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Councilmen’s inaction places a curse on Twentynine Palms

By   /   November 15, 2012  /   98 Comments

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When there are needless fatalities in the future due to the dismantling of the Twentynine Palms Fire Department, city council members will justifiably be held responsible.

 We all know by now, County Fire has graciously step up to the plate to take over fire services of the city in the very near future. However, we also know the county is in fiscal crises and its fire services throughout the county are being scaled back.

The County does not have funding to maintain the level of fire safety the city now enjoys.

This will leave the city with grave problems concerning public safety. The simple solution is for the city to now partner (help fund) with CountyFire for the future needs of public safety.

However, as we sadly know there are no efforts to do this.

This revolting development at city hall stupefies the senses!  The future growth of the city will be impacted and impaired.

 Can city councilmen face the parents of children lost, or the children whom have lost parents, because the city was preoccupied with a frigging grandiose duplicated playhouse and other cosmetic costly projects — and they just didn’t care?

This city has capital. It has large amounts of money but none for the safety of its people or their property. The council’s inaction is disgusting. The city has the money to fund/partner with the county for the next 50 years and still develop its reserves. Do the math.

This community will be is at risk 100 percent of the time.

I sorry I was not able to attend the Tuesday council meeting due to an unexpected personal commitment. I am so sorry I couldn’t look the councilmen in the face and present my (prepared) 3 minutes of comments.

The TPFD has a fifty history with the city, and now it will be dismantled and the community and schools are going to be at risk. Yes, even the playhouse goers will be at risk. And remember H&S codes, Code of Federal Regulations, California Administrative Codes, labor laws, and OSHA — prevent entry for rescues in structures when there is not a backup team (of firefighters) to rescue firefighter inside.

It’s not only a pathetic lack of fire protection, but the next seasonal storm when the fire department is at the Hanson Track, who the hell is going to put the flood control gates up? The town has already had fatalities where the flood channel crosses the roads when it floods.

The city receives Fire Development Impact Fees [California Government Code Section 66000] for capital improvements. Ironic isn’t it that the present council doesn’t care about the safety of its resident or their property or homes or businesses. Yet it takes your money for FDIF.

In short, there will be no safety net. Something has gone very wrong with the leadership in 29.

It’s simply inconceivable going forward like this.

The biggest line of fabrication out of city hall goes like this: Since Measure H (special property fire tax) failed, residents, their families, homes and businesses want it this way. Contrariwise, it was voted down because ratepayers wanted more of their tax dollars to stay in the city.

What prudent business person would invest in a small town with an understaffed fire department, higher fire insurance and a city council with the funding but does not care?

During his failed tenure with the city, City Boss Richard Warne has gleefully been planning his resume enhancement with his $31 million of bond debt for a new empire — known as ” PP”  (Project Phoenix). All all during this time not a peep about public safety or the demise of the TPFD.

How pathetic is this?  God help the city when the magnificent killer quake hits, an anomalous seasonal disaster or a great fire (or any fire)  in city limits.

God help a city council that has sat on their hands.

[socialpoll id="2925"]

Footnote: It should be noted that newly elect Councilwoman, Cora Heiser, has voiced supports for partnering with County Fire and she has been vocal in terms of public safety. 

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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.

98 Comments

  1. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    You cannot put full blame on the CC for the demise of the Fire Dept. The Water District and Voters all shoulder 1/3 of the blame as well.

    From what I have observed in Yucca Valley, the County does an exemplary job. So personally, I have full faith and confidenc in their ability to protect my property & home in 29.

    Suggest keeping in mind the Mutual Aid agreements that are in place. The Base FD responds when needed and in many cases has been closer than the personnel and equipment at the Lear Station.

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    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Love you like a brother Steve, so here is some advise on that run for CC in Yucca... First don't alienate the voters by blaming them for exercising their right to not have their taxes raised. It just sounds snarky if you know what I mean.

      Example A:
      You can not complain that the voters raised the California sales tax yet in the same breath complain that they did not raise the local sales tax.

      Example B:
      When you bemoan the high property tax rates, it is not wise to blame the voter for turning down raising them.

      It is the responsibility of the municipal government to provide public safety within their municipal footprint. Public Safety includes not only police but fire too. 29 Palms dodged the fire bullet for almost 30 years by letting the water agency have control.... For what ever reason the water board quit the fire business is immaterial... The city has a duty to provide adequate fire protection at a level that promotes public safety, confidence in investments and the general welfare. To deny that responsibility because this issue was thrust upon the Council and not to their liking is childish at best.

      It is time that the Council pull up their big boy pants, roll up their sleeves, and take the protection of the citizens of this community seriously. The city has a responsibility to do no harm, by turning a blind eye to the need to keep staffing levels to at least current levels is indeed Doing Harm.

