Do away with the tram!!!

General Palm Springs area.

Postby AlanK » Tue May 08, 2007 5:45 pm

According to the Coachella Valley Water District (, "all drinking and other domestic water, comes from the aquifer, a source usually referred to as groundwater."

According to the State of California (
Prior to 1949, water levels steadily declined because of pumping. After 1949 and into the early 1980s, water levels in the central and southern subbasin area rose as imported Colorado River water begin to recharge parts of the subbasin. Elsewhere in the subbasin during this time water levels continued to decline. Since the 1980s, water levels in the central and southern areas have declined despite Colorado River imports. These declines are largely due to increasing urbanization and groundwater pumping (CVWD 2000).

In 1974, the storage capacity of the topmost 700 feet was estimated to be about 10 mission acre-feet. The Water District estimated that the decrease in freshwater in storage in the Coachella Valley Groundwater Basin for 1999 to be 136,700 acre-feet. Thus, one projects that the area had about 73 years of water left. Of course, the rate of decrease has undoubtedly grown since 1999 as the area's population has grown.

The philosophy of the so-called conservatives who run things in the area seems to be to party while the water lasts.
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Postby KathyW » Tue May 08, 2007 6:54 pm

Yes, they recharge with water from the Colorado River, so the ground water is supplemented with river water for domestic use. Water for agricultural uses is Colorado River water supplied by the Coachella Valley Water District. The agricultural water from the Colorado River is also used for irrigating golf courses, etc.

It used to be that Arizona and Nevada couldn't use their allotment of Colorado River water, so California was able to take more than their allotment. That's not the case anymore with the population growth in Arizona and Nevada. We are just beginning to see agreements to fallow agricultural land so that more of the Colorado River water may be transfered to urban areas to meet their growing needs - such as Imperial Irrigation District's fallowing program that allows more river water to be shipped to San Diego.

It'll be interesting to see what happens to the Salton Sea as is receives less water from agricultural run-off. The Salton Sea shouldn't be there anyway, but the smell sure will get worse as it shrinks up unless they actually do sink those billions of dollars into a clean-up.
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Postby magikwalt » Tue May 08, 2007 8:50 pm

Well the problem of building on Chino Cone and the entire rest of the area may have been solved. Let's save the billions of dollars about to be wasted on the sea that shouldn't be here anyway. Leave it alone, let it dry up and turn into an extreme version of Owens (Dry) Lake. Once the fine particle dust from the lake bed gets blown into the air making the entire Valley unsuitable for anyone the building should stop. If it stinks a little all the better to drive out all the rich people.

If you're unfamilar with the 85 year war over and the current situation caused by Owens Lake here are a couple links. ... 8370.story

I love the Chino Canyon area but if you asked me to choose between the fixing of the Salton Sea or bringing a halt to the Chino Cone development its too easy to see where the greatest impact will be.

As a final note the reference to Palm Springs being under conservative control is a hoot. Who exactly is the conservative in the Palm Springs City Council? Forget Dems and Repubs its the same local, county and state government issues regardless of who's driving the bus. Not enough money coming in to provide the services they: provide, need to provide and/or want to provide. The lack of funds leads the elected officials to start looking for new income. New development and building allows them a great opportunity to rake in more fees and expand their tax base.
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Postby zippetydude » Tue May 08, 2007 10:34 pm

Joseph Heller saw this coming some time ago.

"When asked what right they have to do this, they reply, "Catch-22." Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything that you can't stop them from doing. And if you ask to see Catch-22, the law says they don't have to show it to you. What law? Catch-22, of course."

I have seldom seen progress (read: profit) come out on the losing end. But that doesn't stop the battle.

Martina Mc Bride has a simple country song out that puts it this way:

"This world's gone crazy
And it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway."

I don't thing there's a snowball's chance of stopping them. I'm with you anyway.

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Postby cynthia23 » Wed May 09, 2007 10:48 am

Love all these thoughtful comments! What a bunch of interesting people we have here. If only hikers were running the country ...

I agree with KathyW and others that water and the depletion of the aquifer is the ultimate limiting factor on growth in the valley--the ground has already sunk a bit in areas of Palm Desert from the depletion of the groundwater, and the Colorado River is not a good long-term substitute--there isn't enough of it, and also it is dangerously contaminated with byproducts from rocket fuel ( think it is called perchlorate?). However, the build-out and golf courses continue as if there is no water issue. Also I agree that it is very important to preserve some of this prime agricultural land for the purpose of growing food, unless we want a future in which all of our produce comes from Chile, or China ... simply anarchistically allowing everyone to build anywhere they please makes no sense. I do not understand calling this course of action "conservative"--to me, being conservative means planning carefully and realistically for the future, protecting my children and future grandchildren, and providing there will be enough food, water, and clean air for them ... I agree with MagikWalt that the Salton Sea will be a major problem if it is not dealt with, as if it dries up, it will release a cloud of toxic dust all over the valley. However, I would not say that we must "trade" the preservation of the Salton Sea for the preservation of Chino Cone--the cost of the latter isn't remotely close to the cost of the SS clean-up.

