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29 Palms: A City in Crises

By   /   April 20, 2012  /   80 Comments

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 ”An inadequate level of services”, said  29 Palms Fire Chief Thomson.

When the Lear station closes, 29 Palms may be facing a fire and safety crises. It ought to be a big concern to the city. However, the attitude at City Hall is: “The 29 Palms Fire Department is not our problem.”

You wouldn’t know there is a crisis. But there is. The city never had a  Plan B.

The 29 Palms Fire Chief Thomson put it this way. “This community is at a crossroads.” According to the Desert Trail, the Chief described the current level of staffing, with two fire stations, as a minimally appropriate level of service for a community the size of the water district.

The Fire Chief added that a single fire station would provide “an inadequate level of service.”

The Chief is right. And it is the job of the City Council to respond to crises to act in the best interests to protect the public safety and property rights. But are they doing that?

The 29 Palms Fire Department is under-funded and has lost a significant funding source when Measure H went down in flames. While the Lear Fire Station is expected to close soon, the 29 Palms Fire Department is still responsibly for fire safety within the City limits and outside in the unincorporated areas of the 29 Palms Water Water District.

Twentynine Palms Businesses and residents are at more of a greater risk when the Lear station closes it doors. Should the 29 Palms Fire Department be on a fire in JT NP and a horse rescue fire in Desert Heights, a downtown fire could burn to the slab before help could arrive.

One of the most important agenda items at the next 29 Palms City Council/Successor Agency meeting is Tuesday, April 24, 2012 is a presentation of a design concept, bidding and construction of a $120,000 sign to be placed at SR62 and National Park Drive.

While the local fire department financially flounders —  the 29 Palms City Council is dancing around a $120,000 sign and continues with their opulent spending on a city-funded playhouse.

There is the attitude at City Hall: “The 29 Palms Fire Department is not our problem.” That attitude is dangerous. It’s time for leadership to acknowledge the 29 Palms Water District can’t solve the city’s fire and safety problems.

In fact, the water district by stature cannot fund the fire department.

In the past that just was the way it was.  The city just didn’t fund the fire department. But now since there is a genuine public safety issue immediately confronting the City, it’s time to confront the problem head-on.

Funding the 29 Palms Fire Department finding needs to be center stage. It’s time for the City to open up talks with other entities about funding the fire department.

Why build a playhouse or a superstructure if it cannot be protected 100% of the time?

The City, the Water Department and the County needs a meeting of the minds to come together to look into a very serious fire safety issues facing the city.

It may be something for the Oversight Board to consider. Would they want to fund a superstructure and/or playhouse that may be at risk of adequate fire protection? This is an opportunity for the city to tackle hard problems. The Chief explains, “The community has to decide how to provide the funding to maintain that appropriate level of service.”

It is sad to watch City Hall chase after childish playhouse dreams when their focus is needed on fire safety and fire protection for the entire community and its local businesses.

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About the author

Branson Hunter

Senior Corespondent At Large

"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.

80 Comments

  1. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    Branson,

    Here's a idea to fund the Fire Department.

    I believe the current Transient Occupancy Tax for Hotels is 9%. The City could put an initative on the ballot this November to increase the TOT to fall more in line with the normal 12-14% that other Cities charge (Low Desert,Vegas & Laughlin) and then funnel that 3-5% to the Fire Department.

    The great thing is, it won't cost the taxpayers who live here a dime.

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    • Is the city council listening?

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    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Steve, Raising the TOT tax will take another vote. The hospitality businesses will be against it. One quick fix is to cancel the debt for the hook and ladder. Like I tell Ben, this will be on the Water Board's agenda next Wednesday.

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    • Jay Harry VIP1234 says:

      Take the part of the TOT that is currently going to the chamber of commerce and give it to the fire department. Right off what the fire department owes for that fire truck. Stop looking at getting more money by increasing taxes and look at ways to better use what is being collected already.

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  2. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Ben, The City doesn't have a plan "B" because there was never a City plan "A". The Fire Department is under the Water District. The next step is going to be on the Water Board's agenda for next Wednesday. Hope you can Make it.

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  3. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Taxes..... just saying the word makes me want to throw boxes of Lipton's into Lake Bandini.

    Question for both of you.... by raising the bed tax to 12 to 14% would that not make the hospitality industry all of a sudden 3-5% more expensive?

