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Desert Trail Editorial: Project Phoenix…Get Involved

By   /   May 15, 2014  /   10 Comments

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the desert trail

Twentynine Palms, Ca- Today’s edition of the local newspaper’s thought-provoking Editorial encourages citizens to get involved with THEIR Project Phoenix and writes:

Things are starting to happen with Project Phoenix, the long-smoldering plan to revitalize downtown Twentynine Palms but not before the Twentynine Palms City Council sits down to rethink the project based on less money available to bring everything together.

This will give residents, those who support Project Phoenix in its current form and those who think the money could be better spent in other ways, the opportunity to comment on plans as they stand and how they could be altered to give the city the biggest bang for the buck.

We urge city officials to make the Project Phoenix reevaluation process as open as possible and to give residents as many chances as possible to provide their input into a process which could have positive impacts on the city for generations to come.

We urge residents to take advantage of the opportunity to study the plan as it stands and to provide any thought or opinions they can, not only about what they think should not happen but also about what they think should happen to inject some new life into downtown Twentynine Palms.

Project Phoenix, if it goes well, will benefit everyone. Likewise, if it goes poorly it will be a burden to everyone. We therefore urge everyone to bring their voices to any discussion of the future of Project Phoenix and, by extension, the fire of Twentynine Palms. For more from the Desert Trail>LINK


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  1. The content and suggestions in the newspaper editorial is accurate and crystal clear.

    The public needs a workshop on the Project Phoenix. The citizens and voters need their input and a big voice in the matter. The old RDA is dead, thus, this entire matter now requires a public workshops. Without it, the council are anti-democratic villains.

    It is unfathomable to believe during these hard times — and given the city’s budgetary shortfall and fiscal problems — the public would even think about duplicating underused and unnecessary buildings.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      I don’t think it is anymore possible to have a democratic process in small town America than with our federal government as long as there is backdoor meetings and keeping secrets.

      thinking citizens know this, however thinking citizens are a minority kind of loaners on their own while majority the sheeple run in heards following the perceived path of least resentence, often right into a slaughter.

      • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

        Looks like you had your Defense Department contracts cancelled.

        • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

          Been years sense I put effort into being the lowest bidder, didn’t fit our business model. Maybe if We were big enough to have a couple of senators and congressman in our pocket it wouldn’t necessary to be low bidder to contract with the bloated DOD

  2. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Hope someone from CT can make these meetings.

  3. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    I appreciate the Trail’s editorial however it is not based in reality nor the history of project Phoenix and the history of the council over the last three plus years.

    There is no amount of talking to the council that will change their present trajectory. They are intent on building this Theatre Complex and Community Center with low income housing come hell or high water.

    They have had opposing thoughts and alternate plans provided to them and they sit in silence at the meetings and they sit in silence with the newspaper, and sit in silence here when it comes to debating the issues with individuals that disagree.

    The only place you will hear from one or two of them is on the radio where again they can praise their project without actually addressing any concerns from critics.

    I am willing to venture that should I or others fill the chamber with individuals that believe this project Phoenix is a catastrophic waste of our limited resources that they would be ignored.

    They would be ignored just as the crowd that supported Thomas Towing in their fight with the city was ignored and even gaveled by the then mayor to be quiet. Too add to this, remember the recent Joel Klink admonition to a former multi-term mayor Jim Bagely, when he tried to speak about the council’s disregard for, according to Jim, about extravagant salaries for city managers – Joe Guzzetta

    I have no concern with being on a side of an issue that does not prevail. My issue has been and still is that this council refuses to debate issues and to also openly seek and discuss alternate plans and avenues of direction.

    One can go to a council meeting and ask direct questions and we are told that they can not answer those questions because they are precluded from doing same because the Brown Act as defined to them by the city attorney prohibits their response.

    This is complete and utter nonsense and they then wonder why some people use negative terms in describing them.

    I would offer that the Trail needs to start asking some questions of the council that are probing and definitive in nature.

    Writing editorials about public input sounds wonderful and presents a false impression that the council may actually listen.

    As I have pointed out history tells a different story.

  4. Robert Nelson Robert Nelson says:

    The local paper should begin reporting this phase of PP by going back to the start … and giving people a clear and honest account of all issues involved. I believe I asked more questions regarding PP in one afternoon than The Desert Trail has asked of anybody involved in the planning in two years.


    July 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve attended shows at the theater in 29 Palms and I find it difficult to believe that anybody would suggest that tax payers be asked to fund a new building. The shows are fine … the building is fine. The amount of money already spent for planning is an outrageous folly. But … here’s some questions for Gary, by topic:

    1. Who proposed that a new building be built and funded? Who in county government was that proposal brought to? What route did that proposal take from initial thought to having planning done and paid for? Who authorized the funds for the planning? Exactly – to the penny – where did the money go?