I understand gloominess at the overall state of the world, but think some of the posters are needlessly glum about the ultimate fate of Chino Cone. It is entirely possible it can still be saved. A recent, somewhat similar example: about two years ago, equally odious mega-developer Dick Oliphant cheaply bought up a huge chunk of land in Sky Valley, directly contiguous to the borders of Joshua Tree and the Coachella Thousand Palms Oasis, then began loudly trumpeting about how he was going to build a huge new city in this location, complete with a "World Trade Center" university, thousands of homes, an industrial park, and, of course, the ubiquitious golf course (In fact, I think he proposed three.) This of course utterly horrified anyone who cares about the already threatened Joshua Tree (one of the most polluted national parks) and the incredibly rare biome of the Palm Oasis sand dunes. Anyway, then there began a protracted, semi-theatrical PR dance in which Oliphant released "artist's drawings" of the Would-Be new town (OliphantVille?), complete with gleaming highrises directly next to Joshua Tree. It was all really just a long winded extortion ploy--various state and fed. agencies finally bought the land from Oliphant, at a hugely inflated cost. He made millions of dollars off his ploy, all for the cost of some artist's drawings ...

I'm not saying it's quite so simple here, because this land is more inherently valuable and attractive (Oliphant would have had great difficulty financing his city, and builders in Chino Cone wouldn't) but the various owners have made fairly clear that they are just as happy to sell their land to a conservancy as to developers--provided they are "fairly compensated". Everyone involved in this project knows it is enviromentally dubious, to say the least. They all implicitly understand a project of this grotesque magnitude could never get approved now. So whether they admit it publically or not there is some motivation to deal. Do not despair, it is worth fighting ... it aint' over till the fat lady sings ...
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Postby KathyW » Wed May 09, 2007 3:23 pm

I strongly agree that the way to conserve privately held land is to fairly compensate the owners if they are willing to sell it to an agency who will conserve it or to compensate the owner if they are willing to put a conservation easement on the property. It is only fair to compensate someone for the loss in monetary value of the property so that future generations may continue to benefit from the nonmonetary value of the property.
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Postby cynthia23 » Thu May 10, 2007 9:45 am

I definitely agree that individual landowners should be fairly compensated at market rates by state or federal agencies for their land. However, I'm not talking about Ma and Pa Average, who bought land with their life savings, ranched it, etc. Of course they should get the market rate. The kind of shenanigans I'm talking about are little more than legal theft of government monies by crooked men (and some women, too) of high finance. What happened in Sky Valley was disgraceful--mega-developer Dick Oliphant deliberately bought up environmentally sensitive (but cheap) land, with the idea in mind of extorting a much higher price for it from government agencies. He knowingly used the threat of developing this area as his club to get outrageous prices. In essence, he held a loaded bulldozer to the head of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors ... He got millions of dollars from the government for doing nothing more than shuffling papers and being the kind of clever little cockroach who figured out how to exploit a loophole in the current system of environmental regulation (state parks are protected, but sensitive border areas are not.) Call me a wild-eyed anarchist, but I don't see why my tax dollars should go to line the already bulging pockets of a corporate multi-millionaire who already has more money than he can ever spend in his bloated, useless life. These men are no better than the kind of men who ran Enron, and if there is any justice in the world, they'll end up in the same place (A federal prison. Or, failing that, Hell!)

Ok, excuse the ranting, but eight years of reading the lies of the Desert Sun will drive any sane person nutz ...and I wasn't very sane to begin with ... :wink:

Anyway, some of the Chino Cone landholders are native Palm Springers who've owned it for a long time, and I certainly wouldn't be in favor of taking what is in essence a chunk of their life savings. They should get a decent price for the land. But others land-holders here are simply big corporations bound and determined to squeeze every extra dollar (or million) out of the government, with the oh-so-willing collusion of local officials, who often are getting a piece of the monetary pie, either directly or indirectly. It's this kind of continuous legal theft of our tax monies that ensures we don't have enough money for real needs, like schools, or cleaning up the Salton Sea ....
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Postby KathyW » Thu May 10, 2007 11:46 am

Cynthia: I agree. I think the key is to compensate fairly but not based on proposed developments that are just dreams, but I think it's also time for me to be quiet on the topic for a while too.

sorry for getting carried away.
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joint deal

Postby guest » Mon May 14, 2007 9:47 am

A small article in the Desert Sun states that Mark Bragg & ACBCI (local tribe) has signed a letter of intent to possibly develope 210 acres adjacent to Shadow Rock proposed site.
The tribe owns the land, has money, may not be as restricted to the same EIR / EIS as others.

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