CVIndependent

Tue07072020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

As we move deeper into the toasty Coachella Valley summer during this ongoing pandemic, I ask all of you: Please, be careful, and take precautions.

On one hand, June was an exciting month: In many ways, our valley came back to life. Stores, restaurants and bars reopened. Traffic returned to the streets. Tourists are here again—in significant numbers.

On the other hand … June was terrifying. Riverside County and the Coachella Valley are both experiencing all-time highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Bars closed back up. The governor, thank goodness, has stepped in and instituted a statewide face-coverings order, because of increasing case numbers—and to give cover to beleaguered local health officials who were becoming the targets of insane anti-face-mask ire.

SARS-CoV-2 is very much still a danger. It continues to spread here in the Coachella Valley. It’s going to claim the lives of yet more of our neighbors. Meanwhile, the now-backtracking reopening process will succeed only if we all do our part: We need to wear face coverings whenever we’re near others. We need to wash our hands. We need to stay home and get tested if we feel ill—and perhaps we should get tested even if we feel fine, too.

Meanwhile, here at the Independent, we’ll continue doing what we do—quality local journalism—as best we can. If you haven’t already signed up for our Daily Digest to be emailed to you, please consider doing so here.

While the business climate remains challenging for the Independent and other newspapers around the country, we’re hanging in there—and we have three groups and entities to thank for that.

First: I’d like to thank our advertisers—new, resuming and continuing. Readers, please thank them yourselves, and give them as much business as you can.

Second: I’m proud to announce the Independent is a recipient of $5,000 from the Google News Initiative Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. Forgive me for tooting our own figurative horn here, but I’ll repeat what I said when we received $5,000 from the Facebook Journalism Project a couple of months ago: Not only is it evidence of the quality work we’re doing at the Independent; it’s a testament to all of the support and feedback we have received from you, our readers.

Third: Speaking of reader support: Nearly every day, we receive at least one payment from a reader who has become a Supporter of the Independent, sending us anywhere from $5 to $500. Thank you to all of you who have supported us; if you’re interested in joining them, go here. When the pandemic has passed, we’re going to all get together for a fantastic celebration—I promise.

As always, thanks for reading—and be sure to pick up the July 2020 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, now available in more than 300 locations across the valley.

Published in Editor's Note

(Note: We normally edit the monthly editor's note into two slightly different versions—one for the print edition, and one for the website. However, because this month's note was so print-specific, and most of what's mentioned here has been covered elsewhere at CVIndependent.com, we're publishing the print version here without changes, for archiving purposes. Thanks for reading!)

We are shipping this issue to press on the most significant day the Coachella Valley has experienced during the reopening process.

As of now, restaurants can open their doors to dine-in customers. Stores can allow people in to shop. Three of the valley’s casinos are open for business, as is Morongo. Earlier today, Gov. Newsom said that within a week or two, salons/barber shops, movie theaters and other Stage 3 businesses could potentially get the green light to welcome back customers.

Meanwhile, Riverside County announced another six deaths from COVID-19 had been reported in the last 24 hours. At least one local casino—Augustine Casino—has decided the conditions aren’t quite right yet for a reopening. And by the time you read this, more than 100,000 Americans will have perished from the disease.

Scary times, these.

Here at the Independent, we’re busy trying to make sense of it all. Every weekday, we continue to produce our Daily Digest, covering and linking to the COVID-19 news of the day, local and beyond; you can sign up to have it emailed to you, or read it every evening at CVIndependent.com. Meanwhile, our staff and contributors are continuing to cover the local stories that need to be told—whether those stories involve the pandemic or not.

I’m incredibly proud of the work our writers have been doing. In this issue, you’ll find pieces on everything from the status of The Living Desert, three prominent local museums and tattoo shops to features on a new drive-in concert series and local musicians who have released new music. And’s just the start.

There’s something else you’ll also find in this issue, thank goodness: more advertising. While we’re still will below where we’d normally be in terms of revenue, more than a half-dozen businesses have signed up for our new small-business advertising special, which we’ll be offering at least through the summer. I sincerely thank these amazing advertisers—all local small businesses—for their support.

However, there’s someone else’s support we need: yours. To date, we have not laid off or cut any of our writers. We have not skipped any of our monthly print editions. We have not eliminated any features—although some, like our music-venue report, are on hiatus due to a lack of things to report—and, in fact, we’ve actually added some new features, such as the aforementioned Daily Digest. All of this, however, costs money.

