Civic affairs Safety

Public safety update at our annual meeting

Police Lt. Mike Villegas answered questions on several topics from those who attended our April 2024 annual meeting. Lt. Frank Browning is our area commander, but Villegas was on duty that morning and we appreciate his taking time for us.

  • Homelessness
    • Question: How to respond to people who think the Navigation Center and other services attract more people experiencing homelessness to our city? Villegas: Data does not show that. It has not happened.
    Continuing Relentless Sun initiative. At start we counted 500 homeless. Many were transient through PS. How many were residents of PS? 250. We monitor all of these individuals. Any crime was not tolerated, from taking carts, etc. We cannot enforce not camping if we cannot provide a bed. So Navigation Center is big plus for us. We narrowed 250 to about 150 now. Knowing Navigation Center was opening, as we make sure the city has the resources to get them help or housing, or get them a bed overnight then we can do more enforcement. Right now, we have about 150-155. Fifty have been going back and forth from drop-in Access Center (near the airport) to Navigation Center overnight, so in August when modular studios open they will be eligible, we will have 80+ housing units for longer term and social services.
    • You can help us be extra eyes and ears and report issues to either enforce or help people with resources. Call us!
  • Question: Panhandling
    • At the Sunrise/111 intersection, traffic safety issue. It’s not allowed, but we go and move them and then they go back.
    • Nuisance issue that police do address and try to assess what’s going on with that individual.
  • Question: Resources for mental health for residents – homeless or other.
    • Critical incident team. Telecare facility. Resources for homeless with mental health issues. If crisis, we detain and take them to Desert Regional.
    • Phase 2 of Nav Center, that will add more mental health services.
  • Question: What can we do if we see people who don’t belong in our condo community, in the pool whatever? Call the police. You are our eyes and ears. Call us.
Civic affairs

Mayor’s briefing at our annual meeting

Mayor Jeffrey Bernstein was the featured speaker at our April 13, 2024 Annual Meeting. For those who missed it, here are notes on what he had to say on homelessness, economic development and much more:

  • Housing and homelessness. Opened phase 1 of the Navigation Center. Part of our Four step continuum of care. Daytime Drop in Access Center, Overnight Beds, August Phase 2 of Navigation Center will add 80 modular units (bed bathroom kitchenette) for temp housing, Affordable Permanent Housing (first one opened earlier this year 60 units, later this year near DAP another 70, next year another 60 for senior housing). Navigation center welcomes children and pets. Passed tenant-based relief, identify people a few months behind in danger of being evicted, and we were able to help 200 families ($5 to 15K) to keep them in their homes. Allocated another $1M to this. Easier to keep people in homes than house them when they become unhoused. We also participated in the opioid settlement and get $3M to PS for that. From the homeless count, have gone from 330 to 150 on the streets.
  • Economic Development. For first time hired a Chief Economic Development Officer, who also serves as a business liaison. We have vibrant business districts throughout the city not just downtown. Tasked with developing these as their own commercial districts.
  • Cannabis. 
    • Highest density of dispensaries etc. in the whole country.
    • We reduced their taxes to compete with other cities.
    • We put a moratorium on all new permits for 4 years. And Inactive permits cannot renew. We will see if attrition brings us to a reasonable level in 4 years.
  • Airport Modernization
    • Airport is 70 years old. Can’t meet current demand.
    • Expansion is to handle the current and expected demand.
    • People are traveling more even as they age. 1/3 of passengers are locals.
    • Expansion is a 20-year project mostly federally funded.
    • If we do not expand gates, then may have to expand to earlier morning or later at night which adds noise. If we expand, we can handle bigger, newer quieter planes.
  • Convention Center
    • Needs an upgrade. Big economic driver.
    • We can’t do nothing because other cities are upgrading.
    • Convention planners want to have a sense of place and to experience the place. Which is an advantage for us. Just need facility updated and easy transportation to downtown.
  • Library master plan
    • Library is 50 yrs old. Updating is a $40M project.
    • Thinking about what the library of the future will look like.
  • Restoration of Plaza Theatre
    • City owned building from 1936. Class 1 Historic. Can’t get rid of it or change it and has to be used as a theater.Private individuals raised $15M to renovate.But it is going to cost more than we all thought. $27M. If we wait it will go higher so we have allocated more and they are continuing to raise money privately.Partnered with Oakview who manages Acrisure Arena.
    • Will have to be year-round theater.
  • Parks master plan
    • Great parks that need upgrades.
  • Road Paving
    • We have increased road paving. Tripled funds this year.
  • Most of this type of work (roads, parks, etc) funded by Measure J. In 2011 voters approved 1% sales tax for downtown revitalization and community development.
    • 70% of Measure J funds are generated by tourists. 22M/year from Measure J. Downtown park, kitchen at Mizell, and projects like that.
    • Set to expire in 10 years. So there will be a new ballot measure in the future.
    • Need to build a new fire station downtown, Library upgrades would be financed by Measure J.
  • College of the Desert
    • Break ground in the fall for Palm Springs campus. Spring of 2027 first students.
    • Hospitality, Creative arts, Nursing, also 5-year architecture degree with Cal Poly. BA that UC doesn’t offer, like Casino Mgmt, restaurant management.
    • Across from the high school. Free tuition.
    • 97% of our school kids are at poverty level. 10% are homeless.
  • Broadband master plan
  • Arts and Culture roundtable, develop Palm Springs as a arts and culture destination
  • Local vendor fair. We want to encourage local business to go for contracts with the City of Palm Springs. April 17 at Convention Center
  • New website. Easier to navigate than the City website. Find out what’s going on and how to get involved.
  • We were better prepared for Hilary than any other city. We closed roads early. Our emergency staff and approach were great. Even when 911 went down our staff figured out how to reroute.
    • Also a catalyst for getting funding. We got $50M to add to the building of an Indian Canyon bridge, which is #1 priority for all 9 cities. It’s the access to only Level 1 Trauma Center at Desert Regional Hospital.
  • Question: How is the budget? Budget is strong.
    • Measure J is 10% of our budget.
    • Any resistance to Measure J is because people don’t like taxes. People question how cities spend money. But without it we cannot invest in the city the way we have been. When we tell people what it pays for they support it.
  • Question: Roundabouts and our own ambulance service?
    • Our own ambulance not scrapped but complicated.
    • Roundabout. Intersection near Revivals. Council Member Lisa Middleton’s district and she recently said, “I want to bring this back with an intent to kill it.”
  • South Palm Canyon
    • 3 closed banks. Some blight there.
    • Vacancy of buildings is a problem. Nothing in our ordinances that requires vacant buildings to get used. They are required to do basic maintenance. Working on a plan for this right now. Also will help to get Smoketree Business District active they will be biggest advocate.

