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Harris and Mintz have done enough harm, time for a city audit and forensic accounting

By Branson Hunter ♦ Twentynine Palms ♦

 

If they were every a need for an audit of city funds, it is now, here in the City of Twentynine Palms.

Question: What have Councilmen Harris and Mintz in common with Macbeth? Both have strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage, and then may be heard no more, their tale is that of idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Macbeth Act 5

Let’s try some new intelligent candidates with a fresh outlook, who can be objective and respect transparency. New council members are desperately needed whom look out for the taxpayers — unburdened by defending four years bad decisions, blowhard ego problems and the legacy of creating more debt than the city had in liquid assets.

If you have to time to read this commentary it could change your way of think about voting for incumbents JIM HARRIS and DAN MINTZ. 

Is the proud and exuberant American tradition of campaigning for public office mislaid or extinct in this desert hamlet? When incumbents seeking reelection have an abysmal record of frivolous spending on pet projects and non priority spending namely for local friends and who have refused to be transparent as elected officials — they have no standing or credibility to be reelected. 

The Desert Trail wrote:“… we urge the people of Twentynine Palms to get involved in the coming campaign. It is up to each of us to influence a process that will, in turn, influence our lives for many years to come. Link<<

How many Brown Act serial meetings violations have accumulated? Serial meetings are communications outside public meetings, be it on the phone or polling one-another on how they may come down on a vote. Goto this Link for more on serial meeting. 

The city needs attending to its badly neglected infrastructure.

The city also needs an audit, a forensic accounting Audit. This 2014-2015 Budget year takes the cake. The city’s sacred RESERVE FUNDS for the first time have been violated by HARRIS and Mintz. HARRIS, MINTZ had those annual funds diverted into their hands for more plundering of city funds. These people are over the top and out of control. The city has had four (4) city managers in a short time, millions wasted on pipe dreams. The city is strapped with endless debt and had to shuffle the books for a balanced budget.

For more on the 2014-2015 City Budget slick giggling and rearranging the budget, read: OMG! Some questions about the City’s 2014-2015 budget

Harris and Mintz have frittered away $1,000,000 for useless administrative cost that made consultants rich and did zero for the city over the Bond dept fiasco; a million for administrative costs that accomplished nothing; Rutan & Tucker law firm making a million and bringing nothing or doing nothing for the city but endless debt that continues to grow. Something is amiss at city hall… the the lack of intelligent leaders. 

You’d think HARRIS, MINTZ and COLE would have much to talk about. They are afraid to show their colors and goals for the city. They are hunkered down like field mice avoiding the public. It’s apparent that this disrespectful behavior is slighting the public and voters. If they were to actively direct light to their four years in office, it’s akin to shooting themselves in the foot. You simply don’t run on a horribly unsatisfactory record.   What you do is shut your mouth and cross your fingers. This is exactly what Harris and Mintz are doing.  

Councilman Harris. A dismal record of overspending, , distancing himself from transparency, who has neglected the city’s infrastructure. Harris refuse to reach voters and is keeping his mouth shut. Mr. Harris is a bona fide stool pigeon for using his office under color of authority attempting to get a decent man fired because of harmless free speech by redressing his government. Harris has brought a chilling effect upon the city  by suppressing free speech in a public forum.  If exercise your first amendment rights to redress your government, HARRIS MAY CALL YOUR EMPLOYER TO TRY AND GET YOU FIRED. This is anti-American behavior. And Harris is called out again.

Both have an abominable record of favoritism, mismanagement, chronic wasteful spending, ignoring public safety needs, creating dissension and bad blood with other local agencies (TPFD and TPWD). And the near absent of transparency coupled with a crumbling infrastructure in Twentynine Palms and the downtown area is a clear message to try new people . 

With their four year term is coming to an end, they have  left a legacy of and bringing havoc to every resident, every business, every church, school by refusing to help fund a department dying on the vine for lack of city funding. MINTZ and HARRIS HAVE Have discouraged potential investor from investing or building in Twentynine Palms. The city does not have a fire department capable of bringing fire safety and emergency responses to this community simply because HARRIS AND MINTZ chose to give local cronies everything they wanted while shunning the TPFD. 

Millions of taxpayers’ money has been squandered under the leadership of HARRIS and MINTZ. The city’s outside contract bond attorney and contract city attorney and Rutan & Rucker have made over a million dollars off the bond that Munoz (contract attorney) pitched to JOHN COLE and DAN MINTZ. The Department of Finance and Attorney General severely chastised the city and its self-serving legal adviser, Patrick Munoz. 