So … please support our advertisers—and tell them you saw their ad in the Independent. Consider purchasing our fantastic Coloring the Coachella Valley coloring book, featuring works by local artists and converted Independent file photos. Or if you can spare a few bucks, consider becoming a Supporter of the Independent, so we can keep producing quality local journalism, and making it free to all, both online and in print. If you have questions about any of this, call me at 760-904-4208; email me at the address below; or visit CVIndependent.com.

Welcome to the June 2020 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. As always, thanks for reading—and please be safe.

Published in Editor's Note

Jimmy Boegle didn’t start out wanting to be a newspaper editor. What he really wanted to do, since the third-grade, was be around baseball.

“I got into journalism while I was in college,” he says, “because I had the athletic ability of a turnip.”

When you first meet Boegle, you get self-deprecating humor, and the idea that he’s a man who is open, warm, gentle, focused—and anything but shy and introverted, even though he insists he is.

“When I was young,” he recalls, “I was tagged very early as gifted and talented, whatever that’s supposed to mean, but I was socially awkward and shy. Even now, put me in a room with lots of people I don’t know, and I’m still shy.”

After graduating from high school in Reno, Nevada, where he was born and raised, Boegle, 45, headed for Stanford University. He decided the way to be part of the sports world was to become a sportswriter for Stanford’s student newspaper, but covering even minor sports required attending all of the games or matches—which took up a lot of time.

“I worked my way through college,” he says, “and couldn’t do that, so I began covering events rather than sports, which didn’t require that kind of schedule.”

Between his junior and senior years of college, Boegle got an internship with the weekly newspaper in Reno, and upon graduation, he began working for The Associated Press in San Francisco.

“I had started dating a girl in my freshman year, and we were engaged, but I knew it was over when she showed up not wearing the ring the day before I graduated,” he says. “I went to work for the AP and was supposed to be there for about five months, and then they would reassess my job. After those five months, I decided to go back to Reno, and got a job with a small daily newspaper in Sparks, Nevada.”

Ah, if only our life stories unrolled in a straight line. With Jimmy Boegle, the back story is full of twists and turns.

“I was an only child,” he says. “My mom and dad had been told they couldn’t have children, so when I came along as their only child, it did lead to some smothering. My mom is still living in the same house we had in Reno since I was 8 years old. She had been a housewife, but later worked as a secretary/assistant for a real-estate appraiser. She would say, ‘If you work hard at anything, you can succeed.’

“My dad was complicated—a rural man, hunter and construction worker. He could be very loving, but also very gruff. He died in 2012, and at his memorial service, it (was a theme) that he would have given the shirt off his back for his friends if they needed it. As we had gotten older, we developed a good relationship.”

Most of Boegle’s friends in high school were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormon church, and he became a member of the church after his freshman year of college.

“Although I had some issues with the church, I saw much good there,” he says.

He said that during his freshman year of college, there was a dorm get-together during which questions were asked for the attendees to get to know one another; if the answer to the question was yes, the attendees were to go to the other side of the room, while if the answer was no (or the attendee didn’t want to answer), the attendee stayed in place. After lots of easy questions, like one’s favorite color, they asked whether attendees were attracted to the same gender.

“I knew I was different all the way back in middle school, but I had never actually known anyone who had come out as gay,” Boegle says. “At that event, seven or eight did, out of maybe 100 there. That got my mind going.”

That event helped Boegle realize he had, in the Mormon church’s terminology, a “same-gender attraction issue.” Still, he decided to try to fight the attraction—until after his engagement ended.

“I’m no longer a member of the church,” he says. “After I admitted to myself who I am, and they were pushing anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives, I couldn’t stay. … I finally told my parents (I was gay); my mom had probably known before I did, and made it clear she loved me anyway. We agreed it was probably better if she told my dad. He wasn’t thrilled with it, but we got past all that.”

In 1999, the Reno paper he had interned with, the Reno News & Review, hired him to come back as their news editor. A short time later, even though he was just 24, the paper made him its editor. Then Sept. 11 rocked the newspaper industry, putting papers at risk all over the country as businesses could not afford to advertise.

“In October of 2001, the paper decided to cut me since I was paid the most (on the editorial staff),” Boegle says. “A month later, I got a job with Las Vegas CityLife as the political reporter and news editor.”

