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29 Palms Council Agenda, two issues just don’t add up

By   /   January 11, 2014  /   2 Comments

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Twentynine Palms City Council, from left: Jay Corbin, Joel Klink, Jim Harris, Cora Heiser, and Dan Mintz.


Two issues on the Staff Report and the City Council Agenda for Tuesday, January 14, 2014, that just doesn’t make any sense:

(1) The League of California Cities wants 29 Palms taxpayers pay an additional surcharge, in addition to costly yearly membership fees, to help fund the League’s redevelopment litigation against the state; and (2) City Staff now recommends that the city council get involved in TPWD and TPFD business by helping them decide how to spend their funds.


1. Whether or not to authorize an optional surcharge of $794 for the benefit of the League of California Cities

Under DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS, the League of California Cities wants 29 Palms taxpayers to fund the League’s law suits against the state relating to their owe redevelopment litigation.

At issue, whether or not to authorize an optional surcharge of $794 in League of California Cities’ dues to support litigation filed on behalf of cities by the League. Has staff overlooked the fact that the city is already knee deep suing the County of San Bernardino and State of California?

The League is responsible for their own problems, not Twentynine Palms taxpayers. Taxpayers already pay dues of $7,940 to the League of California Cities. The League is requested each member city (including Yucca Valley) to pay an optional 10% surcharge to support litigation that the League has initiated. See this Link, page 13.

That amounts to an additional $794.00 in useless surcharges that have no manifest benefit to the city.  Note also that 50% of the League’s cities are not on board with this surcharge. This should be a heads-up for the council to not be sheep and pay up. 

Why should taxpayers fund the League of California Cities to sue California on behalf of other cities? We have enough legal problems and issues here in Twenty nine Palms with financial headaches and mistakes that must be remedied concerning redevelopment, Project Phoenix,  and bond debt issues.

The City has a debt bond hanging over it’s head for 30 years. Regardless of what they tell you at City Hall, the city is in the red with a staggering bond debt of $30 million. The debt was incurred with the blessing and nudging of the League of California Cities.

Taxpayers in 29 ought to recall that the League was instrumental in legislation that pushed the public to the sidelines from being involved in redevelopment decisions.

Staff recommends the City Council determine (page 12) “whether or not to authorize an optional surcharge of $794″ to support litigation filed on behalf of cities by the League.


2. Double Standards, which time is the city lying to taxpayers and the public?

The city used the argument early  this year that they do not want to get involved with TPWD business: The city council used the argument because it wanted an easy way out for not helping to fund a financially floundering fire department under the jurisdiction of the TPWD.

Staff is now recommending the city get involved with TPWD business: Staff recommends that the council direct staff to work with the Fire District to designate how they the Fire Development Impact Fees; this is contingent upon the council waving those fees for cause. Impact fees were initiated to pay for a new latter fire engine.

The Council used the argument to not get involved in water business to justify their insanity when the council voted  it preferred not to help fund the TPFD to provide public safety requirements. Consequently, the TPFD may be looking at bankruptcy because the city spends the 22% of property taxes it receives back from the county, not for the general welfare or public safety like it is expected to, but on special non-priority projects (like artsy signs to placate the  “in crowd” in town or suggestions to build an arch over the city coming down Donnell Hill .  

Yes, the city council and a aggressive and manipulative self-serving Staff are enormous wasteful with other people’s money.

The city uses this money on discretionary funding for pet projects. Some of which is good, some of which is insanely squandered way with no real value to residents or taxpayers. Public safety should come first.  Obviously, public safety takes a seat in the rear of the bozo bus; The city has no fire safety priorities whatsoever.

The fire department was drastically down-sized, the Lear Station shut down, firefighters laid off, leaving the city with what Chief Thompson calls an “inadequate” fire department (unable to protect the city 24/7).

Presently, the city heavily relies on the USMC Base Fire and County Fire to meet the needs of public safety for the city of Twentynine palms.  Without which, the city is largely left unprotected 24/7.  The city is unable to meet its mutual aid agreement with Base and County Fire (to go to their aid) because the city squanders public safety funds for  non-essential projects.

So which time is the Staff lying to the public? When it recommended the city stay out of TPWD business, or the current Staff Report where it wants to influence the water district how to spend their money (if Fire Development Impact Fees are waved by the council).

Hopefully, the city council will not be hoodwinked again and disregard their recommendation.

For more on this go to the Staff Reports, page 9-10.

News | Commentary | Opinion | Updated 1-11-13 @11:59

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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. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Not one bloody cent for the League of Cities….. not one cent of tribute to political idiots.

  2. Get a load of this…

    Council members Harris and Klink voted last night to voluntary pay an additional surcharge of about $800 more per year to the League of California Cities — in addition to the exorbitant yearly membership taxpayers already pay this organization. An organization that is no friend of residents, or taxpayers.

    Such 29 Palms taxpayer’s surcharge money would have been used by the League to fund other cities’ redevelopment litigation.

    What the hay is the matter with Council members Harris and Klink? Certainly they are not looking out for the taxpayer, and quite frankly, they never have.

    Folks we need to take care of our own protracted litigation right here in 29.

    Corbin, Mintz and Cora realized this; all three voted to NOT pay this voluntary and preposterous surcharge.

    Kindly remember this if any of these two bozos decide to to run for another term come 2014 elections. None of the bozos are paying attention to fiscal solvency and the priority of public safety.

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