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    • @ Steve Whitten:

      Read the "Related Posts" Links following the story. It specifically addresses your the scenarios that WILL arise in terms of public safety. Moreover, if you are going to rely on the USMC for public safety in 29, it's clearly a delusive safety net for all the reasons addressed in "Related Posts."

      With all due respect, I don't believe you have a grasp of the pending emergencies facing schools, businesses and families.

      Moreover, the TPFD is NOT in agreement with your position and already have addressed your fragile arguments.

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    • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

      The Water District really shoulders no blame and should be commended for continuing to provide Fire Service during the last 25 years when it should in fact have been a City responsibility. The WD is not part of the City's Public Works Dept and is simply a for profit business that predates the City itself. The WD has no legal mandate to provide fire protection to its customers let alone to the residents of an incorporated City that is larger then the WDs own boundaries.

      Upon incorporation the first City Council decided to take the easy way out and continued to rely on a FOR PROFIT BUSINESS to provide one of the major services that a TRUE City provides its residents. Now that the WD is deciding get out of the fire business the current City Council is once again dodging their responsibility.

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      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        Who’d a thought it I am learning something here on CT. A public entity that takes tax dollars to provide fire protection service is a for profit business, never knew that. How and who do they disperse the profits to? You may want to rethink that post.

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  2. @ Steve Witten:

    For decades, the TPWD shoulder the responsibility for providing fire protection to the city of 29. It was time for them to focus on their own responsibility for which major costs have surfaced and are going to come up again in the near future. Besides which, the TPWD was competing for funding with the fire department. That is a deplorable situation.

    Twentynine Palms ratepayers in the confines of the city limits recently had a raise on their property taxes for an increase in water rates. Then not long thereafter the TPFD was running out of money and heading for bankruptcy. Thus the need for asking residents for a increase in fire taxes (Measure H).

    Given the fact that the city doesn't have its own city police force; doesn't provide water; continues to sit on its hands in terms of water treatment and sewers; and factually is grossly negligent (more like criminally negligent)in failing to protecting its schools and the entire city with a mere shell of a fire department on the horizon. It a breach of their fiduciary duty.

    The city's only use is to provide welfare to the Chamber of Commerce, Theatre 29, ChalkFest, build gigantic rams, pay for artsy mobile iron 29 Palms signs they can parade around on a trailer, pay for $20,000 signs directing people the the 29 Palms Inn and the JTNP headquarters, etc.

    Please don't misunderstand me, these things are really cool and enhance the experience of visiting the city, but history shows that art follows human necessities like public safety for seasonal emergencies, natural disasters and reasonable fire protection.

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  3. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    I don't blame to voters for exercising their rights and turing down the vote to continue status quo taxation or a raise in taxes. I would of voted no as well.
    If the vote would of been yes, there would be no dicussion and it would be business as usual.

    I not trying to argue, just attempting to point out the blame for the Fire Department demise just dosen't fall on one faction. There has been a series of decisions by all Leadership in several areas through the history of the Fire Department that have led us to this point.

    County Fire and the Sheriff Department are in my opinion providing adequate services in Yucca Valley with assistance from Mutual Aid Agreements, what makes 29 different? I'm curious?

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    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      completely different funding schemes, Steve.

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    • Not exactly Steve W. The TPWD pretty much had to cut loose the TPFD. Thus the same problems would have surfaced.

      You ask what makes the difference with County Fire taking over? They are now seriously in a fiscal crises. Read the Related Posts to bring yourself up to date.

      Have a great day and Thanksgiving holiday.

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      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        We could learn from the recent storm back east, FEMA with their bloated budget has been a failure, while the citizens organized and got much of the needed supplies to those in need. Occupy Sandy volunteers even had to feed those with the FEMA uniform on. Often when there is budget short fall out of the box solutions are found, whether it is unutilized resources or innovation. Bottom line I agree with Steve W. the county fire will do 29 just fine.

        I don’t recall where it was but I did read Lear was to remain open with two paid personnel, quite a change from the first round of talks with the county leading me to believe there additional changes are in the works. Let’s hope the local fire personnel will be absorbed by the county. Those that travel here that have no houses or other connection but the local job can find elsewhere to further their career, maybe somewhere that cuts down on their long distance drives. 29 should do whatever is possible to facilitate their employment.

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        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Do you ever read what you write?

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          • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

            Funny how many of you guys that would get on this sight and lambast the city for the in ineptness would turn and want a critical service like fire protection to be managed by the city.

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            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Dan, Ben, Steve/29. What are your responses to Mark's observation?

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            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Mark - I am about to give up on you.

              Is the Sheriff's Department managed by city hall - no!

              What we are talking about here at this point is the city providing the additional funding so the Lear Station could remain open under the County!

              The thought of our city actually at this point saving the TPFD is probably out of the equation.