While he was in Las Vegas in 2002, he met a man named Garrett.

“We’re now coming up on 18 years together, five of them married. He is also from Reno, so when we go there, we get to spend time with both of our families,” Boegle says.

“The Tucson Weekly was looking for an editor (around) that time, and although I initially turned it down, they talked me into it. I was there for 10 years, before we came to Palm Springs.”

Boegle has been in Palm Springs since January 2013—when he founded the Coachella Valley Independent, because he saw the need for an independent voice dedicated to local issues and local entertainment. He has recruited writers to cover news, sports, local clubs and restaurants, local musicians and artists, theater productions and movies—and a column to acquaint locals with some of their neighbors. (Ahem.) The CVI is online and distributes a free print edition monthly throughout the Coachella Valley.

Much like what happened after Sept. 11—but far worse—the pandemic has made running a newspaper difficult, with advertising revenue disappearing. On March 13, as the reality of the pandemic was setting in, Boegle began writing a new “Daily Digest” to bring news updates and provide links to helpful information.

“This (the pandemic) is so unprecedented,” he says. “We haven’t faced anything like this since the Great Depression. I’m just trying to get the CVI through this.”

When I ask what motivates Boegle, he answers quickly: “A lot of things. Fear. The support of friends and family. … I’m blessed to know so many amazing people rooting for me to do well.”

Boegle has won many awards for his writing, and CVI has won four national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN). He is currently serving the as membership chair for AAN. For fun, he plays softball, watches the Los Angeles Dodgers, and loves good conversation with friends.

“There’s no better experience in life than sitting down with good friends and having a good meal,” he says.

What’s the best decision Jimmy Boegle ever made?

“Going on a second date with Garrett! On our first date, he kind of creeped me out – he seemed decent, but a little weird.” Now, Boegle says he most prizes Garrett, their cat and the Coachella Valley Independent.

Jimmy Boegle’s athletic ability may have been limited—but his vision for what is possible is playing out in real time.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal.” Her show The Lovable Liberal airs from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on IHubRadio. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors

I’ve been asked several times why we don’t regularly post COVID-19 stats here in the Daily Digest, and the answer is simple: Statistics, when put in the proper context, are important and revealing. When they’re not, however … they can be confusing and misleading.

Take the total number of COVID-19 cases, for example. As of this writing, according to Riverside County, there have been 5,618 confirmed cases in the county. Since the start of April, that number has been increasing at a pretty steady pace—there have been a few peaks and valleys, sure, but overall, the pace has been pretty consistent for the last six weeks now.

So … what does this tell us? Well, it tells us SARS-CoV-2 is still a problem. But that’s about all it tells us.

One of the reasons the number has kept going up at this pace is that the county, and the medical organizations within it, have done a fine job of ramping up the amount of testing done in the county—and more tests means more positive results.

What about deaths? Alas, 242 people in Riverside County have died from the virus, according to the county. That’s 242 individuals who loved, were loved, and made some sort of a mark on our world. That number represents a lot of loss. But in terms of what the number of deaths tell us about the disease’s spread … deaths are a lagging indicator, reflecting what was happening two to six weeks ago … maybe more. Also, there’s increasing evidence a whole lot of deaths due to COVID-19 aren’t being reported properly anyway.

One of the best, most-contextual statistics out there—a number, alas, that is hard to find—is the R-naught number. It tells us how many people, on average, one person with COVID-19 is infecting in a certain place. If we keep that number below 1, progress is being made in stemming the virus’ spread. If it’s above 1, the virus’ spread is increasing. But, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out, even the R0 number has its limitations.

I’m not saying all of the stats being thrown at us by government officials or news sources should be disregarded or ignored. However, I am saying these numbers need to be looked at in the proper context—and they’re usually not.

Today’s news:

The Desert Sun talked to some local media types, including yours truly, about the struggles of the media in the Coachella Valley.

• From the Independent: Our beer writer points out a small positive that’s come about as a result of the stay-at-home order: It’s easier than ever for beer-lovers to get amazing craft beer from across the state.

• For the first-time ever, the House of Representatives has changed its rules to allow remote voting. Like almost everything else these days, the vote was along party lines.

A new survey of older men living with HIV, primarily in the Palm Springs area, by a UC Riverside researcher, has results that are both sad and frightening: Not only are many of these men anxious and depressed; it’s causing them to miss taking their medications.

