quit paying the Chamber 2 or 3 years ago for them to smile & dial for 29 Economic Development. They pay for a employee to man the Visitor Center.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        I knew a guy that bought enron stock with the expectation to make a profit, it didn’t wotk out so well. while a mans house is his castle and supossedly protected as such, commercial is a whole different animal that comes with risk. The greater the risk the greater the potential,

  2. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Consider that a sizable number of active duty Marines and Sailors have bought homes or are renting in Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley. One spouse works on base and the other works down the hill. Also consider that there is a PX and Commissary available on the base. And the most important change in buying habits that you mentioned,the internet.

  3. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, What do you think of the proposed batch plant at the corner of Utah Trail and Valle Vista?

  4. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    the chains like texas roadhouse will move in to the city as soon as the citizens purge city hall of favoritisem and corruption, it will take voter particapation to stimulate those that are capitable of making multi million dollar investments. Many chains are on the sidelines eyeing that base payroll.

    Now with the RDAs gone things will change for the better we just need the PC and council to start working for equal access, it may be easier for them now that those dam RDAs are gone.

    • michaelv michaelv says:

      Here is another issue, while working in corporate America I was involved with a team who’s sole purpose was to look for the next location for a store. A map was put on a table and a circle = to 30 miles was drawn at the proposed location. We would then research demographics for the given area as well as traffic studies and a decision was made from those findings. If you do that here in 29, your population will not support the turnover a company is looking for. When you draw the same circle,say in the center of Yucca valley you catch a more populated area. Not only do you catch 29 palms but you also catch Morongo Valley and depending on the location, some of Desert Hot Springs. While we know that the people of DHS will never travel up the hill, Corp. America does not know that.
      Another issue is that Some companies will not count the population of the base because of the fluctuating numbers.
      Those retailers who have decided to open a store on base have a captive audience. If Starbucks had opened in the City their numbers would be lower than they are on base.
      Has anyone ever thought of trying to open the motorsport park for more than 1 weekend a year? Is it possible to have one race every month or every two months? think of the revenue that could potentially bring into the City.
      Steve: you are correct the City needs an economic development director. That person needs to have a clear vision of what direction the Citizens want to take, all of the citizens not just a select few. One thing is for sure, they should not form a committee, it becomes one sided and nothing is ever accomplished.

      • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

        Yeah… we all read the Buxton Report. It suggested the same thing you do here….

        The Buxton report states that 29 is at the end of the road. What we do not need is another political appointee to direct economics in town, what we do need is a closure of Indian Trail and Lear Road to base traffic to direct traffic back to downtown 29 Palms.

        What we need is a commitment from the base that no business or service available off base will be duplicated on base. That when services and amenities become available off base and are of sufficient ability to support the base those on base services and facilities will be closed down. That would revive the town… anything else is speculative bull shit pitched by people who have never had a successful business.

        • michaelv michaelv says:

          Having had a successful business for 8 years that’s closure was caused by in the influx of Big Box stores I do have some knowledge of operating a business. I can tell you from that experience that the relationship between town officials, the chamber of commerce and business owners was very close.
          As business owners we worked with the town to keep the citizens coming into our businesses. A phone call could get everyone together to brainstorm new ideas. Rules were relaxed when needed to allow a business to run a special event.
          What I have seen here is more rules and regulations than the military has, and if they don’t like what you are doing, they make a new rule. Why hasn’t anyone used the Buxton report? I am sure the City paid dearly for it to be done. Oh, one more thing, Our economic director was a volunteer position. Monthly meetings were held with those business owners who could attend and everyone took one task to do. We business owners were a community. We kept new businesses always interested in moving in. Then came Costco, 25 miles out of town followed by Home Depot. While my store and several other stores closed, there were others who moved right in and are still doing well. Some how, some way the City of 29 needs an action plan before it is to late. Sorry Dan, closing the roads aren’t going to work

          • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

            The biggest bog box store in this area we have to compete against is the PX. It is a government run monopoly that sucks the life out of this community.

            If you would have read the Buxton Report it would have told you that the way the traffic patterns are 29 Palms is at the wrong end of the road. By limiting base traffic to 62 and Adobe, 29 Palms would be no longer at the end of the road but along the way to the final end at the base. Simple stuff Mike. It was simple mistakes done early on by well meaning folks that snowballed into this economic morass we are now in.

            And yes it can be as simple as directing traffic back to its historic patterns that can bring back the vitality of the downtown area. Or if that does not suit you…. lets move downtown to along Lear and Indian Trail and bulldoze 4 corners. Jesus man have you ever really watched the traffic patterns?

            • michaelv michaelv says:

              Yeah Dan, I’ve watched all the base personnel driving down Indian Trl to Lear. I understand the problem. For the past several years there are less and less reasons for anyone to drive into downtown. I’ve watched marines get gas at the corner of Amboy and Adobe, turn around and head to Indian Trl to go west. Two mile has also become an exit road. I don’t need to read the report and either does anyone else, just look around and see that we have done this to ourselves.
              I was told awhile ago by someone who has resided here for many years that the General asked the City to bring business into town or else the base was going to bring it in themselves, seems like they did.
              I have thought about that development on Condor,Housing, pools and retail right next to the base, another project similar to the one on Two mile in the works?

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              I do not believe any such thing about a General threatening the town of get business into town or he will…. He wouldn’t have been a General Long.

              There are way too many of us in town wanting success for the town. Too many commercial property owners eager to work with business to make a go of it.

