Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LIFE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE TRACKS IN PALM SPRINGS, CA

The streets are named after Hollywood legends (Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore) and ex-presidents (Gerald Ford). Sitting presidents come here to entertain heads of state (Obama meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan) and billionaires (Koch Brothers 'Billionaires Caucus') come here to put on "how to screw the American people" seminars for the 1% types.

There a set of railroad tracks that run through this valley. On the one side is the good life, for those who can afford it. The desert  floor of this valley is covered with a quilt of golf courses, resort hotels, gambling casinos, fine dinning restaurants, and country club like gated communities for those who can afford a second home.

 People flock here from all over the map. It's a gathering place for the gay community, snow birds, concert goers, sun worshipers, political power brokers, and a mish mash of what ever else falls under the "tourist" umbrella. Palm Springs is inundated with spectacular images of the good life plastered on the billboards, infomercials, and  brochure racks in travel agencies.

For example; Exclusive tour of the Ritz-Carlton experience

Enveloped in the Santa Rosa mountains, 650 feet above the valley - your experience can stay on property, or branch out to the more than 20 miles of mountain hiking trails originating from the hotel. All the while, receiving treatment stemming from the Ritz-Carlton motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."

"The face of luxury is changing over time. The Ritz Carlton of old is the past. What we are creating is destinations within destinations. We don't want to be opulent or stuffy, we want to be warm and caring," general manager Doug Watson said.

Outside, you'll find three pools: family pool, one for kids, one just for adults.

"Our developers and owners do a great job of building wonderful environments and facilities. The heart of it is the ladies and gentleman. The difference is luxury consumers come to the Ritz Carlton for the service,” Gabaldon said.



What is not seen or talked about much is what goes on on the other side of the tracks.

While the folks at the Ritz are being showered with luxury life is much different for folks on the other side of the tracks a few miles away. One that the "ladies and gentlemen" would rather not talk about and that some consider an inconvenient embarrassment. People who consider someone asking for food or money to be "harassment" rather than a person in distress begging for help.

Concern Over Growing Homeless Camp in Palm Springs

There's concern over some tent cities going up in the City of Palm Springs. Homeless people have been setting-up several camps in and around the wash along Palm Canyon and Gene Autry, next to the Von's shopping center.

"You know how big is this tent city going to get? Is it going to continue to grow and grow and grow until we have a real issue here?" Douglas Clark said.

The Palm Springs resident takes regular hikes up the Murray Canyon trail nearby, he says he's recently noticed the growing problem.



He says there's a lot more transients wandering around, harassing hikers and shoppers.

"I have talked to a couple female hikers that they've been approached by guys that have said, Do you have a light? Do you have a cigarette? Do you have any money? I'm hungry, that sort of thing,"

Homeowners and business owners say there's been an increase in disturbances because of homeless people. They believe a recycling center there is also attracting a lot of transients. 


Mark McWaters admits the location is a convenient one.

"I've only been up here since last night, and I'm actually thinking of coming up here because its close to water and food resource," he said.


Only a few miles separate these two groups but the way they are perceived is millions of miles apart.

Pope Francis has spoken out on this issue several times (Pope demands 'legitimate redistribution' of wealth)
which, in the US seems to fall on deaf ears. Some even go so far as to label him a Marxists as they desperately try to hang on to the status quo;

He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through "the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society."