By John Paul Valdez

Desert Hot Springs is the first part of the high desert. Looking at a map, you’ll see that it stretches from Sky Valley to SkyBorne. Just to the north towns like Yucca Valley, Moreno Valley, Thousand Palms and even Joshua Tree come into play. It’s a vast area that is largely underdeveloped for now.

Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to bring major retailers to DHS. Right now, WalMart is considering a store just off Palm Drive on 18 acres the corporation purchased there some time ago. This is a great idea at exactly this time. Because California’s minimum wage is already set to increase to $12 dollars soon and automatically without any addition input from the corporation, there is no need to argue about lower wages ascribed to WalMart as an employer. Other shops in this category like WinCo have been invited to consider DHS, but have so far politely declined to build in this market. Again, those who would find a Trader Joe’s or a WinCo or other retailer more desirable would first have to consider what it would take to entice those businesses to consider risking their capital in investing in DHS as a profit center.

The ideal and scholastic arguments one hears about WalMart all evaporate when one considers a DHS discussion because this area has no other retailer of that magnitude present. We can’t expect a Lowes or Kohl’s or other large retailer to come to DHS until we have established something beyond an empty Kmart parking lot.


Some have mentioned fear of “traffic.” This is laughable, because we need to INCREASE traffic to DHS. It is precisely the dilution of the sales and the sales taxes to neighboring cities that is robbing our city coffers of well-deserved revenue and forcing our poorer residents to buy more gas than they would need to when they purchase elsewhere. All that money could stay in DHS. All those jobs too, and all the associated development.

Revenue from Medical Marijuana Dispensaries urgently needs approval by the city council too. Those monies are currently pouring into PS coffers for each week that DHS delays action.

WalMart has undertaken their own demographic and marketing study and determined that they are in fact ready to move forward with this investment into our community which will benefit DHS enormously, especially in the long run.

The ability to undertake this level of shopping without leaving this part of the high desert will secure DHS as a destination city, and will again only serve to strengthen our economic development. The window of opportunity is short because we need to move forward exactly now, just before minimum wage laws discourage the larger developers.

This isn’t a college class in economics. This is a real city with real people….who are largely unemployed and poorer than our other city neighbors. A WalMart would go a long way to finally changing that. Let’s all stand together and understand the enormous benefit of saying YES to WalMart, and DHS the destination city – The Spa City.

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