              We’ve made it hard to do business in town. The base has made it sound to the young Marines that the town is a shit hole and they should avoid it at all costs.

              MCCS has gone way way beyond running a PX and the Commissary. It is into every retail and service industry possible and has squeezed out all but a very few commercial Enterprises.

              We need to make it easier to do business in town and demand that the base quit competing against civilian businesses and services.

              If you can not get access to the 20+ thousand Marines on base, you do not have a chance of making a go of it. If you can’t make a go of it you and your family and your potential employees will remain in poverty.

              We have a two tiered society out here, the ones who work on base and the rest of us. Those that work on base live well those that don’t, don’t live as well.

            • michaelv michaelv says:

              You are so correct Dan, It is a shame really. There are contractors starving out here who cannot get in to the base just because they don’t have a hook. They bring in these guys from out of the area and there are qualified people right here, trying to make ends meet but unable to do so. Have a good night.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              FYI, the Commissary is ran by DeCA, Defense Commissary Agency. As one Agency, it gives them a tremendous amount of purchasing power to provide lower prices on some grocery items. It’s 50/50. You can find better deals out in town on items as well.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              The Majority of the information contained in the Buxton Report for the City is a bunch of malarky. It’s just like how you pump yourself up when write your resume.

              I ‘ve read the one for 29, Yucca and even the one for the Morongo Basin, had to laugh. Did you realize Yucca Valley includes thepopulations of Morongo Valley and the population all the way out through Johnson Valley in their Buxton Report?

              So why can 29 use the demographics MCCS uses to attract Economic Development?Seem like the smart thing to do.


              If you hire a Economic Development Specialist today, you’ll see results at earliest in a year if we a a building available that fits that business. Otherwise your talking 2 to 3 years to construct from cradle to grave.

              That’s why Leadership needs to act now.

              Like I said before, it’ll take a complete over haul of the thought process of Leadership before this happens.

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              Just crazy economic development director , what in the hell would he do, pick and chose what companies come to town or would it be up to him direct potential development to his buddies,. This town has had way too much of the old boys club. An economic development director is so wrong in so many ways. Bizarre to think that an over paid city employee is going to lead those that create value.

              Want business in town get the city out of the way and let the entrepreneur do what they do create value. When there is value the marines will come off base and spend locally, it is not rocket science. As long as we have those power hungry commie minded goons at city hall stifling new and old business we can’t move forward. Is mccs greedy yes but I can tell you one thing for sure, they are not capitible of competing with us in the private sector. Once again get the city out of the way and let us loose and we will keep those millions from leaving town and we will take million from mccs as a bonus.

            • michaelv michaelv says:

              OK we all agree something needs to be done, how do we get the rest of the population involved. Also a civilian company will not use the same report the MCCS uses. According to sources within the private sector Deployments change the population therefore it is not a good number.

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              Agreed Mike. How do we get all the differing factions involved and talking?

              We’ve been doing this blog for 11 years now. Yeah we get a lot of reads but not everyone read us. We need to promote dialog both here and in other public avenues. Unless you are informed you are a sheep. We need more Shepherds less sheep.

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              It is not about bringing big business to town, we need the freedom for the commercial property owners to do business. If that means the property owner selling to a big company that is fine, but lets make this a mom and pop friendly city.
              with $57 dollar jeans at the base there is room for profit by the small guy here in town.give me the freedom to have a swap meet and i will bring in a vendor that will beat that price hands down, now the puchaser has funds left over for addtional purchases. good for me good for the vendor good for the city with the sales tax generated, and most of all it is good for the young marine that gets value.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              Well, Mike, don’t know what to tell you, I’m telling you what I see. The numbers they use have attracted several franchise businesses.

  5. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, please do.

  6. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Steve, I agree with everything you said.

  7. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Michael, it’s called the Buxton report of 2006.

  8. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, One of the main purposes of the PX system is to generate profits to support recreational activities on the base. That was a congressional mandate many decades ago. Your idea would eventually diminish the profit margins so that the extensive recreational opportuniies on base would become unfunded. How would you propose to make up the shortfall?

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Wouldn’t it be more equitable to generate a profit so everyone can both on and off base can avail themselves of the recreational opportunities profit can generate.

      I do not and can not believe that it was the intent of congress to allow the PX system to make itself the sole source provider of all purchases and services provided to the Military, that is simply a monopoly.

  9. Kim Ortamond Kim Ortamond says:

    Okay I have to say something here. I am a retired Marine of 28 years and most of them were spent here at 29Palms as an Instructor. As a young Marine here in the desert, when the weekend came and you had transportation in some form or manner, all you wanted was to get away. It had nothing to do with the town, but get away from base. As time went on, I enjoyed the small town feel, but believe me I noticed my young Marines couldn’t wait to get the hell out of here (BASE). If you watch and listen to these young Marines the story is the same.

    Now lets talk about the PX, commissary and such….The new PX is a big joke, a big area with less help, harder to find a checkout, oh yeah and same small crappy parking area. Now checkout the prices, once in a BLUE frickin Moon you might find a good deal…but I can bet you, you’ll find a better selection and better deal elsewhere and not that far to drive. Their best customers are young Marines without transportation, or immature adults who have to have it now. Now the commissary, hmmmmm today not payday…..the frickin shelves were empty. I do buy a few things at the commissary, but never the produce….most sorry thing you’ve ever seen, you find something you like and you can almost bet it won’t be there next time. The fuel prices are normally the same or higher then town. If it is lower, it is hell getting in and out of the WELL planned new gas station. Oh yeah and don’t even get me going about CUSTOMER SERVICE at any of these places.

