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29 PALMS RESIDENTS DESERVE AN ACCESSIBLE CITY COUNCIL
And we're willing to pay for it
I recently had the opportunity to interact with Yucca Valley Town Council (YVTC) and was struck by their professionalism and by the thorough research and discussion Town Council members devoted to the issue under consideration. I wrote two emails to the YVTC - both were acknowledged by Town Council members within an hour.
In contrast, 29 Palms Council Members rarely acknowledge email and one resident recently described “being pushed off” when attempting to meet in person with Council. In fact, outside of public meetings, 29 Palms Council Members are often inaccessible to most residents.
Council Member Mintz had a good idea when he was Mayor - regular "Meet the Mayor" sessions. Why can't Council Members hold weekly office hours for one on one conversations with residents? Each week, a different member of Council can make themselves available.
Council could make a similar commitment to email - that all emails from residents to Council members are acknowledged within 24 hours of receipt. Council might also answer constituent questions on social media as YVTC members do.
Of course, another difference between 29 Palms City Council and Yucca Valley Town Council is the pay. YVTC pays themselves a reasonable stipend - $1000 a month versus the under $500 paid in 29. In fact I wonder if the reason we have so few candidates for Council in 29 is that our disadvantaged community cannot afford to be Council members. So I am asking that Council consider increasing their pay to $1000 a month starting in January 2023.
29 Palms residents deserve to have their emails returned and a regular opportunity to meet with their elected representatives. Council deserves to receive adequate compensation for the responsibilities of their position. And regular citizens deserve to be able to afford to serve their community on Council.