Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: April 20, 2023

Earlier today, we published a story by Kevin Fitzgerald, explaining why the Coachella Valley will not be getting a full four-year university anytime soon.

This is not a surprise. But it is disappointment.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary year here at the Independent, I’ve been reflecting back on what it was like when we started up in 2013. To say we faced challenges would be an understatement; however, I anticipated most of those challenges.

The one massive challenge I didn’t fully anticipate was the extreme difficulty we’d face in finding good, experienced, eager freelancers. Before coming to the Coachella Valley, I worked for newspapers in Reno, Las Vegas and Tucson. In each of those places, it was relatively easy to find capable writers, photographers and designers. In each of those places, I also managed (or helped manage) robust internship programs.

Then I came here.

While I was able to eventually assemble a solid group of freelancers, it took far longer and was much more difficult than I expected. As for developing an internship program, after trying for at least two years to make headway, I finally gave up. Even now, I have a possible grant for a paid intern, and I can’t find any solid candidates for the position. (Know of someone? Drop me a line!)

What’s different about the Coachella Valley compared to my previous locations? Reno, Las Vegas and Tucson are all, to varying degrees, college towns. The Coachella Valley is not; as great as the College of the Desert is in some respects, it’s still a community college, not a four-year-degree institution.

Universities add so much to a community. They bring in talented and smart experts, who then pass their expertise along to their students. The result is the development of a “creative class” of individuals—artists, writers, musicians and the like—as well as entrepreneurs, all of whom help the community become a better place to live.

This is not to say the Coachella Valley doesn’t have talented artists, writers, musicians and entrepreneurs—of course we do—but we don’t have as many of them as we would if California State University, Palm Desert, were a real thing.

As Kevin explains in his story, any hopes we had of getting a four-year university here anytime soon have been dashed by the pandemic and the current state budget deficit. But there is hope: A recent state study indicated that of all the possible locations for a new CSU campus, Palm Desert is, in many ways, the spot with the most potential.

I really hope that CSU-Palm Desert becomes a reality in the not-too-distant future. It would truly be a positive game-changer for the entire Coachella Valley.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

No CSU-PD: Palm Desert Is a Leading Candidate for a New Four-Year State University—but It’s Not Happening Anytime Soon

By Kevin Fitzgerald

April 20th, 2023

The Legislature recently decided against adding a new California State University campus in Palm Desert—but that doesn’t locals are giving up on the dream.

The Girl Club: Meet Claire Rogers, a Model-Turned-Executive-Turned-Professional Speaker—Who Now Runs a Cat Café

By Kay Kudukis

April 19th, 2023

Claire Rogers moved from the corporate world, to being a professional speaker about mental illness, to being the owner of the Frisky Business Cat Cafe.

Different Kind of Country: 49 Winchester Brings Genre Shifts and a Variety of Inspirations to Stagecoach

By Matt King

April 18th, 2023

With infusions of soul, hard rock and folk, 49 Winchester often shows a softer, more emotional and more blistering side of the country genre.

Hiking With T: The Winter Precipitation Has Led to Gorgeous, Flowing Waterfalls

By Theresa Sama

April 19th, 2023

Thanks to the huge mountain snowpack surrounding us that has started to melt, Palm Springs-area canyons are thriving with amazing waterfalls.

Caesar Cervisia: A Look at a Few Places Offering Great Beers Within a Two-Hour Drive

By Brett Newton

April 18th, 2023

As the weather heats up, you might be thinking of getting out of town—and making stops at a taproom or two.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for April 20, 2023

By Staff

April 20th, 2023

Topics touched upon this week include beach vacation homes, action figurines, George Soros, reasonably sized yachts—and more!

The Steinway Society of Riverside County’s Awards Festival Winners to Perform at the Rancho Mirage Library (nonprofit submission)

By Pamela Bieri

April 19th, 2023

The top junior and senior level winners were selected during the competition held at Xavier College Preparatory High School in March, where the young pianists performed their musical pieces.

