RV Owners confront ONE-PS  Parking Issues Workgroup Committee

May 3rd, 2018
On April 20th many Palm Springs RV owners, and others, were made aware, via a public posting, that a Parking Issues Workgroup Committee of the ONE-PS neighborhood organization was engaged in a “concerted effort” to “ban the permitting of RV’s on private property”. It was also alleged that “your work truck or utility trailer will also be made illegal”. Interested RV owners were urged to attend the Committee’s May 3rd meeting to “make your voices heard before it is to late”.

More than a score of concerned RV owners attended the May 3rd meeting of the Parking Issues Workgroup Committee. The Committee was aware of the interest the posting had aroused and arranged to meet in a large conference room to hear comments from the expected large attendance.

The meeting opened with Committee leaders providing a summary of the committee’s functions and how its recommendations to amend the city parking ordinance would proceed through a series of steps and hearings before it became law. It was explained that RV parking, both on private property and on public streets, was but one part of the city’s parking ordinance being reviewed.

More than a dozen of the RV owners in the audience addressed the committee while adhering to the 2 minute timed comment limitation. RV owners addressed the Committee and questioned the need to tinker with the existing ordinance. The majority of RV owners present stated they utilize paid storage space elsewhere for their rigs and only park them near their residence when preparing for a trip. It was explained that 24 to 36 hours is usually needed in order to ready a stored RV for a trip (activate refrigerator, store supplies, perform routine equipment safety maintenance, etc.). There was unanimous opposition to decreasing or eliminating the amount of time an RV may be temporarily stored on the street near an owner’s residence.

A number of RV owners present indicated they store their rigs on their private property, usually behind a gate or behind the residence. Many of that group stated they had purchased their residence because it provided legal RV storage space. It was also reported that many RV rigs housed on residential property are viewed as emergency shelters should they be needed following a disaster. This group also unanimously opposed imposing restrictions on the storage of RVs on private residential property.

Many RV owners requested clarification from the Committee with respect to the impetus behind their intent to change the ordinances governing RV parking. Those questions remained unanswered. Committee members alluded to having received complaints from the public but refused to elaborate on the scope, source or number. The Committee was asked other questions but responded their purpose was to receive public input instead of answering questions (or, presumably, providing information). The Committee was asked the equivalent of a timeline with respect to their considerations and recommendations. The response was that none existed and the only answer would be a decision later in the session setting the Committee’s next meeting date.

Was the meeting a success? Was it useful? While Committee members, who stated they appreciated the RV owners’ comments, probably viewed the session a success, most RV owners in attendance left the meeting frustrated. Many had come to the meeting with questions and a sincere interest in learning specifics about the Committee’s views and work. They came away rather empty-handed for the Committee made clear they were not prepared to satisfy the RV audience with answers to their questions.

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A note about the meeting agenda. The agenda provided to those present was noteworthy for its lack of meaningful detail. There was no heading, date nor information about the committee or meeting (no officers or member names, contact information nor mention of the parking issues being considered). It mentioned approval of past minutes, but provided no information how to obtain copies. The agenda, in many respects, represented an absence of information little different from that provided by the Committee during the meeting.  As a reference it lacked value.

Bond Shands
May 3, 2018
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Palm Springs Vacation Rentals Ballot Issue Question

May 1st, 2018

I’ve been asked by others for my views and, presumably, how I will vote on the Measure C Vacation Rentals ballot issue. After much thought and listening to the arguments both for and against the measure, I’ve finally reached my decision. I intend to vote for the Measure C ballot issue.

The reasons for my opposition to continued Vacation Rentals (of less than 30 days) in residential neighborhoods include the following.

My view of Vacation Rentals is that they are a business! As such they should not be allowed to occur in communities zoned for residences. I would feel the same about any business activity occurring in a residential neighborhood. To permit business activities to occur in a residential community subverts, in my opinion, the zoning process. I have noticed that many of the city’s HOA communities have rules that expressly prohibit vacation and other rentals of less than thirty days. Those not residing in HOA communities, who seek to ban short-term rentals in their own residential neighborhoods, are asking for nothing more.

Among my views of local government obligations are that the best interests of the residents should hold a place at the top of their list. Allowing short-term vacation rentals to operate just so the city can tax and collect revenue from such businesses would seem to clearly go against the intent behind residential zoning. Money, long touted as the root of all evil, clearly is the reason behind local government official’s desires to allow short-term vacation rentals to occur in residential communities. It’s for that reason I view such local government actions as a determined failure with respect to serving the best interests of the city’s residential communities.

