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home : opinions : columns August 1, 2014

8/16/2013 6:00:00 AM
TIMES EDITORIAL: It's past time to change management at Blythe City Hall
Dave Lane
Dave Lane

The filing deadline for city council candidates has passed.

The good news is that despite taking out papers to run for the council, Blythe's serial retiring and unretiring police chief, Steve Smith, is not on the final list of candidates headed into November.

The bad news is that the final slate of candidates still holds the potential to perpetuate the tenure of Smith and City Manager David Lane.

The list of candidates includes incumbent Mayor Oscar Galvan and incumbent council members Sam Patel - also vice mayor - and Joey DeConinck. Also filing were former Police Capt. Tim Wade, Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency assistant administrator Dale Reynolds and Palo Verde College administrator Sheri Jones.

Here's the rub: Even though Galvan, Patel and Mike Evans are willing to get rid of Lane, who is the only person who can fire Smith, Lane's contract requires a four-vote council majority to fire him.

That contract is the handiwork of DeConinck and some cronies on a city council voters long ago kicked out of office but are still able to tie the hands of the council the people now have in office.

Thus, the tail is still wagging the dog absent the voters choosing wisely in November. Wade is running against the madness at City Hall. Ms. Jones' sentiments are not yet clear other than a candidate statement in which she says she's "seen significant progress in our city," but Reynolds is a painfully known quantity.

Reynolds, one of Smith's "Citizens on Patrol" volunteers, once told Smith at a city council meeting, "I have your back." We're sure that sentiment still exists today.

Reynolds has always used his political connections to help himself. As a good friend of former mayor Robert Crain, Reynolds, a former manager of the Rhyolite Apartments on Palm Drive, now named Desert Breeze Villas, helped his company acquire a $500,000 loan from the city to spruce up the property.

Moving on from that job, Reynolds took over the city concession stand at the Blythe Municipal Golf Course. Failing that, he now is second in command of the Palo Verde Transit Agency, where he answers to his fellow "Citizen on Patrol" buddy, George Colangeli, who answers to Lane.

Colangeli is also one of Lane and Smith's biggest cheerleaders, always commenting in their favor.

Reynold's incestuous relationships with City Hall politicians are well documented and disturbing. While voters dealt him a humiliating defeat in an election some years ago, his ego couldn't seem to stop him from throwing his hat in the ring again. Luckily, he didn't fool Blythe voters then and we don't believe he will fool them this time either.

The council needs to enact an ordinance forbidding any future contracts like Lane's. No other lame-duck council ever again should be able to saddle a future council with a management team that has been an utter failure at best and a menace to the town's future at worst.

This year's election shapes up as a battle between those who support Lane and Smith's outrageous paychecks and those who want a more thoughtful management team with a clear plan to move the city forward.

DeConinck has made no secret that he supports keeping Lane and Smith on and paying them more.

In eight years on the council, DeConinck, who is running for a third term, has made one horrible decision after another, from spending $25,000 on a sign downtown that has cost the city thousands in repairs, generates zero revenue and is primarily a forum for Lane's propaganda, to spending $800,000 of tax money earmarked for local roads on a plan to move the Riviera Drive off-ramp a few hundred yards west to build a Welcome Center that the city has no money to build.

DeConinck has admitted the plans for the Welcome Center will sit on a shelf at City Hall until $5 million becomes available to build it, a wild dream for DeConinck but a nightmare for Blythe residents who have to avoid potholes on just about every street in the city.

DeConinck, who is the lead man on the Welcome Center project, said the off-ramp was dangerous and the city had to move it. Ironically, no one can remember an accident at the off-ramp, which has been there since construction of the interstate in the 1970s.

It reminds us of the story DeConinck's good friends on the Palo Verde Healthcare District Board cooked up that the helipad, which had also been open since the '70s without an incident or accident, was dangerous and the state had to close it.

It's probably just a coincidence that Lane's wife worked for Desert Air Ambulance at the time, which urged Caltrans to close the helipad, which resulted in more business for their company.

It must be a coincidence also that PVH Board member Tina Sartin is a co-owner of Desert Air Ambulance.

Six months later, Palo Verde Hospital still doesn't have a helipad and a ground ambulance must drive patients to the airport which is the nearest helicopter landing site.

The point is that Lane's and Smith's only concern is how much money they can bleed from our community before they leave it.

Let's hope wiser voters show us a better, more responsive, progressive, Lane-free face of Blythe in November.

The opinion expressed is the position of the Palo Verde Valley Times.

Related Stories:
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Why is the hospital losing money and what is the board doing?
• TIMES EDITORIAL: The Times encourages your input; does anyone else?
• TIMES EDITORIAL: A lack of dignity at Blythe City Hall
• Police Chief Steve Smith un-retires - again - pulls papers to run for city council

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Article comment by: @@ that was fast

No one said Mr Reynolds was a step up from what we have or better than the other candidates running. I even said that I was not endorsing him at this time or any other candidate until they had a chance to talk and give us their ideas. That is what responisble people do. What I am upset about is that a man like Mr. Reynolds, who I do not believe has bad intentions, is trashed before he has a chance to speaand be heard. This race is not just about who will get rid of Chief Smith and city manager David Lane. All candidates deserve to be heard fully, not in just little misleading tidbits. This character assasination dirty politics being displayed by a certain media outlet in town is destroying us, dividing us, and causes people that would be good leaders to not run for office.

