The government shutdown will not affect military personnel at the Twentynine Palms Combat Center; they will still report for duty, but they will be paid retroactively. Civilian government employees will be furloughed, however. Civilians will only be reimbursed for their lost time if a law is enacted to pay them, which happened following the last government shutdown in 1995. The base’s commissary will be open regular hours today but will close Wednesday until the furlough is lifted. Some of the other facilities that will be closed are: the Vet clinic, dry cleaner, MCCS Directorate, contracting and procurement, MCCS coordinator, Mojave Viper Coordinator, MC Family Team Building, Single Marine Program, The Zone, relocation assistance, retired activities office, personal financial management, information and referral, prevention/education, career resource, education, lifelong learning library, special events, sports programs and field reservations, youth sports, aerobics, community center, auto skills center, bowling center, ITT/Lake Havasu, stables, wood hobby shop, Desert Winds Golf Course, family pool, and Officers/SNCO pool.
Just as Joshua Tree National Park is approaching its peak visitor season, a federal government shutdown is closing it. Spokeswoman Lorna Shuman said plans are in place to close the park and evacuate its nine campgrounds. Shuman said employees will go through the park today to warn campers of the 48-hour notice to leave. “If they are camping, they cannot leave their stuff; they have to pack it up and move outside the park,” she said. All visitor facilities and services managed by the National Park Service will close. All government-permitted events inside the national park will be postponed or cancelled, she said. There are 106 federal employees in the park, and those not involved in law enforcement, firefighting, or other essential work to keep the park secure will be furloughed, she said. She said autumn is height of the camping and visiting season for the 794,000-acre park; the October 4 weekend is the start of camping reservation season, and all camp sites were reserved.
In the wake of the shutdown of much of the Federal government, local Federal employees headed over to the county services office in Twentynine Palms to apply for public assistance such as food stamps. Many of them also gathered on the corner of Adobe and Sun Valley, near the county office, with hand-lettered signs, to publicize their unhappiness. As passing motorists honked and waved in support, we spoke with them:
“How are you hoping people will respond?”
“I think they all see it the way it is – Congress is not doing its job, and we’re paying the price.”
“So what would you urge your fellow citizens to do?”
“Call the congressman, Congressman Paul Cook, we have the phone number…”
“OK, and it’s 202-225-5861…”
“And tell him how you feel!”
Other sign-holders pitched in, “We just want to know why Congress gets paid for not doing their job – we’d be fired – and we don’t get paid for trying to do ours”.