CVIndependent

Wed11252020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a varied and always-interesting journalism career over the last 25 years—but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, I’ve covered some stories that were downright brutal in terms of their emotional impact.

When I worked for The Associated Press in the San Francisco bureau, I was one of the first handful of people to know that John Denver had perished after his small, experimental plane went down in Monterey Bay on Oct. 12, 1997. When I was a reporter for the Daily Sparks Tribune, I covered the first trial of Siaosi Vanisi, who sits on death row in Nevada after randomly ambushing and murdering University of Nevada, Reno, police officer George Sullivan with a hatchet, on Jan. 13, 1998.

And then there was Jan. 8, 2011, when a mentally ill 22-year-old opened fire outside of a Safeway in Tucson, killing six people and injuring 13—including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who somehow survived despite being shot in the head at point-blank range. I was the editor of the Tucson Weekly at the time.

Now, there’s this. The pandemic hasn’t been as dramatic or as sudden as any of the horrible events I’ve covered before—but in terms of the breadth of the death and devastation, it’s been far worse.

It’s not easy to cover these things … actually, that’s an understatement: It’s downright wrenching to cover these things. But it’s rewarding—because it means we, as journalists, are fulfilling our duty to our readers.

This brings me to the coverage the Independent has done since the reality of the pandemic set in—much of which is compiled into our May print edition, which hit the lonely streets this week. From Anita Rufus’ piece on the importance of advance directives/living wills, to Kevin Fitzgerald’s heartbreaking pieces on the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to Matt King’s looks at how various schools and teachers have adjusted to this time, to Valerie-Jean Hume’s piece on Alcoholic Anonymous’ transition from in-person to Zoom meetings, to Brett Newton’s introduction to homebrewing beer … I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say I’ve never been prouder of anything else in my career.

As April comes to a close, there’s one other thing I’m proud of, and humbled by—the amazing reader support we’ve received since this whole mess started.

Thank you to Ken Alterwitz, Debby Anspach, Gustavo Arellano, Jill Arnold, Scott Balson, Joanne Bosher, George Bullis, William Campbell, John Carney, Jeffrey Clarkson, Mark Cohen, Jeffrey Davied, John de Dios, John Delaney, Casey Dolan, Jim Flanagan, Richard Fluechtling, Joshua Friedman, Howard Goldberg, Lea Goodsell, Edward Guzman, Michael Herzfeld, Morgan James, Tony Gangloff, Jeff Hammerberg, Lynn Hammond, Vicky Harrison, Richard Hart, Laura Hein, Mark Horvath, Stephen King, Harvey Lewis, Shari Lipman, Alex McCune, Elizabeth McGarry, Jeffrey Norman, Alexis Ortega, Marsha Pare, Deidre Pike, Scott Phipps, David Ponsar, Roy Schaefer, Virgina Schubert, Ann Sheffer, Michael Strockbine, Miho Suma, Kenneth Theriault, Bryan Tosi, Darrell Tucci, Cara Van Dijk, Lydia Walker, Beth Wexler, Richard Wilson, Dennis Wodzisz and Leonard Woods for becoming Supporters of the Independent in recent weeks. (If I somehow missed someone, please accept my apologies.)

If you’re able, please consider joining them, so we can keep doing what we’re doing.

Again, thank you. Your support makes all the work—even when it’s emotionally trying—worth the effort. And then some.

Today’s links:

• Let’s start with more encouraging news on the increasing amount of science showing that drugs can indeed beat down COVID-19.

• Last night, a memo to police chiefs around the state said that Gov. Newson was preparing to close all beaches and state parks, following crowding issues here and there last weekend. Well, turns out he didn’t do that: Instead, he decided to pick on Orange County by closing ONLY the beaches there. Needless to say, this is NOT going over well in Orange County.

• I was again a guest on the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast/videocast with the gang, as well as Dr. Laura Rush, Desert AIDS Project Director of Development Darrell Tucci, and LGBT Center of the Desert CEO Mike Thompson. Check out the increasingly alarming state of my hair herein.

• This is happening in the Coachella Valley, too, alas: The New York Times reports that restaurants have become an enticing target for burglars.

• The Palm Springs International Shortfest won’t take place in a physical way come June, organizers announced today, but the show will go on online.

• One of the most vexing elements regarding the battle against the coronavirus is that so many people who have it—and can spread it—show no symptoms. The Conversation breaks down how this is possible, and what it all means.

