Since starting a Desert Political Opinion page on Facebook I’ve been using that forum to post political opinion items. I would appreciate your visiting the Facebook page and clicking the LIKE button. The Facebook page address is as follows:

https://www.facebook.com/DesertObserver/

          I post non-political reports on my public Notebook page website. Posts include personal subjects along with news and photos of my little red toy poodle doggy, Contessa Le Reouge (I call her “Tessa). Please visit the website. The address link is as follows:

https://www.bondshands.com

Bond Shands My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com My Twitter account handle – @BondShands Please LIKE my Desert Political Opinion page at www.facebook.com/DesertObserver

tessa-on-the-grass-2

Contessa Le Rouge

 

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          According to reports the number of licensed vacation rental properties in Palm Springs continues to grow. These properties are almost all located in residential neighborhood communities. The manner in which vacationing tenants use the properties is one that continues to aggravate neighbors who may be exposed to loud noises, late night partying, parking and traffic congestion and other quality of life issues. Complaints from those exposed to these types of activities continue to abound and the lack of meaningful response by city officials has prompted formation of a community partnership to insist that city action occur.

 

           It’s clear the concerns about vacation rental problems exist in many neighborhoods. Those directly affected deserve the attention of city officials. Implementation of steps to ensure that vacation rental activity does not adversely impact neighborhood quality of life issues remains to be achieved. Until that degree of residential equality exists, city officials should not rest, and no measure – including elimination of vacation rentals – should be considered exempt from the list of solutions needed to adequately achieve meaningful results. If current city ordinances are inadequate to remedy neighborhood vacation rental quality of life issues, then a new or amended ordinance should be created to address all concerns.

 

          Two groups, Protect Our Neighborhoods and Small Hotels of Palm Springs (SHoPS), are jointly “advocating an approach to regulating vacation rentals that balances the needs of residents and small businesses with the city’s desire for revenue”. These organizations are asking that something be done – a process started – and a solution devised with the clear intent of addressing vacation rental quality of life issues. No residential community should be treated differently from others when it comes to basic quality of life issues. Protect Our Neighborhoods and Small Hotels of Palm Springs deserve our support for their calm, reasonable efforts. They deserve our applause for working together to achieve better living conditions for Palm Springs residential communities impacted by vacation rental activities. And vacation rental properties in neighborhood communities need to be closely regulated to prevent their use in a manner that adversely lowers residential quality of life.

 

          Read “Groups seek pause on Palm Springs vacation rentals” in The Desert Sun:   http://desert.sn/1OpYdAf

 

Posted by: Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
The Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Twitter – @BondShands
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Press Release
December 16, 2015

SHoPS and PON join forces to protect Palm Springs’
residential neighborhoods and small businesses

Marla Malaspina
info@ProtectOurNeighborhoods.net
Steering Committee and Neighborhood Outreach
Protect Our Neighborhoods PS

Small Hotels of Palm Springs (SHoPS) and Protect our Neighborhoods (PON) are proud to announce they are joining forces to promote and protect both the quality of life in Palm Springs neighborhoods and the livelihood of small businesses owners and their employees by advocating an approach to regulating vacation rentals that balances the needs of residents and small businesses with the city’s desire for revenue.

In every month since February 2014 the number of legal short term vacation rentals has increased year-over-year by double digits, and now exceeds 1,600 properties. These vacation rentals reduce the quality of life in residential neighborhoods both by replacing full-time neighbors with a constant flow of strangers and by creating opportunities for rowdy visitors to disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.

And by diverting visitors to de facto hotels masquerading as residential properties – which allows them to avoid the many strict regulations which regular hotels must comply with, such as facilities in conformity with the Americans With Disabilities Act – vacation rentals harm the owners and employees of small hotels, inns and other small businesses whose livelihood depends on hosting visitors to Palm Springs.

The arrival of a new Mayor and an invigorated City Council offers the opportunity for the city and its residents to take a fresh look at the role of vacation rentals in the life and commerce of our city. SHoPS and PON look forward to playing an active cooperative role in that reassessment.

