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Looking For The Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow

By   /   November 29, 2012  /   34 Comments

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We have before us a golden opportunity to unite as a community and solve a problem. The 29 Palms Fire Department can’t continue to operate the downtown station and the Lear Station in its present financial condition. That is a fact. We the citizens have some choices to make. That’s a fact. Two measures were put before the city to increase funding for the fire department. It failed. That’s a fact. If we do nothing, Lear station will become a paid call station and the downtown station will be a 1 engine station manned by 3 people. That is also fact.

Here is the great part, we can come together and solve this problem. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. All the Pioneer Days, Christmas Light Parades, and beautiful signs can’t in and of themselves make a community, but working together for the common good can.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s work together to find a solution. There are problems, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to push our problems onto County. We are not that kind of people, are we? I don’t believe that we are.

“Management means, in the last analysis, the substitution of thought for brawn and muscle, of knowledge for folklore and superstition, and of cooperation for force. . .” Peter Drucker

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About the author

Cora Heiser

Twentynine Palms resident


  1. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Cora, please tell us your solution to this situation.

    • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

      Larry, I have the solution. Build a 12 million dollar palace for some self serving indulgent narcissistic citizens and call it a theatre. All can come to it’s altar and pretend that no one has to pay the piper to live in utopia.

      • Paparrazi, this is a golden post that ought to be memorialized in Cactus Thorns until the end of time. Brilliantly said. I have been attempting to capsulize this for the last three years and have never, never came close to doing it. You get the T-shirt.

    • I think she just did Larry.

  2. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Larry, I think she needs to wait until she is actually a council member and brings forth a solution at a public meeting in front of the world and city staff and her peers.

    I think that is pretty fair given that the city has said nothing of how they propose to solve the problem so why should Cora offer her ideas when I have not seen a word from the city?

    Just saying.

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      I guess I’ll have to wait for her solution at a public meeting. That’ll be some time in January or February.

      • Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

        It’s official. The votes are certified. Joel and I are the top two. I would like to thank everyone that supported me.
        Larry, I think there are several solutions. I really want the citizens and all parties involved to determine the city’s priorities and make a decision that brings about a sustainable and sufficient fire protection for the residents. I am pretty sure you heard me say that at the meeting.

        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Congratulations on being elected to the city council. I think that in order for the “citizens and all parties involved to determine the city’s priorities and make a decision that brings about a sustainable and sufficient fire protection for the residents” requires a new vote on “Measure’s H and I”. The sense of the public at the water board meeting was that they had no idea that the situation was as serious as it is, a few thought the fire department was run by the city.

          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            So lets run another measure to increase the parcel tax and lets have the Water District pick up the $20,000.00 tab to float another measure for the public to vote on.

            Larry – where is the city in all of this? I have not heard anything other than Jay Corbin talk about how in his opinion County Fire is a good deal and his real zinger yesterday about the city really having three fire stations and not two – what?

            Maybe if Jay’s wife worked for the city Fire Department instead of County Fire we might hear a different tune? I don’t know, but the city needs to step up to the plate.

            They are going to be forced to say something come December 11th and anyone on that city staff that thinks the meeting of December will be a easy night because they are celebrating the 25th anniversary of city hood is badly mistaken.

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Steve, spell out the cost of your JPA proposal. Tell us who the JPA is between. The City and who? Quit ranting and raving and get down to the nuts and bolts. HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST THE CITY TO IMPLEMENT YOUR IDEA?

            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              JPA is an agreement between the city and the Water District.

              Let me try to answer your question the way that you do.

              How much is the city paying right now for Fire Protection Larry? How much of each dollar collected by the city in the general tax levy goes to Fire Protection Larry?

              I have those answers do you?

              I also know how much the city should be paying if we were like Yucca and had to pay for the fire department from the general tax revenue do you?

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Steve, The PROPERTY OWNERS in the city and Desert Heights are paying a parcel tax for fire protection. The CITYof 29 Palms is paying nothing out of the general fund. Again, how much would it cost the city to operate a JPA? Stop avoiding giving an answer. That is if you have one.

            • Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

              I also think it will be a good thing if all of us keep this in mind: cooperation is better for the community than competition. Please feel free to make suggestions at any future council meetings or public study sessions.

            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Hi Cora,

              I don’t think there is time left for future council meetings and study sessions.

              Director Chambers made it clear that in December the city needs to address this issue.

              I somehow think that city staff is not going to place this matter on the agenda for December 11. Why? Because they want to have a birthday party and welcome yourself and Joel back to the council and say good bye to John. All of that is good but business needs to be done too.

              If ignoring this matter is what Warne plans on doing then I think the meeting of the 11th will be a total disaster unless the city steps up to the plate with a public plan to move forward and evaluate the options.

              Birthday be darned – my protection as a citizen with a real fire department is more important than birthday cake.

              Just saying.

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              I take that as an order to cease my discussion with Steve. Censorship rules.

            • Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 says:

              Who has a thin skin now Larry??

              I read Cora’s comment as simply an open invitation for you to present your ideas in a forum where they would do the most good…a City Council meeting.

            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Good, I am glad to see that you understand that you and the others as well as myself are paying $80.00 a year for Fire Protection.

              In Yucca the citizens pay 21.78 percent of their property tax for fire protection.

