- Update 2016.09.14: completed summary of Hobart's final Mayor's Message (19 April 2016); added material from the 7 April 2016 and 17 March 2016 Rancho Mirage City Council meeting minutes.
- Update 2016.09.15: added material from Mayor's Message of 11 March 2016 without providing commentary; added material from the 3 March and 18 February 2016 Rancho Mirage City Council meeting minutes.
- Updates 2016.09.17-24: added material from council meetings in 2015 and created linked details of citizen and council comments.
Over a decade and a half, I have watched with hope—and frustration—the developing plans for a regional bikeway in the Coachella Valley. Over the last year, the Rancho Mirage city commissioners have sought to sow discord in the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and to incite obstruction similar to theirs in other cities. At this point, they have been successful in this effort in only one other constituent of CVAG, the City of Indian Wells.
In an attempt to determine underlying reasons for the entrenched objections to CV Link, I've been reviewing City Commission materials from the past years. As a start, I conducted a database search for the term "CV Link." I followed this with a review of each document for the trails commission, the parks and recreation committee, and the city council.
13 October 2013A City Council meeting on 13 October 2013 was the earliest document that had a match to the term "CV Link."
Page 195, a page deep within an exhibit supporting the city's environmental assessment, cites the area plans for CV Link. The "Sustainability Plan" that the page is part of evidences the general support of CV Link: "CVAG is planning a regional transportation alternative called CV Link that will have significant health and wellness benefits. CV Link would extend along the Whitewater River and connect all nine Coachella Valley cities with a trail system for walkers, bikes, and neighborhood electric vehicles. Such a system will create opportunities for recreational activities while reducing vehicle reliance and harmful emissions. Rancho Mirage will work with regional planners to carefully consider and map out local access points to the proposed trail system as well as potential charging station locations for plug-in electric and neighborhood electric vehicles."
Page 196, a table of sustainability measures, includes references to CV Link and to bicycling in general: "Support CV Link as a Valley amenity and means to alternative forms of transportation and to promote health in Rancho Mirage." The suggestion was to be implemented in phase I, saving 25 tons of CO2, and annual savings of $4,620. The estimated cost of implementing was only $5,000.
The other reference reads, "Provide bicycles for daily trips using public/private partnership model." The suggestion was to be implemented in phase II, saving 38 tons of CO2, and annual savings of $6,485. The estimated cost of implementing was only $5,000.
- Pages 207, 232, and 241, all containing summary tables, repeat the reference originally made on page 196.
17 October 2013The City Council meeting on 17 October 2013 had several references to CV Link.
- "Carol Hochsprung, Magnesia Falls, ... said she was a member of the Trails Commission and was at the recent CV Link presentation at the Library. She said she had been very impressed by the CV Link and asked where it would be located in relation to the Park.
"Mr. [Bud] Kopp [city Planning Manager] said the proposed CV Link could be easily accommodated and some charging stations and other amenities may even be made available. He stressed that the CV Link is a totally separate project with CVAG as the lead agency."
6 November 2013The Trails Commission meeting minutes on 6 November 2013 reports long discussion of CV Link.
- "Mr. [Greg] Trousdell [Trails Commission staff] stated that he was happy to see some of the Commissioners attending the CVAG CV Link meeting at the library on October 15, 2013. Mr. Trousdell commented that in the future, the Commission would probably need to take action on how they want the CV Link to transition through Rancho Mirage.
"Mr. Trousdell stated that Mr. Tom Kirk with CVAG stated at the October 15th CV Link meeting that they were not going to pursue eminent domain, they did not want to be tied up in litigation; they will try to work around any route problems they have.
"Mr. Trousdell stated he felt the CV Link would start in Palm Springs; CVAG indicated they have several alternate route possibilities other than through the Whitewater Channel.
- "Chairman [Jeffrey] Morgan stated if the CV Link does not follow the Whitewater Channel but transitions to street level from Palm Springs to Indian Wells to by-pass the Country Clubs, the plan would not work. If that happened, he felt some type of action would be implemented by some City Councils and CVAG.
"Mr. Trousdell stated the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club was the first dedicated equestrian trail and was to be from Bob Hope Drive to Monterey Avenue then up and over to Palm Desert. After Rancho Las Palmas was built that trail segment was dropped.
"Chairman Morgan stated some of the leases on the golf courses in the wash are not owned by the country clubs, they are owned by CVWD and those leases would be expiring. None of the leases are owned by the city."
4 December 2013The Trails Commission meeting minutes on 4 December 2013 reports further discussion of CV Link. Significantly, the first real opposition seems to come from the chairman, Jeffrey Morgan—though he may be only reporting what he understands from residents he knows.
"Mr. [Greg] Trousdell [staff member] distributed a Desert Sun article regarding the CV link path and asked Mayor Kite if he had an update for the Commission.
"Mayor [Richard W.] Kite stated that as of now they are just taking input. During the December 5, 2013 City Council study session, Mr. Tom Kirk with CVAG/CV Link would be discussing how CV Link would impact Rancho Mirage and where they believe CV Link would transition through or around the country clubs.
"Mayor Kite stated it appeared at this time, much of the link would transition from the Whitewater Channel to city streets.
- "Chairman [Jeffrey] Morgan stated he felt there would be opposition to the CV Link if it does transition from the wash to street level.
- "Mayor Kite commented that the anticipated construction was to start in 2015."
5 December 2013The City Council met the day following the Trails Commission.
"Mayor [Richard W.] Kite commented on the Study Session held earlier that dayregarding [sic] the CV Link Project being proposed by Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG). He stated the Study Session was primarily to talk about the Link and its impact on Rancho Mirage residents and what the City Council's concerns are with the route CV Link will take. He assured residents that the Council will provide updates on exactly what the CV Link is all about and how it will impact Rancho Mirage. He urged anyone with questions or comments to contact Council members or City staff."
Kite's comments indicate that opposition has been developing about the CV Link route and concern in Rancho Mirage that the city streets may be affected. His comments also indicate that CVAG planners are aware of the concerns.
19 March 2015The City Council met in regular session.
"In answer to Councilmember Townsend' s question, he stated plans have been shared with CVAG for the CV Link project and they will be able to work with it."
16 April 2015
- The City Council met in regular session. Many comments from the public were received, and the council debated and decided to "oppose the CV Link route alignment over the Butler-Abrams Trail and to oppose the CV Link route alignment at the Highway 111/Paxton Drive at grade crossing and support the realignment of the route on the south side of Highway 111 with an underpass crossing at the Magnesia Falls flood control channel."
I provide the full citizen and council comments in another post.
Could the decision be made more difficult to understand? Perhaps this is the intended breakdown:
- We oppose using the Butler-Abrams Trail for CV Link.
- We oppose a crossing of Highway 111 at Paxton Drive.
- We support placing the CV Link on the south side of Highway 111 through to the Magnesia Falls channel, with an underpass [there to return to the Whitewater Channel].
But even this advisory decision leaves three wealthy subdivisions with an untenable proximity to CV Link, as one can read in the public comments from Sondra Jones, Dan Smith, Sid Hubbard, Donnie Hubbard, and Mary Jane Feliz—all residents of the gated communities in Thunderbird Cove.
7 May 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "12. Consideration of Prohibition of the Route of CV Link Over Any Portion of Highway 111 or Bob Hope Drive, in the City of Rancho Mirage
- "City Manager Randal Bynder stated that the City of Rancho Mirage, led by Mayor Hobart and Councilmember Kite ( CV Link Subcommittee), with the support of key staff members including Finance Director Isaiah Hagerman and Public Works Director Bruce Harry, have raised significant questions regarding the operation and maintenance ( 0&M) scheme of the CV Link project. Mr. Bynder added that the 0&M issue was addressed in detail in Mayor Hobart' s memo to the CVAG Executive Committee on April 27, 2015. The questions of long- term 0&M and how it will be funded and who will pay for it are ongoing and have not been resolved as far as the City of Rancho Mirage is concerned. Mr. Bynder noted that, if not for the important objections raised by Mayor Pro Tem Ted Weill at his CVAG Transportation Subcommittee on May 4, 2015, the Master Plan and the maintenance scheme may have been approved and potentially forced upon the City. Mr. Bynder further commented that 0&M is one important issue that must be resolved as part of the CV Link; however, the other issue is the physical location of the CV Link.