    What do you guys feel is the breaking point when it becomes prohibitive to come to 29 as a tourist?

    As it is most of the rooms in town go vacant if the Marines do not have exercises on Base.

    I mean seriously the burden of the bed tax is not placed upon the visitor but upon the innkeeper. To be competitive he must take a smaller share of the pie but at the same time give to government an ever growing share of the limited tourist dollar.

    Just being Devils Advocate.....

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    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      As former House Leader Sam Rayburn said: "We won't tax you and we won't tax me, we'll tax that guy behind the tree".

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      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

        I'm not saying I like it either. Military on orders are exempt from the tax by the way.

        Just tossing out ideas.

        Like I said, the normal is 12-14%. We are at 9%. We should of adjusted ours with the industry.

        I'm not sure funneling 3-5% would have significant impact on the FD nudget shortfall. It's better to have the tourist industry contribute then to come out of our pockets.

        Think it's something that should be researched and explored.

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        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          One way would be for the City to annex the Desert Heights areas that are in the water district's boundaries and get their property taxes.

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          • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

            That too would take a vote.... What say you Branson care to be part of the city and all that it entails?

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          • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

            True, but isn't the FD now left holding a short fuze?

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            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              Suggest a increase in the TOT is a more palatable to the voter since it requires no money out their pocket and they benefit with the Fire coverage and shortened response time.

              Just has to be publicized correctly.

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            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              I have to agree with Branson on this one.... The city is holding Millions of Dollars in reserve and in the money left over from its RDA.... I say pony up and put that money in play for the Fire Department.... Let the Water district cover the cost of the FD in the county areas covered by the Water District and let the City cover the cost for city service. It seems fair to me. And a good use of all that money that is burning a hole in the Council's pockets.

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            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              True, but does anyone know how this Bond thing is going to work out yet? The reserve may go to pay debt. How long will it take for all the RDA dissoultion to take and since there is a increase in the size of the state debt, what future cash will be stripped from the cites?

              With the economic indicators looking like they are turning positive,there will be more tourist and people transiting through 29.

              I really think the money spent to get an increase in the TOT on the November Ballot would be money well spent and could potentially go into effect 1 Jan 2013.

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            • Bill Easter Bill Easter says:

              Would that not mean that the citizens of 29 Palms are being taxed twice; as tax payers through the city and as rate payers through the water district?

              Dan you and Larry made some great points about the unincorporated area being part of the city, still waiting for the answer.

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            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              Steve I believe that spending that money burning holes in the pockets of the Council on creating a Joint service agency to take over the Fire Department run by both the Water Board and the City is far better than pissing all that millions the city is going to loose down a rat hole for a convention center.

              Someone needs to slap these guys with The dead tuna of reality and bring them to their senses.

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          • Larry, why would Desert Heights want to be part of a town in crises, with misplaced priorities, and local leaders who are a few sandwiches short of a picknik basket runnning a town like it was Los Vegas. Humm you have a town facing sewer issues, in a serious fire safety crises and it's leaders remained focused on a playhouse.

            Annexing Wonder Valley makes more sense because they need water. Work on that Larry.

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            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              The TOT is added to the Hotel Bill at check out. It's not paid by the Inn Keeper, it's not paid by anyone in the High Desert, it's paid by the Guest of the Hotel.

              If you've ever stayed in a Hotel in the Low Desert, Vegas or Laughlin, you've paid it for those places.

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            • Jay Harry VIP1234 says:

              I stayed in Las Cruses New Mexico and the total tax was almost 25%. There was a convention center tax, utilities distribution tax and sales tax. I travel across I10 regularly and now I find a city other than Las Cruses to stay in. How many people will find somewhere else to stay if we keep upping the taxes.

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            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              Let me see... a stay in Palm Spriings... scores of PGA Courses, shopping, entertainment, restaurants, water park,and access to the National Park.... or a stay in Twentynine Palms a mobile 29! sign, $120,000 Goats on a rock, The Hill Top Motel, 20 Murals of folks we never knew, and access to the National Park.... hmmm let me see what is the trade off here?

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  4. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    You are forgetting that there are 3 different entities involved. I don't want my property taxes taken to support freeloaders in Desert Heights. It's unconstitutional. It's unAmerican. What would Ron Paul say?