              My house is valued at $120,000.00 so I pay $1,200.00 a year in property taxes. If I lived in Yucca 21.78 percent of that $1,200.00 would go to fire protection out of the Town’s general fund, About $261.00.

              But I live in 29 and not a dime of the general tax levy goes to fire protection so I take my $80.00 that I am paying in a parcel tax and subtract it from the $261.00 that I should be paying and that leaves a mystery dollar amount of $181.00 that is going directly into the city of 29 palms general fund.

              Does the city even provide a penny of that mystery dollar amount to protect us in regards to fire services – no.

              That is the problem Larry, for 25 years the city has collected about 70 percent of our tax dollars which normally would be spent on fire protection to do whatever it does.

              It has done some great things but lately it is doing, in my opinion, very bad things.

              Time has come for the city to pony up that 70 percent.

              I spoke to our Fire Chief and he seems to believe that if the city would simply pony up perhaps 10% of the general tax revenue we could still have our own Fire Department.

              It does not take much imagination to see that we can fund our own fire department and we can do it better and cheaper than the county can – but the city has to man up and it has a very bad track record of late in manning up when it comes to doing what is good for the most as compared to the few.

              Did I provide enough facts or was I too vague? I am still waiting to see what you and of course the city staff come up with.

              Always a pleasure Larry.

              I may get a bit caustic at times but I still think you are one of our better pioneers.

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Like I said here before, the founding fathers were 5 smart cookies.

            • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

              Oh I forgot to mention that I think a JPA would cost the city about $364,868.00 a year.

              That would be one proposed splash pad and two Big Horn Sheep and a partridge in a pear tree.

            • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

              Thanks for the dollar amount, finally.

            • Larry, negotiate and work with the county for a propositional determination of services the TPFD provides to Desert Heights and Wonder Valley.

              The special property fire tax would cover it, even though it’s my understand that that tax may expire in the future.

              The Lear station if far more valuable to the city than most people may believe. It serves the city far most often than it does DH, and it is but only one half a minute from city limits to cover Westward and East into the city.

              It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.

            • Say, for example, if there is a fire somewhere around the top of the hill in Historic Plaza — and the fire department is deployed and on the ground suited up with hoses strewn all over the place, ripping open the roof with their axes wearing oxygen masked — how in the world can they come to the aid of any one of the three schools across town?

              Maybe Jay Corbin has a conflict of interest that is detrimental to public schools and parents if he wants a skeleton crew for fire services.

  3. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Maybe not Larry. Why should December 11, 2012 not be a showdown?

  4. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Yes Larry real smart and I agree.

    But it is 25 years later and we face a 50% reduction in fire services.

    I know what those 5 would do today. They would step up to the plate of public safety and do what is good for the city.

    If saving those dollars means buying more signs to promote a restaurant and some more big horn sheep or funding a fire department I think I know what they would do and so do you.

  5. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Larry what are you talking about? What censorship? You asked and I gave you specifics which I notice you have offered none to date which is the same as city staff at this point – nada!

  6. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    I’m talking about Cora’s implied suggestion that I stop this discussion and make any suggestions at the city council meetings. I think she forgets that she’s on Cactus Thorns and not in the classroom.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      I don’t think so Larry – talk about being sensitive. She asked you to bring an idea to the table – and you have.

      You desire for the city to fund the fire department from the general fund for maybe a year until we as a community work this matter out.

      I, and she, and nobody else, has a problem with your proposed solution excpet for maybe city staff. I personally think it is great!

      What I think you are missing in my discussion is the abject failure of the city to even provide an iota of an idea for us to consider.

      I also think that city staff will kick the can down the road and try to force culpability of fire protection service decline upon the water board.

      I will/shall not allow that to happen.

      Pretty clear I think huh?

  7. Cora Heiser Cora Heiser says:

    I am sorry that you misunderstood my statement and or statements. Please feel free to talk or post anywhere, anytime. I was encouraging you to bring your ideas to a study session or city council meeting, so that everyone could hear your ideas.
    Incase you mistake this for a command to talk, post, or attend meetings. It wasn’t.

  8. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    I leave you all alone for a few hours and you’all have broken two cups, tipped over grandpa’s spittoon and shaved the cat…..

  9. Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

    I’m sure the first thing that everyone thinks of concerning a loss of revenue for the fire dept is personal safety. The lingering questions regarding the solvency of the local fire dept can have other disruptive consequences as well. For instance. Insurance companies may change policies by raising rates or dropping policy’s. This can also wreak havoc on the sale of homes and commercial properties. That was a problem we faced up here in the ozone layer after the 2003 and 2007 wildfires. Homes that were in the process of closing escrow were doomed by insurance companies withdrawing from our communities. Do not let let your fire dept reduce services to meet a budget deficit. It will cost you more in the long run. Maybe pioneer Larry can add additional detrimental repercussions to be aware of.

    • Why is the Chamber of Commerce silent in terms of their membership best interests?

      Why is the MBUSD so silent in terms of the safety of their students in public schools?

      Why is Larry so silent in terms of proffering any ideals at all?

      • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

        The Chamber shalt not bite the hand that feeds them.

        The School District is a Basin Wide institution and as I see it needs to remain publicly neutral but at the same time behind the scenes supporting solutions that best protect their physical assets and the lives of their Students and Teachers.

        To the defense of Larry, he has proffered ideas…. albeit City hall talking points… yet they can be considered ideas of sorts.

  10. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Thanks for the defence. Appreciate it.

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