By Allen David
The Salton Sea stops stinking, relieving the rest of Southern California of a rotten-egg stench that had people retching for days. Yep, things have become that humiliating for the Salton Sea, which has suffered a string of embarrassing incidents that goes back a century, to the day it was born when an irrigation pipe broke and water from the Colorado River filled an ancient lakebed. In their own way, the two incidents are the perfect bookends for Salton Sea’s timeline—each seeming to strain credibility, although both are quite true. The latest joke on the Salton Sea began when a powerful storm swept through the Coachella Valley, roiling the lake’s stagnant waters. This served to stir together all kinds of disgusting stuff—from pesticides to dead fish—which the storm drew into the sky and fanned across the region. People could actually smell the Salton Sea in Los Angeles . . . and eventually all the way to Ventura County.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
The Route 66 Rendezvous, perhaps the last good thing about San Bernardino—that’s what people on the street are saying, anyway—begins its annual four-day stay along the stretch of the famous highway that passes through the city’s downtown. But it’s clear from the get-go that the 23rd edition of the Route 66 Rendezvous isn’t going to be as good as the 22nd edition. People on the street are saying that, too. Natch. I mean, they’re car nuts—not exactly known for their shutting-up skills. And during the Route 66 Rendezvous, when just about all the people on the street are car nuts, you’re gonna hear a lot of . . . well . . . exactly the kind of stuff a couple of San Bernardino Sun reporters heard—stuff we’ve excerpted from their story. From Daniel Patnod on a drop in attendance: “It’s just sad . . . I can’t believe how sad it is.” From Sonny Gonzalez: “It’s a ghost town. I’ve never seen it like this before. It used to take us two hours to go through the tour; this year it only took us 30 minutes” James Rabouin, who has entered his 1923 Ford Roadster for the eighth consecutive year, with his theory on the down year: “I just think a lot of people didn’t know it was going to happen.” What if the event moves to Glen Helen Regional Park? From Marty Marshall: “People won’t come (to Glen Helen) because they like to cruise. I won’t do it. I don’t need to pay to sit in a parking lot for $85. This is all about cruising.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
The old theory, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” gets tested again—and attracts a fair amount of publicity in the process. In this case, it’s being applied to The Big Stink out at Salton Sea, which has always attracted bad . . . uhhh, unfortunate . . . . publicity. This week’s episode was especially humiliating because everyone was talking about it. That’s bad publicity. But the talking included people calling the Salton Sea Authority because some of them believed there might be an opportunity for a—forgive me for this—windfall. They hoped the Big Stink might focus attention on the troubled area, might attract the money needed for a cleanup. “Hopefully this will be a wake-up call that will make people realize that this is much bigger than just a local issue,” Sen. Barbara Boxer wrote in an email. But then the Salton Sea stops stinking. And then it slips out of people’s thinking. And that dashes the hopes that something could be done—hopes that were raised by the originally bad publicity.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
SUNDAY, SEPTMBER 16
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
In another demonstration of his pathetic need for attention, Donald Trump tweets, “Ugly wind turbines have destroyed the entrance to Palm Springs, CA,” he tweeted. “These mon[s]trosities are ruining landscapes all over the globe—expensive & bad electric.” Then in a follow-up interview with The Desert Sun, he says a bunch more stupid stuff. Mitigating factor: someday Donald Trump will be dead.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Organizers of the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, operating under an increasingly strong belief in their own Manifest Destiny, have put together plans for up to five annual events for 18 years and expanding the grounds to accommodate more fans. They have directed their support staff—that is, the members of the Indio City Council—to take care of it. They always do!