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    • Take a breath Larry. There are not freeloaders under your bed, in your closets or under the covers. The freeloaders are all over at city hall. The free loaders are outside influences that are literally cleaning out the Treasury, and there are local free loaders who have their hands stuck in the cookie jar and just won't let go of the remaining cookies.

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      • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

        Since Desert Heights is well within the city of 29 Palms official sphere of influence it is hard to argue that they have no duty to those in that sphere. If they have the ability to say no on projects with in the sphere and impede economic growth within those areas of influence the city should have to pay for that right. I think assisting with aide to the fire department is a cheap and equitable payment to those within that sphere for their loss of independence.

        Otherwise the city can quit claiming some sort of right of first refusal when it comes to economic projects in Desert Heights.

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  5. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, What economic projects in Desert Heights are you talking about. I didn't know the area had an "economy".

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    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      In California "sphere of influence" has a legal meaning as a plan for the probable physical boundaries and service area of a local agency. Spheres of influence at California local agencies are regulated by Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCO). Each county in California has a LAFCO.

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      • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

        The sphere of influence is miniscule compared to the total area in the water district. As for Laughco, they do what they want as witness the Solar Farm on Lear avenue. Even Ben didn't know that was a done deal.

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  6. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Bill Easter is absolutely correct in calling it "Double Taxation".

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  7. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    That is one solution. But the county's costs are higher than ours. And the County is broke.

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    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Since you would rather keep the money for building civic centers and taj mahals instead of putting the money up for a joint fire agency... I think we are at an impasse.... You seem to think monuments, signs and needless civic accouterments are more important than public safety..

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  8. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    The prvious bond remains in effect.

    How much time does the FD have with it's current funding?

    How long would the annexation process take?

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  9. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Don't know. These options may come up at the Water Board Meeting this wednesday.

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  10. 2grounded 2grounded says:

    us freeloaders in Desert Heights still pay for the fire station on our taxes
    first it was was 62.00 and they said they needed more money, or they would close remember. All of a sudden a few rundown vacant shacks started to burn and we all caved in with another 80.00 was on our tax bill. Now here we go again. The water district cant afford the fire dept. The city should learn like we have to do with our funds. Pay the bills first.
    forget the trophy sign on the highway fund the fire department like other cities do.

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  11. Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

    Steve W,
    I agree with Dan. We can't make visitors pay for our stupid decisions. That is the kind of thinking that will keep 29 underemployed, but hey, we will have a beautiful sign with rams and a community center.

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  12. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    Cora, I disagree, the current TOT percentage has been in place for a number of years and is the primary reason this City carries a 13 million dollar plus reserve fund. It's the primary reason we've had budget surplus for 11 of the past 12 years.

    The actually TOT revenue always exceeds forecast.

    It dosen't cost the Innkeeper a dime. Tourist who want to visit the park, are going to visit the park regarless of a 3-5% increase in room cost.

    Thinking it will cost jobs is the extreme worst case scenario.

    For example On a $79 room, the TOT is $7.11. A 3% increase is $2.37. Total TOT is $9.48

    Most hotels also charge a service fee of $10 or more, to pay for the services guest recieve during their stay.

    I see it as "free" revenue that could be funneled to assist in funding the Fire Department in a realitively short period of time.

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    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      I see it as “free” revenue that could be funneled to assist in funding the Fire Department in a realitively short period of time.

      I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
      Thomas Jefferson

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  13. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Wow been gone for a week and yikes!

    I do not want to rain on anyone's parade but here are some constraints to all these proposals that are being offered.

    As long as the Fire Department(FD) serves two customer bases the mixing of funds be it tax dollars from the city General Fund or TOT taxes from the city can not happen and will not happen.

    You all need to remember that we tried to take over the FD many years ago. remember the joint meetings of two Water Board members and two Council Members?

    You also can not just fund the Adobe Road Station and forget the Lear Station.

    Also Desert Heights will more than likely never, ever, ever, allow itself to be annexed into the city.

    Is there a solution - yes there are several and some are more acceptable than others depending on where you live.

    What I do see coming down the road is a rather large legal fight that will enrich the two law firms that work for the respective effective entities those being the City and Water District.

    Reality is that the FD can not continue to operate at its current level of service since measures H and I failed. The Water District will do what the people want and scale down service.