Small Hotels of Palm Springs (SHoPS) is a Not-for-Profit Corporation, formed in 2004, grouping over twenty-five smaller independently owned and operated resorts, hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts. As with other tourist-oriented businesses in Palm Springs, they employ hundreds of Palm Springs residents to operate and maintain their properties.

Protect our Neighborhoods (PON) is a group of local residents devoted to protecting the quality of life in Palm Springs’ residential neighborhoods in the face of the ongoing uncontrolled growth of vacation rentals in our city.

David Shahriari Tom Stansbury
President Co-Founder
Small Hotels of Palm Springs Protect Our Neighborhoods PS

SHoPS : www.smallhotelsofpalmsprings.com

PON: www.protectourneighborhoods.net

==== End of Press Release ====

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
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Please LIKE my Desert Political Opinion page at www.facebook.com/DesertObserver

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When should motorists stop or yield if a pedestrian, runner, bicyclist, etc., is crossing the roadway in front of them? The answer is provided in California Vehicle Code Sections 21949-21971.

VC Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”

VC Section 21951 states: “Whenever any vehicle has stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.”

VC Section 21952 states: “The driver of any motor vehicle, prior to driving over or upon any sidewalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching thereon.”

There is an interesting LA Times REDDIT Q&A discussion titled “PSA: Yield right of way to pedestrians in marked AND unmarked crosswalks”.  Read it at http://bit.ly/1HUOmzN

Read the California Vehicle Code Sections at: http://bit.ly/1REKghn

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
The Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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Please LIKE my Desert Political Opinion page at www.facebook.com/DesertObserver

5.00 avg. rating (96% score) - 1 vote

Dear Mayor Rob Moon, Councilmember Geoff Kors and Councilmember J.R. Roberts:

          Many issues were raised by candidates and residents during the 2015 Palm Springs elections. While no candidate’s campaign platform included promised support for the entire spectrum of issues raised, most of those seeking election promised to listen with an open mind. You were among those promising open minds.

        The following are some of the issues raised and I’m now submitting them for your consideration as worthy of recognition and response.

1.   Social Services Commission

Creation of a new city commission to address ongoing Social Services needs in the community. Homelessness, mental health, underprivileged children and others in need would be part of the commission’s charter. Representation from the local school district should be an important consideration.

 2.   Budget & Finance Commission

Creation a new city commission to audit and review ongoing city finances and annual budget preparations, develop Measure J Funds spending guidelines and review/recommend policies related to Developer Fees and Hotel TOT Rebates, etc.

 3.  City Hall and City Council Availability

Actions to restore City Hall business hours to a full five day week. Palm Springs should be a year-round city and that includes scheduling regular city council meetings each month of the year (including the month of August).

 4.  District Elections, Campaign Spending, Mayoral Runoff Elections, Term Limits

Creation a task force to review and recommend appropriate actions with respect to each of the following:

  • A ballot measure establishing District Elections for up to six city council members;
  • Provide for an automatic mayoral runoff election when no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote;
  • Establish local election campaign spending limits, and;
  • Set term limits for city council members.

5.  External Affairs Policy Statements

Creation of an appropriateness policy that suggests when the mayor and/or city council should issue proclamations or adopt resolutions that support or oppose actions and issues that are not directly related to city government. (For example, the council acted in support of Same-Sex marriage issues but remained silent when SCOTUS overturned Voting Rights Act key provisions).

 6.  Government-Tribal Relations & Partnership

Creation of a task force to review partnership relations with the Agua Caliente Tribe and recommend appropriate actions that will serve to increase mutual understanding, respect and identify areas of common interests.

7.  Accountability & Transparency Issues

Councilmember Geoff Kors, in a recent Valley Voice op-ed, indicated readiness to start the process towards addressing Accountability & Transparency concerns that have been raised and his list, in my opinion, is one worthy of full support.

          It’s my sincere hope that you, our new City Council members, will seriously consider the issues outlined above and provide some type of forum for public input or other involvement with respect to each.

Thanks very much,

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
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Valley Voice: Transparency and reform for Palm Springs
          by: Geoff Kors, incoming Palm Springs City Councilmember

Geoff Kors

On Wednesday night, along with Mayor-elect Rob Moon and Councilmember-elect J.R. Roberts, I will be sworn in as a member of the Palm Springs City Council.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve our great city.