• And then there’s this piece, from the Los Angeles Times, about a man who had the virus in his body for 40 damn days. Yeesh.

• April has been, I think we can all agree, awful … yet the stock market had its best month in three decades. What are they smoking on Wall Street, you ask? Let’s overextend this metaphor with this answer: They’re smoking lots of sweet, sweet government cash.

• In other news, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are getting government cash to party like it’s 1969, and take man back to the moon. (Since there is no coronavirus there, can we all go?!)

• What’s the difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant? Wait, is there a difference? According to CBS News, yes, there is.

• To nobody’s surprise, there are problems with some banks’ mortgage-forbearance policies. For example, as the Los Angeles Times reports, one man was told he could skip payments for six months … but he’d then have to pay all those missed payments in one lump sum. Yikes.

• Finally, Tom Hanks, America’s dad, is literally giving a part of himself to help save us all.

That’s all for now. Wash your hands. Buy our local-art-filled Coloring Book. Keep your fingers crossed that May is better … and congratulate yourself on the fact that a few hours from now, you will have survived the crapfest that was April 2020. Be safe. Back tomorrow.

Published in Daily Digest

So, uh, hi. How’s the pandemic been treating you?

Here at the Independent, we’ve been working harder than we ever. I’ve been dividing time between looking for funding, getting out our new Daily Digests five or six times a week (sign up for them here), new projects, and doing the “normal” Independent work (writing, editing, posting stories, etc.).

Here’s how that’s going:

• Our staff and contributors have been doing amazing journalism. Want proof? Look at all of the content compiled in our May print edition. Even though we don’t have enough advertising support to justify it, we decided to bump up this issue to 32 pages so print readers could get all of the important news and information we covered in April—regarding everything from the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to news on how our schools are coping, to advice on how to cut down on food waste. I can’t thank our writers and designers enough for all the work they’re doing.

• I am proud to announce that the Coachella Valley Independent is one of 400 local newsrooms around North America that received a $5,000 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association, to help us continue our reporting on the coronavirus crisis. We’re honored to be one of the recipients of this grant. Not only is it evidence of the quality work we're doing at the Independent; it’s a testament to all of the support and feedback we have received from you, our readers. I thank all of you who have reached out and offered a kind thought, or words of encouragement, or constructive criticism, in the last couple of months. This grant and your support will help us continue to do what we do—honest, local, ethical journalism, available for free to all.

• However … that $5,000 grant, while beyond helpful, doesn’t even cover one month of the losses in business we’ve had as a result of the pandemic. That’s why I am sooooo grateful to everyone who’s become a Supporter of the Independent in recent months. Dozens of readers have stepped up with amounts between $5 and $500—but again, it’s still not enough to make up for our other revenue losses due to the pandemic. If you’d like to join them and help us continue doing what we’re doing, visit our Supporters page.

• You can also support the Independent, the CREATE Center for the Arts and local artists by purchasing our local-art coloring-book project, Coloring the Coachella Valley Vol. 1. It features the work of local artists, as well as Independent file photos converted into coloring pages. All the proceeds will be split between the Independent, the CREATE Center and the artists whose work is inside. The 24-page book is available as both a digital download and as a printed 8.5 by 11 book, on quality paper, by the UPS Store. The digital downloads cost $20 each; both the digital download and the print version are available for $30 each (shipping included). Learn more and see a few sample pieces here.

• We know virtually every local small business is struggling right now—so we’ve started our new Adopt a Small Business program, an initiative designed to promote locally owned businesses AND support local journalism. You can help a favorite small business advertise in the Independent—at highly discounted rates: For $199, the small business will receive a quarter-page ad in a monthly print edition of the Independent; run-of-site ads in rotation for a month at CVIndependent.com; and at least one ad per week for a month in the Independent’s Daily Digest. The value of this package is more than $600. Find details here.

Thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Hang in there. Better days are coming.

—Jimmy Boegle,
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Published in Editor's Note

I’ve been an anxious mess the last few days. There’s a good chance you have been as well.

What we’re all going through right now is completely unprecedented. There hasn’t been a pandemic like this since the Spanish flu ravaged the planet a century ago—and that pandemic happened in a time without significant commercial air travel, the Internet and so on.

As we endure the pandemic and all of the disruption that it’s bringing, we here at the Independent will keep doing what we’ve been doing for our seven-plus years of existence—telling the Coachella Valley’s stories. In fact, we’re going to do our best to do even more.