Can we learn something from Georgia? The state started reopening three weeks ago now, and things so far … are going OK?

• Eisenhower Medical Center just released some new Coachella Valley-specific stats about COVID-19. The hospitalization numbers had not yet been updated as of this writing, but scroll down for other numbers, and you’ll see the valley is doing OK.

• Up in Anza, the new Cahuilla Casino Hotel plans on opening 12 days from today.

• Millions of Americans are still waiting on the unemployment benefits they need to survive, according to Bloomberg News.

Paycheck Protection Program loans could come back and bite a lot of businesses in the you-know-what, due to restrictions on spending, as well as reporting requirements. SFGate breaks it down.

• Good news! It’s been proven safe for people suffering from COVID-19 to receive plasma from people who have recovered—and early results on the practice’s effectiveness are encouraging.

• Bad news! The Navy is reporting that five sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier have tested positive for the virus for a second time. Nobody’s quite sure what that means yet.

• Sad and scary news: A couple of Ralph’s employees in the Los Angeles area have died from COVID-19.

• Frustrating news: More and more government agencies are using the pandemic as an excuse to disregard public-information laws.

• Baffling news: No matter your politics, you have to admit some of President Trump’s recent statements about COVID-19 testing have been simply bonkers.

A study out of Berlin has recommendations on how orchestras can situate its members and safely play again.

Is a vaccine made with tobacco really going to save us all? A vaccine made from the stuff is heading to human trials, because—repeat after me—nothing makes any sense anymore.

• Finally, Sylvia Goldsholl is one of my new heroes. At 108 years old, she’s lived through two pandemics—and just beat COVID-19.

That’s all for the week! Buy our fantastic Coachella Valley Coloring Book. If you can afford to do so, please consider becoming a supporter of the Independent, and help us continue doing great local journalism without the annoying article limits or paywalls you find on other websites. Wash your hands. Be kind. Wear a mask when going out. The Daily Digest will be back on Monday, at the very latest—and we will be updating CVIndependent.com with great stories all weekend.

Published in Daily Digest

In response to yesterday’s Daily Digest, I received this email from a reader, which is reprinted here, verbatim:

Is your paper written by one person? Articles picked by you? Just curious as to where you’re from? Palm Springs? Just not sure if this is a PS newsletter?

This made me realize that a lot of you are new to the Independent—and that even some of you who have been reading for a while may not know much about me or the newspaper, and/or where these Daily Digests fit into things.

So, if you’ll indulge me, here are my answers to that reader’s questions (slightly expanded upon and edited from my personal response to the reader):

Is your paper written by one person?

No. The Independent has a staff writer and 15 or so regular contributors, writing on everything from theater to astronomy to cocktails to news. Feel free to peruse all of the articles, going back to our late-2012 launch, at CVIndependent.com, and check out our print version archives at issuu.com/cvindependent.

Articles picked by you?

I, Jimmy Boegle, am the editor/publisher, but most of my writers decide what they’re going to be writing about … because they’re the experts in what they’re writing about, not me. As for this Daily Digest email, I write it and select the article links, although I get suggestions from a lot of people—especially from Garrett, my husband.

Just curious as to where you’re from? Palm Springs?

I live in Palm Springs, yes. I’ve been here for more than seven years. If you would like to view my professional credentials, check out www.linkedin.com/in/jimmy-boegle. I have a 25-year history in journalism, going back to my days at Stanford University. I’ve worked for The Associated Press and at newspapers in Reno/Sparks, Las Vegas and Tucson. Before I moved here at the start of 2013, I spent a decade as the editor of the Tucson Weekly.

Just not sure if this is a PS newsletter?

Most of the content in the Independent itself—with the exception of some movie reviews, our comics page, Savage Love and a couple of other things—is written by people in the Coachella Valley, for people in the Coachella Valley. This Daily Digest email, however, was started when the pandemic hit as a way to share news on COVID-19 and the shut-down orders from reliable, vetted news sources, from around the country and world.

So, there you go! If any of you have other questions about the Independent, me, our fantabulous writers or life in general, feel free to send them my way.

