Palm Springs Battle To Prevent Vote On Proposed Hotel

Palm Springs, California.  Posted Observations for Week ending January 18, 2014. The following first appeared under comments to referenced stories online at MyDesert.com and on my Facebook page.



January 18, 2014. The local paper’s “Steve Pougnet says Palm Springs will hold special election on downtown hotel” report represents an admission by the City Council that Frank Tysen citizen petition requesting a vote on a proposed downtown hotel should take place.

Congratulations Frank Tysen, I’m happy to see your legal petition process finally achieving results. All that you and petitioners proved was that the legal minimum were sufficiently concerned and for that reason signed a petition asking the City Council to place the measure on a ballot. Mayor Pougnet’s refusal to honor basic citizen rights in this regard by not honoring the petition request is the reason the project is being held up. Had the Mayor honored the request a year ago I’m certain voters would have approved the hotel and the matter would now be past memory. Residents should blame Pougnet and his stalling tactics and take comfort in the realization we do live in a Democracy and the citizen petition process for review of government actions is alive and well. Again, kudos to Frank Tysen and his group of determined citizens.



January 18, 2014.  Desert Sun editors post “Thumbs down: Palm Springs obstructionists force vote on hotel” hand-wringing cry of despair over the decision to honor petitioners request for a vote on the proposed downtown hotel.

Desert Sun editors used the phrase “obstructionist shenanigans” to describe those who oppose the recent addition of a large hotel to the Desert Fashion Plaza plan. The hotel was never part of the ballot presented to voters in November 2011 and had it then been included it’s possible the vote would have been influenced.

Despite editorial hand-wringing over the cost of a special election to decide the issue, we live in a Democracy and sometimes its implementation can be messy and expensive. But curtailing liberties in order to save money is not really compatible with democracy concepts as practiced in our republic. Our laws provide that citizens, through the petition process, can force city council decisions to be ratified by the voters. There is some murkiness about which council decisions qualify and that appears to be the case here. Since I heartily believe in the citizen petition/review process, I would have preferred seeing the court appeal in this matter go forward and hopefully result in a clear definition of when the petition/review process applies. That will have to wait for another day.

In order to save time the city council decided to throw in the towel and hold the special election that’s been requested by petitioners. That’s the way it should have been done a year ago. Just because some don’t adhere to the city hall/local business/newspaper views should be no reason to deny their right to petition, vote and even force local government to spend money justifying their actions. As previously noted, democracy can sometimes be messy and expensive. But it’s a whole lot better than a dictatorship.

The Desert Sun does its readers no service when they refuse to recognize and support simple democratic concepts like the petition/review process. And that refusal is clearly the case with their “Thumbs down: Palm Springs obstructionists force vote on hotel” editorial.

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion at www.DesertObserver.com
January 18, 2014

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