First, we’re launching a new series of pieces called Pandemic Stories. These pieces will tell slice-of-life stories on how the community is being affected by the coronavirus and all of the societal changes taking place as a result. We posted the first one yesterday—a piece by staff writer Kevin Fitzgerald, on what the last-minute cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open meant to Piero’s PizzaVino, one of the few local restaurants that opens a satellite location at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden during the tourney.

Second, later today, we’ll launch a new daily feature at CVIndependent.com—also available via e-mail (it’ll go to all of our e-Edition subscribers to start)—that rounds up reliable, vetted news related to COVID-19 and the accompanying societal changes. There’s too much unreliable information floating around on social media (and even coming out of some elected officials’ mouths)—and we will help sort through it all to get to truthfulness and sanity. In addition to news updates, we’ll also highlight good things happening—specials from local businesses (that REALLY need your support right now), enlightening comments from members of the community, and so on. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have anything you think should be included.

As we strive to do more, however, I need to be frank: This pandemic poses an existential threat to the Independent. (The same can be said for all sorts of other local businesses, as well as virtually every independent news source around the country.) Our advertising base is made up largely of local businesses—the very same businesses getting their asses kicked right now by all of the cancellations and social distancing. So … that’s where we really need your help: If you value the work the Independent is doing, and you can afford it, please send us a few bucks to help us keep the news coming. Learn more at www.cvindependent.com/index.php/en-US/supporters. Please consider becoming a supporter, either with a one-time payment, or if you can, by sending us a few bucks each month. The strength of the support we get from readers who can afford it may very well determine whether the Independent makes it or not.

Thanks for reading. Tough days are ahead, but we’re going to get through this, Coachella Valley, as long as we continue to uplift and support each other.

Published in Editor's Note

A recent Independent story, which serves as the cover story in our March print edition, examines the mess that Assembly Bill 5 has made for independent musicians.

As the headline says … it’s a shit show.

You can read the specifics in the story—by my friend Kevin Allman, who recently moved to Southern California after a 12-year stint as the editor of the Gambit weekly in New Orleans—but I wanted to point out something I discovered while editing and fact-checking the piece: This AB 5 mess marks the first time that a lot of young adults have had to seriously deal with the consequences of a new state law … and they’re pissed. One tongue-in-cheek comment I saw on a social-media account sums it up: “Yay California. Way to lift people up. Regulations is just what we need!”

Actually … AB 5 was needed. It was just badly executed. In April 2018, in response to a case against a transportation company, the California Supreme Court ruled that a worker could only be considered an independent contractor (rather than an employee) if the worker met three specific criteria. As a result, the Legislature needed to step in and craft new law to clarify things … and that led to AB 5.

Well, AB 5 arguably made a bad situation worse: In an attempt to “protect” Lyft and Uber drivers, as well as drivers for services like Postmates and Grubhub, by making sure they were classified as employees, Rep. Lorena Gonzalez pushed through legislation that, with neither rhyme nor reason, exempted some gigs, while not exempting others. Graphic artists and fine artists were exempted … while musicians were not. Freelance writers were exempted, but only if they write 35 pieces or fewer for a publication/website in a year.

Why 35? I have no idea. Neither does anyone else.

Take the situation Independent music scribe Matt King now faces. Matt, for the most part, decides what he writes about; he suggests story topics, and I say yea or nay while giving him a deadline. He works when he wants, where he wants, and is paid more than a minimum-wage equivalent for his work. Yet barring a change in the law, I’ll soon need to either bring him on as an employee, or let him go, if we want to comply with the law.

Matt is also a musician and a band leader—and according to AB 5, he should be considered both an employee and an employer at his gigs now: He’d be an employee of the venue, and the employer of his band mates.

It’s a shit show.

The state and Democratic lawmakers are making a terrible impression on a whole lot of young residents as a result of AB 5—and who knows what future electoral consequences this may have?

As always, thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Feel free to email me with feedback—and be sure to pick up the March 2020 print edition.

Published in Editor's Note

The email arrived in my inbox at 4:17 p.m.

“Valentine’s Day at (restaurant name redacted) is a Sweet Deal!” the subject line said.

The email, from a public-relations rep hired by the restaurant, was seeking news coverage. It included a photo, a copy of the Valentine’s Day menu at (restaurant name redacted), and other info. I sighed, deleted the email—only because we’re not doing any sort of Valentine’s Day-dining coverage—and moved on with my day.