Deputy City Manager Jeremy Hammond also spoke, telling us what he has been working on in his three years on the job overseeing human resources, the city clerk, IT, purchasing, risk management, insurance, procurement, and the Human Rights Commission. He highlighted a project to have Palm Springs certified as an “autism aware” city for residents and employers. Hammond encouraged residents to apply to serve on boards and commissions during the annual recruitment (last deadline was April 30) even when they think there is no vacancy, because vacancies occur during the year.

Civic affairs Safety Signs

Speed limit reduction ceremony

City officials came to Canyon Palms on April 8 to celebrate the reduction of speed limits on 36 street segments in Palm Springs.

Mayor Lisa Middleton and State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, the author of Assembly Bill AB43, explained that the new state law gave cities the authority to reduce speed limits to prevent traffic and pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

They unveiled a new speed limit sign near the corner of La Verne Way and Toledo Avenue. Also attending were the city manager, police and fire chiefs, and officials of ONE-PS and Canyon Palms, which had both made the speed limit reductions a priority. In 2021, Palm Springs had 1,500 traffic collisions resulting in 450 injuries and 16 deaths. That fatality rate was disproportionate to the city’s population and up from an average of nine killed each year since 2013.

In our neighborhood, Toledo Avenue’s speed limit has been reduced from 45 to 40. The higher limit was a result of state law formerly basing limits on traffic engineers determining the speed at which 85 percent of cars travel on a roadway. So roads that speeding made more dangerous automatically got higher speed limits, increasing the risk of fatalities.

Civic affairs Safety Signs

Traffic safety breakthrough celebration

Civic affairs Safety

Police meeting with residents

UPDATE from PSPD: “We will now move forward with analyzing the data we collected over 5 days, meet with all PSPD staff members and our business community, and identify our next steps as we move forward. We will come back to the community in the near future with a report on what we have found, and what the strategies will be for the mission that has been defined for the Palm Springs Police Department.”

The Palm Springs Police Department announced the dates and locations of community public meetings with residents and businesses to help shape the department’s future. Meetings will be held in each of the five City Council districts and Council members will be present. The sessions will take place in a structured town hall environment where everyone will have equal input. Community input will help to establish PSPD’s mission and chart their path forward. 

The second part of each meeting is to establish crime-fighting priorities by city area. Chief Andrew Mills is emphasizing a community policing approach of going after the underlying conditions that cause crimes instead of being more reactive.

Meeting times:

  • February 15 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Victoria Park, 2744 N. Via Miraleste
  • February 16 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
  • February 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Cahuilla Elementary School, 833 E. Mesquite Ave. (OUR DISTRICT 5 MEETING)
  • February 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road
  • February 19 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Demuth Park, 4200 E. Mesquite Ave. 

The PSPD crime analyst will provide attendees with crime maps, data on crime trends, and calls for service. If you can’t make the meeting in our Council district, you are encouraged to attend another session on a date that works for you. 