              Does that answer you question Larry?

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                Don’t give up on me I am learning, never knew tpwd was a for profit business, all kidding aside you may know this I don’t.

                How is the fire protection funded in Yucca, Joshua tree, and the rest of the county?

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              • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

                Mark, the TPWD predates the City by quite a few years. Did you think they were some sort of non-profit providing water out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course they are a profit making business.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                You want to go back far enough my grandfather’s well supplied much of the water from smiths ranch, but no they were a not for profit entity, they were a tax subsidized entity the same as the district today.

                If there is not enough tax dollars to go around why not look at cutting the entity that’s serves no useful purpose. How far would the city managers wages go towards saving a few paid positions?

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                two

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              • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

                The Lear Station and the water service to Desert Heights was a project of the Water District. But yes, what you want is for the tax payer's of the city to subsidize Desert Heights.

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              • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

                No Larry that is not what is being said at all.

                I am not about to rehash all this stuff. We are lossing 1/2 of our current fire department and we will all, including Desert Heights pay the parcel tax in order to man that one station on Adobe.

                Now if that is a good deal then so be it - I think it sucks!

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              • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

                Steve, Everybody is entitled to their opinion. We don't agree.

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              • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

                Could you put some flesh on those bones of disagreement?

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                The way it is in the planning is we are going to have 1 paid fireman and 3 make that 2 paycall at one station to cover an area that was covered by two stations and 7 firefighters once the deal is struck for the county to take over.

                That means that if a call is responded to in Desert Heights the victim is at least 20 mins away from help. Not only is the engine sent out of town some 20 mins away but the town is not covered during that time.

                Now remember it once was covered by 7 firefighters now 1 plus 3correction 2 part time fire fighters. The city ponying up for the the firefighters to cover the town is not subsidizing Desert Heights it is covering the towns ass. To suggest that is woefully missing the point of keeping an adequate staff for public safety in town not in Desert Heights.

                If the city can piddle away money for splash pads and Public Art it can also use those same funds to fund a proper Fire Station....

                I am at a loss to figure out why this is lost to you Larry. The city's primary function is public safety above all else. When the city is given the difficult choice between keeping adequate staffing levels for fire protection and the need for a splash pad it should be a pretty simple choice.

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              • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

                To clarify Dan, County Fire stated the Downtown station would be manned by 1 fireman and TWO 3yr temps, not three

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                Thanks for the correction... Steve

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              • Note also that those two temps are untrained as professional firefighters. I don't think Larry, Mark or Steve W understand the technical requirements required of firefighters.

                Start researching the codes and you will be shocked.

                I'm sure the temps are very good, but not seasoned and highly trained and qualified.

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              • Bullshit Larry. Chief Thompson already straightened you out on this. 94 percent of the calls that come in are for the city. Thus, Desert Heights subsidizes the city if you want to go there.

                Once again, you are attempting to pit DH with the City. That does not fly. Stop it will you?

                Can you just deal with the facts facing the city. Note, your business could burn to the ground. Do I have to lay out the fact again for you how easily this could happen, and your people in that structure will be at risk.

                You, Mark and Steve w. have not addressed one fact.

                Please deal with the issues and not make up crap. Here me, I'm not going to deal with your subterfuges after this.

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            • @ Mark Clemons:

              Mark Lear station is set to have 2 personnel that only do "brush control". Some local professional fire fighters are going to be laid off and not absorbed. There are NO jobs in fire fighters.

              I'd really be grieved to see or read where some of your historic structure burned to the ground because the city provides zilch to protect your and your ancestor's investment.

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            • @ Mark Clemons:

              Mark, do you really think you and Steve W. are going to get off so easy by writing you """believe""" services will be okay-dokey. Can you people offer some facts, evidence or discuss the issues that have been presented in
              here?

              The issue is NOT having the town provide public fire safety; the issue IS partnering with the fire department (help fund), and local public safety.

              Like Steve, you have clearly demonstrated you are not informed.

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        • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

          You don't let those pesky facts get in the way of your position do you Mark? Where you probably "read" it was in the presentation County planned to give the City but during said presentation the County was ADAMANT that it wasn't going to happen given their working budget.

          When the only tool in your possession is a hammer, then every problems solution seems to require a hammer. As much as I agree that being a City hasn't proved its worth (and have stated so at Council meetings) dissolution of the City isn't going to improve the Fire Dept and in fact would cement the lower level of service as there would then be NO WHERE else for the needed funding to come from.

          The City's soon to be lack of proper fire protection is in no way the fault of County Fire (or a reflection on their personnel's abilities) as they are simply proving what they can given the very real constraints of the budget they have been provided. There is simply no way that 3 can provide the same level of service previously provided by 7. During the Council meeting County skirted around the substandard coverage issue by simply stating that "unfortunately MANY Cities in the County's area of responsibility have less then ideal fire coverage".