Among the short-term vacation rental discussions and media promotions I’ve been surprised by are the recent determined and forceful steps city officials are taking to defeat the proposed Vacation Rental ballot issue. Although the ballot question is clearly a political issue that asks voters to decide the question, city officials have mounted a strong assault to defeat the ballot measure. I find such actions on their part rather odious and evidence of little desire to serve their entire community of residents. Self-serving and fealty to unnamed loyalties are presumed to be the reasons behind their partisan efforts to defeat the ballot measure. It’s also presents a rather sad realization that local officials, supported by our taxes, operate no differently than their counterparts in the Sacramento and Washington, D.C. capitols. The name of the game everywhere is the same. It’s “politics”!

Whether the Vacation Rentals ballot measure passes or fails, I’ll be among those happy if the result serves to put the issue to bed and we are able to move on.

Bond Shands
May 1, 2018
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Southern California Edison Monopoly

October 20th, 2016

          I recently closed the Edison electricity account at my former residence. It has solar energy panels that produce electricity which supplements  my energy needs. When the panels produced energy in excess of those needs the excess was fed into the Edison grid. Each year Edison sent a bill for the amount of electricity used in excess of the amount produced by the solar panels. That annual amount, usually less than $500, represented my total Edison energy and delivery cost for the year (government taxes were billed separately each month).

          Since the residence was vacant for several months before the Edison account was closed, the solar panels produced more energy than was used during that period. The final Edison bill showed the panels had produced 415 kWh surplus energy and the value totalled $355.07 that was owed me – had the account remained open.

          The closing Edison bill reflected a dollar credit of $62.03. Not the $355.07 credit shown in the statement – just $62.03.  In conversations with Edison staff I was advised that Edison only purchases user-generated power at the wholesale rate. I then asked about transferring the energy credit to my current Edison account but was advised that would not be allowed. My reaction to this situation is that a customer rip-off situation exists with respect to those who have solar energy panels. It certainly makes the case that customers should not install more solar panels than needed for their energy use needs.

          As for Edison and their energy markup monopoly privileges, it appears the public utility is delivering energy they purchase or produce to customers after a 570% markup. That, in my opinion, amounts to an absolute rip-off.

Posted by: Bond Shands
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Thankful for Equality

November 24th, 2015

Thankful for Equality Progress

Preparing for War!

June 17th, 2015

      News reports of another United States military adventure in the making appeared on June 13, 2015. The New York Times headlined their story “U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe“. Our nation has found yet another spot in Europe from which to engage in warfare.

     Will this nation ever turn away from being the world’s police department and become genuine peacemakers? I don’t believe it will. It’s in our blood (killing, I mean) and we see absolutely nothing wrong with it. Of course it helps to remember the bad guys are always the ones we’re out to intimidate, quash and/or completely destroy. Not to worry, though, when we almost but don’t quite win, we’ll spend tons of money to rebuild whatever the other guys lost from our conflict. That’s just more proof we’re the good guys.

     Must admit to wondering when this latest military proposal will move into actual conflict? But, since we don’t have a draft, it’s not really a big deal to most of us. At least there’ll be headlines and that should prove interesting, possibly entertaining, for a period of time. Should keep our military industrial complex folks happy.

     God Bless America, Hail to the Chief, America Forever, America the Beautiful and more are the mottos and phrases that guide us – for it’s all about us! And, of course, that’s the way it should be. After all, aren’t we the chosen people, the ones created to bring democracy to the world, and the savior of all who share our beliefs? We even have a huge segment of the population convinced that we have religious principles that need to be forced upon the rest of the world.

     I could rant and rave over this subject for hours but it wouldn’t change any minds, spur anyone to action or give many reason to pause and think about it. The truth is that our penchant for national warlike adventures has yet to find its limits. It’s almost as if it’s a game in which we need to always be a major player. We seldom win, but we never admit defeat.

     A recent article about the type of military we’re creating was depressing. Our beloved warrior combat forces appear to be the first step in what actually may be a homegrown mercenary fighting system. We entice “volunteers” with good pay and benefits, family unit support, and housing in a walled complex totally separated from the rest of the country. In those military-base walled residential communities there are shopping facilities, entertainment, education and, of course, the employment location is just around the corner. Military family residents automatically develop their own culture, associations are limited to those in the same community and the social and political views chart an independent course. It’s almost another form of population segregation. How can this be good for our nation and our future?

      Most who read this post will not participate nor even click the like button. That may be to avoid appearing to take a position, for being an avid peace lover is almost un-American. Our support for peace and opposition to war is more of the “please don’t do that” variety or “not really a good idea”. Advocating on behalf of peace and in opposition to all warlike adventures is just not done. This, after all, is America, and Dick Cheney may be gone from Washington, but fond memories of his time remain. Our own kids won’t be doing any of the fighting so – send in the troops.

      War – It’s becoming ordinary, just like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Dare I say that we’re also a bunch of very, very, stupid dumb yucks!

Bond Shands
June 17, 2015
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