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Article comment by: @ Phantom Nose Edgerton

Let's get it straight: Ms. Jones does live in Blythe. Ms. Jones did not change her mind about being an administrator she is staying in the position until a solid pool of candidates are available for interview. The first round of applicants were not well received, and PVC is not about to settle (lessons learned).

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Article comment by: just me

how can anyone be so sure that Wade is after Joey's seat ,when there are two more seat's to fill...I to think Lane should be replaced....He commented on the radio that he did not read the times,,,,He needs to read the blogs and get informed, that not all of us in the community are happy with him...You got my vote Tim and I am pushing for you...This is your home town...

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Article comment by: LOVE Lane and Smith

Thank God for Lane and Smith. Shame of the Times for their bashing. Just so you know I support Joey and lets not talk about the (deleted)

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: NoOne Cares

Hey, so called "editors" no one cares about your opinion. Stop using Blythe's only source of news to get your opinion and jealousy issues out there. No one wants to hear it. Your paper is the most uniformed paper I have ever read, your paper is extremely biased, if you think you can fix blythe then run for city council. Until then shut up. I doubt you will post this.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: @That was Fast

Oh, yes, Dale is really a step up! Yeah, right! He is, again, someone who is in for whatever he can get out of it. He plays he "noble" role very well, but frankly, we do not need anymore of THAT kind of person on the council. That is for sure! Maybe he does play Santa Claus, maybe he has been on/in a number of things. Makes him sound good, doesn't it? HA! Better do some more thorough checking on this one, I can tell you! We need men/women of real character on the council we already have enough "characters".

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: ANGELA SEARLES

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Please keep comments succinct; 300 words or less is optimal. Comments that are excessively verbose, rambling or too long for reasonable review may not be posted.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

Has Jones decided that she lives in Blythe instead of Palm Springs? She quit being an administrator. Now she's an administrator again. She ans Smith must be cut from the same cloth.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ real blythe native

If you were Smith would you really read what the PVVT writes about you? I for one would not and I perfectly understand why one would go to the radio instead. The radio gives the listeners a chance to hear fully what a person has to say and not just lil pieces of what one says. Do you want to get your full story out or just what a writer wants you to hear? I wish all of our elected leaders would go to the radio and have an open and candid conversation about what they are doing and trying to accomplish. Lastly, leaders are chosen to formulate a plan and then see that it is followed thru on and changing it because a couple of dozen people or less comment on a newspaper website or someone writes an article against what you are trying to accomplish is not listening to the public. Listening to the public is going out in the community and talking to people to find out what they think. People from every walk of life at that and not just your beer drinking or your medical marijuana card carrying pals.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: lets try again

Did any staff from the PVVT contact or talk to any of the non incumbent candidates before it wrote what it did about these people? What is the candidates platform or ideas for how to improve Blythe, besides fire or not fire Lane and Smith? Seems like it does not matter what they have to say or think to the PVVT because it seems their mind is made up already as to what ponies they are betting on. I guess as long as you want to get rid of Smith and Lane then you are good to go. This giving the community lil bits of what someone says without giving the context or an explanation from the person of what they meant by the comment is getting really old and just looks like it is contributing to what many do best here, gossip and distort the facts. SAD! I am sure we will not get any answers either on my questions from the PVVT.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: Real Blythe Native

@ that was fast. It is what it is. Your are who you hang with.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: That was fast

With the candidates just get their papers filed and our esteemed "newspaper" has already made their support obvious for one candidate. (deleted) It seems to me that once again we are getting snipets of what people have said. (deleted) To attack the other candidates without talking to them to me is shameful and we wonder why people do not want to run for office. The PVVT attacks a man like Dale Reynolds that volunteers his time to the police department, festival of lights, serves or has served on numerous boards, plays santa and helps the town out whenever he can. I'm not saying to vote for him since I have not heard or read anyones platform but all the candidates deserve better. (deleted)

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Real Blythe native

I was listening to the radio with Jim,Lane and Chief of Police Smith.Lane said that he does not read the Palo Verde Times. Does that mean he does not care what the public view is of the City? Chief of Police stated Lane was honored as the PAL Volunteer of the Year. If Smith was not the chief would Lane volunteer for another chief ? Why wasn't Sandy included in the interview? Turn your radio to 94.7 kflag and listen to a real radio station. They will advertise for you. They don't treat the listeners like their backwards.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Same old Blythe Same old Blythe

Blythe is the same as it has always been. Small town cronyism. The difference now, is the prison, and all the cr#p that goes with it. Several Bulldozers and all new persons running the city government for starters.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Putrified Wound

If Blythe were a "Brain", a medical diagnosis of it's problems would have to show it has been attacked by "Brain Eating Bacteria"! At some point the fact that you can look up any issue of the Times from 2000-2001 & see EXACTLY te same columns, stories and letters! THE SAME. Nothing has really changed and to many people it no longer matters. It (Blythe) "is what it is". These days that amounts to nothing more than an open sewer! You see, as it has always been in politics, it's NOT finding candidates who will say they are going to do this-and-that about this-and-that, the problem is finding candidates who can't be corrupted after taking office! Good luck with that one.

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