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29 Palms: (1) Redevelopment Shutdown. (2) Residents & Businesses at Great Risk?

By   /   March 31, 2012  /   15 Comments

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“An intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid.”

At the bottom  readers will find a Press Enterprise article; the 29 Palms de facto Coup d’Etat; the fire tax H&I quickview peril; a lack of Plan B ensuring the safety of residents  and local business; a possible insurance  increase for business and town residents; and why if H&I fails new businesses will not want to invest in the City .

But first…

Let me get this straight taxpayers:

A. Patrick Muñoz, a prestigious superstar for one of the highest rated law firms in California,  Rutan & Tucker ( a hundred year old law firm)   gives very bad legal advice to the five amigos on the City Council that yokes the City, it’s property owners, and the next two generations of 29′ers to a huge mega-million debt Bond.   A debt that must be paid back with astronomical interest rates.

Then the five amigos become titillated, empowered and hubris much like like children in a 1930′s candy store with ten bucks in their pockets. The amigos owe answers to no one. That’s how it works.

Continuing. . . A. Patrick Muñoz bad legal advise came at a time when he knew (check out the video) that the California Legislature outlawed redevelopment agencies and the old laws were quashed.

To poke a stick into the eyes of hardworking taxpayers (ouch!) A. Patrick Muñoz knew that the Supreme Court of California would soon rule on the constitutionality and legalities of the corpse of RDAs. Bad legal advice anyway you slice the twinkles.

To add a fly in the ointment, the executed Client/Retainer agreement between the City and Rutan & Tucker calls for a percentage of the total amount of the Bond debt, in addition, the five Amigos agreed to spike hourly rates whenever the RDA or any business that relates to it — such as all Project Phoenix business, the Successor Agency, the work done when the Five Amigos recommended they all be appointed to the Community Oversight Agency, and on and on to infinity. Nearly every city council meeting it Project Phoenix time.

Now here is what is beyond the pale: If you read the following article you can see that  A. Patrick Muñoz and Rutan & Tucker are going to make a shit load of money dealing with the complexities in the aftermath of RDAs.

Twenthynine Palms’ undertook a de facto Coup d’Etat:  Thanks a bunch John, Joel, Dan, Jay and Jimmy. You amigos took the city without firing a shot.

So much for the ripoff.

Where is Plan B for public safety?

There is no Plan B for public safety should  fire tax H&I fail?

More specifically, if H&I fails the Lear Fire Station will close. Oh, yes it does impact on the City. Because if the 29 Palms Fire Department and Marine Base fire unit is involved in a fire outside the city — like it was out in Desert Heights two days ago — there is NO Lear Station to deal with it. Consequently, the 29 Palms Fire Department will be out of town when there is a local home or business fire.

Therefore, the Five amigos may have placed every business, man, woman and child in harms way, or exposed them to death.  Meanwhile, should city homes and business catch fire the five amigos are still at the counter in the candy store.

Now tell me why would any new business want to come to town if there is a 24/7 threat of fire without Plan B?

The solution: Fund the fire department on an annual basis even if H&I passes (29 does not fund its own fire department).

The PE: Redevelopment: Shutdown process is a new frontier

30 March 2012 05:57 PM (viewed first in inlandPolitics)

SACRAMENTO — Local officials who once oversaw billions in redevelopment spending with little interference from the state now are having to make the case for every penny.

In hundreds of draft plans approved in recent weeks, local governments list proposed payments to begin settling redevelopment debts and contractual obligations for agencies that shut down Feb. 1. Final plans for the first six months of 2012 must be acted on by April 15, and plans for the second half of 2012 are due less than four weeks later.

Redevelopment agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were among the most active in the state, with almost 20 percent of total redevelopment spending in 2009-10. As they rush to meet the deadlines, local officials contend it’s often unclear what can go on the lists, known as “recognized obligation payment schedules.”

State auditors, meanwhile, already have flagged some proposed payments, raising the prospect of courtroom fights across the state over disputed expenses.

The outcome has major implications for California finances. Budget writers assume that the state’s bottom line will benefit from $1 billion in former redevelopment revenue in the current fiscal year, and more in subsequent years. But that number hinges on how much money goes to settle the affairs of former redevelopment agencies.

“The challenging thing is we’re not only implementing the process, we’re figuring out what the process is,” said San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller Larry Walker. Auditor-controller offices oversee newly created funds to pay the former redevelopment agencies’ approved expenses.

The Brown administration’s Department of Finance and the state controller’s office will have the final say on what expenses get paid. Finance department spokesman H.D. Palmer said the department has reassigned auditors to focus on reviewing payment schedules.

The post-redevelopment landscape could yet change again. Several bills pending in the Legislature would revive some parts of the redevelopment program, such as for affordable housing.

To read entire story, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

15 Comments

  1. Why doesn’t the 29 Palms and Yucca Valley City Council have an informal open-style meeting at their respective community centers, where everyone is invited, where you can ask questions about city government or raise any issues of concern?

    Supervisor Derry does it, and he has more at stake than any city council member. BTW, Derry has a Town Hall Meeting scheduled in Wonder Valley — at 10:00 to 11:30 am on Saturday, Apr. 28 at the Wonder Valley Community Center.
    https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/13668de53e838eb5

  2. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    Question, what has been the benefit of city hood?
    Question, would we have more economic development under the less restrictive county codes
    Question, do our great fire fighters deserve the opportunities the county fire department could offer?
    Question, what benefits are gained by having the only fire department in the state under water district oversight?
    Question, why is 29 the only area that is denied county E M S?
    Question how long before the water district will come back to ask for more if we pass this one ?
    I know how hard it is to say no when being bombarded with the sky is falling, but it is time to demand common sense, citizens it is time to say no to city hood and water district oversight of our firefighters, please vote no on I and H

    • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

      There are other districts in the state that provide both water and fire services.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        maybe you can share that with us, the last time the district had their hand out there was only one other in the state and that one i heard ceased a few years back. as long as we are in a friendly debate what is your feelings on the county fire depaertment, maybe give them your rating on a scale of 1 to 5. now give the 29 department their ratine on the same scale.

        • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

          Running Springs Water District has been providing fire protection for over forty years and there are others. I was not on the board during the previous measure and I have not heard this claim from staff during the time I have served.

          • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

            thanks for the info on the other distict with a fire department,wasn’t sure where ti was and had heard they ceased, your a good man even if you dodge the real question and that is is 29 fire department as good or better than the county? whould the fire fighters be better served with advancment chances if we used the current funding to contract with the county for fire services?

  3. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    The City of 29 Palms does not have “its own fire department” The fire department is its own entity under the administrative control of the 29 Palms Water District. It was set up that way before cityhood.

    • Sure enough Larry, but the town needs to think out of the box and fund it, even If H&I passes and I hope it does.

      We need leaders in this new millennium not followers.

      We need a change in legal services. Dump Rutan & Tucker. Their legal services stink. It all about self interest. I think Muñoz and his lousy law firm are up to their earlobes in conflicts.

      I could go through the phone books in the Basin and Coachella and pick out an good attorney who would actually do a better job than fancy pants and his money-hungry fancy law firm.

      Please tell me why you think this council is any good?

      Please tell me who you thin fancy pants is any good?

      Please tell me how this town can better support (its) the 29 Palms Fire Department?

      Please tell me why any new business should invest in this town? Every man, woman, child and business will be in danger if H&I fails.

      I could go to skid row in L.A. and talk to people and come back with five men or woman who are not alcoholics or druggies that I would bet my life could and would do a better job then you know who.

      Larry it would be nice if you were to chime in on the issues raised in my commentary… pretty please.

      The city manager needs to come up with realistic management. A city manager must think he is the Donald Trump of the Morongo Basin.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        why the sky is falling crap “Please tell me why any new business should invest in this town? Every man, woman, child and business will be in danger if H&I fails”
        If you feel uncomfortable answering the first set on questions how about these
        How long do you think it will be before the water district comes back and ask for another TAX increase?
        Please rate the 29 fire department on a scale of 1 to 5
        Please rate the county department on the same scale 1 to 5
        Do you think there would be savings if we eliminated the district oversight bureaucracy?

        • Mark, my water bill has nearly doubled. They took too much flesh from ratepayers. And they stepped to the front of the line to get it first, pushing the fire department to the back of the line.

          Chancy?

          • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

            As always, I am obligated to say that my views are my own and they are not necessarily the views of the district.

            I have not seen a request for a water rate increase in the 3 years that I have been on the board. Citizens pay $ 2.33 for every 748 gallons of water with no tier increases. Our rates are the lowest in the basin with the single exception being the lowest tier of Joshua Basin. Residents are also charged a monthly $11 ready to serve fee. I wish the rates were even lower, but fluoride treatment and electricity are expensive. While the water district is not perfect, it is quite efficient.

            Even if the water district was wasting money, it would have limited effect on the fire department because money collected for water service cannot support 29 Fire. For the purpose of this discussion consider 29 Water and 29 Fire as 2 separate entities with separate budgets. There is no legal way for the 29 Water to bail out 29 Fire. The problem with the fire department is that they do not have an inflation adjuster. As prices increase, the current special tax becomes inadequate and the district is forced to put out another measure. The city, county, and any agency that shares in the general tax gets a built-in inflation adjuster, which automatically increases their revenue and keeps them from asking for more tax money directly. The fire department gets none of this general tax.

            Measure H & I raises the special tax to $120 per year per unit ($10 per month) and has an inflation adjuster of $6 that expires after 10 years, so it is essentially a 10 year plan. This means in 10 years the tax will be $180 per year per unit ($15 per month). It also implements a citizen oversight board to help monitor fire department spending. Keep in mind that measure J, the previous special tax measure, was an 8 year plan that is now nearing its deadline for sustainability. 29 Fire is now running in deficit spending and major cuts will be needed to balance the budget. This means a drastic reduction in service. Failure of H&I essentially means cutting our fire department in half, so yes the sky is falling. Instead of 6 minute service, you could see 18+ minute service depending on call volume, which is a big difference when lives are at stake. You might ask why county isn’t an option…. If the district contracted with county, the higher prices would mean even less staffing. Furthermore, the county has no obligation to assume fire protection if 29 fire dissolves.

            My apologies for the longwinded post, but there was a lot to cover. If anyone has any questions on measures H&I, they are welcome to contact the 29 Palms Fire Department.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        Maybe yo missed the questions
        Question, what has been the benefit of city hood?
        Question, would we have more economic development under the less restrictive county codes
        Question, do our great fire fighters deserve the opportunities the county fire department could offer?
        Question, what benefits are gained by having the only fire department in the state under water district oversight?
        Question, why is 29 the only area that is denied county E M S?
        Question how long before the water district will come back to ask for more if we pass this one ?
        I know how hard it is to say no when being bombarded with the sky is falling, but it is time to demand common sense, citizens it is time to say no to city hood and water district oversight of our firefighters, please vote no on I and H

  4. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Be thankful that there is a 1st amendment.

  5. diogenes29po diogenes29po says:

    .Who pays for the street lighting; maintenance. electricity and new installation?

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