    At some point in time there will be a move by the Water District via LAFCO and their legal firm to abandon the onus of providing fire protection. The City will attempt to legally block that attempt. Much money will be spent by both the City and the Water District to decide who is going to provide the Fire Service.

    But in the final analysis the bottom line questions must be - Can the Water District survive by not overseeing the Fire Department - yes, because they are really in the water business and do a damn good job of it too. However, can the City survive without providing a Fire Protection agency - no they can not just as they can not exist as a city unless they provide police.

    Stand by for major expenses from the cities General Fund that will not put out a single fire nor help at any traffic accident. It will be money to the lawyers and the Courts.

    What a fine mess we now have.

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    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      steve why not but county fire on the table, heard they do a mighty fine job in all the basin but 29.

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      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hi Mark,

        We have already researched County Fire when we were looking at taking over the FD from the water District.

        County Fire cost about 3 times as much as our present Fire Department and we would have gotten 1/2 the service level. County Fire is not and I repeat not a cost effective option.

        With all this talk from almost the whole world about saving tax money why would we pay 3 times as much for half the service level?

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        • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

          1. what does a chief make?

          2. what does a fire man make?

          3. is it cheaper to buy in numbers?

          4. Does it cost more for facilities in 29?

          5. Maybe it is the cost of fuel is greater in 29 or training for that matter?

          6. What is the retirement for 29 Versus County?

          Steve you are a smart man but my god man you have been shammed

          7. Could it be yucca has more service than we have in 29?

          8. Or is it protecting the status quo?

          9. The staff that gave you that info should be?

          10. left blank

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          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Hi Mark,

            I appreciate your thought that I have been "shammed".

            I can only report what I know to be factual from the experience on the committee while I was on the Council and we studied for many months how and if the city could take over its own Fire Service protection.

            I know that you think the County Fire is a good deal - but it is not.

            Right now the FD takes in about 1.2 Million a year with a projected expenditure of 1.4 million. Adelanto and Yucca Valley use County Fire and pay approximately 3.0 million for that service. And no Mark they do not get more than we get in 29 palms with our own Fire Department they get less.

            None of those Firefighters get paid large sums of money and they are not like a box of cereal where you get a discount by hiring more of them.

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            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              Yes Steve you have been shammed if staff did not give you a line item by line item comparison
              Don’t know how a study committee could study without that detailed info, surly it was not based on what the yuuca or adlanto bottom line was. It must be based on a detailed cost breakdown could you steer us to the spread sheets. As R R said trust but verify .

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            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              I have not been on the Council for two years and the study was completed a full year to two years before I left. So I do not have that information

              BTW - when you are dealing with various options it is customary to ask for bottom line costs. If that comparison cost as obtained from various cities as well as the County exceeds your allowable budget why seek a line by line cost analysis? If the price is good that is when you start looking at the details.

              Mark, again I appreciate your disdain for local government however, I am perplexed as to why you think a bigger form of local government would do a better job at a cheaper price, namely County Fire?

              You seem to sidestep the obvious that Yucca Valley had no choice but to contract out for local Fire Service because they had no Fire Service to start off with.

              On the other hand 29 Palms had a local Fire Department and the incorporation process recognized that reality and no requirement was present at the time to seek any other form of Fire Protection.

              All of this may of course change when the current Fire Department goes broke from lack of funding.

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            • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

              I guess being from the private sector I see things such as funding very defferent. waste and savings are hidden in the line items, it is hard to find facts with the bottom line.
              my limited experence has lead me to think there is a reduction in unit cost with an increase in units, same with training and supervision.

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    • Bill Easter Bill Easter says:

      Steve,

      Being gone for a week and providing facts, what are you thinking?

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      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hi Bill,

        To add more spice to the stew - I just completed reading the city staff reports for tomorrow's Council meeting.

        The $120,000.00 dollar sign is back in the hunt with options "B" and "C" thrown in for good measure. Now those two options might cost a bargain rate of $60,000.00 for the sign and $20,000.00 for the sculptures of sheep.

        But the new twist is that staff will not say how much these options will cost because, like the Wizard of Oz, these things are delicate and final costs will not be known until actual bidding is started. Where is staff's recommendation for option "C" and not build this sign.

        My goodness this is a tactic I have never seen in my life when it comes to spending tax dollars by non-elected staff.

        Then we get to move onto the "Tattoo" shop "Family Values" Planning Commission appeal.

