December 2nd marked my swearing in as a member of the Palm Springs City Council along with J.R. Roberts and Mayor Rob Moon. At this first meeting, I proposed the creation of a new taskforce on ethics, transparency and governmental reform; I will lead this effort with Rob Moon. Our first vote was to designate Tahquitz Plaza as a Class One Historic Building. The building clearly met the criteria and it was an honor to join my colleagues in preserving this piece of Palm Springs architectural history.
At our meeting on December 16th, the Council approved the Joy of Life Wellness Center for our 6th medical cannabis dispensary license. I was impressed by the qualifications of the applicant, the commitment to giving back to non-profit organizations, and the compassion that Joy Brown Meredith demonstrates in her interactions with everyone in the community.
Finally – and it was a very long meeting -- we approved appointments to committees and outside organizations and I am very much looking forward to serving our city as a member of the following subcommittees: Finance/Budget; Non-motorized Transportation Plan; Homelessness; Measure “J” Oversight Commission; Sustainability; Business Retention; and Governmental Reform, Ethics and Transparency. In addition, I will be serving as Palm Springs’ representative to the Coachella Valley Association of Governments Energy and Environment Committee and as the liaison to the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce and alternate to Main Street Palm Springs.
As we enter 2016, the development of the downtown project will be a major focus of our work. We were initially scheduled to hold a hearing on a proposed amendment to the specific plan for this project at our regular December 16th meeting. However, I moved that we table the hearing until January to provide everyone in the community the opportunity to review the document that was the subject of the hearing. The Council decided to hold a study session on the plan at 5:00 p.m. on January 6th. That study session will be held at the Convention Center to accommodate the expected large crowd; the subsequent hearing and council meeting has been moved to January 13th at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. The documents can be reviewed at: http://www.palmspringsca.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/11731/507. I hope you can attend the study session as this is a critically important project for our city. If you are unable to attend, please don’t hesitate to submit comments to me and other council members prior to the study session or at the hearing on January 13th.
Please note that there are currently numerous vacancies for City Commissions and these will be filled as qualified applications are received. This is a terrific opportunity to participate in our city government. You can find the current vacancies and information here: http://www.palmspringsca.gov/residents/boards-and-commissions
I hope your 2016 is a year filled with love, happiness and peace.