    I have lived here a long time and one of the things I have noticed over the years is that City personnel do not welcome new businesses or go out of their way to help. When I have went into the City Office, I have been met with yes or what do you want….NOT, with how may I help you, or with a simple hello. When I have asked a question, I have often been met with what you CAN’T DO. Instead of let me see what we can do, or what we can work out. I notice this same thing at the City Council, all the reasons why we can’t do it.

  10. Melanie Melanie says:

    I have to agree with almost EVERYTHING that Kim has stated. Moving back a year ago after being gone for almost 20, one of the first things that I discovered was that things hadn’t changed….if anything they had gotten worse. Sorry 29, but that became very evident my first trip from the Smoketree area towards the center of town and then down Adobe towards the base. The lack of growth was very apparent, as was the general feeling of decay. Some of the areas remind me of the old Hill Street area in Oceanside when it was declared off limits to the Marines stationed at Pendleton. At that time it was smoke shops and massage parlors for almost as far as you could see.

    I shop on the base for those items that I need which they carry, I end up in Yucca for items that they may carry and shop online for the rest. We frequent a couple of businesses in town because they have what we need but if we can’t find it here we go where we can find it.

    I have now gone to the new PX about 4 times since it opened. Blasted place reminds me of Walmart but doesn’t have that great of a selection and they are gearing their selections towards the young Marines and their families with all their extra monies. There is no way that I can afford a Coach purse and that seems to be the only ones that they carry. The PX sure isn’t after my money and the town sure doesn’t seem to be after it either……..

  11. Terry Elam Terry Elam says:

    Good neighbor? Sure, they owe us nothing.
    They, like all government. are complacent. What is the easiest for those in charge is what dictates.
    On the construction end.Local small companies take more supervision. With the bigger outfits, the supers can sit in their offices and literally do nothing and still get a paycheck. They like that.
    It’s ironic when I see those protesting big business while looking to the government for answers.
    Big government promotes big business.
    Most of the workers seem to come from out of area. They go from prevailing wage job to prevailing wage job. Of the locals being hired locally, many were through an employment agency that was skimming around $20 an hour for the privilege of letting you work.
    Not quite a conspiracy. There are few formalities. Mostly a whole bunch of worthless lazy employees who’s main goal is not to rock the boat.
    I have more respect for welfare cheats.

  12. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, I have to agree with you that CT has not been effective in changing public policy here in 29 or in YV.

    • How do you measure that Larry? I say yes on some issues and no on other issues. Yes, the city council does not represent all the people. They are too busy to even have the gumption to get us a swap meet, but art in pubic places is something that gets done. I think CT has done a fine job of informing people. You are part of that too.

      Larry wrote: “…CT has not been effective in changing public policy here in 29 or in YV.

  13. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, I think you are saying that the City and the Base limit all traffic from the base from going into town on Adobe Road. That is incorrect. The City and the Base agreed years ago that miltary vehicles would turn left on Indian Trail and go to Lear if they are going west. If the vehicles are going to a training area east of town they go down Adobe to Amboy and go east from there. The problem was the large, noisy, smoke emitting Tank haulers, Combat vehicles were tearing up the roads, causing traffic jams in downtown and wasting military time and money by having to go slower than they could on Indian Trail. There is no prohibition for military in private vehicles from driving on any city street. Most who live in Indian Cove find it faster and safer to take Indian to Lear.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      I understand what you are saying but…. I think in retrospect many of those who wanted the traffic to turn 10 miles west of downtown 29 Palms would have to admit it was better to repair the roads and put up with the noise and make a living than to have a Ghost Town.

      It would seem that logic would dictate (Maybe Steve W can chime in here)….The whole idea of commercial traffic patterns is to bring buyers to the sellers.. So I guess if we do not want the traffic patterns to go to the sellers we might think about moving the whole damned town to Lear and along Indian Trail.

  14. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Miltary convoys are not commercial. Tour buses come to town and stop and let people eat at Jack-in-Box and Mickey D’s. How would you ensure all civilian traffic from and to the base is directed through downtwon and the along Adobe. MP’s at the corners?

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      How do you figure that military convoys are not potential consumers? Those bus loads of Marines just out of boot camp heading for school, never see that there is actually a town of 29 Palms. They see Yucca Valley and JT but from there on into the base the only commercial activity is at Himalaya Plaza.

      You figure out how to get the young Marines to congregate in 29 Palms besides getting a tattoo and a blow job at the local message parlor, with out showing them there is a lot more to 29 Palms than Tattoos and short arm inspections, we can all be rich.

  15. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Hi All,

    Been out of town for 2 days and I see that this thread has lost its way.

    The issue here is not about commercial sales.

    The issue as I see it is about a Base that is trying to influence the direction of our city. They have now interfered in three issues if not four.

    1. They have no business even talking to the city about regulations that govern hawking.

    2. They have no business talking to the city about a 1000 foot buffer zone for everything that bothers them but yet they accept that MUSD school that they now have inside Base boundaries that they did not pay for – we as 29 Palms tax payers bought that school.

    3. They have no business trying to stop a legal construction of anything that is within the city limits. Namely this apartment complex. Nor do they have any business trying to influence our city about the construction of Project Phoenix and low income housing that Mr. Ricker is on the record for supporting and by proxy speaking for the Commanding General.

    4. They have no business interfering with the drafting of our new General Plan.

    The issue is, will we as a city, allow the Base to dictate to us what we can and can not do?