          If you really cared for our fire fighters then you would do more then "hope they are absorbed by the County". Here is the breakdown of whats going to happen if there are no funding changes. The Chief is retiring, 3 will be retained for the Downtown Station and the other 3 will be let go.

          Despite County stating publicly at the Council meeting that those last 3 will be allowed to apply for a position some where else in the County, those guys have been told privately that County isn't hiring at this time.

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          • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

            Looking at a couple of tax bills from yucca and 29 it appears that the 29 property owners already pay more for fire than those in Yucca, The 29 bill has a special fire tax, The Yucca bill don’t. Why the disparity? Could it be county protection costs less?

            A look at the county budget, they forecasting filling some empty positions, you add the additional staffing needs for 29 they will need to fill even more positions.

            Things aren’t as bleak as some would foster. A lot of positioning going by all involved.

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            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              SO let me ask you Mark..... The city at this point is pissing away money for Goat signs and meandering Trails that lead to the 29 Palms Inn at the tune of almost a million dollars per every couple of years but you have a problem with diverting some of those funds at about 150k+ a year to man the adobe station and let the county fund the lear station? You got a problem with that? I am confused... you pitch a bitch about the city wasting money for special interests but something as brain dead as fire suppression you have a problem funding? You sound like Larry.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                Now I know you’re feeling about wanting to shoot yourself, Hell no I don’t like the waste of the city. I tried to have a common theme to what I have been saying. We need to fire the god dam city, save the funds for things that provide a better living environment, fire and paying down the bond debt come to mind. I need to add I don’t think we in 29 should have to pay more than the surrounding areas for the same fire protection, do you? If so why?

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              • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

                Mark last time.

                As it stands right now we will get 1/2 the fire department that we now have for the same price as our former full Fire Department.

                How is the county cheaper if for same 1.2 million they are only going to man one fire station instead of the two we now have.

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            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Mark, I am pretty sure that the reason you don't see fire stuff on Yucca tax bills is because they pay the county for the service out of the General Fund like we do in 29 for the Sheriff.

              Did you actually think that the county provided fire service to Yucca for nothing, nada, zip, no bucks?

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                @ steve s

                Steve I have a hard time believing you would so disingenuous, so you think that the only funds from our tax bill that goes to the fire department is special fire tax that is listed on the 29 palms tax bills. I think you know that the special fire tax is above what is factored in your base tax rate for fire protection ( both Yucca & 29 ). You know we voted on that tax to give the fire department funding above the base rate factor. We in 29 are tax more for the TPWD fire department.

                The question for us taxpayers is now that the fire department is going to county why in the hell do we have to pay that 29 specific special fire tax, why will we in 29 have to pay more than Yucca?

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                What are you talking about Mark? Did you not hear that YV pays for fire protection out of its General Fund.... It is part of what big boys and cities do to provide for public safety. You don't see it on your tax bill because it is not on your f**king tax bill Mark. It is bundled in to the Towns budget.

                Instead of pissing the money away on Phoo Phoo and nick Knacks like splash pads and Goat Signs 29 Palms has a moral responsibility to making our city as safe to live and do business in as possible.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                Dan you guys talking points getting silly, fire is funded from your basic tax rate. LAFCO approved the county tax collector to divert the tax dollars that historically went to TPWD for fire protection to the county for fire protection. In Yucca the tax dollars for fire go to the county by way of the city. In 29 we have an additional line on our taxes for SPEACIL FIRE TAX, now understand that is above the base rate. IN 29 we pay more than the surrounding areas do to this additional line item. How much penalty can the local taxpayer handle?

                I don’t like the waste fraud and abuse 29 is infected with any better than you but that evil should be eliminated not promoted with additional stream of funding to put their corrupt little fingers in. Keep this crooked little clique based city out of fire protection.

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                ok one more time.....

                1. The county runs the Fire Department.

                2. The city pays the Sheriff for protection and has no say in the running of the sheriff's department.

                3. It is a function of municipal government to provide for public safety including fire protection... It is highly unusual for a Water Department to have such responsibility.

                4. You do not get a bill for sheriff protection on your tax bill. Why would you think you would get one for fire protection?

                5 The clique will not run the fire department.... the County Fire cheif will run the fire department. Just like the Clique does not run the SHeriff's Department.... the Sheriff runs the Sheriff Department.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                1.” The County runs the Fire Department”
                Agreement

                2.” The city pays the Sheriff for protection and has no say in the running of the sheriff’s department”.
                The city negotiates the city contract, usually the city manager does this and the minions on the counsel follow city staff’s recommendation. How much do you think staff spends to negotiate with studies consultants, trips?

