Palm Springs, California, is known for its searing desert heat, its proximity to Hollywood, and its fabulous and often exclusive country clubs and golf courses. It has also been known in the past as a hotbed of discrimination, with a strict whites-only policy in place at many business establishments and housing developments.
But all that is changing now.
Mayor Robert Moon, along with the City Council, have issued a formal apology to the black community in Palm Springs and surround areas for past zoning laws that tended to exclude them from some of the best parts of the area — including golf courses.
Fifty years ago a large grove of tamarisk trees, which are not native to California and are now classified as an invasive species by the California Department of Agriculture, were planted along the eastern boundaries of the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course, and a barbed wire fence strung up with it, to keep out residents of a historically African-American community. Leaders of the community have been asking for years for the trees and the barbed wire to be removed, as an affront to their heritage and rights as citizens of Palm Springs. Until this year, the city council has been unresponsive to their requests.
But this year Mayor Moon urged the city council to make it happen, and now it’s in the works. In just a few weeks the dozens of tamarisk trees and the rusty barbed wire fence will be removed by city contracted labor.
Mayor Moon said he was sorry for the long delay, but hoped that this initiative will help to bring the community together — out on the golf course.