And now, what you’re really here for—today’s news:

• I was again part of the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast/videocast, with hosts John Taylor, Shann Carr and Brad Fuhr. Today’s guests were the fabulously smart Dr. Laura Rush, from Kaiser Permanente; Alexander Rodriguez from the On the Rocks radio show; and Debra Ann Mumm from the Create Center for the Arts. Check it out if you dare!

Gov. Newsom announced a revised $203 billion budget today—which includes a lot of deep cuts. One of the most painful—a 10 percent salary reduction for many state workers. However, that cut, and others, could be avoided if the feds chip in and help. Our partners at CalMatters have the details.

• More bad—and by “bad,” we mean “approaching Great Depression bad”unemployment figures have been released.

Unfortunately, most of the job losses are hitting families that are least-prepared to deal with them: Almost 40 percent of lower-income households have been affected, according to Politico.

Cathedral City is the latest valley city to step up and require face masks in many places, following the county’s stunningly ill-advised revocation of the face-mask health order last week.

• Related: From The Conversation comes this headlineMasks help stop the spread of coronavirus—the science is simple and I’m one of 100 experts urging governors to require public mask-wearing.

Could COVID-19 be causing an inflammatory syndrome in children that’s similar to Kawasaki disease? The CDC just issued an alert for doctors to be on the lookout.

Las Vegas may start to reopen soon—and it’ll be a very different experience when it does, according to the Los Angeles Times.

• A live-stream performance featuring John Stanley King, Kal David and other local music luminaries takes place tomorrow (Friday) at 3 p.m., and it benefits the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. Get details here.

• This opinion piece from The Washington Post points out a painful truth: In most of the country, we’re giving up on containing COVID-19and are now scrambling to reduce the harm it causes.

• Meanwhile, in Alabama, legislators proposed spending $200 million in federal funding for COVID-19 on a new State House. Yes, they really did that. https://www.newsweek.com/alabama-senate-leaders-want-use-money-2-billion-coronavirus-aid-build-new-state-house-1503255

• The New York Stock Exchange is partially reopening for in-person trading on May 26. Yay? Or something?

• Finally: One Riverside girl really wanted to hug her grandparents … so she invented the hug curtain.

That’s enough for today. Wash your hands. Wear a mask, for pete’s sake. Buy our amazing Coloring Book. If you can spare a few bucks, please consider supporting quality, free-to-all, independent local journalism by becoming a Supporter of the Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow!

Published in Daily Digest

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a varied and always-interesting journalism career over the last 25 years—but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, I’ve covered some stories that were downright brutal in terms of their emotional impact.

When I worked for The Associated Press in the San Francisco bureau, I was one of the first handful of people to know that John Denver had perished after his small, experimental plane went down in Monterey Bay on Oct. 12, 1997. When I was a reporter for the Daily Sparks Tribune, I covered the first trial of Siaosi Vanisi, who sits on death row in Nevada after randomly ambushing and murdering University of Nevada, Reno, police officer George Sullivan with a hatchet, on Jan. 13, 1998.

And then there was Jan. 8, 2011, when a mentally ill 22-year-old opened fire outside of a Safeway in Tucson, killing six people and injuring 13—including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who somehow survived despite being shot in the head at point-blank range. I was the editor of the Tucson Weekly at the time.

Now, there’s this. The pandemic hasn’t been as dramatic or as sudden as any of the horrible events I’ve covered before—but in terms of the breadth of the death and devastation, it’s been far worse.

It’s not easy to cover these things … actually, that’s an understatement: It’s downright wrenching to cover these things. But it’s rewarding—because it means we, as journalists, are fulfilling our duty to our readers.

This brings me to the coverage the Independent has done since the reality of the pandemic set in—much of which is compiled into our May print edition, which hit the lonely streets this week. From Anita Rufus’ piece on the importance of advance directives/living wills, to Kevin Fitzgerald’s heartbreaking pieces on the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to Matt King’s looks at how various schools and teachers have adjusted to this time, to Valerie-Jean Hume’s piece on Alcoholic Anonymous’ transition from in-person to Zoom meetings, to Brett Newton’s introduction to homebrewing beer … I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say I’ve never been prouder of anything else in my career.

As April comes to a close, there’s one other thing I’m proud of, and humbled by—the amazing reader support we’ve received since this whole mess started.