- "Mr. Bynder indicated that this item would build upon the City Council' s decision at the April 16, 2015 meeting, which prohibited the CV Link from destroying the character of the Butler -Abrams Trail and to disallow the CV Link from disrupting the Rancho Mirage Library grounds and using the City' s land in displacing the very location of the Observatory project. Mr. Bynder requested that the City Council take this matter a step further and prohibit the route of the CV Link to extend along or across any portion of Highway 111 or Bob Hope Drive within the City of Rancho Mirage.
- "In response to a question from Councilmember Kite, Mayor Hobart clarified the length of the proposed restriction would be the boundaries of the City for both Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive.
- Public Comment
- "Mary Jane Filice, a resident in Thunderbird Cover, requested that the City Council does not allow the CV Link in the City of Rancho Mirage. She commented that good planning does not
mix high speed, high volume traffic with pedestrian traffic. Ms. Filice encouraged the City Council to not let the pressure of their sister cities impact their decision on this issue.
- "Mike Fontana expressed his thanks to the City Council for taking a leadership role in reviewing this matter and determining the CV Link is not a good fit for Rancho Mirage. He thanked Mayor Hobart for his courage in presenting this to the CVAG Executive Committee meeting, noting that he attended the meeting and thanked Mayor Hobart for making the case for Rancho Mirage and getting them to look at the flaws in the CV Link. Mr. Fontana added that he has been to several CVAG presentations where they refer to the CV Link as a " path" or " trail." However, in reading the CVAG master plan, Mr. Fontana pointed out that it is referred to as a " transportation corridor like any other" and not a " trail." He concluded his comments by saying that he lives next to the Butler -Abrams Trail and feels it is a treasure that needs to be protected.
- "Another resident who did not provide his name commented that he is vehemently opposed to the CV Link and sees no advantage for Rancho Mirage. He cited other projects similar to the CV Link that have become a magnet for crime.
- "Mayor Hobart reported that he made a lengthy presentation to the CVAG Executive Committee two weeks ago followed by a meeting a few days later with the CVAG Executive Director where they discussed issues that remain to be resolved. Mayor Hobart noted that in his opinion, those in charge of development design of this project are continuing " full steam ahead." At the CVAG Executive Committee meeting, he asked them to slow down the process, reduce the cost of the project and concentrate on resolving important issues, including the operations and maintenance ( 0&M) expenses for the CV Link.
- "Mayor Hobart quoted CVAG` s projected 0&M expense of 1. 6 million dollars in the first year of full operation. He noted that the recommended method of funding 0&M was presented at a CVAG Transportation Committee meeting chaired by Mayor Pro Tem Weill, for final approval without it ever having been discussed except on March 30th when the Executive Director of CVAG met with the Rancho Mirage CV Link Subcommittee. Mayor Hobart stated that using the CVAG proposed formula, the City of Rancho Mirage Finance Director calculated that in year nine, Rancho Mirage would pay $ 313, 000 of TOT revenue. Further, it would fall upon five Coachella Valley cities - La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs - to pay the majority of the 0&M expense into the future.
- "In addition to using a percentage of TOT revenue, CVAG is proposing that a third of the 0&M expense would be paid through Measure A funds, which are intended to repair and build new roads; essentially diverting them from already approved projects to the CV Link by designating it as an arterial roadway. Mayor Hobart reported that he suggested to the CVAG Executive Director that CVAG 1) obtain a legal opinion on this issue from an attorney not in this area, e. g. Los Angeles; and ( 2) get agreement from the Coachella Valley cities that Measure A funds should be used for this purpose.
- "Mayor Hobart indicated that CVAG is proceeding at a quick pace and continues to invest money in this project. He stated that he has a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Rancho Mirage to fight for what is best for this City. He further stated that he is pushing for a joint meeting of all the cities so they can get the full picture and urged residents to speak out on this issue.
- "Councilmember Smotrich thanked Mayor Hobart for his leadership on this issue and for bringing the City Council up to date.
- "Councilmember Kite thanked Mayor Hobart for his thorough status report. He added that Rancho Mirage is different from other cities involved in this project and to try and put the CV Link along Highway 111 would be disastrous for residents and businesses. Councilmember Kite agreed that the City Council should continue to convey to CVAG the need to develop an alternative plan and to resolve the 0&M expense issues.
- "Councilmember Townsend expressed his appreciation for Mayor Hobart' s dedication to this City and leadership role in this matter.
- "Mayor Pro Tem Weill commented that during the CVAG meetings he has attended, tranquil terms such as " path" and " trail" are frequently used; however, what is being proposed is not peaceful but a concrete, 30 foot wide street to accommodate electric vehicles, golf carts, runners, joggers, bikers, etc. He noted that this is secondary to how the CV Link would be paid for and pledged that the City Council cannot, and will not, obligate Rancho Mirage residents to a cost that is unknown now and into the future.
- "Councilmember Smotrich commented that far beyond the financial aspects of the CV Link are the safety issues. When motor vehicles are put together with runners, walkers and bicycles, she stated this presents a major safety hazard and is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Councilmember Smotrich will be addressing this issue at her CVAG meeting next week.
- "MOVED/ SECONDED BY HOBART/ KITE TO PROHIBIT THE ROUTE OF THE CV LINK TO EXTEND OVER ANY PORTION OF HIGHWAY 111 OR BOB HOPE DRIVE WITHIN THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0."
21 May 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "STATUS UPDATE REGARDING CV LINK
- "Mayor Hobart commented on the CV Link and stated the City of Rancho Mirage has four motions that it has asked to be placed on the June 1, 2015 agenda of the Executive Committee for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (- CVAG"). These include the following requests:
- To convene an all -day CV Link discussion with all of the cities in the Valley that are affected so that they all hear the same answers at the same time regarding operations and maintenance expenses, funding formulas, proposed percentage of Transient Occupancy Tax (" TOT"), and options for the future should cities be unable to meet their financial obligations for the project.
- To approve a request to form a committee of the whole of the CVAG Executive Board for a half- day meeting to hear from CVAG regarding their proposed funding for the ongoing operations and maintenance (" O& M") expenses and what alternative methods of payment CVAG has considered.
- To obtain a legal opinion from a major law firm in Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego related to CVAG' s proposed use of Measure A funds, which were approved by voters in 2002 to be used for the funding of road repairs and maintenance in Riverside County. Mayor Hobart noted that Measure A funds fall under the authority of the Riverside County Transportation Commission which has already identified, through the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (" TPPS"), 247 road repair projects for which Measure A funds are to be utilized.
- To request that CVAG slow down the progress of the design and development of the CV Link which, to date has cost between 2 and 5 million dollars, until it can be determined that the CV Link 0&M can be funded for the long- term life of the project and questions regarding funding can be resolved.
- "NON -AGENDA PUBLIC COMMENT
- "Joyce Virtue, Rancho Mirage, read a letter to the editor which she sent to the Desert Sun requesting clarification by CVAG of the costs related to the CV Link. She noted that she strongly supports and agrees with Mayor Hobart in this matter and feels that prudence and further investigation is of utmost importance in an effort of this magnitude.
- "Allen Worthy, Palm Springs, spoke regarding his personal view of the City of Palm Springs and the alleged brutality of the Palm Springs Police Department.
- "Ron Sharrow, Rancho Mirage, stated that he sent a letter which was published in the Desert Sun regarding the CV Link and commented that he can see no benefit to the City which would justify the cost of this project or the on- going maintenance costs.supports and agrees with Mayor Hobart in this matter and feels that prudence and further investigation is of utmost importance in an effort of this magnitude."
27 May 2015The Mayor's Message of 26 May "CV Link Update" was published.
4 June 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "Mayor Hobart provided an update regarding the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (" CVAG") Executive Committee meeting held on June 1, 2015. He noted that the City of Rancho Mirage RM") presented four motions as outlined in the minutes of the May 21, 2015 City Council meeting. Mayor Hobart indicated that he withdrew the RM motion to seek an opinion from an outside attorney in light of CVAG' s decision to release a report from their legal counsel, Best, Best & Krieger, regarding the proposed use of Measure A funds for the CV Link. However, based on his subsequent review of the CVAG legal counsel' s report following the CVAG Executive Committee meeting, Mayor Hobart indicated that he still feels that an outside assessment is warranted from an attorney who is independent from CVAG. Mayor Hobart reiterated that Measure A funds fall under the authority of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, which has already identified, through the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (" TPPS"), 247 road repair projects for which Measure A funds are to be utilized.
- "With respect to alternate routes in Rancho Mirage, the CVAG Executive Committee approved a CVAG staff request to consider a route from Monterey Avenue along Gerald Ford Drive. Mayor Hobart indicated this was opposed by RM as well as another proposal to re -look at the environmental impact to the Butler/ Abrams Trail if electric vehicles were not permitted on the trail. Mayor Hobart noted that the City of Indian Wells strongly supports RM and plans to put to the Indian Wells voters whether Measure A funds should be used for the CV Link as well as the proposed routes in Indian Wells.
