Daily Briefing: ‘A slap in our face,’ pedestrian death, and more
The abandoned Bel Air Greens golf course.

Daily Briefing: ‘A slap in our face,’ pedestrian death, and more

Kendall Balchan and Mark Talkington image

Kendall Balchan and Mark Talkington

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May 23, 2022

📅 It’s Monday, 5/23.

☀️ Today’s weather: Sunny skies and 100 degrees.

🎶 Setting the mood: Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.

🎓 Situational awareness: This is a big week for Palm Springs High School seniors. Yesterday was the senior brunch, today is their pool party, and tomorrow scholarships are announced. It all leads up to Thursday night’s graduation ceremony.

  • If we don’t remember to say it then, we’ll say it now: Congratulations to the Class of 2022!

Today’s newsletter is ~1,000 words — a 5-minute read. Let’s go …


Leading off: ‘A slap in our face’

A land preservation organization hoping to purchase property that houses the decaying Bel Air Greens golf course could be out of luck. A tribal member who owns one of two parcels in question said using it for housing would be “the highest and best use, which will directly benefit my family and future generations of my family.”

Driving the news: During a public meeting this month, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal member John Andreas said he supports the land’s current leaseholder — Tommy Jacobs Limited Partnership – which hopes to buy the land from him and other tribal members and convert it to lots for single-family homes.

  • “I’m hearing that people are wanting to keep this open and they want to do this with OUR land — MY land,” Andreas said during a May 10 Zoom meeting. “The intent of this lease is to develop it for residential use. This will provide the greatest return for leasing OUR land.”

Dueling plans: Open space advocates and the leaseholders — represented by Albert Howell — both have plans for the property:

  • The leaseholders hope to purchase the land from the tribal members, then apply to change its zoning from open space – as designated under the city’s latest General Plan – back to its original residential designation.
     
  • A local land preservation group – Oswit Land Trust (OLT) – wants to buy it and include it as part of the proposed 500-acre Mesquite Desert Preserve. They’ve secured a $4 million grant to help with the purchase but are limited to making an offer at “fair market value.”

But wait: Andreas scoffed at that term and was backed up by a representative of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

  • “We’re not taking $4 million,” Andreas said. “That is a complete joke. If they want to start the bid, they better start a little bit higher than $4 million. That’s a slap in our face.”
     
  • “That’s just a number that’s there,” said Ollie Beyal, BIA superintendent for the Palm Springs agency, in reference to the term. “If people are limited to only being able to pay the appraised value, most likely what I’ve seen is that it’s not going to be that.”

Holding out hope: For their part, the land trust hopes to at least be invited to the table with the landowner.

  • “I would love the opportunity if we can all sit down off of Zoom and see if we can find our common ground and we can create something really wonderful for our community and for future generations.”  – OLT President Jane Garrison

Long process: If tribal members elect to sell the land, the ultimate decision about what becomes of it will sit with elected and appointed city leaders.

  • The conversion application, which is yet to be formally filed, would work its way through the city’s Planning Commission, up to the City Council, with plenty of opportunity for public input.
     
  • There’s precedent for such a move.  Developers are currently working to turn the former Palm Springs Country Club property into a housing development.

Dive deeper into the plans on the city’s website.


In brief: Pedestrian fatality

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in the 800 block of North Sunrise Way early Sunday and succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

Details: Palm Springs police said the man was struck at 4:12 a.m. They do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor. “The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and explained he was traveling south on North Sunrise Way, south of Tamarisk Road, when he spotted the pedestrian in the roadway,” police said. “The driver was unable to avoid the pedestrian and struck him.”

  • The Riverside County coroner identified the victim as 52-year-old George Edward Lammon of Palm Springs.  

If you were a witness, police ask that you call the traffic division at 760-323-8125.


🤠 AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

🚗 Local motorists are rejoicing in the completion of a long-awaited road project a little ways out of town. (Palm Springs Post

🎖️ Historian Tracy Conrad writes about the man who last week stopped the removal of a statue, as well as his family. (The Desert Sun)

🏁 Look inside a Formula One champion’s Palm Springs pad. (Architectural Digest)


📅 On tap

🥏 Among the items up for discussion this evening when the Palm Springs Parks & Recreation Commission meets is a proposal to add some disc golf facilities to one or more city parks.

Details: The Commission meets at 5:30 p.m., and you can tune in. Its members will also be discussing pickleball and dog parks, according to the agenda.

📅 Also today: 

📌 Looking ahead:

  • Palm Springs District 2 residents are invited to a community meeting hosted by City Council candidate Jeffrey Bernstein Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom.
     
  • The PSUSD Board of Education meets in regular session Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.
     
  • The Caravanserai Project holds its pitch competition and graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

And finally …

We’re proud to serve our neighbors in Palm Springs, but we’ve heard from many people who live elsewhere in the Coachella Valley who say, “I wish there was a Palm Springs Post in my city.”

We heard you! In response to the requests, we’ll soon be launching a sister publication — Coachella Valley Simplified — offering the same level of service for a few hundred thousand folks outside the city.Say what now? CV Simplified is just what it says — a simpler way to get news about life in the Coachella Valley. We’ll be delivering that news in an easy-to-digest format you may have never seen before.

  • It’s our belief that there’s no need to write 2,500 words on a simple City Council vote. A few hundred words should suffice. Want more in-depth coverage of the issues that affect you? We’ll write those on occasion as well, just as we do in The Post.    

But what about The Post? It’s our hope to hire additional staff for this new venture. Thankfully, we’ve got some grant money to use for that. So, rest assured that any contributions you make to The Post will be used only on The Post.

  • We’re not going to let our attention get diverted by a shiny new thing.  Like it or not, you’re kind of stuck with Mark and Kendall, and we’ll continue pumping out The Post without missing a beat. 

Sign up to stay informed about our progress on the new venture by going here: https://cvsimplified.com/


😶 Kendall is drawing a blank.

🌲 Mark is grateful for trees that provide shade in grocery store parking lots. 

📝 Miss a day?Read past newsletters here.

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