There is no benefit anointing HARRIS, MINTZ or JOHN COLE to another four years, and granting them access to city funds again to do what they want and create more havoc for the next three decades. Note that former appointed Mayor Cole lost his reelection to an new comer. He was rejected once and for good reason. The voters said NO to John Cole. 

Councilman Mintz. He voted to strap three generations of good folks with a $30 M, 30 Year debt, spanning three generations of property owners that have to toil daily for three decades to pay it off. Mintz is petty King of clandestine political wheeling and dealing. Mintz is not above lying to the public. During a council meeting when confronted by speaker Almut Fleck during public comments, Mintz stated on the record that he does not violate the Brown Act. Fact: he violated it twice and the illegal business had to be set aside.

MINTZ and COLE orchestrated the city’s $30,000,000 debt at the nudging of legal council who made a million of his self-serving legal advise. This is clearly gross negligence and incompetence and pure stupidity. Then HARRIS and MINTZ gave Attorney Munoz a very favorable performance evaluation, even after he failed to advise HARRIS and MINTZ they were engaged in illegal city activity; to wit, Brown Act violations. 

This is puzzling… The Chamber of Commerce traditionally sponsor Meet the Candidate Forums. Thus far they have not announced any Candidate form. Assuming they do not hold a Forum, this begs the question WHY? Incumbents HARRIS and MINTZ obviously do not want to participate in any public form because questions will certainly come up regarding their record. The chamber is call to task. They are criticized for not scheduling a forum. One can speculate that because the last place HARRIS or MINTZ want to be is at Candidate Forum.

But then again, it’s not so puzzling when you connect the fact that HARRIS and MINTZ just voted to give the Chamber another $35,000 for operating costs. You judge: is the Chamber going along, to get along? The Chamber has it’s perennial sugar daddy (the city) and they want to keep them sweet.  HARRIS and Mintz don’t want to appear in a public candidate forum, and it appears the the chamber is protecting their sugar daddies, MINZ and HARRIS. 

There are viable and honorable candidates running along with Harris and Mintz. Planning Commissioner Bill Easter is a candidate. Mr. Easter is an honorable and respected member on the PC. Easter is experienced in government affairs. Easter is unafraid to speak up. In other words, Mr. Easter doesn’t appear to be a weak-minded like the others on the council who do in fact GO-ALONG, TO GET ALONG. The present make-up of the council has become a group of five people that team build with themselves and the public be damned. They are beholding to each other, not taxpayers or the public.  

Candidate Bill Easter is the only candidate who had the class and honor to put his platform out there in the Desert Trail and Cactus Thorns. 

Pastor McArthur Wright is another viable candidate. Give his a chance. 

Morongo Unified School District employee Adam Lunn is another viable candidate. Give him a chance. 

MINTZ, HARRIS, COLE have all had their shot. And what has the city gained: $30 million debt, a 30 year debt and 3-generations of good people have to pay this off. HARRIS has made an ass out of himself supporting the entire fiasco of over-spending and Project Phoenix. They are allowing the fire department to dies on the vine because they had other obligations to their clan of cronies. And if the city were to have helped fund the fire department, that surely would have impacted on their wasteful spending habits.

Taking advantage of opportunities to reach segments of voters is a healthily goal for all local candidates. Along with this, zealous campaigning is expected in cities and towns all across America. That spirit is dead in Twentynine Palms. When that spirit dies, the vigor and health of Twentynine Palms is diminished. In that way, local healthy politics is affected with a virus. 

Namely a HARRIS and MINTZ virus.   

Incumbents Harris and Mint are casually working local events at venues in their comfort zone. They smile, chat a little and generally keep a superficial profile. However, MINTZ is the only culprit left on the city council that voted for the evil Bond dept; when he leaves office he will leave the city with his $30 million debt and literally nothing to show for it, but for million in legal fees to an attorney who benefited by his self-serving bad legal advise. Now the city has to return the money to school, colleges, fire department and other local public entities. That’s not all… administrative costs in taking out a bond that brought nothing. It’s up to a million and counting. 

Where is the regret? HARRIS and MINTZ have no regret over the disaster they have brought upon this city and taxpayers. These fools thought they had the big money of very large cities like Long Beach. 

MINTZ and HARRIS are fully committed to keeping SECRET their new direction which whey will not publicly disclose. What we do know, however, is the fact that their past record of four years have been so dreadful that they have to change direction but insult the public by refusing to disclose their plans for the city concerning the direction of the city the next four years.

I submit that HARRIS and MINTZ are cowards who refuse to engage. Is this the  city council you want for another four years. Without changes, the city will be in a huge financial backslide for years to come. 