More News

• The employees at another local Starbucks have voted to unionize. From a news release: “(On Tuesday), workers at the Monroe (Street) and Highway 111 Starbucks in Indio filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize with Starbucks Workers United. The … employees are joining a nationwide movement of hundreds of stores and thousands of baristas organizing for better working conditions. Workers sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan to announce their organizing campaign. In the letter, workers explained that ‘it took us working in sewage to realize the need for a union.’ They also called out management for cutting supervisors and hours during their busiest time surrounding the Coachella music festival. ‘We, the partners at Monroe and Highway 111, are happy and eager to join the union movement happening throughout our country. We are tired of the lies being told by corporations that aim to separate the working class; all the while, we all suffer from being overworked and underpaid. We are tired of making record profits for people who view us as just numbers and statistics. We join in solidarity with fellow workers in the fight for a first contract and good faith bargaining,’ said the partners at the Indio location.” This is at least the second local Starbucks store where employees have unionized; the La Quinta location at Jefferson Street and Highway 111 did so last year.

• I am sure you’ve heard of the settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems. Most pundits have looked at the settlement as a positive for Fox. However, two business experts, in a column for Time magazine, say this is just the beginning of the “nightmare” for Fox and Rupert Murdoch: “The horror story that is just beginning to unfold and that will continue to haunt the company and its patriarch is the corporate governance catastrophe this case leaves in its wake and the punctured business bravado of the scorching public record of admitted fraud and negligent management oversight. Fox’s celebrity anchors already soiled themselves in emailed evidence revealing they did not believe what they were reporting as truth. Their testimony and emails are in the public record for future litigants. Meanwhile, the judge’s special master, investigating fraudulent representations by Fox and its lawyers in discovery, continue undaunted by this settlement. The rest of Murdoch’s life and the rest of the careers of his board will likely be defined by ongoing fallout.”

Sort-of related is this piece from The Washington Post that 1) made me laugh, and 2) shows that, on rare occasion, there is some justice in the world: “MyPillow founder and prominent election denier Mike Lindell made a bold offer ahead of a ‘cyber symposium’ he held in August 2021 in South Dakota: He claimed he had data showing Chinese interference and said he would pay $5 million to anyone who could prove the material was not from the previous year’s U.S. election. He called the challenge ‘Prove Mike Wrong.’ On Wednesday, a private arbitration panel ruled that someone did. The panel said Robert Zeidman, a computer forensics expert and 63-year-old Trump voter from Nevada, was entitled to the $5 million payout. Zeidman had examined Lindell’s data and concluded that not only did it not prove voter fraud, it also had no connection to the 2020 election. He was the only expert who submitted a claim, arbitration records show.”

Yet another news outlet that did good work is going away. NBC News says: “BuzzFeed News is shutting down. In an email to staff shared with NBC News, BuzzFeed Inc. CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti said the move was part of a 15% workforce reduction across a number of teams. ‘While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, we’ve determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization,’ he wrote. … BuzzFeed News launched in earnest at the outset of 2012 after it named longtime New York City political reporter Ben Smith as its editor-in-chief. In 2021, the news organization won a Pulitzer Prize for a series exposing China’s mass detention of Muslims. That same year, it was also named a Pulitzer finalist—the second time it had received the honor.”

In other journalism-related news: A newspaper with no online presence in McCurtain County, Okla. (population 30,000) has made national news after exposing racist, murderous comments by the county sheriff and others. NBC News reports: “The governor of Oklahoma has called for the resignations of the sheriff and other top officials in a rural county after they were recorded talking about ‘beating, killing and burying’ a father/son team of local reporters—and lamenting that they could no longer hang Black people with a ‘damned rope.’ Gov. Kevin Stitt called for McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, County Commissioner Mark Jennings, sheriff’s investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix to step down after the McCurtain County Gazette-News published an article over the weekend about what was captured on the recording. … The McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the recording was ‘illegally obtained,’ appears to have been altered, and may have been produced in violation of state law prohibiting secret recordings by third parties.” Late yesterday, the paper released the full 3 hour, 37-minute audio, which has even more damning statements.

And finally … it’s the end of an era. The Los Angeles Times reports: “Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service is coming to an end. The company announced Tuesday that it is saying goodbye to its original business—mailing out DVDs in its signature red envelopes—after 25 years. ‘Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members but as the business continues to shrink that’s going to become increasingly difficult,’ Netflix co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos wrote in a blog post. ‘So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final discs on September 29, 2023.’”

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Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...