    2. Who in city government – specifically – suggested the downtown area would benefit from a new theater as an “anchor?”

    3. Wont the new building have it’s doors locked when most people are downtown? Or … will the building serve another purpose and have it’s doors open to the public at times other than the few hours a night on those few nights when a show is in progress? The downtown area DOES NOT NEED another business or building with locked doors or with irregular hours. Other than show times … wont the theater be closed to the public?

    4. Who will fund the utilities and maintenance of the new building? Who will manage it’s operation? Will anybody be asking for a salary to perform any of the work/duties that come with the new building?

    5. Exactly how much will the building cost and who will fund that cost?

    6. Will the building be open for public use or will the theater folks have the say on if and when any other group uses it? Will theater folks make use of the building for personal reasons? Will the building become a gathering place for the … how do we put this? … how to say without offending? …

    … will friends of Gary, city staff, chamber members, etc. make it their meeting place … their hang-out and place to gather away from the not-so-well connected folks of 29?

    I’m astonished that anybody in 29 Palms government is considering that this new theater could be a good idea. If there is money to be spent, and if the city officials feel the need for an “anchor” in the downtown area – something that the intire community could benefit from – how ’bout a community market? A simple building that could be sectioned off as easily as putting chalk marks on the cement. Open it up free or at a low cost to those who want to market whatever. Tourists go for that sort of thing. School and community groups could use a space to sell their fundraising goods, the chamber of commerce could leave it’s current building and “anchor” the new community market building by being a full-time resident – with an up-graded spot, of course. The community college, the park, church representatives, etc. could make use of the building. Much like the ‘welcome’ building in Yucca Valley but with something going on at all times. A flea market that is THERE and that people KNOW WILL BE OPEN all weekend or even all week is going to bring many more people into the downtown area and into a new building than any show.

    And the theater could have a spot there with schedules of their shows … and directions to their more than good enough building.

    Gary Daigneault says: July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Robert, Good questions, I will answer as best I can. The new building was proposed by the Board of Directors of Theatre 29. The existing facility was never meant to be a theater and has been outgrown.

    The proposal was brought to County Supervisor Mitzelfelt who authorized an $18,000.00 grant for design and conceptual work on the project. $14,000.00 went to the architectural firm, selected ater an RFP was sent to 20 theater architects troughout California. $4,000.00 is allocated for fund-raising materials (brochures, displays etc.).

    City Planning Consultant Frank Spevacek and City Manager Michael Tree suggested the downtown location as a way to revitalize the area. Mr. Tree atually came to a Theatre 29 Board meeting to pitch it.

    While primarily a theatre seating 250 people who will come in and out Friday and Saturday Nights, the building can easily be opened during the day as an art display space, theatre instruction for kids, arts/dance classes or any use. It is Theatre 29′s wish to hold acting and dance classes.

    Your pre-assumption that I would somehow want to “Hang out” downtown with “friends” in an empty theatre has no bearing on fact so that question has no answer. All are welcome to particpate in Theatre 29 events, we are open to anybody who wants to volunteer.

    Theatre 29 pays for all of their own utilities, trash, water etc. and routine building maintenance now. We are all volunteers, no one is paid. That policy would not change in a larger facility.

    The cost of the building is estimated at 4.7 million. The funds would come from private donations, State/County/Federal grants, fund-raisers, any and all funding sources will be considered.

    The non-profit Board of Theatre 29 would oversee the operation of any new facility, the same as they do now.

    Downtown theaters are used commonly to generate foot traffic, and thus retail and hospitality opportunities in cities across California. This would make 29 Palms an icon, something we can all be proud of.

    The “Community Market” concept is a good one. I have already offerred on this blog to assist if the Smith’s Ranch auditorium wants to become a community market location.

    Gary Daigneault New Building Chairman, Theatre 29

    - See more at: http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/archives/23269#sthash.1V8zVzf6.dpuf

  5. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    The original Project Phoenix was a project to improve the parking area behind the city block that has the Red Lotus and Papa Johns Pizza as anchors. It was to be a Paseo landscape with off street parking. The current PP was devised solely to obligate the millions that the governor was going to “steal” from the RDA to help him balance his budget. I say let’s go back to the original concept.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      I am glad to see that you agree with the original concept of Project Phoenix.

      There are many of us that do not think PP is bad. We just think that it was “stolen” by a select few.

      BTW – the state never was going to steal anything in regards to the RDA.

      That concept was the conjuring of Rutan and Tucker that COLE. CORBIN, and MINTZ bought into.

      KLINK and HARRIS said no at first but then went whole hog into the bloated fiasco that it is.

      Do you really think Larry that the council may even entertain your thought of going back to the original design?

      I am sure they are being told by Munoz that the linchpin of the law suit against the state was the investors had an expectation for the bonds to build what the bonds were sold for.

      So… lets build that Theatre/Community Center and low income housing project.; Because as Patrick Munoz would say.. “You can do nothing else”.

      Fire that guy NOW!

  6. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    And I’m glad that you are glad. And I still think that Gov. Brown “stole” the RDA funds to balance the budget. We should see soon what the “Son of RDA” looks like.

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