    • michaelv michaelv says:

      We do all the time. there is not enough fight within the City. A majority look at the base as the savior, “without the base, we would be nothing.” At the present time I do not think we have a strong enough City Council to stand up to the base. Really, what are they going to do take their ball and go home? We have been discussing this and other situations over the past several days and it seems that most people don’t really care. A good example is the fact that I have seen times when there are 25 users on this site, yet it is the same people discussing the topics. We need a way to get word out to the general public that there is another forum other than the High Desert Star to get news regarding the high desert. As far as radio, there is not enough room here to even talk about it.
      I have friends who are married young marines and we have talked about this base and the City. I hear stories of wives who are in tears when they see where they are stationed. I personally believe that one of the reasons we are seeing the growth on the base is so that there is something for the young Marine families that is close enough that they do not have to travel. i think the idea of a swap meet is a great idea. something different to get people out of their houses.

      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hi Mike,

        Again this is not a discussion of what the Base can offer to the active duty and their dependents. I give the Base a high five for doing what they can for their people as long as it is inside the Base.

        What I am talking about is the Base influencing our city staff and elected leaders. I was there too and never ever gave in to the Base. But then again they never asked for anything.

        But now with Jim Ricker we seem to have a new movement by the Base to control our city by controlling the city staff and council members. This is unacceptable.

        I have talked with one council member who agrees with my estimation that we as a city do not have a friend in the Base but a competitor – and a very effective competitor.

        Given the fact, as Steve Whitten has pointed out, that virtually all of the money on Base stays on Base or is spent in Yucca or down the hill I wonder why our Council is so cushy with the Base.

        We derive no benefit from the Base for them to tell us what we can and can not do within the city limits.

        I for one want our school back. Take that fence down and move it to the real Base boundaries which are very different from what you see as you approach the Base and see the “wire”.

        They have brought the spotlight upon themselves by interfering in a city that is not theirs.

        I agree that the newspaper and radio will more than likely not follow up on the developer that is being stymied by the actions of Jim Ricker via the Commanding General – but I can hope that they do.

        • michaelv michaelv says:

          We have been discussing businesses moving to the base instead of the City, so I was relaying information to the other readers. I agree with you that the Base cannot control or attempt to control the City. Someone within City Government needs to address this issue before it goes any further.

        • Steve, is Harris able to be impartial given his work history and contacts on base? Is Jay Corbin able to be impartial given his contract on base with Tatitlek Corporation?

          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Your guess is as good as any on which CC member will do what is right for the city as opposed to the Base. the Park, the “Theatre”, or any of the numerous special interests.

  16. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    Dan, if the Base was on the list for slated closures, would you say good riddance, they were a lousy neighbor, or would you be the first to fight and say a closure would destroy the local economy?

    If you did fight would you talk about the Marines who rent and own half the homes in 29 and DO spend their money off-Base?

    Would you also argue for the few thousand local civilian’s who are employed there and pump THEIR money back into the local economy.

    If you poured in a few billion locally, you might feel justified to have a say with what goes on along your fenceline also….

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      By the way cool avatar.

      The base has become the most important military installation in the country. As such the Base leadership feel that they are immune from the provisions of Constitutional Law that requires the base be subordinate of Civil Control. The tail does not wag the dog.

      To suggest that the base has no input is not what I am stating at all. Every civilian employee has a voice in local government. There is a huge difference in the base having concern and the base demanding that they have some sort of Veto power over local government. That is Tyranny.

      We have a bedrock Constitutional Principle here…. The Military is subordinate to civilian government…. PERIOD.

      Limits to civilian authority? – September 2009 – Armed Forces Journal – Military Strategy, Global Defense Strategy


      In accordance with our nation’s Constitution, military leadership is rightfully subordinate to civilian authority. For that reason, the Constitution divides military power between the legislative branch (Congress) and the executive branch (the presidency) — a separation of power intended to avoid abuses of authority.

      Responsibility for maintaining the military is assigned to the Congress, and commander-in-chief duties are assigned to the president. The U.S. military serves at the direction of the president, certain designated officials in the executive branch and the elected leaders of Congress. The structure is designed to prevent the succession of authoritarian or military regimes, though it does not always come without friction. As French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau put it: “War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.”

      The writers of the Constitution understood the perils of creating too strong of a military. Armed forces must be subject to civilian control and designed to execute military operations, not determine their necessity. Indeed, during our country’s earliest years, large military forces were viewed as a threat to liberty and democracy, a weapon that could be wielded by a power-hungry autocrat with personal ambitions. The armed forces were considered excessively expensive to maintain and vulnerable to arms races that could manifest themselves into war.

      The role of the military is to advise on how to use military might to achieve the policymaker’s goals, not to get involved in the political decision-making process. The military serves as a government organization that implements rather than formulates policies.

      So in your world you would give up your liberty and freedom if the Federal Military gives you a few bobbles and trinkets…. or did I miss the crux of your last sentence?

  17. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    Many on this blog think it is fine to impose their wishes on they neighbor with building and development codes, then when the neighbors to the north want to give input to the codes see it as an intrusion, no wonder this town is so screwed up, it’s the people that live and vote here, really you guys want to tell me what I can and can’t do. The base can’t take that thousand feet without the private citizens approval, just like the city can’t make me take down a banner without due process.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Sometimes its bigger than the individual. This is one of those cases. Its not the 1000 feet it is the demand.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        A demand coming from some low level liason is hardly binding, I would say that those that are and haved served on the PC and council lack the gonades to say NO but that is the citizes fault for their choice of representation.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Well I am not going to argue that point… Harris being a prime example of a boot-licker of the first order.