                3.” It is a function of municipal government to provide for public safety including fire protection… It is highly unusual for a Water Department to have such responsibility”.
                I have been lambasted on this blog for posting such things.

                4.” You do not get a bill for sheriff protection on your tax bill. Why would you think you would get one for fire protection?”
                I don’t get a separate line item for sheriff protection like I do for the special fire tax. That extra money could be used to make up any funding deficiencies. Our taxes in 29 are higher than that of Yucca do to the special fire tax. It really isn’t that complicated.

                5” The clique will not run the fire department…. the County Fire chiefs will run the fire department. Just like the Clique does not run the Sheriff’s Department…. the Sheriff runs the Sheriff Department”.
                Do we have a police chief? If as you say in Item three of your post that it is the function of the city to provide public safety and our city contract those functions to the county why in the hell do we even need a city with its added expensive bureaucracy?

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              • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

                Its like communicationg with an Eliza Program..... Endless drivel.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                Ok let’s get rid of the drivel,

                Do you get a line item on your tax bill for a special fire tax? What is this tax for?

                Will we still be charged for the special fire tax after the county takes over the fire department?

                Why is there not a special fire tax being paid by those in Yucca?

                Where will the special fire tax go, and for what?

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              • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

                Mark,

                None of the general tax in Twentynine Palms goes to fire protection. That is part of the reason we have a special tax and why we are in this mess in the first place. Unless you can convince another agency to sacrifice some of their general tax revenue, this will not change. Furthermore, I am unaware of any revenue from TPWD that was diverted to county for fire protection.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                Chancey I may be very confused but I thought that 29 don’t collect property taxes, the county does. Out of every dollar collected a portion goes to fire protection. When yucca incorporated they chose to provide fire therefore the portion from the county for fire went to yucca general fund. In 29 the controlling entity was TPWD and the fire portion of property taxes went to the district for fire funding. Now that the county is taking over fire the tax controller will disperse that fund that was going to the district to the county. I have no idea where the special tax will go, but that special tax is above and beyond the standard funding level, I think it was a measure and voted on to provide paid staff at the Adobe station.

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              • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

                No portion of the general tax goes to fund fire protection in 29. Only the special tax funds fire protection. The special tax will transfer to the county, but the county will have the same issue that TPWD has. Unlike the general tax, the special tax has no inflation adjuster. Thus, revenue value will slowly decline. The county will be forced to either attempt a ballot measure to raise taxes, use county general fund revenue, get revenue from another willing source, or continue to cut fire protection services in our area. What we must understand as a community is that transferring to county is not a solution because the underlying problem still exists. 29 Palms needs a sustainable revenue source for fire protection.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                If the general tax you referring to is property taxes that statement might be in error, a certain percentage of property taxes goes for fire protection, I believe it is a state mandate. How it gets to the fire departments is not mandated but I agree it usually goes through the cities.

                Now when the special fire tax is transferred to the county we in 29 will be paying more for fire protection than Yucca. Yucca and 29 will get the same percentage of paid property taxes. The costly deference for 29 is we pay above the standard tax rate with the addition of the special fire tax. I wonder why it is listed as a special tax on my bill.

                Normally the needed increase in funding comes with an increase in property values or an increase in housing units. The inflation of operating cost should correspond with housing cost. It is hard for people to give additional funding when their wealth has taken a hit like what happened with the housing bust.

                This just goes to show you no one is exempt from the hard times, just read county fire is taking a 1% cut this year.

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              • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

                I will say it again. NONE of the general property tax goes to fire protection. If this were the case, wouldn't that revenue have to go toward funding 29 Fire since they are the entity in charge of providing fire protection services within the district? If you can show that I am incorrect and general tax money that is legally dedicated for fire protection is flowing into government coffers, I would love to see the evidence.

                Furthermore, although property taxes are going down now, they were increasing throughout the economic boom that preceded the recession. 29 Fire’s special tax never saw this influx of capital because the tax is not based on assessed parcel values. Yes, other agencies have to make cuts now, but they were also able to build up revenue as parcel values exploded. 29 Fire did not have the same luxury and neither will the county when they inherit the tax.

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              • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

                Everyone, please look for Mark I think he has drowned because he is so far over his head that Uber storm Sandy puts it to shame.

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              • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

                County Budget

                I believe fire falls under Special districts and they receive the majority of their funds from property taxes

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              • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

                While I see that their budgets are lumped together, I believe County Fire and Special Districts operate as two independent departments that share the same admin floor. However, I am sure that neither department gets revenue dedicated for fire protection from within district boundaries.

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              • Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

                Just to be clear, the "district boundaries" I was referring to are the TPWD boundaries.

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            • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

              No positioning at all. Everything I have stated was spoken right from County Fires mouth.

