Camo Shands – A Special Dog

May 14th, 2015

     My very special little doggy, “Princess” Camo, following consultation with her Veterinarian, was put to sleep this morning at VCA Desert Animal Hospital here in Palm Springs. Next month, June 18th, would have marked her 17th birthday. She had been my little companion and bed partner most of her life. Despite her advanced years she continued to look very much like a pretty little lady doggy. Any difference in age or appearance in photos from 2004 and 2013 is not apparent.

      Camo was an Apricot colored toy poodle who weighed just under seven pounds. She was always energetic, definitely a type “A” personality, one who really loved people and especially enjoyed opportunities to meet and make new friends. She felt a bit intimidated by larger or aggressive dogs so didn’t enjoy their company as much as she did her human friends.

     Camo’s age began to show last year when serious arthritis made walking difficult, sometimes painful and for that reason our daily walks were discontinued by the end of 2014. This year the decline in her health and bodily functions, along with obvious signs of increasing senility, became noticeable. Loss of hearing, greatly diminished vision, poor chewing capabilities due to loss of teeth, loss of control over bowel and urination functions and 22+ hours of sleep each day served to make her less of a companion and more like an elderly relative in need of care. She was moved out of “our” bedroom and into two small rooms for full use so her waking movements were not restrained. Two days ago she lost nerve control functions over both rear legs along with her front right one, as well, and was unable to stand at all. She stopped eating and I had to hold her over the water bowl in order for her to drink. Last night she moaned and cried constantly and that left me concerned she was in great pain. Today we visited her Veterinarian who confirmed my fears that it was time for her to go to sleep. The Veterinarian indicated the reason for her rapid decline and quite recent loss of leg nerve control may be a brain tumor.

     Camo was my third dog and they’ve all been small, toy pedigree poodle breeds. The first two were males while she was a female. Each had their own personality and losing them, as so many pet owners can attest, is a heartbreaking time. I try and comfort myself in the firm belief she was suffering and helping her enjoy that final sleep was the right step to take. I know I’ll miss her greatly, I already do so right now, but have lots of photos and good memories of her time with me.

     My thanks to Andrea and other friends who have provided comfort and support during this year’s closing days with Camo.

Bond Shands
Thursday – May 14, 2015
The Notebook at

Camo Shands - A Special Dog

Click to view Palm Springs Animal Shelter website tribute to Camo.


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CV-Link in Palm Springs

May 11th, 2015

An Open Letter to Palm Springs City Officials

Dear Mayor Pougnet and City Officials:

     As you surely know there is currently an ongoing debate about the design and maintenance costs of the planned CV-Link bicycle-pedestrian-Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) route planned for portions of the Whitewater River channel embankment. Rancho Mirage city mayor Dana Hobart and his City Council have voiced objections to what they perceive as the high maintenance costs that will be required for the new route and its 30 foot wide width that is planned to occupy portions of their city streets. The originally proposed trail width was increased from 12 to 30 feet in order to accommodate NEVs.

     I too am one of those questioning the future maintenance costs out of concern they will require funds to be diverted from planned bicycle and pedestrian routes within Palm Springs and used for CV-Link maintenance costs. CV-Link, as you may know, mostly skirts our outer city limits and thus may receive limited use from our residential and tourist communities.

     I’ve also questioned the plan to incorporate Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) into the CV-Link design. My concern is whether the additional funds required for the NEV roadbed expansion represents a reasonable investment of taxpayer funds. We don’t have a valley-wide consensus favoring use of NEVs and are lacking the infrastructure that would facilitate their use as a mode of regular transportation. NEVs are limited to a 25 mph maximum speed and are not permitted in traffic lanes marked for speeds greater than 35 mph. I would like to see Palm Springs become an NEV-friendly community but recognize that would require city council support and the expenditure of significant monies. At present if I owned an NEV it would have to remain in my garage for my HOA community fronts on a street with a 40 mph speed limit which legally bars me from using it for any form of transportation. Are there any plans for serious consideration of NEVs and their wide-spread use throughout Palm Springs?

     I support CV-Link and hope all reasonable questions quickly receive official responses so that the project may proceed without concerns and questions remaining unanswered. We’ve never had a public discussion about CV-Link and it’s value, route and costs to Palm Springs. It would seem only right and fair for Palm Springs to host a forum for residents to learn more about CV-Link and its value to our community – and about NEVs and how those vehicles will fit into our city’s General Plan.