Thank you to Ken Alterwitz, Debby Anspach, Gustavo Arellano, Jill Arnold, Scott Balson, Joanne Bosher, George Bullis, William Campbell, John Carney, Jeffrey Clarkson, Mark Cohen, Jeffrey Davied, John de Dios, John Delaney, Casey Dolan, Jim Flanagan, Richard Fluechtling, Joshua Friedman, Howard Goldberg, Lea Goodsell, Edward Guzman, Michael Herzfeld, Morgan James, Tony Gangloff, Jeff Hammerberg, Lynn Hammond, Vicky Harrison, Richard Hart, Laura Hein, Mark Horvath, Stephen King, Harvey Lewis, Shari Lipman, Alex McCune, Elizabeth McGarry, Jeffrey Norman, Alexis Ortega, Marsha Pare, Deidre Pike, Scott Phipps, David Ponsar, Roy Schaefer, Virgina Schubert, Ann Sheffer, Michael Strockbine, Miho Suma, Kenneth Theriault, Bryan Tosi, Darrell Tucci, Cara Van Dijk, Lydia Walker, Beth Wexler, Richard Wilson, Dennis Wodzisz and Leonard Woods for becoming Supporters of the Independent in recent weeks. (If I somehow missed someone, please accept my apologies.)

If you’re able, please consider joining them, so we can keep doing what we’re doing.

Again, thank you. Your support makes all the work—even when it’s emotionally trying—worth the effort. And then some.

Today’s links:

• Let’s start with more encouraging news on the increasing amount of science showing that drugs can indeed beat down COVID-19.

• Last night, a memo to police chiefs around the state said that Gov. Newson was preparing to close all beaches and state parks, following crowding issues here and there last weekend. Well, turns out he didn’t do that: Instead, he decided to pick on Orange County by closing ONLY the beaches there. Needless to say, this is NOT going over well in Orange County.

• I was again a guest on the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast/videocast with the gang, as well as Dr. Laura Rush, Desert AIDS Project Director of Development Darrell Tucci, and LGBT Center of the Desert CEO Mike Thompson. Check out the increasingly alarming state of my hair herein.

• This is happening in the Coachella Valley, too, alas: The New York Times reports that restaurants have become an enticing target for burglars.

• The Palm Springs International Shortfest won’t take place in a physical way come June, organizers announced today, but the show will go on online.

• One of the most vexing elements regarding the battle against the coronavirus is that so many people who have it—and can spread it—show no symptoms. The Conversation breaks down how this is possible, and what it all means.

• And then there’s this piece, from the Los Angeles Times, about a man who had the virus in his body for 40 damn days. Yeesh.

• April has been, I think we can all agree, awful … yet the stock market had its best month in three decades. What are they smoking on Wall Street, you ask? Let’s overextend this metaphor with this answer: They’re smoking lots of sweet, sweet government cash.

• In other news, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are getting government cash to party like it’s 1969, and take man back to the moon. (Since there is no coronavirus there, can we all go?!)

• What’s the difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant? Wait, is there a difference? According to CBS News, yes, there is.

• To nobody’s surprise, there are problems with some banks’ mortgage-forbearance policies. For example, as the Los Angeles Times reports, one man was told he could skip payments for six months … but he’d then have to pay all those missed payments in one lump sum. Yikes.

• Finally, Tom Hanks, America’s dad, is literally giving a part of himself to help save us all.

That’s all for now. Wash your hands. Buy our local-art-filled Coloring Book. Keep your fingers crossed that May is better … and congratulate yourself on the fact that a few hours from now, you will have survived the crapfest that was April 2020. Be safe. Back tomorrow.

Published in Daily Digest

So, uh, hi. How’s the pandemic been treating you?

Here at the Independent, we’ve been working harder than we ever. I’ve been dividing time between looking for funding, getting out our new Daily Digests five or six times a week (sign up for them here), new projects, and doing the “normal” Independent work (writing, editing, posting stories, etc.).

Here’s how that’s going:

• Our staff and contributors have been doing amazing journalism. Want proof? Look at all of the content compiled in our May print edition. Even though we don’t have enough advertising support to justify it, we decided to bump up this issue to 32 pages so print readers could get all of the important news and information we covered in April—regarding everything from the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to news on how our schools are coping, to advice on how to cut down on food waste. I can’t thank our writers and designers enough for all the work they’re doing.

