- Twentynine Palms and the City of Riverside in parallel orbs -
The City of Riverside and Twentynine Palms share a lot in common? There’s plenty of mismanagement and arrogance to go around. And plenty of plain old fashion stupidity with a shared note of equality, enough blame to go around a thousand times over.
Cora Heisner, a 29 Palms City Council candidate and local high school teacher who is seeking to replace Councilmen Klink or Cole, recently had this to say about members of the 29 Palms Oversight Board, “Why is it that these 7 people have no fear of the taxing entities that appointed them, nor shame in their lack of leadership.”
While Riverside is at the larger end of cities in two counties, Twentynine Palms is the smallest of communities in the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino.
Both cities have a hangman nooses drawn tight around the thinning necks of voters and taxpayers in the aftermath of a ravenous RDA spending frenzy.
The likes of which you’ve never seen before. And will likely never see again with the demise of the RDAs.
Besides participation in a drunken spending binge under the banner of Bonehead Economics, both cities share a 30 year bond debt.
While Riverside Critics said redevelopment money was often wasted on lavish projects and politically connected developers who siphoned tax dollars from schools and cities. In 29 Palms, the money flames were fanned, connived and in constantly manipulated for a lavish Project Phoenix $13-15 million second Community Center to house a gutsy Crème de la crème subterranean playhouse.
Before the RDA’s were dissolved earlier this year — Riverside County’s redevelopment agency accumulated $1.6 billion 30 year debt, officials acknowledged recently. While 29 amassed a $31 million debt over 30 years, there is nothing whatsoever to show for the defunct theater plans but debt, debt and more debt.
That’s right, nothing to show for but souring administrative costs, high salaries and absurd legal and consulting fees which to this day are still being paid.
The Riverside debt dates back to at least 2004 and includes $1.2 billion in non-housing and $378 million in housing, while 29 Palms with a population of about 25,377 residents – Jul 2011 Source: U.S. Census Bureau — has a bond debt of $31 over thirty years touching and concerning three generations.
Nonetheless, Riverside Supervisor Bob Buster said the figure “does not seem to me (to be) exorbitant,” especially since the debt will be paid off over 30 years. Wrong answer Bob. It certainly is exorbitant. Any thirty year public debt is drastic measures.
Much to the same show of crassness, 29 Palms City Councilman, Dan Mintz, said it would be “neat” to have a duplicate community center and a second (subterranean) city playhouse theatere. Dan’s 30 year debt bond with nothing to show for it is not so “neat” by any definition that warrants reasonable consideration.
Yet, it may be “neat” to his businesses a few blocks away that foreseeable would materially benefit. But it wasn’t so neat that there were no staff studies, independent studies or city-paid consulting studies on how eight (8) playhouse venues would fare in the Morongo Basin.
This eight includes, but is not limited to, two high school theaters, the CMC Bell Center, two active and professional theatres in Joshua Tree, one in The Morongo Valley and Theatre 29 and Project Phoenix Playhouse.
Take a look at the criticism of Copper Mountain Bell Center as discussed a few day ago in the Hi-Desert Star.
It is sorely underutilized for what was sold to be — another very active community center forum in the Morongo Basin. However, since opening it just sits there on mass graded hilltop with only very few community activities having ever been held. The most recent being a gun show! Simply put, “The Morongo Basin is overloaded with community theater forums”.
California’s Legislature in 1945 allowed municipalities to form redevelopment districts to remove blight and build affordable housing. However it was a self-serving venture that public figures in the city of Riversideand Twentynine Palms supported with blind crassness with a heavy blend of fiendish and outrageous spending.
I guess that dream is still out there.
The Oversight Board continues to vacillate on issues of great importance. Here is a record of their stonewalling public meetings. Given the recent dismantling of key elements of the Brown Act, the Oversight Board has become empowered to hid the ball and play catch behind the curtains of public scrutiny.
07-11-2012 Cancellation of Oversight Meeting.
5 p.m., Wednesday, August 22 (Tentative, not yet confirmed.)
” It might be a meeting… Then again, it might not be a meeting. They do not have to have to tell you. ”
One of the ringleader to this madness is Rotating Mayor Twentynine City Councilman, John Cole. Cole is a member of the Oversight Board, along with his daughter-in-law, Korina Cole, whom he strongly recommended in his successful attempt to stack the Board.
Vote NO on John Cole’s reelection for city councilman –which brings to mind Laurel & Hardy’s catchphrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”
The Oversight Board is taking full advantage of the recent roll-back of the Brown Act by not reporting their meetings and not holding public meetings. What, then, if anything, is being done behind closed doors?
While Riverside has its Bob Buster, 29 Palms has its John Cole.