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The 37th State Senate District is considered a safe GOP seat for the majority of the voters in the district are registered as Republicans. Termed-out state senator Jim Battin will be replaced by the winner in the November General Election and the candidate winning the June 3rd Republican primary is almost certain of getting the job. To put it plainly, a Democratic candidate simply doesn’t stand a chance of getting elected in that district.

Two termed-out Republican assemblymen are in the running to replace Battin in the 37th district. Russ Bogh and John Benoit are both frontrunners in that contest and one is certain of winning. The Desert Sun reports Bogh as planning on spending $1 million on his campaign and Benoit plans to spend $800 thousand. That’s $1.8 million dollars in a Republican primary. It’s not money being spent to defeat a Democrat – it’s cash to trash another Republican. Why?

Where is Bogh getting the $1 million in his campaign kitty and who pulled in the $800 thousand in Benoit’s slush fund? How many promises has each made and who are their benefactors? Why is it so important to outsiders that one win over the other? If this were being done to save the seat for the GOP, the huge sums of money would be understandable. But $1.8 million for two Republican candidates to slug it out! Unbelievable! And these guys represent the party of fiscal responsibility!

I’m really left scratching my head wondering where the money is coming from and why it’s so important that one of these guys win instead of another fellow Republican. If anyone has suggestions, I’d really like to see them.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


May 29, 2008


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Have you noticed all the freeways now seem to bear the names of people. Some are named after fallen heroes and others are named after state legislators. Bet you didn’t know we’re beginning to have a problem here. The big issue is one of supply and demand. There’s a huge supply of legislators in the wings waiting for something owned by the taxpayers to bear their name, but there’s a shortage of unnamed places and, in particular, a shortage of unnamed freeways. This is serious. How would you like to face the prospect of being termed out of state office and nothing’s been done to carve your name onto a piece of public property for all eternity?

There’s a solution! Really, it’s so simple, I wonder why it’s not been used already. We need to start naming the freeway off ramps. Yes, that’s right, the Freeway Off Ramps. And when those are all used up – it could take years – there’s all those Freeway On Ramps. Way down the road (pun intended), they could also start naming the Freeway Interchanges, the Overpasses, and even the Carpool Lanes. There is no naming crisis – the solution  is right before us.

Here’s my first candidate for a Freeway Off Ramp name. It’s former California Highway Patrol commander and about-to-be-termed-out State Senator Jim Battin. Wouldn’t it be great if we could memorialize the Jim Battin name on one of our valley freeway off ramps? What could be more appropriate for a former Highway Patrol Officer? Just think of it – the Jim Batten Exit Ramp. Sorta brings a tear to the eye just thinking of it. Doesn’t it?

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


May 18, 2008

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A Jury Duty summons, that annual order from the court demanding free citizen participation in their 3-ring circus, meets my definition of a ripoff. As constituted in our state, Jury Duty’s purpose is to facilitate the workings of trial courts, those institutions beloved of judges, lawyers, clerks and others who make their living off the process. It’s because our Constitution mandates the right of trial by jury that a system needs to be in place that satisfies the requirement. The result is our current jury enslavement process. If you are licensed to drive in the state, or registered to vote, they have your name and unless you’re not a citizen or a convicted felon (or a lawyer), they’ll make you serve. I use the word “enslavement” because Jury Duty service is not optional and the pay – a $15 daily stipend plus a one-way mileage allowance – must be somebody’s idea of a joke. Oh, there’s lots of money being made and paid to those involved in the trial court business, but it doesn’t go to the jurors. And potential jurors are the only uninvolved participants threatened with “a fine, a jail term, or both” should they fail to heed the court’s summons to appear.

The annual Jury Duty summons hit my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. It said I was to report to the courthouse in Indio today and to check beforehand to determine my status. Over the weekend and again early this morning I checked via the Internet and learned my service was “being rescheduled for a possible appearance time later in the week“, and to check back at 10:30 am. Around 11:00 am I learned the phrase “later in the week” has an unusual meaning to our courts. It means right now! I was informed to report to Indio – todayat 12 noon! Upon arrival and check-in at the courthouse, I was advised to take a seat and wait until 1:00 pm. The room already had an overflow crowd but I managed to find a seat behind a pillar. Since I’m an experienced jury waiting room veteran, I came prepared with reading material.