     Mayor Hobart has responded online to a story in the Desert Sun based on an email from Supervisor John Benoit. The mayor’s comments are thoughtful and, in my opinion, worthy of consideration and response from CVAG and CV-Link management. I’ve copied Mayor Hobart’s comments and have reproduced them below.

     Thanks very much for your support of the CV-Link concept, bicycling and pedestrian paths in our city and, of course, your continued vigilance over the best use of taxpayer dollars in our community.

Best regards,

Bond Shands

 G Dana Hobart – Rancho Mirage, California
May 8, 2015

I have raised several questions that neither the Supervisor nor the CVAG staff has answered, except to misstate my reasons for having serious doubts about this use of public funds.

1. Are CVAG member cities willing to accept the 8% TOT formula being recommended and commit those TOT funds to paying the future O&M expenses for the proposed project? This must be resolved ASAP. Using CVAG’s figures, in the first 9-years it would cost Rancho Mirage just over $1.4 million.

2. Secure a legal opinion concerning the legality of CVAG�s proposal to use Measure A funds for O&M expenses.

3. If they are determined to be legally used, I suggested that we urge each city to meet and separately decide if they felt Measure A’s sales tax-generated monies should be diverted from needed Coachella Valley road repair and used for CV Link O&M expenses.

4. I suggested that before we vote or lock ourselves into final decisions (as was being RECOMMENDED by CVAG in a 4/6/15 staff report) all cities, their council members, city managers, finance directors et al meet together in a location where we can all listen to and learn each city’s concerns regarding the burden of O&M expenses.

5. I suggested we retain an independent, outside firm, to assess the accuracy of the projected O&M expense of $1.6 million. Hand-picking such a person (as they are currently doing) to make this assessment is yet another version of loaded dice.

6. I suggested that CVAG consider “slowing down” the advancement of the CV Link project and the expenditure of funds until the foregoing objectives and issues have been clarified and settled. It makes no business sense for development to continue at full speed when the most important financial issue remains unresolved: Who pays for the O&M costs and how much? Mr. Kirk responds by asserting that he does not have the discretionary authority to slow down this roaring train. Yea, sure…

In the real world this looseness with investor funds would never get off the starting blocks. Rancho Mirage hopes to instill sanity in a process that has no idea about who will pay the projected $33,000 per mile of Operations and Maintenance expense (in the first year of operations). Yet they continue to hire staff and move forward at full speed. GDH

End of Mayor Hobart’s comments.

Bond Shands
May 11, 2015
The Notebook at


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Is CV-Link Doomed to Fail?

May 4th, 2015

          The CV-Link dream was presented as a continuous bicycle-pedestrian-golf cart route running on top of a Whitewater River embankment. It was to be a route free of cost or adverse impact to valley residents. No broad community outreach effort seeking endorsement or financial support was required nor attempted for it was to be a free trail in an unused or underused area of the valley. No part of this dream has proved to be substantially true. The route won’t be a continuous one along the Whitewater River embankment, it‘s going to require significant annual maintenance costs to be paid by the community and portions of the route will adversely impact some who reside or have business interests in the route’s proposed proximity.

          What has now become clear is that there is no broad community grassroots support for the CV-Link plan that currently exists. The proof of that was in the failure of the general community, elected leaders or even potential users to raise a hue and cry over the City of Rancho Mirage pulling out of the program. CV-Link planners were never required to build broad-based grassroots support. They secured funding from sources other than the local community. There were no fully realistic presentations to Chambers of Commerce, business groups, clubs, social groups, schools, religious leaders, philanthropies, etc., seeking endorsements and support. None of this was needed in order to secure funding. Once that independent funding was obtained broad community support was assumed. Now it’s become clear that grassroots support needs to be obtained if CV-Link is to move forward.

          The obvious step for CV-Link is to broaden their leadership group, seek more advice from community leaders and begin a program of realistic presentations to each and every group, agency and entity in the valley that will be affected by or should be interested in CV-Link. Will CV-Link planners step up to the plate and begin a realistic community outreach program? Do they have all the information about the trail route, its costs and impacts ready for presentation? Do they have statistics on it’s expected use (who will use, where will they come from, how often will they use it, how many and when, etc.)? Now is the time to ask all the possible questions and prepare answers for each. Now is the time to really get to work and make a determined effort to sell this project along with it’s abbreviated “dream”, future costs and perceived adverse impacts.

Bond Shands
May 4, 2015
The Notebook at


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