10 August 2012

Stuck in the Sand Pit (a continuing saga)

Where I live is a small community of modest homes in the desert just outside of Palm Springs ‘neath the San Jacinto Mountain range and overlooking the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm. At the far end of my sandy back yard stands a six foot cement wall which encloses a massively failed, exclusive gated community called “The Cove” consisting of approximately 50-75 “custom” homes and an equally failed golf course, which now amounts to 18 holes of continuous sand pits and which is home to a parliament of Burrowing Owls.

(photos taken on previous visit)

This morning I took a walk down the street to the south-western entrance of this gated community to see the owls as they give me some comedic pleasure in watching them defend their nesting area that consists primarily of broken cement slabs, rebar and the remains of the unfinished sewer drainage system of The Cove and the graveled broken paths of the defunct golf course. However, as I approached this morning I noticed the addition of a chain link fence having been erected around the broken gated entrance that prohibited me from entering this quiet posted "No Trespassing" area. I am sure that the fence erectors felt obligated to defend the perimeter based on such considerations as vandals having ravaged the abandoned construction project for anything they can turn over for a quick buck. And I am sure they felt it within their prudent diligence to stave off potential liability lawsuits that would have inevitably been filed should one of those vandals hurt themselves out there amongst the ruins.  But it pissed me off, not only because it derailed my morning walk but also because of the fact that more money is being spent to protect what amounts to, in my opinion, pure vandalism of the natural environment by greedy developers who had the foolish audacity to build a golf course community in the desert in one of the hottest, driest and windiest parts of the state and then walking away from it because it failed to turn a profit.  And now it sits in ruins awaiting, I assume, the next economic upswing.

(golf cart path on the back nine)

 (Desert Water Authority sewer cap)

 (Sprinkler head - for waterin' ...the DESERT!)

 (Water Meters)

 (Space Waste? No, waste of space.)

 (Vandalized Rainbird watering system)

(Urban waste)

I would estimate that only about 15–20 % of the custom homes are currently occupied. Even fewer are occupied full-time, as most are 2nd (or 3rd) “vacation” homes, such as in the case of our current landlords. 

The circumstances surrounding our involvement began when we were presented with the seemingly generous once-in-lifetime offer of living in one of these exclusive homes and becoming the caretaker of this gated community with the task of showing the homes to potential investors. We were told of living rent-free with a potential income of $2000/month for the caretaker role. (The circumstances leading to our even considering such deal fell on the heals of two plus years of unemployment and our own subsequent dire financial downturn.) But the deal fell through when yet another multi-million dollar investor backed out at the last minute, at which point we were consigned to live in a much more modest home also owned by the landlord/real-estate “investor” outside of the six-foot walls and having no prospects of gainful employment. Which is where I find myself today having moved five hundred miles to a place sight unseen. And which begs the question, 'Who is the bigger fool'?

 "Welkome 2 DA 'HOOD - W.S." (W.S. = WestSide)

(Crazy f*&$#@^ Money!)

 Wizened owl is not impressed by your foolhardy waste of money.

"I will dance a jig on your failed dreams and your fences won't keep me from flying."