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29 Palm foreshadowing fiscal disaster goes unabated

By   /   March 16, 2014  /   Comments Off

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A crises is described as stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse is determined — setting into motion a turning point.


Twentynine Palms is a relaxed Lilliputian city located in the isolated hinterlands of the southern Mojave High Desert. It’s a little city packing a big walloping, and a community with a big heart. Its archaeology presence purportedly dates back thousands of years.  Not far from the center of town is the Oasis of Mara, and nearby secluded Fortynine Palms Oasis on the north end of Joshua Tree National Park. It’s an area where the nearest freeway is approximately 60 miles away to the west and the nearest commercial hub 25 miles to the west is the Town of Yucca Valley. To the east, a hundred miles of natural open desert without no services whatsoever.

It’s a little municipal that has everything going for it but for responsible leadership and fiscal accountability.

While an assemblage of seated council members who love their city and who have tried their darndest to promote tourism and restructure the downtown area by duplicated city buildings — financial deficits have mounted, fiscal accountability has been terrible overlooked, and spending cuts pushed aside for the next 2014 council to iron out.  But in doing so they have lost their way and have placed the city at the edge of a fiscal cliff. At the same time council egos have expanding like like the WWII airship Hindenburg.  <> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgWHbpMVQ1U

The council is pretty much in agreement, but for its newest Council Member, school teacher Cora Heiser, that abatement of the city’s spending frenzy is not an option. Like other California cities that ought to have paid better attention to fiscal responsibility, the city continues to depleting every single funding source they can lay their hands on. And when those funds were depleted, staff set up alternative “discretionary funding” sources to placate their   insatiable spendomh binge. Meanwhile, local special interests are cheering on the depletion of public funds like the home team just made a winning touchdown.

As municipal bankruptcies are spreading like a “disease” in California, carefree spending in 29 Palms it has become a municipal disease with no turning point in sight until maybe the 2014 local elections.

Never before has the city had any debt in its history. Never has it had more expenses going out than income coming in. The city has reserve funds into which annual surpluses of hundreds of thousands dollars feed into it. Yet the city council diverted those incoming funds to the general fund for special non-priority projects. Still, staff continues to recommend the city’s reserve funds be raided as funding sources for special projects having no priority at all. Now the city is set on a dog park costing in excess of $400,000 of thousands it simply cannot afford.

Never before has the city had a bond debt. Now it has a $31 million bond debt — which the State of California scooped up because of council and attorney misfeasance and intentional violations of California law; the city simply ignored mandates from the California Department of Finance  and the California Attorney General to comply with department mandates and California law. In a unanimous decision, and with the heavy hand of its bond council — who has earned a million dollars with nothing to show for it — the council is in litigation with the state. A witless city council has given its bond attorney authorization to appeal the matter to the California Appeal Court.

Fiscal leadership and fiscal responsibility is a municipal  goal and a public mandate for every responsible and prudent California city council member — with the exception 29 Palms and California cities with large egos that have driven their cities into bankruptcy because of reckless spending and fiscal mismanagement.  


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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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