Why, you might ask, did I sigh? Well, we’ve given (restaurant name redacted) coverage before it opened. And we’ve given it ample editorial coverage since it opened. However, that restaurant—which has decided it needs the services of someone whose job it is to obtain media coverage—has not given the Independent a dime since it opened several years ago.

Not for advertising. Not for Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week (which, hey, is coming up again; see the details here). Not for anything. In fact, the management doesn’t even respond to our emails. The Independent is not alone here; I see very little advertising by this restaurant anywhere.

This disconnect is a problem.

In order to give you, our readers, the fairest coverage possible—in order to serve you best—we decide what to cover without considering what’s happening on the advertising side. Had we been doing Valentine’s Day dining coverage, we’d have included the information from (restaurant name redacted) right alongside restaurants that have spent a dime or more with the Independent.

Some restaurants don’t need PR or advertising; they, through word of mouth or reputation, have enough business. However, those restaurants are decidedly in the minority, and (restaurant name redacted) is apparently not one of those restaurants, seeing as I keep getting emails from a PR person on their behalf.

So … what would happen if all restaurants acted like (restaurant name redacted) did, and spent money on a PR person, but no money on advertising with the media sources that hired PR person is emailing? Well, those media sources would die. And the PR person would have nobody to email.

A similar situation is taking place with social media. I’ve had far too many businesses tell me they’re not spending money on “traditional media,” but instead are advertising on Facebook, Instagram, etc. … where they share and promote the coverage given to them, for free, by traditional media.

It’s simple, folks: If you value media—like, say, newspapers such as the Independent—you need to support us. Otherwise, we’ll die. Printing, distribution, restaurant news … that stuff costs money. It ain’t cheap.

On that note … thanks to all the advertisers who support the Independent—and be sure to pick up the February 2020 print edition, hitting streets this week.

Published in Editor's Note

A few notes as we kick off Volume 8 here at the Independent:

• Am I the only one having a hard time grasping the fact that it’s almost 2020? When I first saw Beth Allen’s design for the new print-issue cover, and I saw the date “January 2020,” I just stopped and stared at it for a while.

Yeah, I know I’ll get used to it soon enough. But for now, it really seems weird.

• We’ve recently published pieces by two new-to-the-Independent scribes: You’ll find Carlynne McDonnell’s inaugural pets column here, and here, you’ll find Andrea Gomez’s first piece for us—an interview with the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s new artistic director, Coachella Valley native Liliana Rodriguez.

Welcome, Carlynne and Andrea! If you want to join them in the pages of the Independent, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re still looking for people to write (paid!) freelance pieces focused on marijuana, hiking/the outdoors, event previews, and more.

• Our signature event, Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week, is back for its fourth year! The week starts Friday, Jan. 31, and goes through Saturday, Feb. 8. During those nine days, bars and restaurants valley-wide will highlight special craft cocktails—and give a portion of the proceeds from the sales of those cocktails to our beneficiaries, the Desert AIDS Project and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert.

The highlight of the week is the Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship, taking place at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Moxie Palm Springs. Up to 10 of the valley’s best bartenders will battle for the coveted Audience Choice Award and the Craft Cocktail Championship—and, yes, attendees get to taste all of the competing cocktails! Presale tickets, through Jan. 10, are $35; they’ll be $40 after that, and $45 at the door if we don’t sell out (and we probably will).

Pick up next month’s issue for our special Cocktail Week program—and head to PSCraftCocktails.com for updates and/or to buy championship tickets!

• Finally, I’d like to kick off 2020 by offering my sincere appreciation to everyone who has supported the Independent—readers, advertisers and members of our Supporters program—as we enter our eighth full year.

This is not a great time for most newspapers, as you know. In fact, one of my favorite alternative publications, the OC Weekly, was shuttered by its (lazy, non-innovative) owners just before Thanksgiving.

That same week, we were putting the finishing touches on our December issue—which, revenue-wise, was our best ever.

Do we still need to do better here at the Independent, in terms of bringing in revenue? Yes, we do; I am dying to add more writers/reporters so we can better tell the valley’s stories—and we have some things in the works that will hopefully help us do just that. (And I’d like, one day, to be able to pay myself a living wage … but that’s a discussion for another time.) Watch this space for details in the upcoming months … and again, thank you for your support. Please, please keep it up.

As always, thank you for reading. Happy New Year, and be sure to pick up a copy of the January 2020—yep, still seems weird—print edition, hitting the streets this week.

