29 Palms is in an identity crisis as well as an economic crisis. The question is not “Where is 29 Palms?” but ” What is 29 Palms?” In the past, the leadership of this town has looked to outsiders to answer this fundamental question. The City of 29 Palms pays consulting firms to provide information for the decisions that affect the future of the residents of Twentynine and more often than not, allows the information from the studies to sit on a shelf gathering dust. Unfortunately, the leadership in this town has failed to tap its greatest resource- the people.
Twentynine Palms was founded by innovators that held a realistic view of what resources the area provided and then built a community together using local resources and local talent. The founders understood that before you need to build a community center, you must first build a community. Likewise, as a city, we need to revitalize the people before revitalizing the downtown area. The people of 29, not the government, are the answer to both the identity crisis and the economic crisis.
One week end a year, we celebrate the pioneering spirit of the town. What is the purpose of Pioneer Days? Is it to honor and remember the history of 29? Or is it to renew and to recommit to the continuation of our community? I think it could be both if the leadership comes from the people and the city government truly strives to serve the public.