CVIndependent

Thu07202017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Local Issues

14 Nov 2015
At the recent 2015 Coachella Valley Economic Summit, hosted by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP), roughly 700 representatives of the valley’s elite businesses and employers listened to rosy reports about the current national, state and local economy. According to presenter Michael McDonald, of Market Watch LLC, job growth in the valley in 2015 was at its highest level since 2005. Employment in the leisure, hospitality and health care sectors is at 15-year highs, while hiring in the professional/business services sector is higher than it has been since 2008. Median home prices have rebounded to match prices in early 2008, when they began the free-fall precipitated by the widespread economic downturn. It was a good day for CVEP, founded in 1994 “to promote a diversified, year-round economy by facilitating programs that stimulate job creation in key industries through business attraction, retention and expansion, and unite business and education leaders to…
28 Sep 2015
It’s been a turbulent couple of months for the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission. The way interviews were done for potential commission members raised eyebrows. The fact that almost all of the newly seated commissioners live in the same area caused concerns. Then the commission made a major change in direction, with new commissioners pushing an aggressive slate of programs and projects that they say will bring increased artistic opportunity and expression into the daily lives of Cathedral City residents. “You know, frankly I was rather surprised at how it all went,” returning commissioner and new co-chair Alan Carvalho said regarding the interview process. “When I was interviewed before being selected last year, it was in a closed City Council session. This time, it was done in the open, and I don’t think that they were ready for so many people to be applying. “One of the focuses of the…
18 Aug 2015
by  - 
San Bernardino police recently made national news thanks to a creative operation. Cops, dressed in plain clothes or as homeless people, walked up to cars stopped at an intersection. The officers held signs, but instead of saying something to the effect of “need food,” the signs said something to the effect of “S.B. Police. I am not homeless. Looking for seatbelt and cell phone violations.” Of course, many drivers didn’t pay attention—they were busy texting, talking on a phone or even eating. Those drivers received citations. The Palm Springs Police Department also recently conducted a creative operation, of sorts, to combat a common Palm Springs crime: bike theft. In broad daylight, a marked police department bike was placed as bait, in Sunrise Park and in other areas of the city frequented by homeless people and the less fortunate. Of course, plain-clothes cops were on the watch. During the operation, three…
24 Jul 2015
by  - 
When I moved to Desert Hot Springs a decade ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know a thing about the desert city when I moved here from Cleveland in 2005. However, I was soon filled in by others: DHS has a lot of crime. Meth houses. Trashy people. Corrupt government. In the decade since, things haven’t gotten any better. In early July, a website called Roadsnacks.net published a piece, “using science,” that declared Desert Hot Springs is the worst place to live in California. It made the rounds on Facebook; the piece supposedly had received 358,600 views as of our press time. It’s no wonder Slipping Into Darkness, the wildly popular Desert Hot Springs band, included a song titled “DHS Blues” on the album Shurpedelic. OK, look: DHS isn’t perfect. It has its problems, for sure. But my city of not quite 30,000…
10 Jul 2015
The Coachella Valley Unified School District is doing its best to keep the East Valley connected. The district—which encompasses 21 schools at the eastern end of the valley from Indio to the Salton Sea—recently announced that the school board had approved the installation of wireless Internet routers on all 100 buses in the district’s fleet. The decision came after a successful pilot program, which began eight months before, with the implementation of Wi-Fi connectivity on three buses. Also approved was the installation of solar panels on 10 buses in order to extend the routers’ battery life so they can become mobile wireless “hotspots” that will be parked overnight in communities where no wireless access currently exists. Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams sees this strategy as part of the core service the school district must provide to its students. “You know every school district eventually is going to have to ensure that…
29 Jun 2015
by  - 
The nascent Sunny Dunes Antique District had a coming-out party, of sorts, on Saturday, June 20. Various businesses in the district kept their doors open a little later than normal for the Pop Shop Hop, “an evening of shopping and discovery of all the shops on Sunny Dunes,” according to the event’s Facebook page. A decent-sized crowd—considering it was about 110 degrees outside—wandered among the various shops and chatted with proprietors; anybody who visited all of the participating businesses received a free entry into a raffle. Of course, participants could purchase extra raffle tickets, with the proceeds going to the Safe House of the Desert, which operates the Pop Shop thrift store in the area. Around 8 p.m., people assembled at the Tool Shed, a gay/leather bar on Sunny Dunes, for the raffle drawing; all of the prizes were donated by various area businesses. “I love this neighborhood,” said George…
11 Jun 2015
by  - 
A bike can mean a lot to a kid. “It comes down to wellness,” said Brett Klein, chair of the Palm Springs Sustainability Coalition. “It also comes down to the ability to get from point A to point B.” He used a not-so-hypothetical child who lives in the East Valley as an example. “A kid may need to get to the Boys and Girls Club—and may need to travel three to five miles to get there, at a time when the parents are working,” he said. This is why the City of Palm Springs Office of Sustainability, in conjunction with the Coachella Valley Bicycle Coalition and Sun Tran, is in the midst of a bicycle drive. The goal: To get more than 100 working, functioning bicycles to kids in need via both the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs, and the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley, in…
03 Apr 2015
Agua4All is a program with a catchy, informative name and an inarguably laudable objective: delivering safe drinking water to every resident of the state, regardless of location or income level. The program aims to provide this necessity via its proprietary water-filling stations, which are being installed in schools and community-meeting areas like parks, youth clubs and libraries. For too many Californians, the only accessible source for safe drinking water is commercially sold bottled water—an unaffordable solution for many underprivileged families. Currently in its pilot phase, Agua4All is focusing on disadvantaged communities in southern Kern County—and right here in the eastern Coachella Valley. “The original idea was actually conceived by The California Endowment, which has been the major funder of the program,” said Sarah Buck, rural development specialist for the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), which is charged with supervising and coordinating efforts around this program. “They have given us the…
27 Mar 2015
by  - 
Taking care of the Coachella Valley’s homeless is no easy task—but it’s something the people at Martha’s Village and Kitchen in Indio have now been doing, and doing well, for 25 years. Martha’s Village, as the story goes, began with a $5 donation to feed the homeless 25 years ago. The organization will be celebrating its anniversary on Saturday, March 28. Martha’s Village and Kitchen has a transitional housing facility that can house 120 people—96 beds for homeless families with children, and 24 beds for single adults. The organization also serves 250,000 hot meals each year to anyone in need; provides child care to parents for children up to 5 years old; and offers educational and career services, as well as health-care and case management. The organization’s primary goal is to break the cycle of homelessness for residents. During residents’ stay of up to 12 months, they are given the…
26 Feb 2015
by  - 
We’re living in a video world. Cameras are everywhere: on streets, tablets, smart phones and satellites. Cameras can also help protect the public and law enforcement alike when placed in key public areas and—increasingly—on police officers themselves. However, you won’t find very many law-enforcement cameras in the Coachella Valley. For instance, Palm Springs Police Department officers do not wear body cams, nor do their police vehicles have dashboard cams. The same goes for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which enforces law and order in Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and elsewhere. An early February request to talk about cameras with Alberto Franz, the Palm Springs chief of police, was answered by an assistant who stated that the chief was busy until the end of month. On the contrary, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman was happy to talk, both one-on-one and via email. “I am a huge proponent and…