        It this staff report we find staff recommending upholding the Planning Commission denial of the Minor Use Permit. To top it off another even newer tactic is used. Staff provides a detailed resolution for upholding the original denial of the Minor Use permit and then goes onto say that should Council wish to overturn the Planning Commission's denial that the item be continued to a later date and then staff will prepare the necessary resolution granting the appeal.

        What - does staff not have the time or desire to prepare both types of resolutions.

        Why is staff treating our Council as if they were a bunch of stooges and providing biased recommendations instead of just dealing in the facts of the matter.

        I digress - I think I will go on another weeks vacation and hope that when I return that I find myself back in Kansas.

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        • Bill Easter Bill Easter says:

          There you go again Steve making "crazy" statements. To be clear my friend, I'm talking about another weeks vacation and returning to Kansas.

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        • Steve Spear wrote: "Why is staff treating our Council as if they were a bunch of stooges?"

          That's an easy one Steve: Because they allow themselves to be pushed around like a bunch of stooges. It's an embarrassment (and a disgrace) to the community.

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      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

        Fingers Crossed: Steve Spear for City Council 2013.

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        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          With fear of being misinterpreted.... DITTO!!!!

          Besides its 2012 not 2013....unless we have a recall in 2013 I'm all in for a little insurrection.... Got my musket and keeping my powder dry.

          I do on the other hand refuse to wear a powdered wig.

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        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          oh... I just thought.... aren't we all supposed to be hurled into space on December 21st? I mean the Mayans can't be wrong can they?

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  14. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    Steve Spear for City Council 2013

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  15. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Thanks for the info and the background. There is no easy answer. And in particular, I agree with you that there will be no mixing of General Fund dollars with Fire tsx dollars. It's unconstitutional.

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  16. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Steve, Thanks again for the facts.

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  17. Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

    Thanks for the informative discussion. This director appreciates the input. The Twentynine Palms Water District Board will next meet at 6 pm this Wednesday the 25th at 72401 Hatch Rd in Twentynine Palms.

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    • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

      Chancey, Has anyone discussed the possibility of the Lear Station be manned by a Volunteer force as many rual communites do?

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      • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

        The Lear Station also runs calls within the city. It just happens to sit outside the city boundaries. As I understand it, only 8% of the calls come from outside the city. 

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        • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

          Think a Volunteer force should be explore as a means of augmentuing the paid force.

          We are growing Fire Fighters through the Explorer program, they could get some real time training in this capacity.

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          • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

            The fire department already has a volunteer program.

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            • Thanks for bringing this to light Chancy.

              It's my understand that the fire department takes volunteers from the fire academy and trains them. Even so, an explorer scout volunteer firefighters is not a job for teenagers. They can't be put in harms way given the way society is set up. Firefighting is a risky business.

              It's painful to see so many pass the hot potato around. It's an insult to the entire 29 Palms Fire Department, its hardworking staff, two captains, and Chief Thomson -- and those great academy graduate volunteers.

              29 Palms had no Plan A or PLan B for the safety of its residents. A useless second city-playhouse is more important that the public safety of 29 residents. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

              I didn't intend to shoot Steve W's idea down. It's too bad that Steve W. wasn't elected to the CC. He had the breadth and depth to be a councilman who, I think, would serve the all of the public and taxpayers. He has shown leadership and the ability to think independently and out of the box.

              Rather we have outside influences taking the lead and running the show. Make no mistake about this, largely city Managers are outside influences with the package deal (empire building). Same thing with Rutan & Tucker. Look at the self-serving legal advise: They've make hundreds of thousand off that debt bond. And they'll likely make more a few more hundreds of thousands more off 29's redevelopment fiasco before this scam finally runs out of gas.

              Many cities are being duped by powerful outside influences with the assistant of local CC dopes.

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            • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

              I understand about the Explorer program, I talking about bonafied adult volunteers. Many rural area through the country use these type of departments which can lead to full time employeement for some.

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            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              When we moved here 25 or so years ago I think the only full time manned fire station was the Base... Maybe 2 guys at 421... but the force was full volunteer. Being on the volunteer FD was a social feather in your cap. There was a waiting line for folks to join.

              Somehow it became a liability to have a volunteer force. Some one said it was an insurance issue. I think it was a Public Employee Union issue (wink wink).

