Palm Springs 2021 Year in Review : The community weighs in

The people are the city, and the people spoke loud and clear in 2021: They want elected officials to focus on homelessness, housing, and responsible development. Read on for what some told us were the most important stories of 2021.

Community members who take to the pages of Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter and other social media platforms have plenty of opinions. Earlier this month we asked our fans and followers a simple question: “What would you say was the biggest story in Palm Springs this year and why?” Below are a few of their answers.

“There is plenty of negative feedback on the PS City Council but I think the biggest story is kudos to keeping us safe during a pandemic! Putting in vaccination requirements for indoor dining allowed my husband and I and many friends feel safe enough to start dining out again. We will not eat in the other cities because the rules are too lax. The city council had some tough decisions and they deserve a lot of credit for hanging tough and putting safety first.”

— Eileen Stern

“Homelessness, a botched uneven COVID approach, and blocking traffic on Museum Way and eliminating parking with parklets. This has left a deep scar on our mountain filled city worthy of much better.”

JohnPaul Valdez

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“Parklets are a blight on our city. Our once beautiful, charming downtown now looks like a redneck encampment. Parklets gotta go.”

John Shimek

“The significant change in city leadership in one year (City Manager, Asst City Manager, Police Chief). Why, because it leaves a leadership void that will take time to replace.”

— Brian Ramos

“The quick and complete establishment of a comprehensive COVID policy requiring masks and proof of vaccination for dining indoors thus placing the priority on the health of the citizens. The Statue on Museum Way, making it visible from Palm Canyon. The new downtown park which gives visitors the feel of being in a Palm Grove. The amazing rebound as a major tourist destination. The permitting of parklet’s for outdoor dining, this giving restaurants the ability to survive during the pandemic.”

— Bob Marlin

“In a snap decision, moved here from Wisconsin in April, never having been here before. That was the biggest Palm Springs story for me.”

— Jenny Vaughn Mathison

“The unhoused population and the accompanying detritus. Everywhere.”

— Jeffrey Merrill

“I’d say the Well in the Desert drama and the statue wars.”

— Lauren Wolfer

“COVID, Vaccines, Masks, Homelessness and peoples choice to become really mean to others over all of it.”

— Read Brown-Scott

“Palm Springs charging retail rates for electricity and arbitrarily voting to increase rates this summer via their quasi-government: Desert Community Energy Community Choice Aggregation. And the fact that their is no media coverage that DCE/CVAG/PS don’t need CPUC approval for rate changes.”

— Rosario Avila

“COVID response, homeless and shootings. They are the 3 big stories I think of when I think of PS and news.”

— Ann Greene

“There really is only one issue and that’s the “unhoused” issue. Everything else pales or is a byproduct.”

— Bob Hamilton

“Without doubt, the attempted money grab of $307 million from the taxpayer financed College of the Desert West Valley campus by Coachella politicians. Corruption in plain sight, caught by our City Councils. The other big under-reported story is the effect climate change will have on tourism …”

— Lewis Stewart

“Hockey stadium and team. Money, fun, rooting.”

— Lawrence Chase

“Palm Springs with the highest cost of living increase in all of America will be the biggest story in the end. Notwithstanding the loss of so many wonderful neighbors and friends to this dreadful pandemic. All other issues will be forgotten overtime…Going forward dealing with the flood of homeless will be the nagging issue that will bring this community down if not dealt with efficiently and with finality. Palm Springs needs to roll up the welcome mat to these out-of-town guests if the community is to regain its position as a world renown destination resort. CRIME WILL KILL Palm Springs just like it has so many third world resort areas.”

— Steve Grasha

“The brave and thoughtful implementation of COVID physical and vaccine prophylaxis. I’m sure most residents don’t appreciate how much they preserved health, and provided a safe, viable environment for dining and entertainment.”

— Patrick Muro

“I’d say the introduction and rapid growth of a home-grown, free, and independent news source serving the city and local area has to be among the top contenders.”

— Thom Bettinger


MONDAY: Our top 5 stories of 2021, according to the data

TODAY: Our readers weigh in on the top stories of 2021

WEDNESDAY: Palm Springs in 2021: A ‘Zoom Town’ emerges under the cloud of a pandemic

THURSDAY: Palm Springs in 2022: Time needed to build a better city comes face-to-face with reality

FRIDAY: Meet our 2021 Palm Springs Person of the Year

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