- "Mayor Hobart noted there were many people who spoke in both support and opposition to the CV Link at the CVAG meeting; however, the significant and serious issue of the Operations and Maintenance (" O& M") funding once the project is completed is unresolved and, per the March 2015 Draft Master Plan, remains at a projected $ 1. 6 million.
- "Mayor Hobart stated that he will continue to provide CV Link updates to the City Council and assured residents that Rancho Mirage will not sign -off on any route or funding proposals that are not acceptable to the City.
- "Mayor Pro Tem Weill added that the CVAG Executive Committee voted in favor by a 6/ 4 vote to have a collective meeting of city council members, city managers and finance directors to receive input from each city about this issue. He also noted that of the two individuals at the CVAG meeting who represented other similar trails in California, neither project allowed electric vehicles on their trails.
- "Councilmember Kite noted that there was standing room only at the CVAG meeting and that the entire Rancho Mirage City Council was present to show its strong support for the Rancho Mirage position on this issue.
- "Councilmember Smotrich reminded the Council that a few years ago there was an agreement by all Valley cities to fund a homeless shelter and each city pledged $ 103, 000. 00 to the project. As of last year, only three cities, including Rancho Mirage, have fulfilled their pledge and the project will likely not come to fruition. Councilmember Smotrich cited this as an example that just because CVAG agrees to something doesn' t necessarily mean it will actually happen. She stated she fears that if Measure A funds are used for the CV Link, it will likely receive priority over the other projects.
- "Mayor Hobart clarified that with regard to a joint meeting referenced by Mayor Pro Tem Weill, the intent is for CVAG to distribute the current Master Plan to each city and they will formulate O& M projections for their city and bring them back to a joint meeting for discussion. In response to a comment by Councilmember Kite, Mayor Hobart noted that CVAG received a letter from Goldenvoice expressing a possible interest in assuming the O& M expenses for the CV Link; however, there were no specifics and no commitment."
18 June 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "12. Oppose the alternative CV Link route alignment along Gerald Ford Drive within the City of Rancho Mirage.
- "Public Works Director Bruce Harry presented the staff report. On June 1st, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee reviewed three alternate CV Link alignments, which were suggested by CVAG staff and intended to address elimination of the use of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. The approved alternate alignments will be made part of the environmental review, along with the alignments proposed in the March 2015 CV Link Master Plan. Option No. 1 is to not have CV Link go through the City of Rancho Mirage, which was approved by the Executive Committee. Option No. 2, which was also approved, is an on -street alignment on Date Palm Drive, Gerald Ford Drive, and Monterey Avenue. Option No. 3, which was not approved, was to prohibit electric vehicles from the Butler - Abrams Trail segment of the CV Link.
- "Mr. Harry reported that staff reviewed all three alternatives and found Option No. 2 to be problematic. The area is mostly developed with adjacent residential communities, lush and efficient landscaping, and a behind -curb meandering bicycle path. Gerald Ford Drive is built to ultimate General Plan standards, with four travel lanes, raised landscape median islands, and a bicycle lane. There are only two different ways to install Option No. 2. One option is to locate the route behind the curb and gutter within the approved landscape parkways of numerous residential developments. This would require the removal of virtually all existing parkway landscaping improvements and would negatively impact vehicle ingress and egress out of residential communities and commercial driveways. The second option is to locate the route in the roadway, thereby eliminating two of four existing vehicle travel lanes, in direct conflict with the City' s General Plan, and impacting the current and future level of service of the roadway. Staff recommends that Council oppose Option No. 2 to align the CV Link along Gerald Ford Drive.
- "Councilmember Kite asked Mayor Hobart where the City stands as far as outstanding proposed alignments.
- "Mayor Hobart responded that there are currently no approved routes through the City of Rancho Mirage. CVAG suggested Gerald Ford Drive for environmental impact purposes. Mayor Hobart said that he proposed two routes on behalf of the City of Rancho Mirage, which he will elaborate on later in the meeting.
- "Public Comment
- "Kathy Buckmaster, Community Manager of The Colony, said that locating the route on Gerald Ford will create safety issues all around. There is no safe way to install the route. Putting it behind the curb will create a lack of curb space and severe safety issues in ingress and egress at The Colony. Putting it in the roadway will eliminate the expensive landscaping and possibly eliminate the ability to turn left out of the residential communities. The route will affect eight communities, Pavilions and the fire station. Ms. Buckmaster said she agreed with staff' s recommendation to oppose Option No. 2.
- "Erica Felci, CVAG Governmental Program Analyst, submitted and read into the record a letter from CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk, which addressed CVAG' s intent to continue working with Rancho Mirage leaders to find an acceptable route.
- "Mayor Hobart said that the Executive Committee voted 7- 2 to designate Gerald Ford Drive as a perspective route, adding that he voted against this option. He explained that the " one dozen alternative routes considered," mentioned in Mr. Kirk' s letter, occurred due to the City of Rancho Mirage being the most uniquely situated of the nine Coachella Valley cities. This makes finding a route difficult. The CV Link idea began with the premise that it would traverse the Whitewater Channel, which poses an issue for residential communities in Rancho Mirage. Using Highway 111 would create chaos. No city in the Valley has approved using Highway 111. Many residential communities enter off of Gerald Ford Drive, from DaVall Road to Monterey Avenue, with the exception of one square mile of undeveloped land across from the Annenberg property. This is probably the most cherished and expensive square mile of empty land in the Valley and the CV Link would impede the development and design of this vacant
- "Mayor Hobart said that this is not a matter of the City Council not wanting to find a place for CV Link to come through Rancho Mirage. At the Executive Committee meeting, he suggested adding two different routes for consideration from environmental perspectives, and made it clear that the Rancho Mirage City Council will never approve any route without knowing the longterm financial impact on the City. His first suggested route goes down Ramon Road to Bob Hope Drive, then either behind the casino or over to County land on the other side of the freeway, and then up to Monterey Avenue. The second suggestion is to start at the northern edge of Rancho Mirage, between the City boundary and the railroad tracks, and find a pathway through the City that will not disturb anything.
- "Mayor Hobart again stressed that a route cannot be approved prior to knowing the operations and maintenance cost. It is projected that the total operations and maintenance cost for the first year will be $ 1. 6 million. CVAG does not know where the funds will come from and has suggested burdening the County and virtually five cities with the cost. That suggestion was denied by a 5- 0 vote. Sixty- three years of cities making those payments would mean over $ 200 million coming out of the Valley to pay for CV Link.
- "MOVED/ SECONDED BY HOBART/ WEILL TO PROHIBIT THE PROPOSED CV LINK ALIGNMENT ALONG DATE PALM DRIVE, GERALD FORD DRIVE, AND MONTEREY AVENUE, PURSUANT TO THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "Councilmember Kite asked how the Executive Committee reacted to the two alternative route options suggested by Mayor Hobart.
- "Mayor Hobart responded that the Executive Committee passed them both, but has not taken any formal action."
2 July 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "4. CV Link Update
- "Mayor Hobart reported that at the June 29th Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee Meeting, the City of Rancho Mirage presented a motion for outside legal counsel to provide a second opinion on maintenance and operation costs for the CV Link. The motion failed with a 10- 2 vote. He said there is no additional information regarding the route or the responsibility for maintenance and operation costs."
16 July 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "10. CV Link Update
- "Mayor Hobart reported that CV Link proponents have taken the position that future operations and maintenance ( 0&M) costs will be paid with Measure A funds. The City of Rancho Mirage submitted a brief, suggesting that it may not be legal to use Measure A funds for this purpose. The proponents retained Best Best and Krieger ( BB& K) for an opinion. BB& K provided a written opinion that it is legal to use some Measure A funds for part of CV Link 0&M expenses. The Law Offices of Steve Quintanilla & Associates ( Q& A) provided an opinion that it is probably not legal to do so. Prior to agreeing to the use of Measure A funds, the City of Rancho Mirage must know that it is legal. If it turns out that Measure A funds are unavailable, the amount of money required by Cities will increase significantly. At the last Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee Meeting, Rancho Mirage representatives presented a motion to retain an outside, major, independent law firm for a full and complete opinion as to whether Measure A funds will be available. The majority of the CVAG Executive Committee voted down the motion. Mayor Hobart stated that, in his view, having an opinion from BB& K is a problem due to the fact that they represent the Riverside County Transportation Commission ( RCTC) and the City of Palm Desert, and have represented CVAG with respect to CV Link. It would be difficult for them to be totally objective, so for the security of each city' s financial commitment, there should be a legal opinion from a legal firm having no contact with any of the parties involved with the project.
