When people from out of state or other countries hear the term "Coachella Valley," they usually think of Palm Springs as its most relevant community. That outdated perception has been perpetuated for decades, going back to Hollywood's golden years, when movie stars came here to vacation, making our desert an exclusive getaway.
While local officials are trying to bring back some of the energy for which Palm Springs was once famous, the east valley has continued expanding, and in some ways is now considered a new hot spot.
Most outsiders don't realize there are nine separate cities that constitute the Coachella Valley. Several attempts have been made over the years to consolidate these individual entities, all without success. Our valley is made up of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella and Desert Hot Springs. Some people feel that having so many cities in such close proximity, each with their own distinct rules and regulations, contributes to a lack of cohesiveness.
If a proposal succeeded to unite all of these cities, residents of the Coachella Valley would be able to co-exist under the same jurisdiction. This action would mandate a name change, and there's only one name that would be easy for people to remember: Rancho Laquindiothedral Hotsprindianwellschella Palmirage Desert.
The Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau would also be able to change their name to the Rancho Laquindiothedral Hotsprindianwellschella Palmirage Desert Convention and Visitors Bureau. Just think of how simple it would be to call information. When the operator says, "What city, please?" instead of saying, "Indio," the caller can say the all-encompassing name.
It wouldn't be long before the new name becomes part of popular culture. For example, when doing a crossword puzzle, you might see a clue that says, "60-letter word for a city in the Southern California desert."
Even spelling bees would find themselves testing contestants on our new city name. It would be common to hear a student ask, "Can you use it in a sentence?" or "What is the origin of the word?" as the moderator tries to pronounce it.
Once the new name is approved, efforts could be made to promote it. We can take a cue from Hollywood, where the famous Hollywood sign remains a landmark to this day. Hundreds of construction workers would have the task of hauling each letter up to the top of our local mountains, where the full city name would span several miles. Of course, the sign would also be visible from the newly renamed Rancho Laquindiothedral Hotsprindianwellschella Palmirage Desert Aerial Tramway.
You may have noticed that there are two names missing from this discussion. Thousand Palms and Bermuda Dunes are two unincorporated communities here in the Coachella Valley. Thousand Palms has been in the news recently, as Cathedral City has been trying to annex its land. Cathedral City's City Council has created a subcommittee to study an annexation effort, which would include 9,700 acres of land and its 7,000 residents.
However, the real issue is equality. Why should nearby Twentynine Palms only have 29, when Thousand Palms has 1,000? Thousand Palms should give half of its trees to Twentynine Palms and be renamed 500 Palms, while 29 Palms would be renamed 529 Palms.
Concerning Bermuda Dunes, the unincorporated community should have an annual short-film festival, where the attendees could wear Bermuda shorts. This festival would compete with the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, which would be renamed … well, you get the idea.
I have to admit: It is a little tedious writing the entire name of our new city. That's where nicknames can come in handy. For example, some people call Cathedral City "Cat City." That's an interesting abbreviation, as an argument could be made that Cathedral City is going to the dogs.
That's why there should be a contest encouraging residents to come up with a shortened version of our new city name. As an incentive, Cathedral City’s City Council could do what it does best, and present the winner with gift cards purchased with a city credit card.
Still, when you’re watching a game show with a clue for Rancho Laquindiothedral Hotsprindianwellschella Palmirage Desert, you could be proud you live in a city with a name that's both historical and hysterical. I'd like to buy a vowel, please.