          • michaelv michaelv says:

            If you scroll up a little you will see that Steve Spear and I have been discussing the same thing. At the present time, through our own fault, because the citizens voted them in, we do not have anyone who can stand up and say NO to the base. I think we have beat this topic to death and need to find a way to get the public involved. This small group has 54 responses about the good neighbor, but no direct answer. It may be that until the November election there will not be anyone in the CC who has the backbone to address it head on.
            On a side note I attended the Hammer race out at Johnson valley yesterday and the promoter is raising $100,000.00 to fight the bases request to take over that off road area.

          • Will Harris lend a hand to get the rest of the people a swap meet? It’s doubtful since unlike his campaign jargon — “I will represents all the people” — he has represented his friends and his own desires.

        • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

          Since you seem to be the only one in 29 with the gonades to tell the base “No”, why haven’t you applied for the PC since the last election? There have been several opportunities.

          One other question, tell what issues in the last 2 years have gone before the CC or PC an they had the opportunity to say “No” to and didn’t?

          • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

            S W if that comment was meant for me, I don’t have the luxury of a fixed schedule or the latitude a government employee has. Not one to look for sympathy but I am on call 24/7/365 yep xmas and the rest of the holidays, I have heard that DOD employees get time off for those types of things it just don’t work for those taxpayers paying for the DOD employees or for that matter any government funded positions. It takes a healthy private sector for the public sector to function.
            I feel like I am doing my part in the creation of private jobs and wealth, to bad it is mostly out of town it is just sad that 29’s PC and CC inhibit the creation of value. the local private sector could sure use some good paying jobs. I am not sure what the massage brothels pay maybe 29 doesn’t need wholesome businesses.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:


              Please answer the question, if you’re available 24/7/365 why didn’t you apply for the PC? Tell us what issues concerning the base that the CC or PC didn’t have the gonades to say no to.

              You made the accusation, now back it up.

              You are so misinformed about DOD employees. While I was on the PC, any time I took away from my job for PC & City issues, I used my Vacation Time. Not all DOD employees can participate in Non-Partison government positions, as it is a conflict of interest.

              You know I campaigned about over saturation of those businesses, the tattoo parlors, the barbershops, the smoke shops and it met opposition from some bloggers on this site as well as some on CC. I was told let the market dictate and it was a non-issue.

              The only thing that will change this is an over haul of the thought process of the citizens and Leadership

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              To be fair to my friend Mark… the guy has ran more times for Council than I can count…. The guys got “Clemons for Council” tattooed to his left and right butt checks!! The question is not will he run, but why the hell won’t you vote for him??????!!!

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              Dam steve I was denied a business license for Agenco plumbing, the pc went along with shutting down the swap meet, and all the time saying yes to those businesses you said you campaigned against. Now I understand granting the owners of those massage brothels a license I most likely would have been unable to deny them one, the difference is I would ease up on the doting the eyes and crossing the t’s of the codes so as to attract a more wholesome type of mom and pop business. Sorry I know you had the best of intensions , it jus gets down to the city choosing its winners and losers, remember the banner that the city told me to take down when others were permitted to stay, when we the people let that happen you wind up with the sewer we now have in the old town area. I would never blame those with such grandiose intensions. Being in the private sector we have the right that you from the military may not understand, we don’t have to get permission for something that is not against the law/codes, what we have is the right to do process. thanks for moving on but please stay connected, and I mean that in a friendly manner.

            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              I understand your frustrations, believe me.

              Per Chapter 19.10 of the Development Code, Outdoor Swap Meets are not allowed.

              Suggest you follow the process to change the code as we did for the Hawkers Code. As a PC, I asked for it to be on the agenda for the PC, it was, we discussed it and the code now is being worked by the PC. You and the other citizens of 29 who want to see the code changed to allow Swap Meets have to convince one of the members of the PC or CC to move forward and have the issue agendaized. I would do it if I was still a member of the PC.

              @ Dan: As you already know, I can no longer vote for Council or the issues in 29, as I no longer reside within the City Limits, the reason for my resignation from the PC. I do still own a home within the City Limits.

              Personally, I think anyone with a address serviced by the 29 Water District should be able to vote on all City issues.

            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              once again we live in a country of laws and rights one of which is the right to do proccess. If I as a citizen believe “Per Chapter 19.10 of the Development Code, Outdoor Swap Meets are not allowed” is not valid I have a do proccess that permits me to have the courts rull on the matter. It is the USA it is what you so valiantly serve for. when it comes down to it as far as authority goes the CC and Pc are pretty close to the bottom of the latter.

  18. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    You should run for City Council in November. Why stand on the sidelines? Get in the fight.

  19. Hideznavyvet says:

    As a Navy retiree and now a private citizen, The price of freedom is too valuable to be trampled on by our neighbors(base) who seem to have an agenda for the development of our little town, Someone needs to pay the CG onboard and his staff a visit and tell him keep your affairs on base and only on base! The taxpayer has a voice and should be heard loud and clear. 29 has great potential but there are forces from within who think otherwise, if nothing here changes within a year or two, than it will be “Bye,Bye 29″ and adios to the Golden State, I’ll gladly take my tax dollars and head Eastward.

  20. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    As a retired Navy you should be able to get a base sticker/or a pass and make an appointment to see the CG. Otherwise you are just blowing steam.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Why is it Hideznavyvet has to go see the General? Shouldn’t he have the expectation that his elected leaders would have the gumption to represent him and other citizens at the Generals soiree???