              County costs less?? County Fire themselves CLEARLY STATED that the Lear station WILL be closed and only 3 of our fire fighters will be retained. That is the proposal, based on the amount of money available for fire protection, that County Fire WILL be submitting to LAFCO, as ANY other proposal results in them starting in the red which LAFCO WILL NOT APPROVE.

              County Fire also hinted that they would be coming around for a tax increase in the not too distant future to even keep providing this reduced level of service.

              What "additional staffing needs for 29"? County Fire CLEARLY STATED at the meeting that the two 3yr temp positions for Downtown were to be filled from Fire Academy graduates as the pay is going to be VERY entry level to allow them to come in under budget. Hence the reason County is not hiring more of our guys.

              While you might feel confident of our former fire fighters getting on elsewhere in the County they themselves are under no such illusion. The fire fighters I spoke with at Tuesday's meeting stated that County had told our guys there were NO openings to fill for anything above an entry level position.

              You seem to be under the impression that County is still negotiating how this will work....they aren't. Their presentation at Tuesdays Council meeting was what WILL be our new level of fire protection.

              The only way this MIGHT change is if things can be turned around once the new Council member is installed. Cora (as well as at least one other person) asked if this could be stopped but received no answer at the meeting from either Council or County. Though it is my understanding she might have been approached by County Fire after the meeting.

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      • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

        You also.

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  4. Bill Easter Bill Easter says:

    Branson,

    Have I not read several times on this blog that the City Council is not representing the views of the people? The rate payers (people) said no and now you and others want the council to go against what the will of the voters by paying for services out of the general fund that can be covered by the County. Would this not be a slap in the face to those voters?

    Bill...

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    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Bill with all due respect you are missing the point. Most if not a majority of the people do not know that the current fire service level will be cut in half. The newspaper even makes it sound like the Lear station will stayed staffed and that is not was said at all.

      The people voted to not increase their parcel tax they did not vote to cut their fire service level in half.

      I see a big storm approaching when those that live outside of the five mile radius of the Adobe station start getting their home insurance fire premiums increased.

      Of course then it will be too late to do anything and the same old mantra will be spoken from the city.

      You did not come to the meetings to tell us of your concerns so how could we have known. Had you come we could have done something but since you did not come we can't do anything now.

      Bill, what happened to the simple formula that I vote for you to do the job even if I am not there to tell you what I think is important to the welfare of the whole city? The council needs to have sound judgement for all, not the few.

      Plus as it played out Tuesday night we now have individuals that want to threaten to remove citizens from meetings because they tell the council "do your job".

      Something is horribly wrong Bill and I mean wrong.

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      • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

        The reason the speaker was cautioned was because he would not abide by the 3 minute rule, Didn't know the difference between the "presentation" part of the agenda and the "public comments" part of the agenda. C.J.Horn made an outstanding citizen's commentary and stuck to the 3 minute rule.

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        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          And so threatening a citizens with removal is the proper course for a Mayor to take?

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          • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

            In this case yes, since the speaker was getting almost combative.

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            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Larry,

              Lets stop drinking the kool aid okay. You were in the chambers when John Cole said to me "You have said enough already" after he allowed Pat Flanagan to speak off the cuff about the purchased award for the Warne budget.

              It is this type of behavior by the council that will cause real problems.

              You allow a citizen to speak as much and as for as long as you allow your friends to speak.

              I have clocked John Cole allowing the Chamber president to speak for five minutes and 30 seconds during that three minute stretch and if a citizen speaks they are kept to the three minutes. In fact the timer is not even set when the Chamber gets up to speak.

              That is why I say something is horribly wrong.

              Do you wish to flesh out your disagree remarks or let them stand as is?

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        • Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

          @Larry,
          Another thing this snob treatment of people new to participating in the council meetings seems to be a way of keeping "new blood" out. Who cares if he understands how the system works? It is refreshing to hear honest opinions. Obviously, intimidation and looking down your nose doesn't work in this city. Also, I am sure that you can tell that Steve is not easily intimidated. I would hate to see citizens stop coming to city council meetings because of an unwelcoming attitude.

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    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Bill Bullshit..... The most ridiculous analogy I have ever read. That is not what the voters said... What a majority of voters said is that the proposal presented was not what they wanted... it did not mean that if they would have been presented with the choice to continue the bond issue that they had been used to that they would not had given it the ok....

      You do not know what the hell went through the minds of the voters and for you to suggest you know what the vote meant is equally absurd.

      The problem I think was the measure reached too far... It was a Morton's fork. And we are now given a Hobson's Choice by the city and County.

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    • Bill Easter,

      I already spoke to your question, and I will not discuss off-topic issues.

      You, Mark, Steve W and Larry are blowing smoke by not delving into the issues that face the community.