Published in Editor's Note

I’ll be honest: As I write this column, I am exhausted. November has been one hell of a month here at the Coachella Valley Independent. Here are a few highlights:

• We were again fortunate enough to have a booth at the Greater Palm Springs Pride festival, this year on Nov. 2 and 3. During the two-day fest, we gave out 500 magnetic chip clips with the Independent’s logo, as well as many hundreds of newspapers. Thanks to all of you who stopped by and shared a kind word or three. Also, a personal thank you to Kevin Fitzgerald and Matt King, who helped me out at the booth.

• The following weekend, the Independent hosted the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual Publishers’ Retreat at the Colony Palms Hotel. Our group of publishers—from newspapers in locales ranging from Santa Barbara to Milwaukee, and from Boston to Little Rock—gathered for two days to discuss the media landscape, share ideas, and commiserate over great meals and a cocktail or two. Thanks to all of my fellow publishers who came to Palm Springs; to all of the wonderful people at the Colony Palms; to Willie Rhine and Lucy Kent at Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, which hosted our Friday happy hour; and to our friends at Palm Springs Speaks, who provided tickets to Robert Reich’s speech.

• Finally … we put together our Best of Coachella Valley issue. While I could thank many, many people who helped us produce the fun and informative issue, I have limited space here, so I’ll limit my expressions of gratitude to just two.

First: Beth Allen, our fantastic graphic designer, is the true Best of Coachella Valley MVP. Not only did she design this year’s excellent Best of Coachella Valley logo; she laid out the entire BOCV package for the print edition (which is NOT easy, given the number of moving parts), and she even designed a few late-arriving advertisements. Heck, she wrote three of our staff picks, too. Thanks, Beth; we couldn’t have done this issue without you. Literally.

Second: We also couldn’t do the BOCV issue without you, our amazingly astute and community-minded readers. Thank you for taking the time to head to CVIndependent.com and vote in the two rounds of balloting; I know it can be daunting to face down a slate of almost 130 categories. But you did—and the result is, by far, the valley’s best “Best Of” slate of winners and finalists. Your support is why, as the Independent enters its eighth full year of existence, we do what we do.

Happy holidays, and as always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.—and be sure to pick up our December/Best of Coachella Valley print edition, hitting the streets this week.

Published in Editor's Note

I’ll never forget June 26, 2015—the day that gay marriage became legal across the entire United States, thanks to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

It’s a day I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, and the sheer joy felt as everyone gathered in downtown Palm Springs to rally and celebrate was, in a word, glorious. We’ve come so far, most of us thought.

Now, not even 4 1/2 years later, the mood of many of the people who gathered to celebrate in Palm Springs that night is decidedly different. Today, the mood is somber. And fearful.

This mood has almost everything to do with actions taken by the Trump administration, which has been downright awful to and for the LGBTQ community. For starters: The U.S. Supreme Court is currently debating whether it should be legal for employers to fire employees based on their sexuality and/or trans status. Let me restate that slightly differently: The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2019, is currently debating whether it should be legal for employers to discriminate against employees on a basis that has nothing to do with job performance. The Trump administration, for the record, thinks it should be legal for employers to engage in such discrimination.

Of course, that’s not the only matter involving rights that is now up in the air under the Trump administration. Trans men and women are now banned from joining the military. Abortion rights are under attack nationwide—and it’s possible the U.S. Supreme Court could wind up deliberating the issue, even though Roe v. Wade has been supposedly settled law for 46 years. Even gay marriage could get relitigated, if the Trump administration gets its way.

All of this is why, when the LGBTQ community gathers to celebrate Greater Palm Springs Pride, the usually celebratory mood will be tinged with a bit of sorrow. Of anger. Of fear.

Fortunately, there are a lot of local reasons to justify the aforementioned celebratory mood at Pride. You can read about two of those reasons—amazing LGBTQ locals working to improve and expand our local music scene—in stories we recently posted at CVIndependent.com: Brad Guth, the openly gay owner of The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, a former (and current, sort of) metal bar; and DJ Sugarfree, aka Noemi Rodriguez, one of the valley’s top DJs, who is taking steps to improve and diversify the local underground music scene. Those stories are also included in the special Pride Issue package of our November print edition.

As always, thanks for reading; contact me if you have questions or comments. Also, be sure to pick up the November 2019 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, hitting newsstands this week—and be sure to drop by our booth at Palm Springs Pride!

Published in Editor's Note

October is a big month for the Coachella Valley Independent.