  21. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    DanO,”Mark has run more times than you can count.” Why hasn’t he won? Because the voters don’t agree with his ideas. It’s that plain and simple. It’s democracy in action. It’s the people expressing their right to select those who govern them. And remember, he can run till the cows come home.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      But the question posed by Steve Whitten was why doesn’t he run…. I just pointed out he does at every opportunity. SO Mark does his part and attempts to carry the day…. Don’t shame the man for trying.

      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:


        It’s Honorable of any person who wants to throw his name into the hat for an elected postion in government.

        I asked Mark why didn’t he apply for the Planning Commission, not run for City Council. Two different processes, One is voted in by the voters, Planning Commissioners are selected and appointed by the City Council. You have to apply, the notice was posted for 1 1/2 months to apply for two seats, closing Jan 25th.

        Mark has had three opportunities as I see it. When I was appointed, when I resigned and when Ms. Benton resigned.

        I also asked Mark what issues concerning the base did the CC or PC not have the gonades to say “No” to in the last 2 years.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      och larry now that hurt, but you are right the people get what they deserve. lol

  22. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    DanO, Steve’s question was why did’nt Mark apply for the Planning Commission. Don’t try to fog up the conversation. All 3 of us ran for the City Council and lost. Steve and I put in for the Planning Commission and Steve was selcted. Maybe Mark wouldn’t want to be “selected” rather than elected.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Larry the reason of the thread is to discuss a letter written by the base… see link. Not Mark Clemons’ chances at being picked for the Planning Commission… this whole thread has been hijacked.

      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

        Apologize Dan, I responded to Mark’s accusation about not having the gonades to say “No”.

        To answer your question, regardless of what the letter says, implies or dosen’t say, bottom line is City Leadership must make their decisions on what is best for ALL Citizens of 29.

  23. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Steve W,
    Why do you keep obfuscating and sidetracking the thread?… Did you read the letter? Click Here

    What was you opinion of what was demanded by the base?

  24. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:


    Trading freedom and liberty for bobbles and trinkets has nothing to do with this.

    In your citation above(Limits to civilian authority)it is a stretch to make a connection with the article’s intent and the military’s concern regarding the development.

    One has nothing to do with the other.

    What the article talks about is civilians having direct control over the military and the use of force. Congress tells the military what to do,”Formulates,” the military uses the stick to get it done “Implements.”

    It is not an “Abuse of authority,” to voice concerns over a development located next to a base.

    I read, “The letter.”

    Every concern listed from the Base is legitimate and has merit:Traffic, lighting, noise, ingress, egress, sewage, and most importantly, security.

    This is not Disneyland, it is a military installation.

    The developer should have done his homework….

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Ponder this,
      “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin, An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (1759)

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Scott,

      The city has land use zoned. It is available for all to see that includes the Base. The developer did his homework and proposed a project on land that is zoned accordingly.

      Why does the Base get to say what can and can not be built or done and not done within 1000 feet of the Base? Could the Base simply not build anything withing 1000 feet of their own fence line thereby granting themselves their 1000 foot buffer? Many, many other Bases in the Unites States do just that. Perhaps a visit to Vandenburg AFB or Fort Benning may assist the Base in proper security planning.

      Adobe Road can handle an incredible amount of traffic that position is moot.

      As for lighting perhaps the Base should police itself first. From Indian Cove the Base is the light polluter not the city.

      If noise is an issue where is the Base’s outrage when a developer is about to build a cement batching plant right next to the Base on County land. Or is that noise and ingress and egress okay because the cement plant will be processing cement for the Base?

      Sewage is a non issue due to the city requiring package plants.

      Again all of this is not the point. The point is that the Base has no business trying to influence development in our city nor influencing elected officials and city staff.

      Do our elected leaders attempt to influence the Base in regards to its operations – no we do not.

      There is no security issue here at all. Given the present physical layout of the Base without adding this project I or you or anyone can park our vehicle on Morongo Road 10 yards from the rear gate and sit there all day and watch what we please and there is nothing the Base can do about it. Same goes for the Condor gate.

      Again the Base if it was so worried about a 1000 foot buffer should not have built their housing to within 50 feet of their own wire.

      Just a few thoughts.

  25. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    Steve S.,

    Points well taken. I re-read the, “New letter.”

    It says the base “Strongly opposes” changing provisions of the existing General Plan to accommodate the development.

    Nowhere does it say, “you cannot do.”

    It also asks for a meeting with the developer and city to discuss their concerns.

    If the developer is asking that the General Plan be tweaked (As is mentioned in the letter) to accommodate his development, he should realize he is headed for a battle.

    In noting one concern from the base, it is ingress and egress. The developer proposes ingress and egress within “75′ to 100′ of the gate.”

    Sorry. At rush hour 75′ will create a log-jam and line of sight for people exiting the development will be blocked.

    Even Caltrans would not go for that.

    Again though, got to go back to the “Homework” issue.

    Is that developer trying to say he went to the military BEFORE he bought the property? If he did and they gave him the green light without conditions I’d say he has an argument. I doubt he did that.

    Before purchasing the property, the sale should have been made contingent on the developer finding conditions favorable to his development. If the seller balked at that contingency, that would indicate a red flag.

    Not arguing for the base here; it is what it is.

    If this development were located on the boundary of J.T.N.P., they would be screaming as well. They even oppose the casino that is proposed 5 MILES from their gate. Don’t figure….