- "Public Comment - None."
3 September 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "8. CV Link Update.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) has yet to designate anyone to be in charge of paying operation and maintenance ( 0&M) costs. CVAG has suggested paying for a substantial portion with Measure A funds. Such funds exist due to Riverside County voters twice passing a one half cent increase in sales tax, which generates approximately $ 120 million per year for the Coachella Valley. A portion goes to cities and another portion goes to CVAG to dispense for the purpose of caring for debilitated roadways in Riverside County. There is a movement under way to authorize the payment of over 40% of 0&M costs, or approximately $ 600, 000 per year, with Measure A funds. Rancho Mirage opposes this attempt to diminish the Measure A account.
- "Mayor Hobart stated that the last CVAG Transportation Committee agenda included an effort to take $ 1. 8 million of Measure A funds and apply it to a specific city, without the appropriate authority, and in violation of all rules related to Measure A funding and the intent of the voters.
- "Councilmember Kite said he received calls from a number of residents regarding a recent news article indicating that Cathedral City was attempting to move forward with their portion of the CV Link.
- "Mayor Hobart stated that the Cathedral City item was included on the CVAG Transportation Committee agenda with little notice. Cathedral City representatives claim that it is necessary to move forward with their piece of the project because two State grant awards transferred to CVAG will expire in the near future.
- "Mayor Pro Tem Weill commented that it would be inappropriate to start construction at this point. This appears to be an attempt to demonstration that the project is far along and, therefore, should move forward.
- "Mayor Hobart stated that the position of Rancho Mirage remains that nothing should be built until the final 0&M cost for the
next 100 years is known.
- "Public Comment - None."
17 September 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "NON -AGENDA PUBLIC COMMENT
- "Nicole Vandel, Desert Hot Springs, said negative symbols in the Council Chamber made her uncomfortable. Government space should be neutral. She suggested that the City not exclude itself from the rest of the Valley and added that there are opportunities for bringing in events which would cause the CV Link to make sense.
- "9. CV Link Update.
- "Mayor Hobart presented the Position Statement included in the agenda packet for Council' s consideration. [The Position Statement is appended at the end of this excision from the minutes.]
- "Public Comment
- "Joyce Virtue, Rancho Mirage, commented that transparency and due diligence by CVAG is of utmost importance. She said she posed a number of questions at the last CVAG Transportation Committee meeting, for which Tom Kirk indicated he would provide answers. Her questions included, but were not limited to, from where the hundred million dollars to care for CV Link will come and if contracts will be fixed or cost plus. She commented that sand on roadways is a problem for runners and bicyclists, which is a liability. She asked if each individual city will pay for maintenance and operation or if CVAG will take care of it. Ms. Virtue reported that she has not received answers from Mr. Kirk and requested answers from the CVAG representative in the audience.
- "Michael Harrington, Rancho Mirage, said that each individual city is unique. The public safety needs of each city are unique. He suggested that each city assess their specific needs and requirements. If CVAG wants to put something in a city, they should discuss the public safety impacts to that particular city, rather than handle it in a general fashion. He said there is a need for transparency at CVAG. Mr. Harrington expressed concern that CVAG subcommittees may actually be standing committees and, therefore, be in violation of the Brown Act.
- "MOVED/ SECONDED BY HOBART/ SMOTRICH TO ADOPT THE POSITION
STATEMENT. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "Councilmember Kite asked if the adopted position will be presented to the Executive Committee on September 28th, to which Mayor Hobart responded that it will.
- "Mayor Hobart reported that he spoke earlier in the day at a City of Indian Wells Special City Council Meeting regarding the CV Link. CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk also made a presentation. Mayor Hobart said he made it clear that Rancho Mirage is resolute in the intention to not allow any of the routes already rejected.
- "Mayor Hobart stated that, during a recent CVAG Technical Advisory Committee meeting, Finance Director Isaiah Hagerman asked why CVAG would waste money for an environmental impact report ( EIR) knowing the roads are unavailable. Comments were made that the individuals on Rancho Mirage City Council may not be re- elected and they are getting old, so there could be a new Council that may have different ideas. This shows that they want to have an EIR ready in case circumstances change. Mayor Hobart stated that if the motion passes at the CVAG Executive Committee meeting on September 28th, the City' s offer of Ramon Road as a connecting route will be withdrawn.
- "Mayor Hobart reported that at the Indian Wells meeting, he addressed the fact that CVAG' s current documents show that CV Link/ CVAG plans to apply approximately $ 600, 000. 00 per year to CV Link maintenance costs. He said Measure A funds are accumulating and are required to be spent on disabled roadways, and preventative maintenance. The adopted Ordinance requires that preventative maintenance of Measure A funded arterials be allowed only if the majority of Coachella Valley local governments approve. He said CVAG seems to be taking the position that they do not need a vote of each government and that the cities' Executive Committee representatives may vote to allow Measure A funds to be used for preventative maintenance.
- "MAYOR' S MEMORANDUM
- "DATE: September 15, 2015
- "TO: Members of the City Council
- "FROM: G. Dana Hobart, Mayor
- "SUBJECT: Proposed Statement of City of Rancho Mirage's Position on CV Link Alignment to Present to the CVAG Executive Committee
- "SPECIFIC REQUEST OR RECOMMENDATION:
- "That the City Council review and consider the following position statement regarding the alignment of CV Link.
- "PROPOSED STATEMENT
- "No portion of any CV Link route, path, road, trail, and/or other alignment into, upon, or otherwise within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Rancho Mirage shall be permitted without the proponent(s) of any such route, path, road, trail, and/or other alignment first obtaining approval from the City Council together with a signed Agreement in writing with the City of Rancho Mirage. This requirement applies to any route, path, road, trail, and/or other alignment regardless of the entity proposing it -- CVAG, CV Link, RCTC, Riverside County or any other private or public organization.
- "The requirement of prior City Council approval applies to any and all proposed routes, paths, roads, trails, and/or other alignments, whether or not they were previously proposed by CVAG, CV Link, RCTC, Riverside County or any other private or public organization.
- "City Council approval will require the parties to agree to several conditions including without limitation, environmental, economic and otherwise.
- "For example, Rancho Mirage must agree to the formula that sets economic responsibility on the City respecting the long and short term operations and maintenance expense. Another condition requires agreement of the owner of the land adjacent to the eastern portion of Ramon Road approving the CV Link intrusion and design adjacent to said owner' s property lines.
- "The City of Rancho Mirage has offered and does hereby continue to offer to favorably consider Ramon Road from the vicinity of Bob Hope Drive to Da Vall Drive as a possible route within the City to enable CV Link to connect with Palm Desert and Cathedral City. (We note that CVAG has not indicated an interest in Dinah Shore Drive, the Mid-Valley Parkway.)
- "The Executive Director of CVAG has recently informed Rancho Mirage that the September 28, 2015, meeting of the CVAG Executive Committee will consider authorizing environmental impact studies on one or more routes, paths, roads, trails, and/or other alignments within the City that were previously rej ected by the Rancho Mirage City Council. The City of Rancho Mirage strongly opposes the wasteful spending of taxpayer funds by performing unnecessary environmental impact studies on potential CV Link routes, paths, roads., trails, and/or other alignments which, by direction of the Rancho Mirage City Council, are not available. Therefore, the offer making Ramon Road available for CV Link shall automatically be nullified and withdrawn if the CVAG Executive Committee votes in favor of an environmental impact study pertaining to any portion of a Rancho Mirage route, path, road, trail, and/or other alignment including Highway 111 which were previously rejected as potential routes by the Rancho Mirage City Council."
5 October 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "7. CV Link Update.
- "Mayor Hobart - reported that on September 28th the CVAG - Executive Committee voted to approve a $ 150, 000 Environmental Impact Study including Highway 111 as a prospective CV Link route, after having been informed by Rancho Mirage that Highway 111 is not an option. Due to this vote, Rancho Mirage formally withdrew the Ramon Road route option and will not be part of the CV Link project.
- "Public Comment
- "Michael Harrington, Rancho Mirage, commended the Sheriff Department for their work and said the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) should be reformed.
- "Joyce Virtue, Rancho Mirage, commented that CVAG is guilty of misuse of taxpayer funds, lack of transparency, lack of due diligence, and working conspiratorially to subvert Measure A funds to the CV Link project. She called for the immediate resignation of CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk for Malfeasance of Office.