Late in the month, we’ll mark the Independent’s seventh birthday. We posted our first bit of content at CVIndependent.com on Oct. 25, 2012, which means that on Oct. 25, 2019, we’ll start our eighth year of publication.

This is also the month in which we mark the anniversary of the monthly print edition: After quarterlies in April and July of 2013, we started our monthly print-publication schedule in October 2013. Our October 2019 issue is our 75th print edition!

While these milestones are certainly worth celebrating … frankly, we’re too busy to party. (However, if you want to give us a present to thank us for all of this great content … that’d be swell. Just click on the tip-jar icon. Thank you!)

For one thing … we’re busy because it’s Best of Coachella Valley voting season. Thanks to all of you who cast your ballots during the nomination round! On Monday, Sept. 30, we’ll announce this year’s slate of finalists in the 130 or so categories, and start the second and final round of voting.

Voting will take place through Monday, Oct. 28. You can only vote once—yeah, we’re different from other publications in that way; we prefer having a true and honest slate of finalists and winners over racking up the extra page views we’d get if we allowed ballot-box-stuffing. We’ll announce the winners at CVIndependent.com on Monday, Nov. 25, and in our December print edition. Congrats to all the finalists, and thanks in advance to all of you who will vote!

For another thing … we’re busy adding writers and content. Astute readers have noticed some new bylines in recent months—and we’re still adding more.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an Independent contributor? If so, drop me a line. We’re particularly looking for people to write about music, the visual arts, marijuana and the outdoors/hiking, plus we’re always looking for people who can write compelling, local features.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: Unlike some other, skeezier publications, we pay our writers. Yes, we pay real money! If you’re interested, drop me a line.

As always, thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions—and be sure to pick up the October 2019 print edition, hitting newsstands this week.

Published in Editor's Note

Here’s some information on two important goings-on this month:

• Best of Coachella Valley voting is now under way!

First-round (nomination) voting in our annual readers’ poll is taking place through Friday, Sept. 13. Click on the link above, and you'll be sent to the open ballot—you fill in the blank in each category.

The top vote-getters will advance to the final round of voting, which will take place at CVIndependent.com from Monday, Sept. 30, through Monday, Oct. 28. The Best of Coachella Valley results will be announced at CVIndependent.com on Monday, Nov. 25, and in our special December print edition.

We run our readers’ poll a little bit differently than those other publications run theirs: For the Best of Coachella Valley, we ask readers to vote only once per round. The goal of other “Best Of” readers’ polls is for the publication to get as much web traffic as possible from readers visiting their websites over and over again to vote. Not us: We’d rather have readers vote just once per round, so our list of winners can be as fair as possible.

If you haven’t voted already … what are you waiting for? Get yourself to CVIndependent.com!

• Some bad news for local media on the circulation front: Kroger, the Cincinnati-based supermarket behemoth, has decided not to renew its agreement with DistribuTech to distribute free publications in its stores around the country.

What does this mean? Barring a change of heart, or Kroger making some sort of arrangement with another distribution company (both of which are unlikely), as of sometime in September, you’ll no longer be able to pick up the print version of the Independent—or any other free publication—at the Ralph’s stores in the Coachella Valley.

This move by Kroger is a very bad thing for both the media and the public. As our friends at the Memphis Flyer in Tennessee put it: “Kroger was providing a true community service with its free publications distribution … because ‘free’ information is often the only information available for a great many of our citizens. They may not be able to afford a subscription to the daily paper or the latest issue of Vanity Fair, but they can pick up (publications like the Independent) on their way out of the grocery store and get some insight into what’s happening in their community.”

As a result of all this, the Independent will lose five very good distribution spots; the good news is that leaves about 385 other locations where people can pick up the newspaper (including the four local Albertsons stores). If you’re one of the people who usually picks us up at Ralph’s, and you need help finding the paper elsewhere, you have two options: One, click on “Find a Copy” here at CVIndependent.com; or two, email me or call me at 760-904-4208, and I’ll personally let you know the closest distribution spots to you.

One more thing: Please feel free to express your displeasure about this decision to management at your local Ralph’s. Be polite—the decision came from corporate headquarters, not local management—but if enough people complain, perhaps those complaints will make their way back to Cincinnati and change some minds.

As always, thanks for reading—and if you have anything to say, don’t hesitate to email me at the address below. Also, be sure to pick up the September 2019 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, hitting streets this week.

Published in Editor's Note