• I am proud to announce that the Coachella Valley Independent is one of 400 local newsrooms around North America that received a $5,000 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association, to help us continue our reporting on the coronavirus crisis. We’re honored to be one of the recipients of this grant. Not only is it evidence of the quality work we're doing at the Independent; it’s a testament to all of the support and feedback we have received from you, our readers. I thank all of you who have reached out and offered a kind thought, or words of encouragement, or constructive criticism, in the last couple of months. This grant and your support will help us continue to do what we do—honest, local, ethical journalism, available for free to all.

• However … that $5,000 grant, while beyond helpful, doesn’t even cover one month of the losses in business we’ve had as a result of the pandemic. That’s why I am sooooo grateful to everyone who’s become a Supporter of the Independent in recent months. Dozens of readers have stepped up with amounts between $5 and $500—but again, it’s still not enough to make up for our other revenue losses due to the pandemic. If you’d like to join them and help us continue doing what we’re doing, visit our Supporters page.

• You can also support the Independent, the CREATE Center for the Arts and local artists by purchasing our local-art coloring-book project, Coloring the Coachella Valley Vol. 1. It features the work of local artists, as well as Independent file photos converted into coloring pages. All the proceeds will be split between the Independent, the CREATE Center and the artists whose work is inside. The 24-page book is available as both a digital download and as a printed 8.5 by 11 book, on quality paper, by the UPS Store. The digital downloads cost $20 each; both the digital download and the print version are available for $30 each (shipping included). Learn more and see a few sample pieces here.

• We know virtually every local small business is struggling right now—so we’ve started our new Adopt a Small Business program, an initiative designed to promote locally owned businesses AND support local journalism. You can help a favorite small business advertise in the Independent—at highly discounted rates: For $199, the small business will receive a quarter-page ad in a monthly print edition of the Independent; run-of-site ads in rotation for a month at CVIndependent.com; and at least one ad per week for a month in the Independent’s Daily Digest. The value of this package is more than $600. Find details here.

Thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Hang in there. Better days are coming.

—Jimmy Boegle,
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Published in Editor's Note

I’ve been an anxious mess the last few days. There’s a good chance you have been as well.

What we’re all going through right now is completely unprecedented. There hasn’t been a pandemic like this since the Spanish flu ravaged the planet a century ago—and that pandemic happened in a time without significant commercial air travel, the Internet and so on.

As we endure the pandemic and all of the disruption that it’s bringing, we here at the Independent will keep doing what we’ve been doing for our seven-plus years of existence—telling the Coachella Valley’s stories. In fact, we’re going to do our best to do even more.

First, we’re launching a new series of pieces called Pandemic Stories. These pieces will tell slice-of-life stories on how the community is being affected by the coronavirus and all of the societal changes taking place as a result. We posted the first one yesterday—a piece by staff writer Kevin Fitzgerald, on what the last-minute cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open meant to Piero’s PizzaVino, one of the few local restaurants that opens a satellite location at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden during the tourney.

Second, later today, we’ll launch a new daily feature at CVIndependent.com—also available via e-mail (it’ll go to all of our e-Edition subscribers to start)—that rounds up reliable, vetted news related to COVID-19 and the accompanying societal changes. There’s too much unreliable information floating around on social media (and even coming out of some elected officials’ mouths)—and we will help sort through it all to get to truthfulness and sanity. In addition to news updates, we’ll also highlight good things happening—specials from local businesses (that REALLY need your support right now), enlightening comments from members of the community, and so on. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have anything you think should be included.

As we strive to do more, however, I need to be frank: This pandemic poses an existential threat to the Independent. (The same can be said for all sorts of other local businesses, as well as virtually every independent news source around the country.) Our advertising base is made up largely of local businesses—the very same businesses getting their asses kicked right now by all of the cancellations and social distancing. So … that’s where we really need your help: If you value the work the Independent is doing, and you can afford it, please send us a few bucks to help us keep the news coming. Learn more at www.cvindependent.com/index.php/en-US/supporters. Please consider becoming a supporter, either with a one-time payment, or if you can, by sending us a few bucks each month. The strength of the support we get from readers who can afford it may very well determine whether the Independent makes it or not.

Thanks for reading. Tough days are ahead, but we’re going to get through this, Coachella Valley, as long as we continue to uplift and support each other.

Published in Editor's Note

A recent Independent story, which serves as the cover story in our March print edition, examines the mess that Assembly Bill 5 has made for independent musicians.

As the headline says … it’s a shit show.