- "Maria -Teresa Dobrev, Palm Springs, alleged that CVAG took 82 acres of her land and requested the City Attorney' s assistance in the matter."
15 October 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "NON -AGENDA PUBLIC COMMENT
- "Andy Elchuck, Indian Wells, thanked Council for taking a lead position in dealing with
CV Link and commented that tax payers and voters should be included in the process.
- "Allen Worthy, Palm Springs, stressed the importance of listening as opposed to simply
- "Nikohl Vandel, Palm Springs, suggested allowing a pathway simply for bicycles and
stressed the importance of listening to one another regarding needs.
- "CITY COUNCIL/BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
- "Councilmember Smotrich commented that a recent Desert Sun editorial was inappropriate, unfairly critical of the City, and harshly criticized Mayor Hobart. She said the article was self-serving to the newspaper and lacked any positive suggestions. She added that taking $ 1 million from Measure A funds to annually finance CV Link is contrary to its intended use.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the " shoot the messenger" approach of the Desert Sun Editorial Board said more about the newspaper than it did about him. In response to the article's claim that CV Link is a vision of the future embraced by Board Members, he said there is a maximum of 11 votes on the CVAG Executive Committee and those 11 individuals created this project without input from residents. He suggested that each City have a separate vote on the project. In response to the article' s statement that the project is beneficial to the community, he clarified that Rancho Mirage has long supported a bicycle and pedestrian path that would positively impact residents. The City does not support significantly increasing costs by adding Neighborhood Electric Vehicles ( NEVs) and Low -Speed Electric Vehicles ( LSEVs). In response to the article' s assertion that all public investment comes with a measure of faith and the newspaper has faith that necessary funding will come together, he stated that funding should be approached in a responsible way, as more than faith is needed in business. He said the ability to raise money must also be shown.
- "Mayor Hobart said the Desert Sun failed to offer a suggestion addressing the fact that not all cities have their portion of the $ 1. 6 million necessary for the first year of operation and maintenance ( O& M) costs. CVAG recommended a formula based upon bed tax earned by cities, indicating that Rancho Mirage would pay around $ 22, 000 in the first year and approximately $ 251, 000 in the ninth. He said Council will not impose that on residents without a vote and that the Desert Sun is endorsing a project with problems for which solutions have not been identified.
- "Mayor Hobart provided background on the initial approval of Measure A, explained the intended use of related funding, and provided a brief history on how the funds have been used throughout the Coachella Valley. He said CV Link is a new project and applying Measure A funds to it would take funding away from Riverside County roads that have long been identified as needing repair.
- "Administrative Services Director Isaiah Hagerman projected that annual CV Link O& M costs will increase to approximately $2 million within nine years of project completion.
- "Mayor Hobart said CVAG should have met with each city to determine appropriate routes. Rancho Mirage prohibited the use of Highway 111 for CV Link and offered Ramon Road. CVAG was not satisfied with the offer and continued with a $ 150,000 environmental impact study including Highway 111.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that, regardless of how special interests try to paper over this 100 million purchase, an enlightened public will continue to demand a public vote. The newspaper's endorsement of taking $ 1 million annually out of Measure A roadway improvement funds is tacit recognition that CVAG has failed to solve the financial quagmire that CV Link is in. Support for annually withdrawing $ 1 million is misleading, since it will reach $ 2 million annually in 36 years.
- "Mayor Hobart said he believes the vast majority of Valley residents do not want our roadway improvement Measure A funds turned over to support the CV Link pathways for NEVs and LSEVs. He said the newspaper's support for avoiding a public vote shows little faith in the democratic process, but democracy is alive and well in Rancho Mirage.
- "Mayor Hobart thanked the community for their support.
- "12. Consideration of Resolutions, Ordinance and Ballot Measures to Protect the City of Rancho Mirage's Local Control of its Streets and Traffic and to Allow Rancho Mirage Residents to Voice their Opinions on Substantive Issues Pertaining to CVAG's Proposed CV Link Project and it's Cost to the Taxpayers.
- "A. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 107, that: ( a) prohibits neighborhood electric vehicles in certain areas and on certain streets within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage; ( b) prohibits a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Plan from including any area within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage unless the area is approved first by an ordinance of the City of Rancho Mirage; and ( c) prohibits any portion of CV Link or similar pathway from including any area within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage:
- "B. Introduce Ordinance No. 1099, 1st Reading, that: ( a) prohibits neighborhood electric vehicles in certain areas and on certain streets within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage: ( b) prohibits a Neiqhborhood Electric Vehicle Plan from including any area within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage unless the area is approved first by an ordinance of the City of Rancho Mirage; and ( c) prohibits any portion of CV Link or similar pathway from including any area within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage:
- "C. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 108, that calls and notices the holding of an advisory election on the same date of the City's General Municipal Election, set for April 12, 2016, for the purpose of submitting to the City's qualified voters five advisory measures concerning the proposed CV Link proiect, which is a paved pathway proposed by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) that will be approximately 50 miles long, accommodate pedestrians, bicycles and neighborhood vehicles that can travel up to 25 miles per hour;
- "D. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 109, placing a measure on the ballot of the City's General Municipal Election asking the voters: " Shall the voters of Rancho Mirage require that any amendment or repeal of Ordinance No. 1099 that prohibits Neighborhood Electric Vehicles ( NEVs) in certain areas and on certain streets within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage require prior voter approval?"; and
- "E. Designate the Mayor or his designee or designees on the Rancho Mirage City Council to prepare the Arguments in " Favor" of Measure 6 and the Arguments " Against Approval" of Advisory Measures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, on behalf of the Rancho Mirage City Council.
- "Mayor Hobart noted slight language modifications made to the proposed ordinance and resolutions following agenda distribution.
- "City Attorney Quintanilla explained NEV regulations and read the ballot measures, including revisions.
- "City Manager Bynder presented the staff report.
- "Public Comment
- "Vic Gainer, Palm Springs, suggested allowing Butler Abrams Trail for the pedestrian and bicycle portion of the pathway. He commented that Mayor Hobart owes Mayor Jan Harnik an apology for treating her rudely when she chaired a recent CVAG Executive Committee meeting. He noted the health and financial benefits associated with CV Link and urged Council to be reasonable in their approach of the issue.
- "Jim Greenbaum, Rancho Mirage, commented that he respects and admires what
Council does for the community. He said he is vitally concerned with the welfare of the
Valley and implored Council to work with residents on this project for the betterment of
- "Martin Cohn, Rancho Mirage, commended Council for their efforts regarding CV Link and read a letter written by another resident in response to the Desert Sun editorial.
- "Joyce Virtue, Rancho Mirage, commended Council for taking a stand against CV Link and suggested that Mr. Kirk resign or be removed from office.
- "Erica Felci, CVAG, said CVAG staff spent years working with Rancho Mirage and other members on the CV Link plan and appreciated the City's support along the way. CVAG staff is aware of Council' s concerns regarding proposed routes and long term costs. They tried to provide answers through public meetings, correspondence, and responses to public records requests. They also attempted to find compromises that worked for Council. On October 13, 2015, CVAG' s Executive Director sent a letter to City Manager Bynder pledging CVAG's full support if the Mayor and Council reconsidered an option proposed in June to create a modified version of CV Link in Rancho Mirage which did not allow for NEVs. She requested that Council reconsider the ballot measures and continue to work through the regional planning process. She further requested that, if Council decides to move forward with the proposed ballot measures, that they do so in a way that does not mislead the public.
- "Mayor Hobart said that CVAG should have presented their proposals over the past several days, as waiting until this time makes them virtually undoable.
- "Jack McGraw, Thunderbird Cove HOA President, said he was also speaking on behalf of the other five Thunderbird HOAs, as their Presidents were not in town. He thanked Council for strongly opposing the Highway 111 route and promoting proper use of Measure A funds.
- "Roger Sack, Rancho Mirage, commented that the CV Link is financially and environmentally inappropriate.
- "Victor Yepello, Palm Springs, read a resolution in favor of the CV Link project on behalf of Friends of CV Link.
- "Murray Bryant, Rancho Mirage, spoke in opposition of the currently proposed CV Link project and thanked Council for their leadership and financial responsibility to the City. He commented that residents who fully understand the issues will support the Council. He also read a letter that he submitted to Council on September 29th.