              To return to that kind of service should be debated.

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        • Wow! Only 8 percent and my much respected blog-friend (Larry) call us ratepayers who live outside the city "free loaders."

          Property taxes are again due next month to help fund 92 percent of the calls that come in from the city in which the fire department responds to, a city that get huge benefits from us Desert Heights ratepayers.

          While the city is in crises this City Manager, Staff and the CC are dancing in the tulip patch somewhere without any clothes, pretending things are okey-dokey when the entire city may soon be without a funded fire department. In terms of public safety and fire protection, I think the Playhouse Five CC must be mooning the public.

          To heck with the public fire safety of all the school in 29. To heck if children may foreseeable lose their life if the fire department is unable to respond as quickly as they now do.

          Five youngsters plucked out of 29 High could have done a much better job than Playhouse Five on the CC.

          Who in the hell would want to invest in a city that hasn't the backbone to help fund a fire department where 92% if its call come from the City of 29.

          $120,000 sign? Thousands for a roll-out artsy steel sign? Thousands for an annual ChackFest; Mega-millions to duplicate an unneeded community center, an unneeded playhouse, a 30 year $34 million bond debt, and pure puffery from a City Manager that the superstructure can be a gymnasium, another senior center, anything you want, etc.

          But no reconnoitering or plans to fund its the fire department now in a wretched public safety crises. Public safety takes a back seat in 29 Palms. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Perhaps 29 ought have hired a city manager who know how to manage, as oppose to empire building and puting three generations if bond debt for 30 years, to which much of the money may be pulled from the death-grip of the city attorney, city manager and its subordinate CC.

          I'll say it again: This CC is the worst thing that has ever happened to the City of 29 as far as I'm concerned.

          I can still hear CC Jim Harris brag how much later after the ChalkFest had passed, that the chalk art was still there.

          Mr. Harris have you considered that it's foreseeable people could die because of a lack of CC initiative, lack of leadership, and misplaced binge spending while the fire department is ignored.

          Thanks again to Councilman Klink (KCDZ spelled his name today "CLINK") for his solitary vote no on frivolous spending of taxpayers funds.

          Seems this CC believes the fire department is not their concern. The fact is Public safety is compromised for all businesses, homes, public and private building, and schools. This is not what I expected when I moved here ll year ago.

          Meanwhile, the CC continues to bury their collective heads in the sand.
          It's time for 29 Palms to support the 29 Palms Fire Department with annual operating money for the protection of every man, woman, child and business in the City.

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  18. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    Crises what crises this is an opportunity to cure a broken system, seems those that have been elected by the citizens to oversee the citizens assets have let the citizens down. Where are the facts? What happened, why did the district overspend? The fire fighters deserve some job security that it does not appear the water district seems able to provide. Why can’t we get line item numbers to the county water district comparison,? At most we get the sky is falling if you don’t give us some more money, I would like to know where the shortage is line by line, those numbers (not talking about accounting that is so often used to cover waste and abuse) should have been publicized before the district wasted the $26,000 on a special election. It is not just about funding it is also about the citizens protection and the firefighters job security. would it improve by the support of the county’s structure?

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    • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

      The fire department said they would run out of money in 2013 seven years ago. In the private sector, you raise prices to compensate for the increased costs of doing business. The fire department does not have this ability. They didn't overspend. Things got more expensive. 

      District meetings are held every month and minutes are available. We even have a list of every single purchase that the district makes each month in the consent calendar. I welcome you to attend a meeting. 

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      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        I thought the district said they would not need additional funding if the voters would just pass the last tax increase, I forget I think it was O on the ballot.
        In the private sector a price increase is a last resort and only comes after all other options are considered. I have seen solicitations for private companies to bid on providing fire protection, I am not sure that is an option but it has been rumored that the private sector out preforms the government and not only are embraced by insurers but is also a growing industry just hope it don't turn out like the private prison industry.
        Just don't know without a county water district line item by line item comparson, it is all about what is above the bottom line

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        • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

          I think all options are on the table if they are feasible. I will look into private sector contracting. However, without a revenue source that can adjust for inflation, any fix will be temporary. 

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          • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

            lets hope it don't lead to privatizing the fire department, believe it or not I believe there is a place for government. the private sector can and should set the benchmark for resonable cost, so offten without checks mission creep and impire building gets out of controll.

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