Shortly before 1:30 pm they played a video that briefly summarized the courtroom experience while also extolling the value of juror service. The film’s actors made clear the positive impact juror service can have on the lives of those who serve. It was helpfully pointed out that friendships sometimes develop among those sharing jury duty service. At that point, after sitting around waiting for an hour and a half, “positive” was not a word I was thinking of with respect to my current experience.

Around 2:00 pm the vast assemblage was divided into two groups. The first group of 200 were told to remain in the jury waiting room and all others to move outside to other areas. The 200 subsequently learned they must return tomorrow for possible selection to serve on a trial expected to last through the end of May. Those unable to serve due to personal hardship were instructed to state their reasons in writing for the judge to consider. Based on the number of those filling out the hardship forms, I doubt that “positive” is the word many would use to describe their experience.

Shortly after 3:30 pm, my group was called back to the jury waiting room. We were informed the trials for which we had been summoned, had been “continued” and that our services would not be needed. The best part of this news was learning that our appearance today satisfied the annual jury duty requirement and we’re off the hook for at least twelve months.

Some will tell you that jury duty service is a privilege, a civic responsibility and you, as a juror, are an important component of the trial process. Hogwash! They’re treating citizens as serfs – little more than cheap labor, and there’s nothing voluntary in the process. The system only works because a judge has the power to make your life miserable should you fail to respond and serve. Judges, lawyers, clerks and other court functionaries use that power of citizen enslavement in order for the system to work. It needs to work because they’re the principal beneficiaries of the process. It’s a ripoff!

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 28, 2008


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Last fall an out-of-town friend and occasional house guest phoned and asked whether I’d be interested in accompanying him for an evening at The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies. His interest was piqued by a report Anna Maria Alberghetti would be guest starring the second half of the season, in the spring. I quickly said yes and he booked our tickets – six months in advance.

April’s first Saturday evening saw me at The Follies. I’ve attended a number of performances in the past and found myself seated in many different locations. Saturday was the first time I experienced sitting on the front row. It’s a completely different way to see the show. You get the impression everyone on stage is making direct eye contact with you. During scenes when performers come down from the stage, they’re standing right in front of you. Sitting in front gave me a different feeling about the show and it was one I rather enjoyed.

The Follies co-founder, show director and MC, Riff Markowitz is a very humorous man. During his stage monologues he loves to have fun with one of more of those sitting on the front row. We were fortunate, for Riff found good targets away from us and nearer the center of our row. His humor pretty much covers the spectrum of things you probably shouldn’t say from the stage. If you’re alive and breathing, a member of any ethnic group – or no group – and easily offended, beware. There’re no sacred cows – with one exception. Though born in Canada, Riff Markowitz probably has no equal in this valley when it comes to patriotism and his appreciation for the Armed Services. Every show I’ve attended includes a salute to the flag – held by an active duty Marine – and the National Anthem.

This year is The Follies‘ seventeenth season and the theme is “Tin Pan Alley“. The show’s ensemble consists of sixteen dancers, ranging in ages from the 50’s to the eldest at 84. I just wish I had half the energy and good looks of those folks. They do nine shows weekly and the physical demands that places on their bodies has to   be incredible. I walk seven miles and bicycle another twenty each morning. My efforts and stamina requirements are almost pitiful compared to what these folks put out. The dancing was great and if you don’t like dance companies, well – there’s a dog show. Joanne Wilson’s Wonder Dogs have played circuses, toured nationally, been filmed, and are on this season’s stage at The Follies. They put on a very cute show filled with canine acrobatics and other antics. They were clearly an audience favorite.

It turns out my house guest is a genuine Anna Maria Alberghetti fan for he brought with him a 33-1/3 rpm album of hers from the late 50’s or early 60’s. After the show ended the star and other performers greeted departing theatergoers outside the entrance. When he asked Ms Alberghetti to autograph his album cover she was quite pleased to greet someone she immediately recognized as a longtime fan. Members of her nearby staff took photographs of him, her and the record album cover. They took his email address and promised to send him copies of the photos.

