Measure J Commission hopes to have funds for public proposals divvied up by spring
The Commission tasked with weeding through dozens of applications for funds supplied by a city sales tax elected Thursday to be methodical, while also committing to help direct applicants whose projects are not ultimately funded to additional resources.
“This list is awesome,” said Jim Gazan, a member of the city’s Measure J Oversight Commission during its regular meeting. “There’s a lot of valid need out there.”
Nearly 60 public requests for funding were solicited during the past few months. Only a few will be funded through the Measure J tax, which was first approved in 2011 and allows the city to collect one cent for every dollar spent here, with a few exceptions.
Among those who spoke during public comment Thursday were representatives from city departments and community organizations working to restore the historic Plaza Theatre, add electric charging stations to the Palm Springs Air Museum, construct a fire training tower in the city, and build a skate plaza at James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center. All had requested funds through the program.
“It’s encouraging to see how many people submitted projects and the diversity of the projects in there,” Commission Chair Jeffrey Bernstein said. “There’s obviously a lot more on the list than we can afford through the community projects budget, but also there is a lot of food for thought for the general budget, which continues to grow.”
Budget projections show $17 million in Measure J taxes will be available to the city in the coming year. Much of those funds will go toward road maintenance, but Bernstein said Thursday as much as $3 million may be available for projects proposed by the community because the city held off spending in the past few years as it waited to see the effects of COVID-19 on its budget.
During deliberation that followed public comments, Commission members agreed to first sort the requests into themes. That will allow them to work with city staff to determine whether some proposals might be eligible for funding through department budgets, such as Public Safety, Parks, Transportation, or Facilities.
The public projects will then be ranked on a 1 to 5 scale, with the goal of making final decisions by April. Through it all, the public is invited to participate, including at the Commission’s next meeting in January.
GOP’S CALVERT COULD REP CITY: Heavily liberal Palm Springs, described by many as the “gayest city in America,” could soon be represented in Congress by a politician opposed to same-sex marriage, gun laws, and abortion. That scenario is possible following an announcement on KESQ-TV Thursday by Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat who currently serves the entire Coachella Valley in District 36, that he would run in a proposed district that includes Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Indio, and not in one that includes Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta. READ THE COMPLETE STORY HERE.
POLICE BLOTTER: Curious about crime in Palm Springs? Each week we produce a list of some of the incidents police officers respond to in the city. This week’s Police Blotter, for the week ending December 12, is located here.
MIZELL CENTER: Dixie cat’s live music, art programs, and more are offered today at the Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, starting at 8 AM. A complete list of all programs offered today can be found online here.
SUNSHINE SISTERS: Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters will meet to do gift wrapping for the Adopt-a-Family program today. You can sign up to be part of the group — formed to help women make new connections and friendships — on Meetup here.
BOOK CLUB: Friends of the Palm Springs Library book club meets via Zoom at 2 PM. To participate, please contact Scott Biegen by email at [email protected] to get the Zoom meeting ID and password
REDISTRICTING WORKSHOP: A community workshop to discuss redistricting in the city is planned for the Cahuilla Elementary School multi-purpose room, located at 833 East Mesquite Ave., starting at 5:30 PM. More information about the redistricting process is available at https://mappalmsprings.org/.
MARKET TOY DRIVE: The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus is hosting a toy drive benefitting Martha’s Village and Kitchen at the Certified Farmers’ Market Saturday. The market begins at 8:30 AM at 2300 East Baristo Road. Although the Market will be open until 1:30 PM, the today collection will end at 12:30 PM
SOUND OF MUSIC: Palm Canyon Theatre’s staging of “The Sound of Music” runs through Sunday. Showtimes are 8 PM this evening and Saturday, and 2 PM on Sunday. For tickets or other information, call the PCT Box Office at 760-323-5123 or order online at this site. Tickets are $36 for adults, $32 for seniors, and $15.00 for students and children. The theater is located at 538 North Palm Canyon Drive.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION: Well in the Desert distributes food every Saturday at 6 AM and 10 AM at 181 N. Indian Canyon Dr. For the early distribution, guests typically begin lining up at 5 AM and must show proof of residency (a rent receipt, utility bill, etc.). For both distributions, guests are asked to bring a box, bags or other containers to transport food items. More information is available by phoning the Well’s office at 760-656-8905. The Well also offers hot lunches Monday through Friday at 11 AM and 1 PM at various locations throughout the city.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: The City of Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Palm Springs Gay Softball League, will host Breakfast with Santa, a free community event for local children and their families on Saturday from 8 AM until 11 AM at the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way. Reservations are recommended and can be made by clicking this link.
TAHQUITZ CREEK CLEANING: The Tahquitz Creek Yacht Club meets to clean up a portion of Tahquitz Creek Channel at 8 AM Saturday. Volunteers gather at the south end of the footbridge at South Camino Real and South Riverside Drive. You can find the club’s Facebook page here and contact the club via email at [email protected].
SANTA PAWS 5K: Run Palm Springs presents the annual Santa Paws 5K run and walk on Saturday, starting at 9 AM. Registration is now closed, but you can find more information on the event page here. The event benefits Guide Dogs of the Desert.
FARMERS’ MARKET: The Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market is held at 2300 E. Baristo Rd. (adjacent to The Camelot Theatres) from 8:30 AM until 1:30 PM. All Certified Farmers’ Markets offer a $15/$15 match to customers participating in CalFresh EBT and a $10/$10 match for WIC, SSDI, and federal unemployment. Find more details about all three Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets here.
FLEA MARKET: A flea market and food fest are held Saturdays at 675 Crossley Rd. from 8 AM until 2 PM. Information can be found here.
DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE: The Palm Springs Black History Committee is presenting a Daddy Daughter Dance Saturday from 5 PM until 8 PM, at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 West Tramview Road. Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door. There will be a live DJ, food, a photo booth, and more during the evening. Semi-formal attire is required and attendees are encouraged to submit photos before the event for inclusion in a slideshow. For more information, visit this Facebook page or call 760-323-8271.
MOBILE CHRISTMAS: Well in the Desert is again planning its annual Christmas event as a mobile event due to COVID-19 restrictions. The drive-up event will be held Saturday from 11:30 AM until 3 PM at The United Methodist Church, 1555 East Alejo Rd. Volunteers will distribute a frozen turkey and pie, as well as gifts for children to open on Christmas Day to any family in need. Donations can be dropped off today at Our Lady of Guadalupe, 204 South Calle El Segundo.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
INTERFAITH EVENT: Several city congregations are collaborating to present “Blue Christmas: Longest Night Service” on December 21 at 6 PM at The Church of St. Paul in the Desert, 125 West El Alameda. The service is designed as a contemplative service for those carrying grief and trying to manage the holiday season with so much loss and pain.
10K YOUR WAY: Angel View’s biggest fundraiser of the year — the 10K Your Way event — begins December 31. The public is encouraged to register to swim, run, walk, bike, or roll 10 kilometers and collect donations to support their efforts. Funds raised will support the organization, a nonprofit founded in 1954 that is dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities. Last year, despite the pandemic, more participants joined in than ever and fundraising surpassed $80,000. Anyone interested in raising money through swimming is invited to the Palm Springs Swim Center, 405 South Pavilion Way, during its open hours on December 31. To register, send email to [email protected] or call 760-835-0464