City moves to force homeowner out as it tries to stop alleged drug activity

The city is hoping to force the owner of a townhome in this complex along Ramon Road to vacate the property.

Neighbors of a townhome the city has labeled a drug house in court documents may soon get some relief after years of expressing concerns. Attorneys representing Palm Springs last week asked for a preliminary injunction to take control of the home.

A 70-year-old Palm Springs woman who owns the property has been ordered to appear in Riverside County Superior Court on September 30. That’s when she will get the opportunity to argue against the injunction that could see her and all residents of 470 Village Square East barred from living there while the city pursues legal remedies to stop alleged illegal activity.

City Attorney Jeffrey Ballinger said this week that asking for the injunction is an effort “to bring relief to the community as quickly as possible” and to “secure the property against entry pending resolution of the case.”

According to court documents, neighbors who live in the complex along Ramon Road have been voicing concerns about alleged drug activity at the unit since December 2019. In February, Coachella Valley Narcotics Task Force members served a search warrant at the townhome, seizing contraband including Xanax, heroin, and scales. In April, task force members returned to the home and found eight people inside believed to be using methamphetamine and heroin. Documents state the homeowner acknowledged she had allowed drug use on her property. She also admitted to smoking methamphetamine with her guests.

In June, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed felony charges against her, alleging she was maintaining a drug house. She was subsequently arrested and faces arraignment in November. Last month, the city asked for abatement of the home — a legal move that permits law enforcement agencies to close any piece of property involved in illegal activities.

While the homeowner and the city await their day in court over the abatement, neighbors have continued to report what they believe is illegal activity at the property. The homeowner has been served with a cease-and-desist letter ordering all suspicious activity to stop.

“Neighbors note a constant flow of people on foot, bikes, and cars entering and leaving the residence,” attorneys for the city wrote. “In the past, they have been physically threatened by visitors to the residence. Neighbors indicate they are afraid to freely use the shared space, including use of their garbage cans, the parking areas and pool, and walking their dogs. Neighbors have witnessed residents of the [p]roperty and visitors doing drugs in the garage, people passed out in cars, and what they describe as drug sales.”

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Let’s Talk Community News

On September 21, you’re invited to join the editor of The Palm Springs Post and the publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent at Talk of the Town, presented by ONE-PS. The timely and informative virtual session starts at 5:30 PM and will focus on how independent publishers are working to build personal connections in their Coachella Valley communities by bringing them local news.

FIND DETAILS HERE


BRIEFLY

PRIDE COMEDY SHOW: Tickets for Mina Hartong’s Palm Springs Pride edition of the Lez Out Loud comedy show on November 3 are going fast, but still available by turning here. The show takes place at Runway Bar & Restaurant in Cathedral City and starts at 6:30 PM. Hartong is well known to Palm Springs audiences, appearing at multiple venues in the city over the years. Aside from performing award-winning comedy, she is also an emcee and educator, having taught in the public school system for 21 years.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Interested in learning more about community composting in the Coachella Valley? Join Desert Compost founder/director Haley Preston for a one-hour lunch and learn today via Zoom at 12 PM. The event is hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Riverside County. More details, including how to join via Zoom, are available here.

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: The city’s Human Rights Commission issued a proclamation Wednesday evening in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and the contributions of generations of Hispanic Americans to the city’s history. “By the 1920s, in Palm Springs, the original Mexican American pioneer families came to work in agriculture, the railroad, and construction,” the proclamation read in part. “Their arrival was the beginning of a new life in a new country and they were instrumental in supporting the growing Palm Springs Village resort destination.” Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.

TASTE OF PALM SPRINGS: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Business Expo & Taste of Palm Springs at a new location on September 22. Indian Canyons Golf Resort, 1100 E. Murray Canyon Dr., will be the site of this year’s event, featuring food from multiple area restaurants as well as booths with information about area businesses. The event begins at 5 PM. Business and restaurant owners who wish to register for the event, as as well as guests who would like to sample food and learn more about the participating businesses, can find more information by going here.

SCHOOL COVID: As of this morning, the Palm Springs Unified School District is reporting 43 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff. Schools in Palm Springs account for nine of those cases, including seven among students and two among staff. Two schools in the city — Palm Springs High School and Cielo Vista Charter School — accounted for the majority of the reported cases.


TODAY’S EVENTS

WATER AGENCY: The Desert Water Agency Executive Committee meets online at 8 AM. An agenda packet, as well as instructions, will be posted here when available.

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers exercise classes, informational programs, and other events for members starting at 8 AM. Among the offerings is a movie starting at 10:30 AM in the Noia Auditorium, and jewelry making at 10:30 AM in the Hearst Room. Today’s complete schedule can be found here.

STORY TIME: The Palm Springs Public Library offers story time for preschoolers starting at 10:30 AM via YouTube. Librarian Nancy Valdivia reads stories, sings songs, and shows early learning concepts (Wednesdays in Spanish and Thursdays in English). You can find more information here, and watch the YouTube videos here.

NOT TEEN TALK: The Palm Springs Public Library’s teen librarian hosts an Instagram Live session each Thursday at 3:30 PM. To follow along, follow @psplteenzone on Instagram here.

FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at multiple locations. From 5 PM until 6:30 PM, food is available at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. Food is also available at the community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Rd., between 5 PM and 7 PM. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community this month is available here.

FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 PM to 7 PM this evening. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.

VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly outdoor street fair takes place at 7 PM on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way. The event includes vendor booths on both sides of the street, which is closed to vehicular traffic. At this time, face coverings are required for all who attend, regardless of vaccination status.

ONGOING

HUNGER ACTION MONTH: FIND Food Bank is engaging with the public through fundraising and awareness events this month in an effort to leave no local resident hungry. Multiple Palm Springs businesses are participating. For more information about all local events this month, go here.

LIBRARY CARD DRIVE: The Palm Springs Public Library is running its annual library card drive during the month of September. Library cards are free to residents of California and offer many advantages other than being able to reserve and check out books. Ready for a library card? Just head to this site to register.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: The Palm Springs Police Department will increase patrols throughout September to crack down on driving violations that put pedestrians at risk. As part of Pedestrian Safety Month, police will be searching for violations such as failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, illegal turns, failing to stop at stop signs or signals, and speeding.

FILM FESTIVAL: All-access passes, six-packs, and individual tickets are now on sale for Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival, held September 16 through 30 at the Historic Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2100 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Complete information about tickets for this year’s event can be found here.

TRAM CLOSED: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is closed for its annual maintenance. If all goes well, it should reopen on October 4.


COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? See below for calendars, meeting agendas, and links to all city services, police reports, code enforcement reports, and more:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events | Official city contacts

Palm Springs Public Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar | Board meetings

Desert Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting agendas

Mizell Center calendar of events

Desert Water Agency calendar

ONE-PS calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Street sweeping schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pickup schedule | Holiday schedules

Sunline Transit bus schedule

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Well in the Desert daily meals | Food distribution

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