The Follies is one of my favorite local entertainment offerings and I can’t believe there’re many over 40 who haven’t seen one or more performances. If you haven’t, put it on your list. It’s truly special and definitely unique to Palm Springs.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 14, 2008


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Heterophobia? Heterophobic Bigotry? Please don’t laugh for the practitioners of these unspeakable acts have made abuse victims of countless Heterosexuals. Heterophobic bigots are everywhere – and one may be sitting across the table from you right now. Your next door neighbor may frequently engage in Heterophobic Bigotry as a blood sport and his/her doing so may be a closely guarded secret known only to fellow practitioners. Such insidious pleasures practiced by a minority against the vast majority of our citizenry must be stopped. It’s up to you and me to open the secret hiding places and let daylight shine on Heterophobic Bigotry victims cowering within.


Straight citizens need to come together in the creation of local Heterosexual Shelters – places where victims of Heterophobia may find help and safety. Street corner Heterophobes are everywhere and establishing shelters for abused Heterosexuals is a way you can help. Do you know of Heterosexuals who have been lynched by mobs of Heterophobes? Are there Heterosexuals in your neighborhood who have been attacked and physically abused by hordes of rhinestone-encrusted Homophobes?  Have you suffered from verbal abuse and been referred to as a “breeder”? Does your local newspaper portray poolside lesbians in bathing suits on its pages? Do photos of Homosexual daytime frolicking grace the pages of weekend news supplements? Do suspicious alternative lifestyle people frequent your favorite shops and grocery stores? The mere presence of any such occurrences is clearly evidence of Heterophobic abuse. Government subsidized Heterosexual Shelters are the answer and quick legislative action needs to occur.


Write or email The National Center for Victims of Heterophobic Abuse and let them know of your support. Only you can bring about change and put things back the way they used to be. This may be our last chance to close and lock those closet doors. Don’t delay or it may be too late. Victims everywhere are counting on your support.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 11, 2008


 

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Last evening friends and I had dinner at the Palm Springs Convention Center. It was the annual Taste of Palm Springs dining experience benefiting the AIDS Assistance Program. A $45 ticket provided admission to the four hour event, an incredible array of food choices, and four glasses of wine. The program copy lists thirty-nine participating restaurants and food service shops and that’s probably why the event is billed as “Showcasing the Best in Desert Dining“. My dining experience left me in agreement with that billing.

This evening food extravaganza is definitely one with lots of bang for the buck. There was more food available than my friends or I could handle. We couldn’t even handle the offerings of wine. Between the twelve glasses available to us, we managed to drink seven.

Aside from the excellent qualify of the offerings, one of the most significant features of the evening was the enthusiasm of the staff. We were served by chefs and others who produced the dishes they proudly offered and our feedback sparked enthusiasm. It’s not often you’re able to interact with food preparers in restaurants and those serving you usually don’t have a personal stake in your opinions. That’s what made Taste of Palm Springs so different – and a better dining experience – for me. The staff were so proud of their selections, very interested in our feedback and so enthusiastic in their service, that it really added to the character of the dining experience.

Did I manage to taste something from each of the thirty-nine booths. No! There was too much food, too many booths, and too many overly generous servings. It wasn’t a good night for those on a diet.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 10, 2008


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Homophobia exists – everywhere – and yet I see well-meaning folks who appear unaware of its seriousness as a threat to the safety and well-being of their fellow citizens. Any form of bigotry is unacceptable, but that which seeks to banish, imprison or eliminate human beings is certainly the most objectionable.

In my lifetime we’ve seen the effects of the holocaust, Jim Crow lynchings and the beating and killing of homosexuals. I’m not about to equate the deaths of more than six million Jews during the holocaust – the attempted genocide of an entire race of people – with modern beatings and killings of gays. And I can’t really compare Jim Crow lynchings and the accompanying fears of those with different skin colors – to what society has done to homosexuals. Instead I’d like to make but one comparison. Deliberate bigotry and discrimination led to the suffering of all three groups – all from the evil acts of very bad people.

