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Reminder: MAC Land Use Meeting Tues, May 20th 9 AM: Prohibit Big Box Stores in Joshua Tree?

By   /   May 20, 2014  /   31 Comments

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Joshua Tree, Cal.- Reminder: The Municipal Advisory Council Committee on Land Use issues will meet today, Tuesday May 20th at 9 AM in the County Government Building off White Feather Road in Joshua Tree.

The committee would like to hear from residents regarding “Formula Retail” stores coming into Joshua Tree.  The committee will investigate whether an ordinance can be devised, or enforced, to prohibit “Chain Stores” from coming into the downtown Joshua Tree area.

Other cities have recently passed ordinances regulating these type of stores.

Be sure to have your name and email added to the contact list for future notices of meetings.



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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    No Problem We in 29 Palms will Take them……

  2. michaelv michaelv says:

    You have about as much chance of a big box store coming to 29 Palms as you do the council paying attention to the citizens.

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      I usually agree with most of your post but I may have a little different take on the council paying attention to the citizens.

      When I cast a vote for a candidate, it is because of who he or she is as a person and what he or she stands for, in the case of council add their vision for the city, not for them to listen to my or anybody else’s views.

      Shucks if they are up their listening to the few that have the time, notion or greedy desire to attend and lobby for their point of view, favor, tax dollars in the form of grants whatever, they are going to abandon their campaign platform and promises even their integrity.

      No when I vote for a candidate I hope the hell they stay the course they campaigned on none of this team building crap, and hell no on listening to the theatre town attorney or in crowd, that minority sure as hell didn’t elect them.

  3. michaelv michaelv says:

    Then I guess the people you voted for are doing just what you hoped they would do. I don’t think any of them has followed their platform, more importantly why should they not listen about the concerns of the fire department? I vote for a person for the same reasons, however when that person is side tracked and starts acting foolishly, it is time to speak up and be heard. they are there to represent the citizens and the present council is only representing a select few favorite groups, again the people should be heard. I guess the best place to make your voice heard is the election box, maybe that will help

    • Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

      I said we are close, I understand the thinking they should listen to the majority it really sounds nice but our founding fathers referred to the majority as a mob. We are together on pandering to the select few, that is just plain disgusting.

      So the question if you are elected for how well you listen verses your level head even handed decision making, whom should you listen to?

      • michaelv michaelv says:

        Good question. A well rounded person would listen to all, take the information and then using his/her level headed even handed decision making, determine what action, if any is taken, would benefit the community as a whole.
        Everything is constantly changing and peoples opinions and ideas are constantly in flux, so therefore an elected official needs not only a level head, he or she must also be able to see the community for what it is and adjust their opinions relating to what is good for the community as a whole not just a select few.
        Sometimes this also means that the elected official may need to put their agenda aside and work for the betterment of the City. Yes your right we are close.

  4. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    MichaelV, What if the elected official is convinced that his/her “agenda” is best for the betterment of the city and doesn’t agree with the guidance provided by CT? They get the public’s “pulse” in many ways other than here. I would say that they follow your description outlined in your first paragraph.

  5. michaelv michaelv says:

    Wait a minute Larry, I never said anything about guidance from CT. I am talking about input from the community in general. Input regarding public safety, input on P/P. Since CT is seen in a negative light by those in charge, I would never think for a minute that they would agree with us here on this site. That being said, if the citizens of 29 do not stop complaining on the sidelines and get off their asses and go to a meeting to voice their opinions, then they get what they deserve, a partial fire department and a new community center/theater/low income housing project to strap future generations with a debt that any reasonable small city would never put on their citizens.
    And again, I am not talking about the same few who dilligently sit at meetings and get up and speak their three minutes, I am talking about those who never go to meetings but are the first to complain about the course the city is taking. How about some of the former council members, not including SS in that group, but there are several who still reside in the city. Are they happy with what they see happening? If not, where are they?
    Larry, I don’t have the answers, I throwout thoughts and questions, in part hoping to rattle a user who sits on the CT site, to maybe say, you know he’s right, I’ll go to the next meeting. My second reason, I like the site, and enjoy the back and forth dialogue.

  6. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Several former council members have spoken their thoughts before the City Council in past meetings. I think that they will speak out in the future also like Steve has. The final decision on the “Big Box” theater hasn’t been made yet.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Larry,

      Well I tread lightly here. Not my style but I will try.

      I recall Mac, and D.J. coming to meetings to speak and they were always treated with dignity and respect.

      But that is not how it is now.

      Do you recall the way that Joel Klink treated many time Mayor Jim Bagely?

      Do you recall John Cole saying to me “I think you have said enough.”

      Do you recall Joel Klink stating from the dias to me “Don’t shake you head at me”.

