Beware the "shirtless and squeezed into tight jeans ... hunky undercover" cop who's prowling Palm Springs's fertile gay breeding grounds, making busts. Locals are incensed about a series of indecent exposure arrests in what they view as their "gay mecca."
Well to be fair, the sex stings were happening back in June of 2009, but the city's police chief has just resigned amid the ongoing furor. Basically the city's gays, who make up about half the population, felt they were being targeted by puritanical "entrapment"-style busts, and then to add fuel to the fire, police officers and their chief David Dominguez were caught making "inappropriate comment[s]" about the gays on tape. So everyone was furious and the gays were finally, somewhere, able to politically actualize themselves. From the Los Angeles Times:
Dominguez apologized. Sensitivity training was ordered for all city employees. The Police Department scrapped the use of decoys in undercover sex stings, promising to rely more on community outreach and additional patrols.
It wasn't enough. Dominguez abruptly announced his retirement last week.
"The comments they made - they were insulting. You just wouldn't expect it to happen in Palm Springs, of all places. I mean, it's like the gay mecca," said Mariah Hanson, owner of Club Skirts and a promoter of the city's annual lesbian extravaganza that attracts an estimated 20,000 revelers during the Dinah Shore golf tournament.
News of the chief's departure had brought calm to Palm Spring's gay community by week's end. But animosity, as chilly as the snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains rising over this desert town, lingers against the mayor and members of the gay-majority council who had steadfastly defended Dominquez or held their tongues.
Of course not everyone was politically behind the great gay moral majority:
Longtime Palm Springs resident Joan Wolff, however, is having none of it. She called the episode a distasteful flexing of gay political muscle led by a few noisy activists. Wolff, a member of the city's police advisory board, said the chief was a progressive-minded, well-respected Riverside police veteran. After Dominguez took the job three years ago, his policies and tactics delivered a significant drop in crime - a success crippled by "one stupid mistake," she said.
"I think this has all been blown way out of proportion. I think this town is scared to do anything against gay people," Wolff said.
But fuck her! (Heh.) She moved to Gay Plymouth, so she should have known what she was getting herself into.
Oh, and if you want a real treat, read the comments on the article! Yayyyy California! Here's the best one:
A few years ago I took my family to Palm Springs for our son's high school swim tournament and spent the week end @ the Marriott. Never again! My son's were harrased by gay men while walking & sight seeing. When I was told this, I called the Police Dept to which I was told they could not do anything because the Blvd & the city belongs to them. I drove to the location where the incident occurred and was shocked what I saw. Gay men in tight body clothing exposing various parts of their bodies but, just enough not to be arrested for indecent exposure. Now, a Police Chief is forced to resign for enforcing the law. As far has I'm concerned, Palm Springs is a city of sexual deviants.
Well, sir, your first mistake was bringing a bunch of boys with swimmer's bodies to Palm Springs. We're insatiable!!!!! (Sigh.)
[via Rozelle's Bagman]