City Manager's Message - June 2020
Dear Indio neighbors,
We will long remember May of 2020! The last couple weeks have been particularly difficult. I look forward to the day that my columns will no longer reference the Covid threat. Not there yet, I am afraid. As you are no doubt aware, the State and County of Riverside have issued guidance on how businesses of different sorts may now begin reopening under specified safety standards. That is key, because as people start venturing out from home, the world will actually get less safe for a while. We all hope that good sense and caring about one’s neighbors will prevail. If the disease spikes and we end up closing schools for another semester, that would be a crisis within a crisis.
We are very hopeful for our businesses and unemployed citizens that our economy will start to come back now. We remain very concerned about the well-being of our health workers and front line employees on one hand, and for the plight of our small businesses and unemployed citizenry on the other. I do not recall any previous time in my work experience when we had to worry so long about such a large part of our community. I want to personally thank every person who has reached out to your neighbors during this crisis to help those who are blameless victims of this disease.
As if the world were not already challenged, the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a tragedy and a reminder that Covid is not the only serious malady we face in our world. I am so glad to be affiliated with our caring, professional Indio Police Department. The techniques and attitudes used by those who killed Mr. Floyd are entirely out of line with what decent Police agencies use. There is no excuse for that, and I wanted to use this space to say right out loud, that we condemn what they did. We are dedicated to being a Police Department that rejects targeting and discriminatory practices. That does not suggest that human beings do not occasionally make mistakes, but an egregious act of that magnitude is purely unacceptable. It is our daily mission to help create the conditions in Indio where every resident, every visitor can enjoy a mutually respectful environment. There are those among us who are challenged by life circumstances that deprive them of opportunity. A small city government can lend assistance, but a whole community with the size and heart of Indio can do much more. We can turn around 2020 if we resolve to seek out those missions of the heart.
So while it may seem mundane by comparison, let me pivot to the more common reporting I do in these newsletters. One of the first things we can do to recover in Indio is to help re-establish our local economy. I am happy to say that development activity in Indio has stayed very strong even during the pandemic. Our City Community Development and Public Works staff have stayed open to serve the development community and to keep employment active. We are processing new home permits on a daily basis. We have had more than 300 single family home permits issued in the last year and many more in the works. We have new multi-family and mixed use development applications going through plan check. Activity among retail developers is also strong. In recent days, we have moved forward with the fabulous Vallarta Market (at the old Marshall’s site), Chipotle and Auto Zone (same neighborhood), Dunn-Edwards Paint and Dutch Bros Coffee (on Highway 111) and Arby’s (near Walmart). Redevelopment of the Indio Grand Marketplace (formerly Indio Fashion Mall) is once again picking up steam.
And finally, I want to keep my commitment to honor Dads this month, after singing the praises last month of the extraordinary Moms in our midst. I send Happy Father’s Day wishes to every Dad who has helped homeschool the kids, cooked a few meals, helped clean around the house, given up TV sports for family puzzles or Hallmark movies, OR put family in front of self. Kudos to all Dads who qualify!
Please take care. There is still danger out there. We hope you will shop local, lend a hand to a neighbor, and enjoy your community. But most of all, please be safe.