Daily Briefing: State of the city, a rally for women’s healthcare, welders win state title, and more

Leading off: How’s your city doing? Pretty good

Palm Springs is in great shape, based on several key performance indicators shown in a slideshow presented by Mayor Lisa Middleton Tuesday evening.

Driving the news: The city’s civic and business leaders gathered at the Plaza Theatre downtown for a Team Palm Springs pep rally — the annual State of The City event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

By the numbers: Middleton took the audience back in time, explaining that tax revenues have jumped nearly 60% in the past decade — from $70 million in 2011 to an expected $169 million this fiscal year.

  • Credit due: She acknowledged the foresight of former city leaders and voters who elected to tax themselves through Measure J, even during a recession.
     
    • “What we are seeing today is the direct result of the investment that was made a decade ago, and we thank you.”

Forward progress: In the past year, increased revenue led to increased spending on much-needed fire equipment and personnel, infrastructure at the airport, and soon a navigation center to serve homeless city residents.

  • Critical partnership: Middleton lauded an agreement last year between the city and Martha’s Village and Kitchen to run an access center for homeless services off El Cielo Road. The organization will run the navigation center.
     
    • “On El Cielo, we are proving that a homeless center can be a good neighbor.”

There’s more: The mayor pointed to success during the past year in sustainability efforts, the battle against Covid, and emergency services.

  • Calling 911: The Palm Springs Police Department responded to 167 calls each day and took 80 guns off the streets in the past year; the Fire Department responded to roughly two calls per hour, all within minutes.

Yes, but: Speaking to downtown merchants earlier in the day, Middleton said the city needs to focus next on fixing aging properties.

  • “Our infrastructure clearly needs some significant rehabilitation,” she said during a Main Street Palm Springs meeting. “We’ve got a number of buildings that are showing their age a bit.”

Bottom line: It’s good to be mayor of a city that’s the envy of many others.

  • “The city is just booming. It’s going incredibly well. It’s a really nice story to be able to tell.”

In brief: A ‘code red’ moment

Brenda Adams and Diane Fischer attend a rally at Palm Springs City Hall Tuesday evening.

Advocates for women’s healthcare have been here so many times before that they know the drills as well as soldiers graduating boot camp. But this time they may be in for the biggest fight in 50 years.

  • Driving the news:  A leaked document shows that in the coming months the United States Supreme Court could overturn the 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.
     
    • Conservatives have been chipping away at Roe ever since the ruling. New justices appointed during the Trump administration, all of whom said the issue was settled law in public hearings, appear to have been blowing smoke.
         
  • Local action: Women’s advocacy groups Courageous Resistance of the Desert and Democratic Women of the Desert sprung into action as soon as they heard about the pending decision. 
     
    • Outside Palm Springs City Hall Tuesday evening, roughly four dozen people showed up to rally behind the cause, vowing not to rest until their voices were heard at the highest levels, just like they did after Donald Trump took office.
       
    • “That huge women’s march in 2017 was just an appetizer,” said Becki Robinson of Courageous Resistance. “Get your shoes ready. Get your water ready. Because it’s going to be a long, hot summer.”

What’s at stake: Those in attendance Tuesday said this is a ‘code red moment.’ They worry that conservative males who have managed to rule the country despite being vastly outnumbered will next turn their attention to abolishing other rights, such as birth control and marriage equality.


? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

✍️ A trio of newcomers filed paperwork indicating they intend to run for City Council (Palm Springs Post)

? More arrests were made in the murder of a city resident at the nearby outlet stores. (KESQ

? There’s a sneak peek of the Cinco de Mayo performances from the PSHS Folkloric dancers and Mariachi Tesoro. (Palm Springs Life)

? One of the most famous drag queens in the country is renovating a city motel for a new TV series. (The Desert Sun)


? On tap

The City Council is holding a special study session tonight starting at 5:30 p.m.

What’s so special: Councilmembers are discussing the proposed five-year capital improvement program. It gives engineering staff their marching orders.

  • Dozens of capital improvements are being considered, including renovations to the main library, improvements to pedestrian infrastructure, and dog park upgrades.
     
    • Staff is actively working on, or assisting with, approximately 64 capital projects with a total cost of more than $300 million.

Details, details: You can tune in on the city’s cable station or YouTube channel. To provide public comment, follow the instructions here.

?️ Also today:

  • The Historic Site Preservation Board meets online at 5:30 p.m.

  • The next free concert in the new Downtown Park is tonight at 7 p.m.

  • The Palm Springs Art Museum is holding a talk with Los Angeles-based artist Devin Reynolds tonight at 6 p.m.

Looking ahead:

  • 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.


And finally …

Congrats are in order for the Palm Springs High School Welding Fabrication Team, which recently won a state championship.

  • There’s a welding team? Yes! PSHS offers several different programs called Linked Learning/CTE that help high school students learn career-technical skills in healthcare, business, the arts, and welding.
     
    • Programs like these can help students better understand the job market. And as college enrollment plummets and tuition increases, these programs give students other alternatives.
       
    • Job growth for welders is expected to be about 8% in the coming years.

Driving the news: The students recently competed at the SkillsUSA California State Leadership and Skills Conference in Ontario.

  • In order to win, they had just three hours to build a project from a set of blueprints. Students had to cut out the parts, do some tricky welding, and test their knowledge.

? Our take: If the welding gigs fall through, there’s always dancing.


Kendall will be watching Star Wars (the original trilogy) all day.

Mark prefers real space and will dust off his telescope.

Miss a day?Read past newsletters here.

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