And there are good viable candidates to take their place and fix the fiscal messes left by MINTZ, COLE and HARRIS. Many issues need be brought out in the sunlight and discussed.

The other non-incumbents candidates should not be inhibited or restrained to question and talk about the decision of elected officials and their spending practices. No candidate should be encouraged to go along to get along. That is the manifest problem with local politics in 29 Palms. 

Was it appropriate for “stool pigeon” JIM HARRIS to write a complaint and sent it to a man’s employer, trying to get him fired for legitimate free speech to redressing his councilman. How can you trust an elected councilmen that gets miffed over a harmless blog comment, and then goes to a man’s employer to get him fired under color of authority. That was a despicable and vengeful act unbecoming of an elected official. 

Neither HARRIS, MINTZ nor COLE are good choices to hold office for another four years. They are the foxes that have weaken the city and saddled it with unspeakable debt for decades to come. 

Does JOHN COLE still have his Earl Flynn goatee he grew after he lost his election last time around. I suggest he keep it or regrow it since it added a tad of debonair and class. 

Op-Ed


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Branson Hunter

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“The ends do not justify the means.” If you use illegal or unethical mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

10 Responses to Harris and Mintz have done enough harm, time for a city audit and forensic accounting

  1. Branson Hunter

    Branson Hunter

    August 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Would you reelect a councilman who embarrasses an entire city and all of its residents?

    During Congressman Cook’s Meet and Greet in Yucca Valley this past spring, out-of-control JIM HARRIS struck out at a resident in attendance at the meeting. For no apparent reason witnesses and the victim will tell you HARRIS chastised this private citizen, yelling at him and called him a Liar and a skumbag with an expletive attached. Harris is fortunate he didn’t have his face rearranged. While the victim was a gentlemen, Council HARRIS is a manifest council bully!

    Add to that despicable behavior and documented fact is that HARRIS tried to get a private 29 Palms citizen fired from his employment just because the citizen made a harmless comment with an expletive attached, same as HARRIS did about the citizen of Yucca Valley. However HARRIS is an elected official and this citizen is not one any longer. The comment was pure protected First Amendment speech as his employer has correctly determined.

    Harris has chilled free speech in 29. If you use the First Amendment to redress your elected official HARRIS may write your employer in a pathetic and cowardly attempt to get you fired. That is a fact that cannot be refuted.

    HARRIS has gotten to big for his britches. He has seriously abused his office under color of authority. He’s the bully on the city council who, allegedly, upon credible source, packs a piece. What is he afraid of?

  2. Larry Briggs

    Larry Briggs

    August 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Is Cactus Thorns going to sponsor a candidate’s forum like they did in 2010?

  3. Steve Spear

    Steve Spear

    August 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Do you think that HARRIS, COLE, and MINTZ would attend a Cactus Thorns forum?

  4. Dan OBrien

    Dan OBrien

    August 29, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I’ll pony up if you think we have a chance of getting them to show up.

    This time I think we should have it at a commercial venue. One with food maybe… Let a local restaurant make a couple of bucks off the thing instead of the city jamming me for $2 Million in insurance. and associated fees.

    Hang your weapons at the door.

    Just a thought.

  5. Larry Briggs

    Larry Briggs

    August 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It’s your decision.

  6. Dan OBrien

    Dan OBrien

    August 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Ok I’ve decided to make you event chairman. Look into organizing it and report back.

    • Larry Briggs

      Larry Briggs

      August 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Haven’t got the time or inclination. Maybe Steve Spear could be chair. Or maybe Ben. Or maybe Margo. Why not you?

  7. Bill Easter

    Bill Easter

    August 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I support the ideal of having candidate forms and will participate where possible. I would encourage all candidates to also participate. I have already committed to the one scheduled for 9 Oct at Theatre29. Larry, you have my “Vote” as chairman if willing.

    Best wishes to all and remember to register so you can vote on 4 Nov 2014.

  8. Branson Hunter

    Branson Hunter

    August 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    The chair is not a problem. A neutral person is the least of issues. A candidate forum would I hope allow questions to be asked on a first come bases submitted in writing. As long as a legit concern, no need to buffer candidate questions. Candidates are neither celebrities nor blue blood aristocrats or national figures.

    They all have a duty to the ask the moderator of a forum to allow voters to ask questions. They all have a duty to respond to direct questions.

  9. Dan OBrien

    Dan OBrien

    August 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Well then, It looks like Larry is all show and no go…. I work out of town so it is going to be impossible for me.. We need someone with some actual courage, conviction and organizational ability to pull this together. Got any Ideas?

    Let me think on it. If any of you have a person in mind let me know. We do not have a great deal of time.

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