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Twentynine Palms: A life or death situation?

By   /   November 23, 2012  /   13 Comments

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Below is an e-alert Communique from our local “Community Emergency Response Team” (CERT) Coordinator, Mary Reeves, about the “life or death situation confronting our community of Twentynine Palms.

It seems the very people in place to help us during inevitable natural disasters, emergencies, earthquakes or  seasonal flooding are sending a signal of distress concerning the overshadowing and self-immolation facing our community when the TPFD is gutted and a mere skeleton crew replaces it.

It is important for the community to attend the next Water District’s meeting to state their feelings. The regular meeting is held on November 27, WEDNESDAY, at 6:00 PM, located at 72401 Hatch Rd.29 Palms (760-367-7546).

The TPWD Board of Directors will discuss water and Fire Department business.

Since the 29 Palms City Council as a collective body have sat on their hands since early this year after the defeat of “Measure H” (a special property tax increase), they have shown complete utter detachment and alarming apathy toward helping the County of San Bernardino maintain adequate fires services by way of partnering with County Fire, or some other sort of Joint Powers Agency to protect the community, its schools, businesses and resident’s homes.

A  skeleton  crew for a Fire Dept is an anathema to the growth of this small rural desert community.

 “I am not sure how many citizens know how dire the situation is. Sometimes the hardest job is informing the public.… This is probably one of the most critical issues our community will ever face.”

                                                        —   Chancey Chambers,  TPWD  (Cactus Thorns November 19, 2012)

This is an opportunity for our voices to be heard. Here is the e-Alert communique from Coordinator Mary Reeves:

November 21, 2012 

Dear CERT Community,

 I know that you are all aware of the mess the Fire Dept. is in. If you care about your future fire protection please come to the Water District Meeting 6pm on 11/28/12 in 29 Palms on Sullivan Rd, to state your feelings.

 What the County is proposing, I feel is inadequate fire coverage. The plan is 3 firemen in town and an on call volunteer to man the Lear station.   The city and the Water District need to work together to help come to a better solution.

 Please come our future fire protection is in the balance we need support from the community. Do you want to be in a life or death situation, and have to wait who knows how long for the skeleton crew of a Fire Dept to reach you? 

 Thank You - Mary Reeves

End of e-Alert Communique

While Rome is about to burn, City Hall is fiddling with their Pee Pee (Project Phoenix).

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About the author

Branson Hunter

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

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


  1. Chancey Chambers Chancey Chambers says:

    The next TPWD regular board meeting is on Wednesday, November 28th. My apologies for giving the incorrect date on a post earlier this week.

  2. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    More scare tactics Ben?

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Larry you are a piece of work.

      You ask that Steve “W” remain active to counter the “nonsense” in this blog yet you are the biggest offering of kool aid and nonsense that I have even seen.

      We are in trouble Larry! The entire city is in trouble when a public safety entity is faced with a 50 percent cut in services. Not to mention that once you allow the TPFD to cease to exist it will be like any other species that did not survive – it is gone forever!

      Do you care to debate the damage that would be done if we cut our police force in half?

      You had better come forward with some facts instead of your usual statements of that the city and the council are deep in thought and evaluation of this issue.

      Those comments and positions are otherwise known as fluff.

      • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

        Steve, all that I’ve ever asked of you is to offer a recommended soluition to the problem. All you’ve done is sound like a candidate for City Counciolm in 2014.

        • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:


          How many times do I need to say that it is the job of the council to demand of staff that staff present other alternatives to solve the problem. That in itself is a suggestion to solve the problem.

          I as well as others, you included, have suggested several ideas. From a JPA to additional funding from the General Fund.

          You are being the obstructionist with your comments of “offer a solution” – and we have, to the council is studying the problem – but they are not doing it in the public eye are they Larry.

          Larry please stop being the city stooge. When the city is doing what is right for the most I will say so.

          Lately it has been serving special interests and not the majority. So,I am not inclined to speak well of the city at the helm of Mr. Warne at this point. We have gone down the hill Larry if you have not noticed.