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  5. Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

    @Larry,
    The council asked Steve questions and made comments about him as he left the podium. He had every right to continue past 3 min. as we have seen a few speakers do beforewhen they are asked questions or the council responds.3 minutes is not a state law, not sure if it is a city ordinance, but I can check. It is hard to take harsh criticism, but being rude to a citizen should never be ok.

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    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Cora,

      In some circles it has been discussed that as soon as a seated representative asks a citizen a question or even remarks about the citizen's comments that the clock is reset to another 3 minutes for the citizen.

      Point of the matter is that you can not sit at the dais and then run your suck about how wrong a citizen is after the citizen has spoken and then try to enforce some 3 minute bullshit rule.

      Either keep your mouth shut and take it or be prepared to engage in a discussion on the fly with a citizen that may have come to the battle armed with facts.

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      • Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

        Steve Spear,
        Amen!

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        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Amen indeed! Cora, what is your solution to this funding problem for the fire department. Since the election you must have come up with a plan. Please let us know what it is.

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          • The same way the Chamber of Commerce is funded, ChalkFest is funded, art signs are funded, iron signs on trailers are funded, gigantic statutes of rams are funded, wet slurry is funded. The city pays for it (and they partner with County Fire to do than).

            It would also help to have a city attorney who knew what the hell he was doing, and relieve the the City Boss or summarily fire him. Both have been proven useless and injurious to the city and its residents. Both have ulterior motives and conflicts of interest.

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          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Hi Larry,

            How about John, Joel, Danny or Jay answer your question before Cora does.

            After all those four are experienced and should have very good solutions - have you heard any from them?

            Please let us know.

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  6. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Why is that Larry - I have not seen you press the current council for a solution other than what has been presented to them by staff?

    I think Cora should sit back and wait and see what "solutions' the current five have that could save our current two station fire department from becoming one.

    Better yet when you admit that there is a problem then maybe Cora may have an answer but until you think there is a problem why should she even bother?

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    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      The reason I haven't "pressed" the current council is because I don't have the detailed info to nmake a recommendation. Cora however, as a candidate would have had briefing papers on these items. And with your experience, after nearly a decade on the Council, you have most likely been advising her on the many problems facing the city. She has done an in depth background check on the city manager. I would think that she would be doing the same on this item. There is a problem I admit. Another ballot measure? Fund it from the General fund? Take it from the emergency fund? What are you advising her to do?

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      • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

        Nice try Larry...... No cigar!

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        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Dan, you took Paul Cook to task for not attending public forums during the last election. Cora seems to have stopped commenting on Cactus Thorns since she started her campaign and won election. She should be keeping in touch through CT with her supporters, letting them know where she stands on all the issues facing the city. Wouldn't you agree that she should be more vocal?

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          • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

            Larry, maybe, just maybe she's actually busy with her new position serving the public. It's called priorities. I'm sure in due time when she's got the ball rolling she'll be back up posting from time to time.

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          • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

            Good Lord Larry..... Are you seriously going to go down that path.... If you would actually read this thread you would find that Cora has commented on the subject of the story.... She just has not commented on your sniping. If I was her I wouldn't either.

            You are starting to sound as if you are the puppet of Mr. Warne.... Tell me Larry how does that hand feel shoved up your ass like that?

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          • Larry, Cora HAS posted comments since she was elected. Let her at least be sworn in before nagging on her? Have you the courage to nag on the other councilmen? You haven't shown it.

            Larry wrote: "Cora seems to have stopped commenting on Cactus Thorns... ."

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          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Did you miss her "Amen" and her "snobs" comment, Come on Larry you can do better than that.

            Where are the other five on CT, or even the newspaper Larry? Or is it only okay for Cora to put her neck out there while the others put their finger up to test the wind?

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            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Steve, did you miss my comment on her "Amen" remark? Neither you,nor Ben,nor Dan have been very informative on a solution other to repeat over and over "The city has to pay,the city has to pay!!!!" But none of you has said how. I'm coming to the conclusion that none of you has any idea of how to do it.

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              • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

                Really now Larry. Since when did you think that I was ever bereft of ideas?

                My issue is that you are backing the city at every turn from Project Phoenix to whatever the staff says is right for fire protection for our city even if that means a 50 percent cut in fire protection.

                But that is your right as a citizen and I do not fault you. Where I do fault you is your demand of Cora to say and do things that the other five on the council have not proffered or spoke of.

                Think back Larry about 6 years ago and you will know what my plans were. And to be honest with you had we implemented mine and Jim Harris' ideas we would not be having this discussion today.

                So do not sit and tell me I have no plans. You would be better served to tell the current council that they need a plan other than what staff tells them to do.

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              • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

                Thanks again for telling the public what your idesas are. 6 years is a long time to remember what you proposed.

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              • Larry, Larry, you are inventing stories. Since Measure H failed, I have posted many articles calling for partnering with the city and helping fund County Fire.