Civic affairs

ONE-PS Talk of the Town

Topic: Exploring Health Care Resources in a Post-Pandemic Palm Springs

Hosted by the ONE-PS Communications Committee via Zoom on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 5:30 – 7:15 p.m.

As we look ahead to the health care landscape here in Palm Springs, and as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and visitors from around the world return to our city, there are myriad health care challenges for our diverse community:

  • COVID vaccination eligibility, access to vaccines (including new options such as mobile sites and non-traditional vaccination sites), and the ongoing challenges of responding to vaccine hesitancy
  • Safe and accessible health care services for seniors
  • Re-engagement with individual wellness / a safe return to preventive health maintenance such as cancer screenings
  • Access to mental health services
  • An expanding role in public health and health equity for our local health care providers
  • Managing new health care concerns of those who have recovered from COVID-19

Join our panel of three distinguished local health care providers for a conversation to better understand what resources and opportunities are available in our community:

  • Richard Ramhoff, Group Marketing Director, Desert Care Network (Desert Regional Medical Center/Hi-Desert Medical Center, JFK Memorial Hospital)
  • Vanessa Smith, Special Projects and Programs Manager, Desert Healthcare District and Foundation
  • C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health, DAP Health

With this information, together we can become stronger and healthier in a post pandemic Palm Springs.

Zoom link:

Or dial in and use Zoom Meeting ID: 891 6455 2779 Passcode: 312902

Civic affairs Code enforcement/public works Safety

Code enforcement meeting

The ONE-PS Code Enforcement and Public Works Committee is holding a public meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, May 5, at 10 a.m. Among the topics to be discussed: 

  1. Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton will speak about Assembly Bill 43, Traffic Safety, which would provide more flexibility to local governments in calculating speed limits on roads, and a City Council staff report dated March 25, 2021 regarding formal adoption of an official resolution by the City in support of this legislation at the state level.
  1. Discussion of the code enforcement process by the co-chair of the ONE-PS Code Enforcement and Public Works Committee.
  1. Updates on traffic calming projects, other traffic-related projects, and city building projects by the City’s Engineering Services. (Two approved traffic calming projects in our neighborhood are an all-way stop at La Verne Way and Toledo Avenue and upgrading the stop signs on Toledo Avenue at Maricopa to solar powered LED signs, with a new curb ramp on the north side of Toledo Avenue, and the addition of a two-leg continental style crosswalk.)

To view, listen or participate in the meeting, use the following link:,
Or dial in and use Zoom Meeting ID 859 2925 4806, Passcode 019014

Civic affairs Safety

Virtual Walk Audit

Do you believe that pedestrian safety in our community has room for improvement? Have you wanted to share your concerns? Here’s your best chance.

The Palm Springs Pedestrian and Safe Routes to School Plan Community Outreach Team is holding five Virtual Walk Audits. The sessions will help the city compete for transportation funds to improve pedestrian safety and neighborhood walkability.

Our neighborhood would be part of the District 5 Virtual Walk Audit, to be held with Mayor Pro Tem and our Councilmember Lisa Middleton on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, from 4-5:30 pm. Any one who would like to participate can register at

Civic affairs Safety

City approves stop signs and crosswalk

The City Council voted unanimously on Jan. 28 to approve new traffic controls that will benefit pedestrian and bicycle safety in our neighborhood:

  • An all-way stop at La Verne Way and Toledo Avenue.
  • Upgrading the stop signs on Toledo Avenue at Maricopa to solar powered LED signs, with a new curb ramp on the north side of Toledo Avenue, and the addition of a 2 leg continental style crosswalk.

The Council voted 5-0 to accept a staff report that also will establish all-way stops at South Palm Canyon Drive and La Verne Way and at Murray Canyon Drive.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton praised the neighborhood organizations for helping to get public input, as we did with an online questionnaire and two Zoom meetings. In response to our concerns, she asked that the City Engineers look at whether the intersection of Toledo Avenue and La Verne Way can be better marked to show motorists where the bike lane on Toledo gives way to traffic making a right turn. Our board of directors thanks Councilmember Middleton for her outreach to our neighborhood and for moving these changes through so expeditiously.

To see a video recording of the discussion and the vote, fast-forward to the 58:58 timestamp here: (28) City Council Meeting | January 28th, 2021 – YouTube.

Civic affairs Events

ONE-PS Talk of the Town

The Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) is delighted to announce its next Zoom Talk Of The Town: Palm Springs 20/20: Where We’ve Been – Where We’re Going.

This is a presentation highlighting the challenges and accomplishments of the City of Palm Springs over the past 20 years as well as a look at what is in store for the next 20. The presenter will be David Ready, Palm Springs’ city manager for the past 20 years. Hear firsthand from the man who guided us through unprecedented growth and change and learn of his vision for what we can expect in the future.

Join the Zoom Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Meeting ID: 818 7296 2168

Passcode: 472637

You may also the ZOOM presentation via the