- "Michael Fontana, Rancho Mirage, thanked Council for their efforts and acknowledged the harassment they have endured. He said that residents of the Butler Abrams Trail neighborhood expressed concerns with CV Link nearly a year ago, but were never contacted by CVAG. However, the City Council heard their concerns and began addressing the issue. He suggested that ballot measure language be revised to reflect that CV Link is a roadway, not a pathway, and to include low -speed vehicles in addition to NEVs.
- "Dell Smith, Sunrise Country Club HOA, commended Council for protecting the stability they worked to attain. He stated that, if the arithmetic is correct, the CV Link project cannot stand a cost benefit test.
- "Anne Winchester, Rancho Mirage, said she was excited about the project until it became a roadway and commended Council for allowing the City's citizens to vote on the issue.
- "Ron Sharrow, Rancho Mirage, commented that CV Link should not be promoted as a health benefit, because no matter where it is located, users will be traveling through air pollution caused by the recently approved electric generating plant.
- "Administrative Services Director Hagerman explained in detail how the language and numbers included in the ballot measures were prepared. He stated that CVAG may only legally use Measure A funds for O& M expenses if Measure A funds are used toward construction costs.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the Desert Sun Editorial Board has not seen the information provided in Mr. Hagerman' s analysis. They are accepting what they are told by CVAG and editorial decisions lacking independent investigation are negative to the entire Valley.
- "City Attorney Quintanilla clarified that NEVs and LSEVs are identically defined in all applicable codes. Golf carts are defined differently and will not be allowed on CV Link. He said that an NEV Transportation Plan cannot be permitted in any City unless approved by the City Council of the jurisdiction. In addition, the California Vehicle Code allows City's to adopt an ordinance or resolution prohibiting the use of NEVs on any street or area in the City. He stated that, per the CA Elections Code, those allowed to submit arguments include City Council or any member of the City Council authorized by the City Council, individual voters who are eligible to vote on the measures, any bonafide association of citizens, or any combination of voters or associations. The Council may submit an argument either in favor or against a measure. However, they may not submit both an argument in favor and against a specific measure.
- "Councilmember Kite asked if Council should consider adding Butler Abrams Trail to Advisory Measure 5.
- "Michael Fontana said that on a personal level he had no objection to adding Butler Abrams Trail to Measure 5.
- "Mayor Hobart suggested revising the list of prohibited streets included in Items A and B by striking Ramon Road and adding Magnesia Falls Drive and Joshua Road.
- "A discussion ensued regarding the use of Ramon Road.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/WEILL TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015- 107, PROHIBITING LOW -SPEED VEHICLES AND NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE, AND REVISING THE LIST OF PROHIBITED STREETS BY STRIKING RAMON ROAD AND ADDING MAGNESIA FALLS DRIVE AND JOSHUA ROAD. MOTION CARRIED 5/0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/WEILL TO APPROVE ORDINANCE NO. 1099, 1ST READING, PROHIBITING LOW -SPEED VEHICLES AND NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE, AND REVISING THE LIST OF PROHIBITED STREETS BY STRIKING RAMON ROAD AND ADDING MAGNESIA FALLS DRIVE AND JOSHUA ROAD. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/SMOTRICH TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015- 108, CALLING AND NOTICING THE HOLDING OF AN ADVISORY ELECTION ON THE SAME DATE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOWING THE VOTERS OF RANCHO MIRAGE TO VOICE THEIR OPINIONS ON CERTAIN SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES PERTAINING TO CV LINK, INCLUDING STATED LANGUAGE MODIFICATIONS AND THE ADDITION OF BUTLER ABRAMS TRAIL TO ADVISORY MEASURE 5. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/TOWNSEND TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015-109, PLACING A MEASURE ON THE BALLOT OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION ASKING THE VOTERS: " SHALL THE VOTERS OF RANCHO MIRAGE REQUIRE THAT ANY AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF ORDINANCE NO. 1099 THAT PROHIBITS NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES (NEVs) IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE REQUIRE PRIOR VOTER APPROVAL?" MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/SMOTRICH TO DESIGNATE THE MAYOR OR HIS DESIGNEE OR DESIGNEES ON THE RANCHO MIRAGE CITY COUNCIL TO PREPARE THE ARGUMENTS IN " FAVOR" OF MEASURE 6 AND THE ARGUMENTS " AGAINST APPROVAL" OF ADVISORY MEASURES 1, 2, 3, 4 AND 5, ON BEHALF OF THE RANCHO MIRAGE CITY COUNCIL. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0."
5 November 2015The City Council met in regular session. Although no CV Link update was provided, several citizens commented regarding CV Link.
"Jack Hoffman, Mission Hills Country Club, encouraged homeowners association
members to attend an upcoming CV Link meeting and suggested that Council invite
CV Link proponents to participate in meetings regarding the project.
- "Nikohl Vandel, Palm Springs, spoke of people being excluded from government.
- "Allen Worthy, Palm Springs, expressed support for Council' s decisions regarding the
CV Link and commented on Palm Springs politics.
- "Regarding Item No. 3, Jack Hoffman, Mission Hills Country Club ( MHCC), asked if
LSVs are prohibited from traveling under Dinah Shore Drive between the northern and
southern portions of MHCC. He also asked if LSVs are prohibited from using any part of
Gerald Ford Drive, as a number of MHCC residents use LSVs to cross that roadway.
- "City Attorney Quintanilla responded by summarizing the ordinance and explaining the
attached map. He also clarified that LSVs and NEVs are identically defined and that golf
carts are not addressed in the ordinance.
- "City Manager Bynder added that golf carts are allowed on all Class I bike paths in the
- "Murray Bryant, Rancho Mirage, said that his property abuts Butler Abrams Trail and
expressed support for Council' s efforts regarding the CV Link. He commented that he
and his neighbors are in favor of a bicycle and pedestrian pathway, not a roadway, and
are against the destruction of the existing equestrian trail. He expressed concern
regarding the costs associated with CV Link and suggested the funds instead be
provided to College of the Desert or the Eisenhower Medical Center. He thanked
Council for making their fiduciary responsibility a priority."
19 November 2015The City Council met in regular session.
"Mayor Hobart said the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) is working
quickly to revise the requirements on how Measure A funds may be obtained and
reminded the community of the types of projects for which the funds were originally
intended. He said this is an attempt to invade the fund pool and the community needs to
be aware that CVAG plans to move forward with using $ 20 million of Measure A funds
toward CV Link construction costs and between $ 600,000 to $ 1 million annually toward
operations and maintenance expenses.
- "Public Comment
Nikohl Vandel, Palm Springs, spoke regarding CV Link funding."
3 December 2015The City Council met in regular session.
"Mayor Hobart spoke regarding the intended use of Measure A funds. He said that, to
date, funds were used in accordance with the Measure A ordinance and he read a
portion of the ordinance aloud. He said that the Coachella Valley Association of
Governments ( CVAG) plans to amend the rules because there is no way the CV Link
project can be authorized to receive Measure A funds the way the rules are currently
written. He read a portion of a November 23, 2015 staff report from a CVAG Joint
Transportation Technical Advisory Sub -Committee and Technical Planning Sub -
Committee meeting regarding a Transportation Project Prioritization Study ( TPPS)
update, which suggests integrating regionally significant active transportation
infrastructure projects into the TPPS. He said this is an attempt to transfer road repair
funds from roads currently on the TPPS to the brand new CV Link project by
designating it " regionally significant." He said that, to his knowledge, the Executive
Committee has never approved intent to change the rules to allow CV Link or any other
new project to get money aimed for debilitated roads. He said one of these days, the
Executive Committee will be asked whether or not the rules should be amended to allow
a brand new project to qualify for Measure A funds. Those 11 members will make the
final decision for the entire Valley and may vote to allow the use of $ 20 million for
construction and between $ 600,000 to $ 1 million per year for operations and
maintenance for the projected 75 -year life of the CV Link project."
17 December 2015The City Council met in regular session.
"Mayor Hobart commented that each week the Coachella Valley Association of
Governments ( CVAG) is closer to being able to use Measure A funds for the brand new
CV Link project. If the CVAG Executive Committee deems the project " regionally
significant," it may be included in the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (TPPS)
and receive Measure A funding.
- "City Attorney Steve Quintanilla added that California's gas tax is declining rapidly due to
the increase in electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as the decrease in gasoline prices.
He explained that gas tax revenue is a special tax earmarked specifically for
transportation infrastructure, and due to its declining revenue, there is a greater need to
maintain (Measure A revenue.
- "Councilmember Smotrich asked how adding CV Link to the TPPS would affect projects
currently designated as high priority.
- "Mayor Hobart explained that the top few projects on the TPPS would not be impacted;
however, some projects would not receive funding or move up the priority list due to the
inclusion of the CV Link project."
