Short, accurate report on last Thursday’s (Sept. 20) meeting via KCDZ-FM website (emphasis and words in brackets are ours):
JOSHUA TREE MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COMMISSION HEARS PASSIONATE DOLLAR GENERAL STORE VIEWS
It was not until an hour and a quarter into the meeting of the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council that it got down to the main event on the agenda – soliciting comments on the proposed retail store, formerly identified as a Dollar General store. When it did, passions were intense, as reporter Dan Stork relates…
MAC member David Fick reported that the County Planning Department sent no representative to the meeting because “it would set precedent if they started letting their staff come out and take input on an issue like this.” No store representative was in attendance either. The first public speaker [local realtor and property owner Julian Gonzalez] stated his support for the store, saying that Joshua Tree is in need of services for its low income population clustered near the highway who would otherwise need to rely on bus service to Yucca Valley in order to buy basic needs. The next speaker [Janet Tucker] said she didn’t object to the store per se, but to the ugliness of the planned appearance. She said she would be satisfied if the developer would work with local artists to make the appearance more pleasing. All of the remaining many speakers spoke to general acclamation, and with passion, against having the store in Joshua Tree at all, variously claiming degradation of the environment, damage to tourism, damage to existing or prospective local retail, encouragement of blight, export of profits outside the community, dominance of imported goods, elevated prices, complicity in the exploitation of Chinese workers, and violation of provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act [Kerri Tuttle]. On a show of hands one person supported the store, and nearly all of the approximately four dozen in attendance opposed it. David Fick proposed requesting an extension of the public comment period, based upon the purported failure of the county to adhere to required procedures for notification of interested parties.