During the campaign, I had the opportunity to speak with thousands of residents about the issues that were most important to them.   From discussions that ranged from downtown to homelessness to economic growth to quality of life to sustainability, it was clear that Palm Springs residents are engaged and invested in helping ensure that our city attains its full potential.

But the issue that was brought up more than any other — and that permeates everything we do – was government ethics and transparency.

During the campaign, I pledged that I would start my tenure by proposing a task force to address ethics, transparency and government reform. I will begin that process Wednesday night.

The task force will be charged with making recommendations that will ensure that our government is more transparent, free from potential conflicts of interest and more representative of the diversity that is Palm Springs.

The task force will look at best practices in other cities, seek input from residents and experts, and then propose an ordinance to the City Council for consideration.  I have numerous ideas that I believe should be considered by the task force, but they are just that – ideas.  Ultimately, what is included in the task force’s proposal will only be decided after significant research and public input.  Here are some of my ideas:

1. Elected and appointed officials’ and candidates’ statements of financial interest and campaign contributor reports shall be posted on the city’s website.

2. Elected and appointed officials shall be recused from any matter in which they have an economic or financial interest or if they are employed by or sit on the board of directors of an entity that is supporting or opposing a matter.  In such instances the official shall provide, in detail, the reason they believe that there might be a conflict and the city attorney shall determine whether recusal is appropriate.

3. Sales of property or other assets that require approval of the City Council shall be put out to competitive bid and voted on as a non-consent item.

4. An application process – with specified criteria and reporting – shall be created and followed for grants made by the city.

5. Appointed commissions, boards and committees shall meet after 5:00 pm to allow a larger number and broader diversity of city residents to participate.

6. Meetings of city appointed commissions, boards, committees, task forces and similar entities shall be noticed and open to the public.

7. Staff reports regarding a matter being considered by the City Council, a commission or board must be made available to the public when the agenda for the meeting is published.  If the staff report is not made available, the matter shall be tabled absent exigent circumstances.

8. Examine our election process – including campaign financing – for possible changes.

I encourage residents to share their ideas so that together we can ensure trust in our city government for decades to come.

Email incoming Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors at geoffkorscitycouncil@gmail.com.


 

          The preceding article was originally posted as a Valley Voice op-ed contribution in The Desert Sun at http://desert.sn/1HFJaQn on December 1, 2015. It has been reproduced here with permission from the author.

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
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Twitter – @BondShands
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I have a longstanding personal policy regarding membership organizations and others who seek dollar support. I avoid those who engage in political endorsements for I don’t wish to see funds I may have provided used either for or against political candidates or issues I may or may not support. It’s for that reason that the following listing of organizations will not be appearing on my list of paid memberships or other forms of financial support. Each of those listed took positions in recent political elections and endorsed one or more candidates.

AFL – CIO – American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

CIVS PAC – Coachella / Imperial Valleys Strategies PAC

COPE – Riverside Committee on Political Education

Democrats of the Desert Sun

SEIU Local 721

Desert Stonewall Democrats

DVBA – Desert Valleys Builders Association

EQCA – Equality California

LPAC – Lesbian Political Action Committee

PSFMU – Palm Springs Fire Management Unit

PSFSU – Palm Springs Fire Safety Unit

Palm Springs Modern Heritage Fund

PSPOA – Palm Springs Police Officers Association

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest

Riverside County Democratic Central Committee

San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Building and Construction Trades Council

San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Central Labor Council

SEIU Local 721

Sierra Club

Victory Fund

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
The Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Twitter – @BondShands
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Please LIKE my Desert Political Opinion page atwww.facebook.com/DesertObserver

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           Palm Springs city manager David Ready’s Valley Voice op-ed titled “Land sales a proven boon for Palm Springs” makes no claim that the city has received proven benefits from sales of Redevelopment Agency (RDA) properties. Instead he defends the lack of profits from sales by speculating that “hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenues” will result from future development of the properties. Those hoped-for future revenues also included a “new public parking structure for the Convention Center” that were mentioned as examples of economic development incentive importance to those who purchased RDA properties. Some would argue that a better approach would have been to engage the services of a good realtor, have properties realistically appraised, and sell them for their genuine market value. Few would agree that selling properties below market value in order to provide developers with questionable economic incentives makes much sense.