29 December 2015The City Council met in special session to determine the text for Measures 1 through 5 and to discuss their arguments for publication.
14 January 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave the CV Link update:
"Mayor Hobart reported the City Council has placed four ballot measures on the April 12,
2016 Municipal Election ballot pertaining to the CV Link, including both pro and con
arguments. He stated he feels the CV Link has " placed the cart before the horse" and
has created anxiety and difficulty that probably could have been avoided. He said it
became a project slowly, one vote at a time in the Executive Committee going back to
about 2011/ 2012 and subjects were voted on with no idea what was going on with the
bigger picture. He said there were no public announcements or town hall meetings
about CV Link and not one city of the nine took a vote as to whether they wanted to
participate in the program. He referred to page 15 in what was to be the final Master
Plan as described by CVAG, where it said there would be no local funding necessary for
operations and maintenance (O& M). They were continually told it would be built without
local funds and would be operated and maintained without local funds, so there was no
reason for city councils to be concerned about the costs to their city.
- "Mayor Hobart further reported that on March 30, 2015, Rancho Mirage was informed
that the representation in the general plan of no local funding being required for O& M
was withdrawn and no longer in effect. He stated that for the first time, Rancho Mirage
was informed that local governments would be responsible for all of the funding for
O& M. Questions arose immediately as to whether each city should go forward with this
plan, but no city ever took a vote and it appears that no city council ever discussed it as
an agenda item due to the fact they had all been assured there would no cost to the
- "He further commented that an extremely important question is how the dropout ratio
would be managed and how much increase remaining cities could incur. Mayor Hobart
remembered about eight years ago when CVAG agreed that each city would pay for the
O& M of the Roy's Desert Shelter for the homeless. Each of the cities committed to
103, 000 for O& M, but over a period of time, the only cities now left paying the O& M are Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage.
- "Mayor Hobart continued, stating another subject that has never been discussed is the
liability potential for each city and who would pay the cost of insurance premiums. He
asked how any city can tell their residents to support CV Link when there so many
unanswered questions that should have been raised at the beginning and each city
should have been given an opportunity to vote to go forward with the project or not. He
stated these are some things that should be thought about as the City moves forward
with the four ballot measures in the April 12th, 2016 Municipal Election.
- "Administrative Services Director Isaiah Hagerman commented that one of the
assertions made by CVAG is that they have assembled $ 75 million in grants from the
county, state and federal governments to fund the construction of the $ 100 million
project. He said they claim that much of the $ 75 million accumulated for the project is
coming from outside the Coachella Valley and if not used on the CV Link project, the
Valley would lose out on a majority of this funding.
- "Mr. Hagerman reported that at the request of the Mayor, he reviewed the supporting
documents related to the $ 75 million CVAG claims to have raised for the CV Link. He
stated the fact is that 82%, totaling $ 62 million of the $ 75 million accumulated is from
funding that is specifically designated for the Coachella Valley. If the regional leaders
choose not to spend this money on the CV Link, it would stay in the Coachella Valley
and could be used on many other projects desperately in need of attention. He showed
a breakdown of the $75 million as follows:
- "Grant 1 is what they refer to as CVAG Transportation Funds, which are actually
20 million in Measure A funds. He explained that Measure A funds are a'! cent
sales tax used to fund debilitated streets and roads in the Coachella Valley.
Grant 2 is the Federal Congestion Air Quality grant, (CMAC funds) in the amount
of $12.6 million and will also stay in the Coachella Valley.
- "Grant 3, the State Transportation Improvement Program for $2 million, is another
transportation funding allocation to the Coachella Valley that can be used on any
number of projects and the funding stays in the Coachella Valley. He stated that
the $ 20 million in Measure A funds, the $ 12. 6 million in CMAC funds and the $ 2
million in the transportation funds total $ 34.6 million and all are transportation
funds that are designated for the Coachella Valley.
- "Grant 4 is the Desert Healthcare District grant in the amount of $10 million. He
explained that the Desert Healthcare District is a special district in the Coachella
Valley whose primary funding source is property tax dollars, a portion of which go
to fund the Desert Healthcare District. These funds cannot leave the Valley and
can also be used for many different things.
- "Grant 5 is the Air Quality Mitigation District in the amount of $ 17.4 million, which
will stay in the Valley. This funding is the Sentinel Plant Mitigation Fee, whose
funds are restricted to the Coachella Valley to help offset the new air pollution
created by the Sentinel plant. These funds are designated for the Coachella
Valley and may be used on many different projects if it is not used on the CV
Link. The remaining grants identified could potentially leave the Coachella Valley.
These grants total $ 62 million. The $75 million, ( or the 82%), is funding that was
designated for the Coachella Valley that if not used on the CV Link, will stay in
the Valley and can be used on other projects.
- "Murray Bryant, Rancho Mirage, reported he lives in the Butler Abrams Trail
neighborhood and there are many people in surrounding neighborhoods that have been
talking and meeting and stand with the City Council against CV Link as currently
proposed. He said when he asks people what they think about CV Link, they either
don't know anything about it or else think it is a bike path. He said the problem is that
CVAG and certain local media and proponents are misrepresenting what CV Link really
is. He said the proponents are not talking about the critical issues and instead are
spinning it as a bucolic bike path with electric vehicles on it. He further stated CVAG is
usurping taxpayer funds and grossly underestimating the O& M over many years as well
as ignoring liability costs and public safety costs. He further commented on the negative
impacts on residential neighborhoods and businesses."
4 February 2016The City Council met in regular session, and public comment was received as part of item 9, CV Link Update.
- "Amy Singletary, Rancho Mirage, said she recently discovered that CV Link is being rerouted. She asked how to get involved to oppose the project, which she considers an absurd waste of money.
- "Mayor Hobart provided a brief status update on CV Link and suggested that Ms. Singletary contact him via e- mail, so that he may put her in contact with others in opposition of the project.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that it has been common to hear people supportive of CV Link use the expression, "This is free money coming into the Valley and if we don't use it, we lose it," which is an inaccurate statement. Of the $ 75 million plus claimed to have been raised, $ 62 million, or 82%, will stay in the Coachella Valley regardless of CV Link. He explained the specific funding sources for CV Link and provided an overview of the City Council' s decisions related to the project.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the Coachella Valley Association of Governments CVAG) published a new Master Plan in January 2016, which addressed some of the City Council's concerns. However, there is no answer to how $ 1. 6 million for operation and maintenance expenses will be raised. This is the same dilemma as in the previous Master Plan. It also indicates that CVAG still plans to raid Measure A funds.
- "Mayor Hobart urged voters to pay close attention to ballot measure language and vote to protect the City from the CV Link."
18 February 2016The City Council met in regular session; Mr. Hobart provided a summary of the recent CV Link actions.
"Mayor Hobart commented that the Coachella Valley Association of Governments
CVAG) is attempting to revise the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (TPPS) to
incorporate new projects, including CV Link. He stated that Transportation Uniform
Mitigation Fee (TUMF) funds could be used for CV Link if this revision is approved. He
explained that when a project is built or remodeled, TUMF fees are calculated to
address the related transportation impacts. The City accepts the fee and turns them
over to CVAG to be used toward projects on the TPPS. He referred to an April 14, 2014
CVAG staff report recommending approval of an updated TUMF nexus study. He also
read a letter dated October 3, 2014, from HDR Engineering, regarding CVAG' s intention
to incorporate Active Transportation Plan ( ATP) projects into the TPPS. Mayor Hobart
stated that regional transportation dollars have never been used on new projects and
doing so would reduce the available funds to make necessary repairs to existing
roadways, bridges and intersections in the Coachella Valley. He added that Riverside
County is 14th on the list of counties in need of money to repair debilitated roadways."
3 March 2016The City Council met in regular session; Mr. Hobart provided a summary of the recent CV Link actions and Mr. Weill commented.
"Mayor Hobart reported that on February 29, 2016, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee voted to discontinue its opposition to Rancho Mirage' s position that CV Link cannot go through certain streets. He stressed that it is still very important for residents to vote in favor of Measure 1 on the April 12th ballot, as it will provide an additional level of protection by ensuring that a new City Council could not change the situation without a public vote. He also commented on the importance of ensuring that accurate information is being provided by CVAG and gave examples of misinformation previously disseminated.
