Opinion: Can We Pay The Palm Springs Mayor “Consulting” Money to Get Food Trucks?

Steve Pougnet


Residents of Palm Springs are a little pissed off lately, seeing as how their mayor’s political and business dealings have been looking a little shady. And it is not like the good people of Palm Springs can eat away their grief with some delicious food truck cuisine, as the city does not allow them to operate. But hey, maybe there is a solution!

For those who have not been following what has been going on with the revelations of the  business relationship between Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developer Richard Meaney, The Desert Sun is kind enough to break it down:

Pougnet announced last week that he had severed his business relationship with Richard Meaney, whose company, Union Abbey, has paid the mayor more than $200,000 since 2013 for work as a consultant.

Union Abbey had its business license suspended in 2009 by the California Franchise Tax Board due to it not filing a 2006 tax return. Such a suspension means the company is not authorized to do business in California.

Meaney also is a principal in Nexus Companies, which purchased a 6.2-acre downtown lot from the city for $1.5 million last fall. Nexus put that land into its proposed Aberdeen project, which has drawn fire from preservationists and others due to the developer’s plan to raze three Hugh Kaptur-designed buildings — all considered historic — in order to make way for a 73-unit mixed-use residential development.

Did anything illegal happen?  Who knows?  (The mayor, for his part, has said everything is totally legal). But, does it at least appear to be shady as f**k?  Yes.  Yes, it does.

But that might not be a bad thing.  At least it gives us a clear idea of what it takes to get stuff done in Palm Springs.

Which leads us to the food trucks.

The City of Palm Springs has not allowed them to operate in the city (though they have proposed some of the dumbest set of food truck regulations in the country if they ever did allow them).  But maybe, just maybe, that could all change if there were a few extra dollars that could go towards paying a certain mayor for his “consulting work”?