    By the way, one negative comment from the above letters shares the statement that the Base’s letter is written by a, “Low-level liason.”

    To whomever said that, what does that matter? Pretty lame….

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      You know that all might carry some water if it was not for base expansion and how the base could give a good God Damned about civilian input. They have no problem in turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the desires of the civilian public and the residents of Johnson Valley for instance.

      I am sorry you are so far out of touch with the facts on the ground it amazes me.

      If you do not think it is the Bases way or the Highway you need to study the history of their plan to take the Johnson Valley OHV Area over the objections of the residents, local governments, the County, and the State.

      You don’t think they have the mindset to force their will upon a local government, you need to restudy recent local land use issues.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Scott,

      Your position/s are noted and appreciated.

      As a former council member I can assure you that when the Base says “strongly opposes” that means our council will deny the project.

      Again the Base made their own problem by building too close to their own perimeter.

      The Base is also using a red herring argument in their letter. They are trying to foist upon you and I the provisions of a new General Plan that has not been approved as of this date and the developer bought his land and proposed his project under the existing General Plan.

      The Base’s arguments are premised on projections of what they hope will be as compared to the developer who wishes to build under the law as it exists.

      That is a very big difference.

      As for the opposition from the JTNP you are correct and I would also say that they can keep their ideas about what is good for the Park within the Park and stay out of 29 Palms business.

      I always opposed this idea that the Base and the Park are “stakeholders” in the city. They are not.

      I appreciate your input and ability to talk about this in a rational manner.

  26. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    DanO, “sidetracking the thread”. Are you trying to stifle free speech? Do you think you are the Rupert Murdcck of the high desert?

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      What are you talking about? Seriously Larry? Scott thinks that the base is unable to arm twist or force its will upon local government and I showed him and you all, a great example of coercion by the base upon the Citizens of California, the County of San Bernardino and our local governments.

      The taking of the Johnson Valley OHV area is over the objections of the majority. The uproar was deafening. The opposition was massive. The anger was palpable. The base forced its will. That is an irrefutable fact.

      So what is the problem? Larry? You mad because I just blew the guy’s house of cards down?

  27. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    DanO, If I remember correctly, all the cabdidates, when asked if they supported an expansion of the base in the Johnson Valley area responded that they were for “whatever is necessary for training Marines in the defence of our nation”. That is still my position. If the Marine Corps has decided that this expansion is necessary to prepare for the next conflict, them I’m for it. Defence of our nation trumps dune buggies.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Well I can help that the “candidates” are brain dead automatons that have forgotten that the military is subordinate to the civilian authority.

      I suspect if that is your immovable position you might well never get elected.

      Liberty and the defense of that liberty trumps the Military Industrial Complex.

      • USMC Posse Comitatus Redux anyone. Remember this:

        “The Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Provost Marshal (head of a unit of military police) and the local California Highway Patrol office will begin working together 12/12 — and through the holiday season — in a joint effort to reduce accidents and drinking and driving.”

        I don’t think the Cactus Thorns story is available due to the great crash a few years back. But that’s right, the military was there in Yucca Valley with the CHP checking on you. Their reach was in Yucca Valley. They have control of the local airports. With expansion, they would have had control of the Basin airspaces.

    • Larry, the word hasn’t filtered down enough. The Marine Corps is downsizing. We no longer fight wars the old way. Then there are the drones that rule the skies. I’m always proud to say I am a former Marine, and I served two expeditions at the Marine Base. Talk about a small town then… I wouldn’t want to serve in any other branch of the service but for the Marine Corp.

      The Pentagon is having massive cuts. I’ve always lived by do with what you have. We can be proud we have the largest Marine Base. I don’t think
      expansion fits into any logic right now.

  28. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Nice try Dan. Somebody has to defend your 1st and 3rd Amendment rights plus the rest of the Constitution. That will be the Marines and Sailors from the base. As was said to those complaining about the sound of helicopters flying overhead: “Hey, that’s the sound of freedom”.

  29. michaelv michaelv says:

    Wow, this blog has gone all over the place. Glad to see it has gotten back to the original point, what can the City do to prevent the base from trying to impose its will on us.
    I have re-read the letter and all the other posted information and I do not see anywhere that states the developer met with the base either before or after the letter.I would really like to see how far this project has progressed in the City approval process. I am going to spend sometime reviewing documents posted on line by the City and get back with you.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Mike,

      Good points – but why does any developer need to meet with the Base when they are building a project inside the city limits?

      Why does the Base chime in about low income housing associated with Project Phoenix as being a project that the Base would like to see more of and yet this project is going to be opposed?

      Again why do they have a say as to what we as a city build, don’t build, approve or don’t approve?

      • michaelv michaelv says:

        Sorry Steve: My point was to find any communication between the two not that I thought it was required. I totally agree with you and everyone else, the base has no say period. I also wondered the same point you brought up, if they want a 1,000 ft security area they should construct the buildings 1,000 behind the property line. Everyone else has setbacks, why not the base?
        We need to send our CC to a DARE program so they learn how to say NO!!

        • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

          LMAO on that DARE suggestion but very, very true!

          Good job!

        • michaelv michaelv says:

          I found that this project “The Ridge at Condor” has been going through the development office since May 2011. The Base letter is attached to the Staff Report dated June 2011. A review shows that this project is still in the gather information stage. I noticed that since it was just an update, no commissioner could ask questions or give opinions. We will have to see what happens when the City sends out notices to property owners.