      Do you think Jim Harris should have implied to Owen Gillick that Owen was not “reading between the lines”

      No Larry. These current members of the council have demonstrated that if you wish to talk about fluffy feel good stuff then they will engage you during your three minutes.

      But if you try to point to them that their way is probably not the best you are dismissed and rude comments are made.

      For me I don’t care because I can be as rude if not more so than they can.

      So…. I am leaning towards the position that we have a council that will do exactly what Patrick Munoz tells it to do. And I have not been wrong on that yet.

      BTW – how can the city spend the bond proceeds on anything other than that “Big Box” hodgepodge of theater, community center, and low income housing.

      One of the linchpins of their legal argument was that the bond proceeds MUST be used for what they were sold for because the bond holders have an expectation blah, blah…..

  7. michaelv michaelv says:

    WOW, this article started with Dan and I making statements about big box stores coming to 29 and we have renamed P/P a big box hodgepodge. Which, it will be. Finally, 29 will have a big box in the community. All it will take is 30 million dollars of the taxpayers money to get it. I want to know if they are thinking about salaries and maintenance costs, oops, I forgot they don’t think that far in advance. Besides, that will be someone else’s problem cause they won’t be in office to deal with it.
    Wit until it goes out to bid, I wonder if anyone is thinking about the cost since every construction project I have reviewed has gone up in the past several years, how do they plan on covering the added cost, (see oops above for answer). I have said enough about this one, time for another topic to come on CT.!!!

  8. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Steve, several past mayors besides John and Joel have admonished speakers for exceeding the 3 minute rule on public speaking. The city does have to spend that 11M dollars on the PP. My question is do we spend it on the original PP that only called for a paseo behind the Red Lotus over to Prestige Realty. The only reason we went the bond route was because Sacramento was going to “steal” our 13M and use it to pay for their overspending. Mr. Munoz saved 11M for US to use.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Larry – Your recollection and interpretation of what I stated are incorrect. Admonishing for exceeding 3 minutes is one thing but to criticize and being rude is another.

      If the 3 minute rule is so very important then why does the Chamber as well as Action Council 29 and others get to speak for minutes upon end with statement and questions from the council about all that fluffy, wonderful stuff?

      This city is in decline.

      Your misunderstanding of what I said is somewhat telling.

      Of course the money must be spent on PP. But what makes you think the city can change the concept back to the original concept instead of building what they said they would build in the legal papers against the state?

      I think that people like Gillick, the newspaper, and others are awakening to the failure of this council.

      Just my opinion but last time I checked we still had a closed fire station and this council has nothing to say other than “silence”.

      Yet they have the time and the money to build a dog park, fire city managers for an excuse of a reason that they wanted to go in a “new direction” or fire one for cause and claim he retired and cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars and nobody except a few pressed the answer. But us that press are deemed “outsiders” even though I know more about how to be a public servant than all five of them put together.

      Public service is not self serving, it does not work that way.

      If one is going to be deceptive then they better do a better job at it than these five have done.

      They deceive in public and speak in private – prove me wrong.

      Thanks again Larry for your thoughts. You certainly have more courage than the present five have to even engage in a discussion on the very evil “Cactus Thorns”.

    • Crediting bond attorney Muniz as saving the city lots of money is a joke, Larry.

      Munoz is directly responsible for the city’s bond debt to the tune of $30,000,000, Meanwhile, he fed off taxpayers backs and made a cool million while doing it. He even took a a percentage cut of the entire b ond bond and his fees are spiked at every CC meeting while dealing with bond matters.

      Sure Larry go ahead and believe Munoz is all warm and fuzzy. He’s a shyster who made a lot of money off the backs of hard working people — and their siblings who haven’t yet entered the work force to pay for Munoz’s and the councils adventures.

      Munoz is an anathama to the City of Twentynine Palms, its residents, taxpayers and businesses. Munoz record on public safety is against helping fund a fire department. He is a joke, Larry. A costly and dangerous joke.

  9. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Steve, you should consider running again for city council or applying for city manager. As for downsizing the project, the successor agency could research and find out what is possible in this area.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      The Successor agency’s job is to close down the business of the RDA not Project Manage a City Project…. Remember the Bond money belongs to the City not the Successor agency. Let the city do what it wants with the money and let the city figure out how to pay for it….

      • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

        Sounds logical. Maybe that’s what the city is doing.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          … And let the City pay for the bond out of its treasury not out of the Tax increment that by rights goes to the effected taxing entities.

          That sound logical to you too, Larry?

          • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

            How much would that be each year?

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              From best I can figure from statements from the ROPS and prior settlements it would be around, $216,784.00 per year, without a single penny having to be chipped in by the State by way of the “Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fun” (RPTTF). For you see the City won the law suit and now owns both the bonds and the responsibility to pay the bond obligations…. Pretty Cool Huh?