                It's not brain surgery to partner with County Fire. How easy was it to partner with the chamber of commerce, or other local favored groups year after year.

                After all, the town pays the City Boss and his co-conspirator, the City Attorney, shameful amounts of money for their incompetence.

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              • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

                Ben, Your tirades have been overtaken by Steve's recollection of what he proposed 6 years ago.

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      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Now why would you think that Cora as a candidate would have had briefing papers? I am at a loss as to how you arrived at that point of view.

        In fact it has been an up hill challenge to get any paperwork from the city in regards to anything especially Project Phoenix. the State provides information to inquiries in two to three days if not immediately while the city refers all requests to Rutan and Tucker for review at a cost to the General Fund. So, as for briefing papers that is not even remotely accurate.

        As for advising Cora that is another assumption that is not based on any evidence. I speak to her about my concerns as a citizen but then I also speak to Joel Klink and Jim Harris. I have also attended city council meetings when things seem to be going very wrong - the budget battle is one instance.

        So.... I am not advising her to do anything. If she or anyone else asks for my ideas I will provide them. In the interim I will be waiting to see if our current council directs staff to develop alternate proposals to those that were provided by county fire.

        To date I have not seen or heard of any such guidance being given to staff - have you?

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  7. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    I think the next city council meeting is on the 27th. You might want to make a public statement on how you would fund the fire department. You might ask for a waiver on the 3 minute rule. My suggestion would be to take some monies from the reserve funds to backfill the "actual" short fall in the 2014 budget and to put another ballot measure before the voting public this year. The voters should have the final say.

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  8. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    I have asked before for a waiver of the three minute rule only to have John Cole say in a demeaning tone "you have one more minute".

    I will attend the Council meeting when he is booted out of the chamber for losing.

    I am glad that you have come with an idea to save our fire department. I like it. Since you were able to think of it do you have a clue as to why the current council and more importantly the city staff could not have thought of it also?

    Last time I checked you were not getting paid $200,000.00 a year to think of things like that. Damn!

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    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Steve, Thanks for the kudo. The city council and staff are most likely researching this as we chat. I'm asking you what your suggestion is. I'm asking Cora what her solution would be and neither of you has responded. Do you really have a recommendation?

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      • Larry, Cora is prudent to wait until she is sworn in. It is the right thing to do. You should know this.

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      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Again Larry - really?

        City staff and council are researching at this time? Why the hell were they not researching it prior to June when the ballot measure was up for a vote and faced possible defeat?

        My goodness Larry you amaze me with your defense of the indefensible. The city BLEW it and it was WARNE that blew it with a council following closely behind for BLOWING it!

        Here is my solution Larry since you asked:

        Fire Warne

        Fire Rutan and Tucker

        Fire RSG

        Go back to LAFCO and seek guidance on island annexation of the Lear Station into the city limits.

        Cut Desert Heights which is outside of the city limits back to County Fire.

        Continue to collect the parcel tax for all properties within the city limits for fire protection.

        Offset the shortfall from that parcel tax from the general Fund under the lawful purpose of Public Safety. Which is about $100,000.00.

        Was that too hard for a $200,000.00 city employee to think about? Was that too hard for any council member to demand a report from the city manager about?

        Jeesh!

        But it is not too hard to write a 410 page city budget that was denied. And it was not too hard to think and dream about $350,000.00 splash pads and signs for the 29 Palms Inn and other bullshit. But it was too hard to even think about public safety until it is too late to think about it.

        You amaze me my man literally amaze me!

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        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Well, it took you long enough to come up with an idea, which is more than I can say of Ben. This must be the suggestion that you and Jim Harris had 5 years ago. Thanks again for refreshing the public.

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          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            It took me long enough - holy Moses!

            What has the present council come up with Larry?

            Name one idea that a sitting council member has offered other than playing bobble heads with city staff?

            Leave Jim out of the equation. He is with me from 6 years ago which is ancient history.

            BTW - do you have a thought or opinion on my ideas? Or should we wait until city staff provides some input which they will not do because it was Steve Spear and Cactus Thorns that proposed the plan and therefore it must be bad no matter how good it might be?

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          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            Well - it has matured over the years.

            The loss of Warne, Rutan and Tucker, and RSG are newly found.

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  9. HogWild HogWild says:

    Not too sure how many on here have taught Special Ed. before but the paperwork involved is VERY time consuming. Cora will have time to represent the citizens of 29 Palms in a very effective manner that I believe will please most. I'm also sure she follows the shenanigans going on here on Cactus Thorns but lately has been busy meeting with the powers that be and yesterday you would have been able to find her delivering and helping hand out 500 Thanksgiving dinners to those less fortunate.
    After she is sworn in you'll see research and informed decision making like never before.

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