Is the downtown reconstruction ‘pizzazz’ a lot of hot air? It hath no funding

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UPDATED: Tuesday, 5:15 p.m.

TWENTYNINE PALMS – “We are not in the design phase yet,” regularly appointed Mayor John Cole said.

The wayward downtown redevelopment is in its fourth version. Its going on a decade and the same old ‘pizzazz’ is being promoted in terms of popularizing the downtown redevelopment zone called Project Phoenix (“PP”).

After years of debacles, legal action, multilayers of council political idiocy and bad legal advise, the council last Thursday held another of many open meetings over the decade regarding the council’s re-re-redevelopment dream.

During the Thursday meeting, developers shared details with councilmembers about unfunded plans for “PP”. Shouldn’t the council be ‘sharing details’ of what the city wants, not what developers and consultants want?

Reality Check

The city council has (as a year ago) paid over three million dollars ($3,000,000) to developers, consultants, administrative costs, administrators, and, in additiond over a million (likely two million) to outside legal counsel.

Costs are up and running. The “PP” design had to be scrapped because it apparently didn’t conform to code. Where was legal council all those years? Counsel and one of the oldest, largest and most prestegious firm in California didn’t do their job.

The city’s law firm and de jure city attorney were busy going to the bank and failed to advise the “PP” plan didn’t conform to code. Taxpayers can do better in terms of legal council.

To date, there are no designs. “PP” appears to be a mere speculative dream. Whatever it may be, a money pit for consultants, developers, administrators, administrative costs and attorney fees.

The city council of dreamers and spenders haven’t any known, viable funding sources. The money will not drop out of the sky to fund this outrageously overzealous downtown fiasco. It may be that the city is “locked-in to it. If so there are ways to deal with it.

How is the council going to fund a new 30,000 square foot community center, senior housing, indoor/outdoor entertainment theater infrastructure, professional catering kitchen, offices, a pedestrian walkway linking 62 local businesses? This includes a sports center?

The city council continues with their delusional fantasy-land. Where is the money coming from?

The city can’t float another bond. The city economic is not good. It is loosing its population; it is a depressed area; single moms and seniors have it the hardest of them all; the city is largely made up of Millennials; and two costly studies report that the city is not likely to grow.

For the sake of reason, why can’t the council focus on the people who live here? Why is there more of a focus on downtown reconstruction on a grand scale with a price tag beyond the means of taxpayers?

The focus and emergent issue right now is to avoid being blind-sided when California mandates a water-treatment facility and mandated sewer infrastructure.


The entire community benefits when a free press objectively reports on government affairs. That is not happening in Twentynine Palms. The Desert Trall is an unblushing organ for the city.

The suggested archway across and over SR 62 was resurrected by a few people who attended the Thursday public meeting. This is a miscarriage of former councilmember Jay Corbin’s dream for a “Golden Arch Over the City.”

Threshold issue of homelessness and “homeless people residing in the city’s downtown areas” was quickly brushed aside during Thursday’s meeting. Time after time, the councils of both 29 and YV have made it clear they don’t want those people around here.

Many  are veterans, homeless families, homeless teens and hopelessly addicted people who need help.

Are councilmembers being transparent in terms of funding possibilities for the costs of downtown reconstruction and costs for a 30,000 square foot super-steel prefabricated  frame structure. The costs of interior infrastructure to accommodate all the uses is in the millions.

There is no design, and the city council wants more things that the space can accommodate.

Where is the money going to come from?


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5 Responses to Is the downtown reconstruction ‘pizzazz’ a lot of hot air? It hath no funding

  1. JT Dave September 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Mr. Hunter,

    Is this city council run by a different city manager than the one who is “leading the sewer” effort? It seems to me that it’s really the council leading the sewer effort, but that’s not apparently how you view it. So if Mr. Luckino is responsible for the sewer project, why isn’t he responsible for this project? He gets the credit for the council projects you like, and the council gets blasted by you for the projects you don’t like. Seems like you’re not consistent in your reporting, but I guess your not really a reporter so it’s not your fault.

  2. Steve Spear
    Steve Spear September 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Last time I checked the PP bonds that sold for 33 million with a useable funding level of 11 million was at a useable balance of 8 million.

    Even the city manager is on the record there is not enough money to build the “vision” unless additional funding sources are found such as grants.

    With the now famous John Cole statement of “we are not in the design stage yet” what does the council and consultants think will be built with now, more than likely, less than 7 million?

    I sure wish we had honest brokers on the council but we do not.

    How about that arch = great idea as per the consultant = hogwash!

  3. Steve Spear
    Steve Spear September 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    After thought. A traffic light costs in the area of $250,000 because they are designed as stand alone and unique pieces of infrastructure.

    Can you imagine the cost of an arch over SR 62. When CALTRANS got done with that evaluation we would be in debt!

  4. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter September 15, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    The city and its residents need flood controls. Flooding in the same places year after year and thee clowns are exploring with consultants golden arches over the city. THose Golden arches over 62 would come tumbling down and kill someone. THIS IS EARTHQUAKE COUNTRY.

    I am for changing the name of 29 Palms to “La-La-Land”. The city is a laughing stack. The city will move forward in a positive way when Mr. Cole, Klink and Mintz are put out to pasture.

  5. September 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Check your spelling before pressing the print button.


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