Tonight’s Twentynine Palms City Hall started with honoring Silver Star recipient Colonel Dube. After graciously accepting the city’s heartfelt thanks, he talked about the teamwork and the sacrifice that it took to save a pilot’s life in Viet Nam. Colonel Dube left to a well- deserved standing ovation. After the Colonel left, the comic tragedy began.
It was well scripted, like all good theater. Once the city council began discussing the “Chalk Art Festival” they gave away the ending of the show. It was apparent to me that the decision was made, it was just a matter of how much Action 29 was going to get.The grand prize, 10,000 dollar scholarship, slurry seal, and money for etc. During open comments, even those opposed to the way Action 29 advertised the support of the city long before there was a city council vote, didn’t object to the idea of the chalk art, just to the assumption that the city’s money was a done deal. This, of course, leads one to believe that there could have been prior approval from someone at city hall. I believe that the city council, the mayor, and the city manager expected the opposition to show up. They dodged questions like a teenager dodges chores, ignored a great alternative idea made by Steve Whitten, to use Knott’s Sky Park, which he said would be able to handle parking, vendors, and the art with no cost to the city. Several citizens objected to using any taxpayer money to fund the festival. Things were going along as expected, until Steve Spear went “rogue.”
Pure genius! He showed pictures of Lucky Park’s parking lot in pretty good shape, then by contrast he showed Bagdad RD. It is in horrible shape and recently the scene of a fatal accident. Steve pointed out that the money coming out of the general fund to fund the slurry seal would be better spent there to save lives. How do you argue with that? He did the math, he explained how the taxpayers would lose money from this three day event. As a teacher, I appreciate people who do their homework.
Now Mel played right into Steve’s hands! He became flustered and at one point declared that Action 29 could foot the whole bill. (Can you believe he said that?) So Steve called him on it and asked the obvious question, so why don’t you? Mel’s reply…”Twentynine Palms was not worth the investment (what) and that the city had to meet him half way. I think Mel lost the grand prize on this one.
Watching the city council squirm under common sense, facts, and great ideas was like watching a car wreck, you really don’t want to watch it, but you just have to. They were so flustered, that they forgot whether they were motioning, discussing, or voting. At some points even the council had to laugh at themselves, with the audience.
Seriously, if it wasn’t so sad, it would have been pretty funny. I suggest you watch it when it airs on television, then you can rewind your favorite moments. I hate to spoil it for you, but yeah they voted on providing slurry seal for the chalk art festival 2 council members voted nay and with the mayor’s vote, it passed 3-2.
It may have been a good show, but not worth the money that it is costing the taxpayers, not worth the loss of faith in your city government, and definitely not worth using money on a parking lot, instead of the many streets in the city that need repair for safety reasons.