I’ve previously stated my belief that homophobics, anti-Semitics, racists, neo-nazi’s, the KKK, and similarly inclined bigots occupy rankings on the same list. They all share an evil goal in their pursuit against members of a targeted group. Denial of equality, beatings, and killings are but some of the different levels of oppressive actions employed by those who engage in prejudicial actions against others. The real issue here is that of evil and its practice by the intolerant who exist among us. Bigots whose activities result in harm to others are dangerous people. They must be stopped and others must be made aware when their presence is known. We need to overcome our fears when it comes to speaking out against discrimination and to make certain the similar voices of others are not quelled.

These are serious issues for threats, physical harm and killings continue to occur against homosexuals simply because of who they are. In some parts of the world they’re automatically executed. Bigotry and discrimination in all its forms – including, of course, homophobia – must be fought and eliminated. Don’t allow others to hide behind religious views, legal technicalities, or so-called traditional concepts as their justification for bigotry. All need to take responsibility for their actions and if the result of what is done is iniquity, then the practice of evil is clearly one of choice and that fact needs to be recorded.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 6, 2008


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Large numbers of lesbians are in Palm Springs this week – here for a big annual gathering, to party and, for many, to attend a famous golf tournament. They pick this week for their affair because of the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament. Many of these ladies love the game of golf and the LGPA is a favorite women’s event they view with justifiable pride. Our community benefits for tourism is a Palm Springs mainstay and this weekend is a huge revenue generator for local businesses. Those cash registers are ringing and much of it’s happening because of lesbians and the Dinah Shore.

Today’s Mydesert.com blogs include one from a self-styled ranter who’s unhappy over some of the Dinah Shore tournament publicity. According to our unhappy blogger “the lesbian-gay thing” currently mentioned in conjunction with the event in the local press is wrong. He says “let’s knock off the upstaging of ‘women gone wild’ and enjoy it for what it really is” and it’s “Not lesbian golfers, not gay golfers, but women golfers“.

If the weekend were devoted to a big Afro-American party, a Hispanic event, or a Jewish Outing whose members were also here for the golf tournament, do you suppose our self-styled ranter would be complaining about their association with the event? If press coverage were to refer to Afro-American golfers, Hispanic golfers, or Jewish golfers, would he have voiced similar objections. I think not. And if he did, proud members of these groups would certainly have voiced their contempt at such an attitude.

The problem with homophobes is their unhappiness over the determination of lesbians and gays to be Out, Proud and Active. Such bigots resent the opening of the closet door and that it’ll never again be shut. Lesbians and gays are part of humanity and in this country they’ve collectively decided not to accept second-class status. Homophobic bigotry is no longer acceptable and it’s not going to pass unchallenged. As for our blogging ranter, when he and others include obvious bigotry against homosexuals in what they have to say, then I reserve the right to call them on it. It’s homophobia – and that’s a plain and simple fact.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 5, 2008


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Trader Joe’s
is coming to Palm Springs? I don’t think so. Last evening in the Palm Springs city council chambers we saw the opening (and closing) of a one-act performance with a Hawaiian theme and colorful floral leis for everyone. The city’s Neighborhood Involvement Committee members, dressed to kill in Hawaiian shirts, presented Mayor Steve Pougnet with a stack of petitions containing more than 6300 signatures requesting Trader Joe’s open a store in Palm Springs. Those folks – and they surely give new meaning to “optimism” – honestly believe that Trader Joe’s will open another store just a few miles away from an existing location on the Cathedral City side of Palm Springs city limits.

It’s not going to happen! The signature gathering petition effort may cause Trader Joe’s to reassess their existing Cathedral City location and possibly move it to larger quarters in Palm Springs. As for opening an entirely new Palm Springs location, it’s not in the cards. Look at the economics, population density, and location options. Nothing adds up that would make a new store in Palm Springs a better decision than opening one in a more centralized location elsewhere in the valley.

Looks like those enthusiastic folks, in their pursuit of Hawaiian-themed Trader Joe’s, may have imbibed one too many Mai Tai beverages. If their pounding the pavement gathering signatures resulted in healthful exercise, then something practical may have been accomplished. Trader Joe’s, of course, has to be delighted by all the attention and free publicity. As for the Neighborhood Involvement Committee folks, they’ll have to go back to doing whatever it is they usually do until something else comes up.

Bond Shands


Palm Springs


April 3, 2008


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