Danny, GMRS is not dead - It's just that with the introduction of smartphones, may persons see no need for an alternative method of communication... that is, until the first natural disaster or civil unrest takes place in their area and cell systems don't work. Persons who use logic and have a sense of responsibility to their family do take measures to be able to communicate when all other means are inoperable or unavailable. As I understand it, the number of GMRS license applications and renewals are at a near all time high. That should say something about the direction that many persons, who do care, are taking their personal safety plans.
Regarding the issue that you are having in contacting repeater owners in the Palm Springs area, the data in the main MyGMRS website is owner supplied and unless it is updated by them as changes are made, contact may be impossible. The same thing goes for the FCC database.