Branding the Morongo Basin, the concerns of two Basin communities, and a Council vacancy were subjects of discussion at the June meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council. Reporter Dan Stork fills in the details…
The featured informational presentation during the June 9 meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council was given by Art Miller, Jr., supported by Jerry Mattos. They talked up using “Joshua Tree Gateway Communities” as a tourism marketing brand for the Morongo Basin. Their point was, we know ourselves as the Morongo Basin – and there’s no reason to change that — but for the rest of the world, “Morongo” is someone else’s brand.
Mary Reeves listed the concerns of residents of the Desert Heights area, with Twentynine Palms Fire Chief Jim Thompson giving a history of the largest one—fire services—and the closure of the Lear fire station. Reeves listed other concerns: the hazardous intersection of Lear and Two Mile; trash and abandoned cars; the need for grading at the dry lake; OHV abuses; and bad road conditions. When asked whether Desert Heights would benefit from MAC representation, she said “Of course”—that would give the area someone to go to.
Starlene Javier gave a history of the special district for road assessments in Wonder Valley, and said that the $15 per year parcel assessment is no longer adequate to the task of maintaining dirt roads. She asked for the MAC’s support in making a case to the Board of Supervisors for an increased assessment and rezoning. There was disagreement among Wonder Valley residents about the precise terms of a proposed course of action that had come out of a recent community meeting. Consequently, the MAC tabled the issue, with Chairman Mike Lipsitz telling the Wonder Valley residents, we’d like to support you, but we don’t know what you’re asking.
Lipsitz said that applications are being taken for the vacant Joshua Tree seat on the MAC, formerly held by David Peach. (A statement issued by Supervisor James Ramos said, “I thank Mr. David Peach for his valuable service on the Morongo Basin MAC. He played a key role in the development of the MAC and I wish him the best of luck in his future public service endeavors.”)