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A heavyhanded slap in the face!

By   /   January 10, 2013  /   Comments Off

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Talks haven’t even started, yet the 29 city council is already stumbling and jockeying for leverage and control. Their message  to the TPWD Board of Directors is clear — “Go screw your self.”

By snubbing the Directors of the water board’s  (TPWD) reasonable request for a “Joint community meeting”, the city council has indeed undermine input from the community and it will have the chilling results of eunuchizing the water Directors by the lack of parity while the council unifies its completely control a over the meeting the city will control .

When a CHP officer slapped a ticket on the car, or someone slapped mustard on a hot dog, that’s to be expected — but when the 29 Palms City Council slaps the TPWD Board of Directors across the face with their dainty gloved hand, that’s not only just plain wrong but it reveals that the City Hall is playing the game of bad faith politics for control and leverage.

On January 2, 2013, the TPWD Board of Directors sent correspondence to Mayor Klink and Pro Tem Mintz requesting a joint community meeting between the Twentynine Palms Water District and City Council. The purpose of the joint community meeting would be to discuss “all possible options for the future of fire services, rescue and emergency medical services delivery for residents. Here is the LINK to the TPWD correspondence.

Moreover, as the letter indicated the air of the joint meeting “would be to discuss and agree on agenda items and specific topics to be presented and discussed at the joint community meeting. This would then provide specific direction to respective staffs to have necessary materials ready for presentation at the joint community meeting. “

The correspondence was signed by Sam Moore, President, Board of Directors of the TPWD. This is a good approach and a perfect first step but the council snubbed it. This begs the question, Why?

Nonetheless, given the lack of transparency and unwillingness in the past for funding the TPFD, the request for a joint meeting was dismissed like so much flotsam. What is left is a meeting without structure or a planned purpose. Let’s call it a bad faith continuation of delay using specific tactics, and a move to humiliate and scorn the TPWD and its Directors.

Rebecca Unger reported yesterday in the Desert Trail, that the city council will hold their own meeting (as opposed to a joint community meeting) to “explore providing fire protection during a special public meeting at 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 14, in the City Hall council chambers.” Key word here is “explore.” We all know the problem is a lack of funding. No need to explore that.

The City Council as a collective body has disrespectfully and dubiously rejected the water board good faith request for a joint meeting to discuss the funding and future of the TPFD. The TPWD Directors are trying to save the fire department from being transferred to County Fire whereby there shall not be adequate fire protection or public safety because the county is under-funded and will have to gut the service provided to the city and all ratepayers under the jurisdiction of the TPWD.

To cede the entire TPFD and all buildings and equipment to county fire is the more costly approach and a dangerous plan; actually it’s no plan at all. In the aftermath, the fire department and public safety will be disembowel.

For the city council to hold their own meeting In this way, there is no parity. The water district and fire department during this alternative meeting are mere subjects of the city council.

Even though for the last thirty years the city has greatly profited from tax incentives none goes to the fire department or public safety. As this city council has demonstrated with defunct redevelopment funds, they will stall forever on public funds for their own purposes.

I think Steve Spear said it best in  Cactus Thorns: Our city has collected about 22% of our general tax levy for 25 years that every other city pays for fire protection. Now, when it comes time to decide about public safety and save our own fire department our city remains silent and of last decided to default on their responsibility and offer to us the option of the city still paying nothing for fire protection and collecting that 22% and defaulting to county fire to provide that service at 1/2 the service level.

City Hall continues to play “three card monte” and “shell games” concerning public and fire safety.

Is the city manager pulling the strings on this one too? Since the Directors of the water board sent their correspondent to  Klink and Munoz – why have they outright rejected the Board’s  request for meeting. Why have they not explained themselves. In fact for nearly a year with  the defeat of Measure H, the city council has been silent on fire and public safety.

They have and continue to incubate themselves in a political bubble.


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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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