  3. UPDATED 12:29 PM:

    Look Larry, read the post. I am quoting (“…”) one of the CERT leaders.

    Moreover, will you please evidence where there is no threat to the community after the fire department is chopped in half and left with an underfunded skeleton crew? You cannot.

    While you are at it can you explain how these cuts are not going to affect potential investors and new business from coming to town with higher insurance rates and a clear and present threat to their business or investment? The smoke you are blowing is getting stale.

    Most every time someone brings up your PP (Project Phoenix) — because you are a local Bond investor in the project — you get your phoenix crisium feathers in a bunch.

    There is NO scare tactic.

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Ben, All I’ve ever asked of you on the subject of the Fire Department is “What is your recommended solution?” So far you haven’t offered one.

      • diogenes29po diogenes29po says:

        It appears to me that this question should be asked of the City Council.

      • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

        Most citizens in 29 don’t have deep pockets, we have not the resources to fund even the shiniest of endeavors above the norm, and the norm would be what the level of funding the surrounding areas are charged. Got to remember most took a bath on their housing add to that the cost of energy, food and add the fact most have not seen the real income keep pace with cost. It is foolish to think they can take much more.

        If we look to these bureaucracies for critical functions we may find ourselves like those following Katrina and Sandy, with all the grand funding FEMA fizzled, the churches, family, neighbors , even those pesky occupiers took the reins and have been doing a mighty fine job. I will say professionals have their place usually in very specialized tasks such as swift water rescue or those that have the equipment for multi-story building collapses. Just like the English language in life there is always an exception.

        Once again I will go down the path of reason, why in the hell do the good people of 29 get stuck paying more than the rest of the area? Anyone want to start with Joshua? How and how much does the citizens of Joshua pay? How is their fire protection? Please no crap like 29FD was under the auspice of a for profit organization. A co-op is somewhat for profit and 29 at one time say back in the thirties utilized them for electricity, but has no meaning in this conversation.

  4. Updated 5:32:

    Goodness Larry. You wrote: “More scare tactics Ben?

    I documented I didn’t say it. Furthermore, Commissioner Chancey Chambers wrote:

    “I am not sure how many citizens know how dire the situation is. Sometimes the hardest job is informing the public.… This is probably one of the most critical issues our community will ever face.”

    Now Larry, I know Commissioner Chambers. I know he does not tell stories. He does not exaggerate, and he is well informed about the TPFD. Do you think the Commissioner or the well-informed/well-respected CERT leaders are dissemination scare tactics?

    I already have posted a solution:

    Fund current level of firefighters at its current level. Take the money from reserves for the first year, if necessary. Have a Joint Power Authority or partner with County Fire.

    However, the best solution of all — should DoF allow use of old rda money for PP — would be to usurp all of that money allowed by Dof by declaring a city emergency. Rutan & Tucker’s appointed city attorney will tell you that cannot be done. His legal advise is in question and what sane person has faith in his ability to further represent our community.

    Like I wrote, it’s documented the city-town has the money to fund the fire department for 50 years!

  5. Moreover, Larry, a better solution to the best solution of all is for the the people to have their very own fire department: A city-funded, city-managed TPFD. It’s simple.

    The best answer to your question (What would I recommend as a solution?) was posted by diogenes29po: He wrote, “It appears to me that this question should be asked of the City Council.”

    The city council have been acting like the old KBG — they are not answerable to the public.

    This council thrives in doing things behind the public’s back. Look at their PP: They planed Project Phoenix behind closed doors with the chamber of commerce (I documented this in a blog); a chamber spokesperson admitted it).

    There were no scoping for public input.They took out a $31 million bond without any public input. It was only later that they gave the public a power point presentation of how thing were going to be before they informed the public of their KBG PP model.

    Ask your question to the council. Are they going to sabotage the future growth of the community and put all the people in harms way, or are they going to take action to NOT have a fifty percent reduction in public safety and retain the fire department at its current level — a fire department who have served this community for 50 years.

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