         The first part of the op-ed discusses city services and tax revenues – both have seen significant increases in the 2008 to 2015 period. The revenues discussed are hotel tax revenues, city sales taxes and the Measure J additional sales tax. Credit is given to hotel, business and airline incentives that were implemented by the City Council. No mention is made of the other significant factors that contributed to the period’s revenue and city service increases.

          During 2008 through 2015 taxes and fees on residents were raised four times. These included the 4.5% Measure G Cell and Cable phone tax in 2009; the 1% Measure J sales tax in 2011; the 10% Medicinal Marijuana sales tax in 2015 ; and the incremental 100% Wastewater sewer service tax (increased yearly from 2013 to 2031). These all contributed significantly to city revenues, but were not mentioned in the city manager’s op-ed. Surely they deserve to be included in any summary of city revenue increases in the 2008-2015 period.

          Following the 2008 economic recession a number of city services were eliminated or cut back. Among those were reductions in fire and safety funding, city hall services, pay cuts for city council members and other cost savings. Full restoration of all that had been eliminated or cut back has yet to occur. An obvious example would be the operating hours of City Hall which remains on a Monday through Thursday four-day work week that leaves it closed on Fridays.

          It’s important that city officials provide information about activities and services along with responses to criticisms and questions voiced by residents or in the media. The city manager’s op-ed is certainly appropriate for it seeks to address acknowledged problems with respect to sale of RDA properties.

          The concern that should be noted with the op-ed is it states only part of the story, presents a one-sided point of view and conveniently overlooks information that would provide a full picture. Some could rightfully claim that a more candid assessment of the subject would have better served both the city, its officials and the public.

          The recent calls for complete transparency in all things related to city government apparently are falling on deaf ears. That appears to be the case with the op-ed for it is one clearly lacking in the candor and transparency that’s so desperately needed in our city’s current scandal-headlined environment. Will residents in Palm Springs ever see the day when ethics, candor, transparency, honesty and believability become an official city standard?
David-Ready-Palm-Springs-city-manager

City Manager David Ready

Read or Share the newspaper story: http://desert.sn/1S3mD0i

Bond Shands
October 25, 2015
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
The Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Twitter – @BondShands
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Also posted to the Palm Springs Local Government page at www.facebook.com/groups/PalmSpringsLocalGovernment.

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 2 votes

Vote+Button 

Rob Moon   –   Geoff Kors  –   J.R. Roberts

.          I recently compiled a list of questions titled “Palm Springs Local Election Issues“. It was also sub-titled “Twenty-six reasons to NOT vote for an Incumbent“. That list included many of my personal concerns about local issues and those currently holding political office in the City of Palm Springs. I concluded that our city needs greater transparency with respect to all government issues, more attention paid to the spirit and letter of ethics legal requirements, more citizen involvement in city finances and the budget process, more community involvement in public works department activities and city council members who are open to input from all residents – including those with unwelcome opinions.

.          It’s my belief that fresh blood – new faces – are needed and for that reason will not be voting for anyone currently holding a city council position. Use the following link to view or download a copy of the “Palm Springs Local Election Issues” questions. http://bondshands.com/public/Palm_Springs_Local_Election_Issues.pdf

.          My choice for mayor is Rob Moon.

.          My choices for city council members are Geoff Kors and J.R. Roberts.

Rob Moon- Geoff Kors - JR Roberts

Rob Moon website: http://www.palmspringsmoon.com/

Geoff Kors website: http://www.geoffkors.com/

J.R. Roberts website: http://votejrroberts.com/

 .          I hope my fellow residents will be making the same choices. Also, if I had a third choice for city council it would be Jim King.

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.DesertObserver.com
The Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Twitter – @BondShands

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Also posted to the Palm Springs Local Government page at www.facebook.com/groups/PalmSpringsLocalGovernment

3.67 avg. rating (78% score) - 3 votes