Daily Briefing: Plans for your tax dollars, Harvey Milk breakfast, rad art, and more

Leading off: Your tax dollars at work

Palm Springs may have a relatively small population, but it has a large list of needs (and the money to tackle them). Sorting through residents’ priorities, and those deemed crucial by city staff, is the job of the City Council, which dived into doing that Wednesday evening.

Driving the news: During review of a five-year plan to fund and build city projects, engineering staff outlined dozens of important needs — from a wind wall along the roadway on Gene Autry to relocating Fire Station 1 and building a new main library — asking the Council to help prioritize their work.

  • City Manager Justin Clifton: “At the end of the day we need to find the right balance between quantity of projects and quality of projects. …All of these are community projects that benefit residents, even the ones they don’t see like sewer pipes.”

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The big picture: After 150 minutes of discussion, Councilmember Christy Holstege asked what, exactly, city leaders were expected to do with the information. Clifton explained staff first needs direction for next year’s projects, but that some requests were missing. Specific direction will come after more information is gathered and discussed.

  • Still to come: Among the missing requests were the priorities set by the Measure J Oversight Commission, which are expected later this month.
    • Measure J is a 1% sales tax approved by city voters. A portion is set aside for publicly requested projects each year. The Commission recommends which projects to fund, but the Council has the final decision.

Ball in their court: Building bridges, libraries, and airport amenities are crucial, but what many in the community are asking for is much simpler – pickleball courts. The sport is popular with the older population that dominates the city, and its devotees are a consistent presence at public meetings.

  • Not so fast: Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner and Councilmember Dennis Woods acknowledged the popularity of the recreational activity but wondered if spending up to $1 million on new courts — with a focus on expanding facilities specifically at Demuth Park — was equitable and wise.
    • Garner: “I know pickleball is popular, but every single weekend there are people who make soccer fields themselves. We know where they do this. Maybe the city should build some soccer fields as well.”
    • Woods: “I support pickleball courts, but I have a little different opinion that our facilities should be spread throughout the city. For example: If I want to play pickleball, that’s a 25-minute drive for me. …Those facilities need to be in more locations closer to people.”

What’s next: More discussion, more meetings, and an agreement to focus on next year’s budget first and projects five years down the road at a later date.

  • Next year’s city budget must be adopted before the end of June.

Find the 16-page staff report here.

In brief: Honoring Harvey Milk’s memory

The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast takes place May 11.

At next week’s Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Andy Linsky will receive the Harvey B. Milk Leadership Award. That award goes to someone who has “worked to enrich the lives of LGBTQ individuals through activism in labor, housing, education, and or human rights.”

Why it matters: The event itself benefits Coachella Valley youth through Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and other programs geared toward young people

Who’s going to be there: The honoree, Linksy, served on the Desert AIDS Project (now DAP Health) Board of Directors from 1990 to 2014 and was president from 1998 to 2002

  • He was also a board member for the Human Rights Campaign from 2002 to 2017.

Also there: Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker will receive the Harvey B. Milk Legacy Award.

  • Her Background: When elected mayor in 2010, Parker became the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major American city.

Behind the event: The 10th annual breakfast honors the memory of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, and his groundbreaking legacy.

Details, details: The breakfast will be at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Wednesday, May 11. It starts at 8:30 a.m. with coffee. The ceremony (and breakfast) starts at 9:30 a.m.

Bonus: The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus performs at breakfast.

Make your reservations now.

? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

? Animal Samaritans received a $750,000 donation for a pet adoption and humane education center. (KESQ)

? The “Poolside Gossip” house sold for a record $13.6 million. (The Wall Street Journal)

? The city features heavily in the trailer for the new movie Don’t Worry Darling.  (The Desert Sun)

? On tap

? Las Casuelas Terraza in Downtown Palm Springs is one of many places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style today.

  • Mariachi Tesoro performs at 11 a.m. and returns for a second set at 4:30 p.m.
  • They’ll be joined by Palm Springs High School’s folkloric dancers.
  • The celebration continues at 6:30 p.m. with Hot Rox playing until 10 p.m.

?️ Also today:

  • The Palm Springs Sustainability Commission holds a subcommittee meeting on waste reduction at 2 p.m. via Zoom.
  • VillageFest is happening downtown, starting at 6 p.m. Also, there’s free admission at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Looking ahead:

  • Desert Rose Playhouse continues its performance of Mid-Century Moderns tonight through Sunday.

  • The Community Partnership on Homelessness is planning an online discussion Friday at Noon.

  • The Sunrise Student Film Festival celebrates local middle and high school students on Friday evening.

See our complete community calendar or list your event.


? Meet Blake

Blake is an 8-week-old female chihuahua/terrier mix. She and her four littermates were abandoned in a box at a business in Indio. A good Samaritan found them and brought them in. She’s super sweet, loving, and very playful. She’s available for adoption today.

Find more information about Animal Samaritans.

And finally …

Kenny Irwin Jr., with Ren Gallery owner Renee Warren and his Mega Skull piece.

It’s Christmas in May for fans of local legend Kenny Irwin Jr.’s Robolights installation.

Artist in the big city: The REN Gallery in Los Angeles is hosting Irwin’s exhibition titled Recycled Media. The exhibition opened, appropriately, on Earth Day. It ends on June 11.

Beyond Robolights: There’s more to Irwin than just the yearly spectacle of Robolights. The pieces up for sale at the gallery feature some resin art and various assemblage pieces made up of recycled DVDs and toys, blending the everyday corporate world with the otherworldly. His biography on the gallery’s website illuminates his inspiration:

  • “Kenny’s art has been influenced by space exploration, spiritual pursuits and a search for man’s place in the universe. A consistent theme found in his work would be human relationships to material consumption and machines.”

Mr. Popular: Irwin posted about the gallery opening on Facebook, saying it had to extend its hours because so many people kept wanting to come in.

Looking back: Robolights, a quirky — and some say creepy — holiday display installed at Irwin’s home on East Granvia Valmonte, was a beloved tradition for decades, but became a nightmare for neighbors.

  • In 2018, following litigation, the city and Irwin came to an agreement. Irwin closed Robolights and the city promised money to help relocate the installation. That hasn’t happened just yet.

Want to see the LA exhibition? Turn here

Kendall is embarrassed she was late to the viral Japanese reality show that follows toddlers as they complete errands.

Mark is convincing himself it’s not Covid.

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