"Mayor Pro Tem Weill stated that he originally endorsed the CV Link project, but changed position once he learned all of the facts. He said there is a lack of transportation funding impacting Riverside County that could affect public safety and the intended misuse of Measure A funds defies logic. He questioned how CVAG could
justify spending Measure A funds on CV Link knowing they would be diverting funds from roads in dire need of repair. He added that Council will continue to protect their constituents by not voting in favor of the current structure of the CV Link."
11 March 2016Mr. Hobart published his Mayor's Message "Disrespecting Rancho Mirage." I summarize each paragraph and provide commentary in italics.
"Does the search..."
"Like you, I received..."
"Those politicians identified..."
"The other objective..."
"On February 29, 2016..."
"You may recall..."
"'...The broader the environmental document is...'"
"Upon reading the newspaper..."
"If, as the newspaper reported...."
"CVAG knows we have offered..."
"It is important to review..."
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: 'CV Link is a gift...'"
"Fact: CV Link is literally..."
"Fact: CVAG is setting up..."
"Fact: CV Link has not raised..."
"Fact: Of their claimed funds..."
"Fact: We were falsely..."
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: 'CV Link ... will provide'"
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: '700 permanent jobs...'"
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: 'Produce $1.47 billion...'"
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: 'Increase property values'..."
"DECEPTIVE CLAIM: 'CV Link will yield...'"
"The effect of Measure 1..."
"In short, a Yes vote..."
"In short, a No vote..."
"Please forward your email..."
"Thank you for caring about our city..."
"As always, I will continue..."
17 March 2015The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart reported on CV Link, and discussion about funding O&M expenses ensued.
- Mayor Hobart said ballots were mailed out to registered voters on March 14th and it is now time to vote. He commented that he is disappointed in the mailings recently distributed by proponents of CV Link in an effort to persuade Rancho Mirage voters with deceptive statements. He said one mailer listed names of Councilmembers from other local cities and a Riverside County Supervisor, which is disturbing. He added that this is the first time he has ever witnessed one City's decisions being invaded by other cities. Mayor Hobart provided an explanation of potential CV Link funding options, including the misuse of Measure A funds. He clarified that the passage of Measure 1 will prevent the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) from convincing a subsequent City Council to allow CV Link on streets currently prohibited without a vote of the residents.
- Mayor Hobart commented on the process by which the City of Rancho Mirage handles operations and maintenance costs and projections for its projects and requested that Director of Administrative Services Isaiah Hagerman elaborate on the topic.
Mr. Hagerman outlined the steps taken prior to approval of City projects, including utilizing the City's several committees and subcommittees, which allows Council and staff to obtain the perspective of professionals and residents. He explained in detail the process used to approve the community park renovation and the new dog park. Mr. Hagerman said the City's current process ensures that all approved projects are sustainable, well thought out, and beneficial to residents."
7 April 2016The City Council met in regular session and received public comment and a summary of CV Link action.
"Allen Worthy, La Quinta, thanked Council for their work related to CV Link and commented on his personal experiences regarding the City of Palm Springs."
"Mayor Hobart reminded the community of the importance of the upcoming municipal election, which includes ballot measures related to the proposed CV Link project, and urged residents to vote."
19 April 2016The Mayor's office released a message from Mr. Hobart:
- "The Recap: Over 50% Voter Turnout re CV Link"
makes these points:
- Voter turnout approached 60% of registered voters.
- Rancho Mirage (so far) is the only city to ask the populace to restrict the city's participation in CV Link. Hobart uses this opportunity to suggest other cities should do the same.
I note that the official argument for this measure does not mention NEVs even once. Instead, its 8 paragraphs describe CV Link in negative, and not always truthful, terms.
The official argument against this measure addresses several strong points.
- Measure 2—which asks whether CVAG should spend "One Hundred Million Dollars ($100,000,000) or more and "an additional $1.6 million annually" for CV Link—was defeated by 79% of votes.
Measure 3—which asks whether Rancho Mirage should be committed to spend "between $110,300 and $251,800" annually for operations and maintenance of CV Link—was defeated by 78% of votes.
I note that these figures are triply misleading. First, the CV Link planning document compares O&M costs of other bikeways and road systems, without stating what its own estimate of the costs would be. Second, the authors of the measure's text give no indication how they reach this number. (It is apparently 14.5% of the 1.6 million cited in Measure 2.) And Third, the authors of the measure give no explanation of reaching $251,000 in nine years. (A rate of 5% inflation would result in only $171,100 in ten years.)
Measure 4—which asks whether CVAG should be able to use $20 million from Measure A funds for constructing the part of CV Link that serves NEVs—was defeated by 81% of votes.
Hobart then provides specious arguments against using Measure A funds:
"Misuse of Measure A Funds Remains a Concern" presents Hobart's arguments amid a mixture of truth and misrepresentation:
- Raises the spectre of stealing the money earmarked for "other important construction, repair and social projects" to fund construction of CV Link.
- Falsely claims that Measure A funding is solely for "State highways and regional road improvements." (In fact, Measure A can be used for any transportation projects, including Alternative Transportation Projects like CV Link.
- Falsely claims that CVAG has no legal grounds to "expand the usage of Measure A funds."
"CVAG's Plan to Use Regional Measure A Funds for Operations and Maintenance"
- Claims the plan is to use Measure A funds for $600,000 of the supposed annual O&M costs of $1.6 million.
- Suggests that all cities in CVAG would choose to share funding with the Measure A source.
- Questions whether Measure A can be legally the source of funding and cites the opposite advice from two law firms.
"Coming Thursday April 21, 2016: Mayor Ted Weill"
- Introduces Ted Weill as the next council member to take the rotating mayoralty.
- Leaves himself as the guarantor of the safety of Measure A funding.
- Congratulates himself on challenging CV Link.
21 April 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave a very short update on CV Link:
- "NEW MAYOR' S COMMENTS
"Mayor Weill thanked his wife, Jenny Weill, for her support. He introduced his daughter, Dana, and grandson, Jordan, who were in the audience. He thanked Mayor Hobart for leading the City for the past year and for his efforts regarding the CV Link. He thanked Vicki Hobart for her support. He commented that the City has never been in a better position. He said public service is a passion and he looks forward to serving the community as Mayor. He expressed gratitude for Council, staff, residents, and all those who supported him throughout the election."
5 May 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave a very short update on CV Link:
- "Councilmember Hobart reported that the City of Indian Wells is including a CV Link related measure on the November election ballot similar to Measure 1 recently approved by Rancho Mirage voters."
19 May 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave a very short update on CV Link:
- "Councilmember Hobart commented that CV Link updates are no longer included on CVAG Executive Committee meeting agendas."
2 June 2016The City Council met in regular session, public comment was made, and Mr. Hobart gave his summary on CV Link actions at CVAG:
"Mary Willis, Rancho Mirage, thanked Councilmember Hobart for his outstanding leadership on the CV Link issue and congratulated Mayor Weill and Councilmember Kite on their recent reelection to Council. She also provided an update on conditions at Rancho Mirage Country Club."
"Councilmember Hobart said the June 27, 2016 Coachella Valley Association of Governments CVAG) Executive Committee meeting agenda includes an item that, when passed, and he's confident that it will pass, will add the CV Link and about $ 100,000,000 worth of other related projects to the Transportation Project Prioritization Study ( TPPS). He said the addition of these projects will qualify them to receive Measure A funds, which are not intended for such projects, and potentially decrease the amount of funding available for our many roadways, highways and bridges in desperate need of repair."
16 June 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave his update on CV Link, and Mayor Weill added a comment:
"Councilmember Hobart commented that on June 27, 2016, the CVAG Executive Committee will decide if Measure A funding may be used for CV Link and related projects when they vote on whether it should be included on the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (TPPS). He reminded residents that Measure A is intended for new projects. He said this is a departure from good government and that he will vote against the inclusion of these projects on the TPPS.
- "Mayor Weill commented that a City not calling for a vote by local registered voters on CV Link is contrary to the democratic process."
7 July 2016The City Council met in regular session, and Mr. Hobart gave his update on CV Link:
- "Councilmember Hobart reported that the June 2016 Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee Meeting provided insufficient time for discussion of the item regarding using Measure A funds for CV Link by adding the project to the Transportation Project Prioritization Study ( TPPS). The Executive Committee approved the addition of active transportation programs to the TPPS. Therefore, CVAG is now entitled to compete for Measure A funding for construction and maintenance of the CV Link. In the past, Measure A funds have been appropriately used for the repair of roads, bridges and intersections, as intended by the voters who approved the associated sales tax increase. There are competing legal opinions as to whether use of Measure A funds for new projects is legal. Councilmember Hobart said the only way for this issue to be resolved definitively will probably be through legal action."