  30. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, We were not talking about Posse Comitatus, we were talking about Eminent Domain. How do you think the railroads were built? How do you think the interstate highway system was built? How do you think the freeways were built? How do you think Adobe Road was widened? By the use of or the threat of using Eminent Domain. And most of the land proposed to be annexed to the Base is federal land. It’s the Defence Department using Eminent Domain on the Interior Department.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      You do realize that Railroads are Private ventures? You realize that Freeways are State and federal highways that allow full access and enjoyment to civilians? You realize that adobe is a city road not a MCAGCC road? You realize that The Bureau of Land Management… is by is very name and definition the manager of PUBLIC LANDS not MILITARY Lands? You do understand the principle of PUBLIC LANDS are Public don’t you? You do realize that the Military as no more of a greater right to public lands than does a private citizen?

      You do realize that in the case of Johnson Valley that land was allocated to others by Congress, that the Military has demanded it and has offered nothing in the way of an acre for acre exchange to those that now use and occupy that land? You do realize that don’t you?

      Can you give me any Constitutional Authority for the Military itself deciding such monumental Civil Issues as transferring PUBLIC LANDS into the hands of the Military?

      Come on smart guy give me the constitutional authority of the “Military” to the use of Eminent Domain if you can? Let me help you…. Congress has the authority but the Pentagon does not.

      Jesus I wish people would Read and ponder the Meaning of our Constitution. It amazes me that we have so many that swear they would defend it but have never bothered to read it.

  31. antoherpowergrab says:

    The base and its relationship and connection with the local community is the worst example in the country. Its like there isn’t even a base next to Twentynine Palms. The lack of a vibrant business community and events in 29 and the lack of interaction between the base is sad. The personnel on the base barely leave, except to high tail it down Highway 62 a rapid speed, to get out of the area.

    Go online to other communities across the country and see how a military base and local community interact.

  32. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Rant on and keep the counter clicking.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      No no I owe the hits to you Larry…. Well done sir.

      Almost 4,000 original reads so far, not including return reads… I think we hit a nerve.

      • michaelv michaelv says:

        Now lets see if we can get a few more to actually comment, lets see what their thinking. Come on people don’t read others thoughts, voice your own!!

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          You are correct…. I do not expect that everyone or for that matter anyone agrees with every word I type here. I’ll bet there are for the 4,000 reads as many opinions. I’d like to see them too.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Larry,

      I had an interesting experience today. As you know I am a former Marine Officer. Made it to major in the reserves.

      I have many friends that work on the Base and are retired from the military.

      Today was interesting. I happened to interact with several individuals that are in relatively high positions on the Base.

      Today our conversation turned towards this blog and a whole gamut of issues.

      What I found interesting is that the Base does follow this blog and in doing so feels as if it is a target.

      I tried to convey that what ever form of interest that this blog has brought upon the Base is a function of them bringing it upon themselves by trying to influence matters that are solely the purview of the city and not the Base.

      This matter was met with the point that the Base has a right to influence local politics and policy as much as any citizen of the city has.

      That point is true and on its face value appears to be valid.

      Yet when presented with the point that the Base carries much more weight and influence than a local citizen – only silence was offered.

      I do not begrudge the Base their property.

      I do begrudge the Base their attempts at influencing city policy. Do they have the right to try and do so – yes.

      Do they have an unfair advantage in terms of influence as compared to a citizen – yes!

      That is the problem with their interference in the Hawkers regulations as well as the developer issue.

      The Base has a high level of influence on our present Council if not for the entire history of our city.

      I find no fault in their attempts to influence – I find fault in our elected leaders failure to lead.

        • michaelv michaelv says:


          Interesting conversation you had. You are correct that the base does have a lot of weight when leaning on the city. I needed a laugh this afternoon so I watched a city council meeting that was recorded by a friend. This meeting was regarding the batch plant and the rezoning issue. The mayor read a letter from the base stating that they (the base) believed the batch plant would be a good asset for both the City and the base. After being groomed in what direction the council should take by the City Attorney, there was discussion by council that was interesting to watch. I watched as members swayed back and forth, not really sure which way to go, in one case a council member changed his opinion in mid sentence. A motion to deny was brought to the floor and seconded at which point the Mayor asked if the resolution could be continued at a future meeting. Clearly, this was supposed to have passed.
          Watching the meeting a person can see the process develop and see which staff member(s)is (are) going to steer the council.
          A big question I have is all I hear is the base is winding down on construction, so why the push for a batch plant, what is coming that no one is talking about?

          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Exactly Mike,

            You said it well.

            I must say that I commend Jay Corbin for his leadership in this matter. If it was not for him from what I saw we would have a Batch Plant in an area that is totally not proper.

            I thank Joel Klink, Jim Harris, and Jay Corbin for seeing that what the Base would like and conj-ole is not really the best for our city.

            Lets see what the Council does in regards to the 1000 foot buffer for hot dog sellers which are a real threat to Base security.

            • michaelv michaelv says:

              I think that it is better to watch the council meetings recorded. I got so much more watching facial expressions and seeing side conversations that are missed in person.

              One other thing, I saw a banner on the HQ building on Adobe Rd. that they are having Comedy Nite on Thursdays at 8pm, did they change the time and location of the council meetings and forget to notify us??

            • Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

              Regarding any “buffer”…

              I’ll say the same for the Base as I have said for Joshua Tree National Park. We have already given up enough of our land. If THEY want a buffer, there’s plenty enough room to make one on their own dammed side of the boundary! Conversely, if it were WE that wanted the buffer we would be expected to provide for it ourselves.

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