  10. I concur Larry. Steve would be a good choice for leadership.

  11. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Dan, that’s $6,503,520 for 30 years. We’ve got $!!,000,000, What do you plan on doing with 4.5M left over?

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Its not what I would do with it Larry… it is How does the City plan on paying for it?

      The point is now that the court says the Bond and the obligation to pay the bond are in the Cities court as it were, it is up to the city to figure out how to pay for it.

      I could care less how the city pays for it as long as it does not come out of the tax increment meant for schools and the Hospital.

      Maybe the city will try to float another bond to pay for the first bond. What do you think Larry?

  12. michaelv michaelv says:

    How about saving it in case of an emergency, or maybe putting it to use in another area of the City, I don’t know but I am sure they will figure someway to blow it all

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Michael, You are falling into the negativism of CT.

      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hi Guys,

        Lets get this on a level field.

        I presented these same FACTS mind you to the council but was ignored.

        The bonds have a cost of about 31 million. Of that 31 million 20 million is payable to the investors over 30 years.

        Not a good return for the city but a great return for the investors about 3 to 1.

        So we have 31 million going to investors and a proposed project called Project Phoenix.

        That 31 million is funded through the old RDA tax increment.

        Had the bonds never been sold the following would have happened.

        The city would have made 6 million over 30 years. The cemetery district and HDMC would have had their general fund balanced increased by the proportion of funds that they now legally draw from property taxes.

        What this council did along with John Cole was to actually withhold tax dollars from the hospital, the cemetery. the library, the flood control district and others.

        Where many, including our council and John Cole thought was ,as Patrick Munoz, told them “the state was going to take our money”.

        That position is a bold face lie.

        How Munoz did that was to convince the council that out of that 31 million, 12 million was destined to fund the Morongo Unified School District as well as Copper Mountain College. That is a true statement on the part of Munoz.

        The twist and trickery comes in that should the city of 29 Palms tie up that 12 million in RDA increment to build a theater and low income housing then the state must by law BACKFILL the shortage of 12 million through the state’s general fund. Hence the concept of the state was going to “take” our money in order to fund their own state mandated law that each child will have “X” amount of dollars to ensure their education.

        So…. actually the 5 council members at the direction of Munoz according to them “saved” the city 12 million that the state would have “taken”.

        If you are lost that is because that is exactly what Munoz wanted.

        What the five did along with John Cole is to assure that state funded programs such as education, the courts, the Highway Patrol, and CALTRANS have at least 12 million less to do their jobs in the Morongo Basin.

        Politics is a complicated business and councilmembers must be perspicacious enough to see a ruse and a scam when it surfaces.

        John Cole, Danny Mintz, Jay Corbin, Jim Harris, Cora Heiser, and Joel Klink all failed.

        Some voted no in the beginning, to their credit, but then all, everyone of them, went along with the failure.

        If anyone has a question I would be more than glad to answer them.

        What I really wish is that more citizens would actually care and get involved. I think most care but few wish to get involved and that is why we are where we are at.

        31 million in debt and not a darn thing built and more than likely will never be built.

        But those that bought the bonds will get their dividends quarterly for the next 26 years and really not care what happens to our city. They could care less that Project Phoenix as presented ever gets built or not.

        The only thing they care about is that dividend check.

        Now, Larry might be an exception to the rule but he is the only one who has admitted to buying bonds.

        You will not hear a peep from Corbin, Harris, Mintz. Klink, or Cole about them buying on not buying bonds.

        Now why in heaven would any of them just remain silent about buying or not buying bonds?

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Civil Code 1090 I would think Steve….

          1090. Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial
          district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially
          interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity,
          or by any body or board of which they are members. Nor shall state,
          county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees
          be purchasers at any sale or vendors at any purchase made by them in
          their official capacity.
          As used in this article, “district” means any agency of the state
          formed pursuant to general law or special act, for the local
          performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited

          • michaelv michaelv says:

            A key word missing in the Civil Code is family. The council member cannot but there is nothing saying his/her spouse can’t.
            Larry, sometimes a little sarcastic one liners are sent just for effect. How it is received is up to the viewer. It is just a shame the way this whole financial debacle has destroyed the trust in the City Council.

        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Dan says we pay back 6.5 million. You say 31 million. Which is correct?

          • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

            The total bond obligation is 31 million Larry.

            Again please ask the council for the correct and accurate debt I am sure they have the answer.

            Also please ask them in open session during your three minutes and see if they answer.

            One would think that they will answer don’t you?

            Also make sure you ask for the total obligation to include proceeds and obligations.

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