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Democracy alive and well in Twentynine Palms

By   /   November 29, 2012  /   Comments Off

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At least it is with the Twentynine Palms Water District. Last night the Board’s Commissioners were champions.  

The room was packed, and board members were delighted.

As usual, Philip Cisneros, President, took charge of the meeting as a seasoned professional. The USMC Colonel (Ret) combat hero was his salty and loveable self.

Director Bourkas said he has never seen so many community people show up at one of their  meeting.

The people equivocally did not want county fire to take over the TPFD and cut services by as much as fifty percent, initiating the closure of the Lear Station — which namely provided fire services to the within the city limits.

The community expressed a need for the TPWD to reign back on their paperwork for the county to take over.

The TPWD Commissioner’s voted 5-5 to reign-back the take over of fire protection by the County. At least they will not initiate the transfer until their next meeting of December 18 until when they will have an agenda item speaking to the issue.

The two 29 councilmen present – Jay Corbin and Dan Mintz — listened attentively, however, as usual both were silent did not speak to the issues of  fire and public safety within their jurisdiction.

Newly elect Councilwoman, Core Heiser, spoke during the meeting and said she will listen to all the people in terms of public safety and fire protection.  She does favor putting on hold the closure of the Lear fires station and slowing down the county takeover.


The city needs to be undaunted not defeated. To do nothing is to be defeated. To do the opposite, it requires the city to actually be a real city and fund a fire department at the current level it is now.

No good will come of this once county fire is locked in their skeleton sevices; it an unacceptable and unsustainable model of fire services and public safety.

Note that the USGS database shows that there is over a ninety-eight percent chance of a MAJOR earth quake during the next five years that will reach our area. That means at any given moment all three schools and its students could be in immediate harm.

There are three schools in Twentynine Palms:

The High School

The Elementary School, and

The Junior High School

When a major quake hit and structural damage and/or a fire(s) break out in one (or all) of the three schools — it’s on the fire captain to deternine which school should his firefighters respond to?

With a skeleton crew it gets down to the nity-gritty: What students may live and what students may be left to die.

What is clearly unacceptably and alarming is that the Morongo Basin Unified School District is has not raised nary a concern about inadequate fires protection in the schools in 29 Palms should the fire department be reduced to a shell of itself, and the MBUSD students be placed in constant peril.

No school elected official or administration has expressed concern about this the situation facing the MBUSC and parents.  Is this okey with the community and parents?

This is an example of the ubiquitous go-along to get-along philosophy that permeates the  Morongo Basin.

We in Twentnine have our faults:

There is the Pinto Mountain Fault; the Oasis Mara Fault — both converge at ground zero in Twentynine at the Oasis near the Twentynine Palms Inn; the Blue Cut Fault, the nearby Goat Mountain Fault; the Landers Fault just to the Northwest (note that the Eureka Fault just to the Southwest of 29 triggered the Landers Fault); and the Emerson Fault.

The entire area is criss-crossed with faults. Should the San Andreas Faultcome to life with a magnificent quake, this could trigger a semantic nightmare for our area. Three firefighters is not what the city ought to be comfortable with.

The city council is not too eager to participate in a fire department.

Hopefully, they will see how easy it really is to fund a TPFD. Fire protection is now the city’s number one responsibility. The sphere of influence areas of WonderValley and Desert Heights belongs to the county.

This is the right opportunity to get things right. It’s right for the county to negotiate with the city and nudge the city to fund a fire department with county financial help.

If not, it’s a fatal mistake for the city to continue to remain dormant. The symbiotic relationship with the TPFD Lear station and the TPFD Adobe station is a proven model that has worked for years.

With county funding going to the city both may remain open.

The foreseeable loss of life and property is at the feet of the City Council. The Councilmen are seated in the Roman Coliseum.

Will the give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on residents?

Prsonally, I believe they will come to the table and be responsible by funding a fire department, and, thus,become a real city.

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  • Published: 2 years ago on November 29, 2012
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  • Last Modified: November 29, 2012 @ 1:00 pm
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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.

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