You can read the specifics in the story—by my friend Kevin Allman, who recently moved to Southern California after a 12-year stint as the editor of the Gambit weekly in New Orleans—but I wanted to point out something I discovered while editing and fact-checking the piece: This AB 5 mess marks the first time that a lot of young adults have had to seriously deal with the consequences of a new state law … and they’re pissed. One tongue-in-cheek comment I saw on a social-media account sums it up: “Yay California. Way to lift people up. Regulations is just what we need!”

Actually … AB 5 was needed. It was just badly executed. In April 2018, in response to a case against a transportation company, the California Supreme Court ruled that a worker could only be considered an independent contractor (rather than an employee) if the worker met three specific criteria. As a result, the Legislature needed to step in and craft new law to clarify things … and that led to AB 5.

Well, AB 5 arguably made a bad situation worse: In an attempt to “protect” Lyft and Uber drivers, as well as drivers for services like Postmates and Grubhub, by making sure they were classified as employees, Rep. Lorena Gonzalez pushed through legislation that, with neither rhyme nor reason, exempted some gigs, while not exempting others. Graphic artists and fine artists were exempted … while musicians were not. Freelance writers were exempted, but only if they write 35 pieces or fewer for a publication/website in a year.

Why 35? I have no idea. Neither does anyone else.

Take the situation Independent music scribe Matt King now faces. Matt, for the most part, decides what he writes about; he suggests story topics, and I say yea or nay while giving him a deadline. He works when he wants, where he wants, and is paid more than a minimum-wage equivalent for his work. Yet barring a change in the law, I’ll soon need to either bring him on as an employee, or let him go, if we want to comply with the law.

Matt is also a musician and a band leader—and according to AB 5, he should be considered both an employee and an employer at his gigs now: He’d be an employee of the venue, and the employer of his band mates.

It’s a shit show.

The state and Democratic lawmakers are making a terrible impression on a whole lot of young residents as a result of AB 5—and who knows what future electoral consequences this may have?

As always, thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Feel free to email me with feedback—and be sure to pick up the March 2020 print edition.

Published in Editor's Note

The email arrived in my inbox at 4:17 p.m.

“Valentine’s Day at (restaurant name redacted) is a Sweet Deal!” the subject line said.

The email, from a public-relations rep hired by the restaurant, was seeking news coverage. It included a photo, a copy of the Valentine’s Day menu at (restaurant name redacted), and other info. I sighed, deleted the email—only because we’re not doing any sort of Valentine’s Day-dining coverage—and moved on with my day.

Why, you might ask, did I sigh? Well, we’ve given (restaurant name redacted) coverage before it opened. And we’ve given it ample editorial coverage since it opened. However, that restaurant—which has decided it needs the services of someone whose job it is to obtain media coverage—has not given the Independent a dime since it opened several years ago.

Not for advertising. Not for Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week (which, hey, is coming up again; see the details here). Not for anything. In fact, the management doesn’t even respond to our emails. The Independent is not alone here; I see very little advertising by this restaurant anywhere.

This disconnect is a problem.

In order to give you, our readers, the fairest coverage possible—in order to serve you best—we decide what to cover without considering what’s happening on the advertising side. Had we been doing Valentine’s Day dining coverage, we’d have included the information from (restaurant name redacted) right alongside restaurants that have spent a dime or more with the Independent.

Some restaurants don’t need PR or advertising; they, through word of mouth or reputation, have enough business. However, those restaurants are decidedly in the minority, and (restaurant name redacted) is apparently not one of those restaurants, seeing as I keep getting emails from a PR person on their behalf.

So … what would happen if all restaurants acted like (restaurant name redacted) did, and spent money on a PR person, but no money on advertising with the media sources that hired PR person is emailing? Well, those media sources would die. And the PR person would have nobody to email.

A similar situation is taking place with social media. I’ve had far too many businesses tell me they’re not spending money on “traditional media,” but instead are advertising on Facebook, Instagram, etc. … where they share and promote the coverage given to them, for free, by traditional media.

It’s simple, folks: If you value media—like, say, newspapers such as the Independent—you need to support us. Otherwise, we’ll die. Printing, distribution, restaurant news … that stuff costs money. It ain’t cheap.

On that note … thanks to all the advertisers who support the Independent—and be sure to pick up the February 2020 print edition, hitting streets this week.

Published in Editor's Note

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