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Politics

16 Aug 2016
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At Mexico City’s historic central square, or zócalo, Jose Adan Garcia Canales was busy balancing a small pipe organ on a wooden peg. He turned its crank, and the instrument let out a shrill tune reminiscent of circus music. Garcia’s partner strolled amid the shoppers, tourists and vendors with a hat in hand, asking for change. The organillero, or organ-grinder, is one of many in the capital’s massive unofficial economy. He’s a man of the people, with his fingers on the pulse of the city, and that’s why I asked him about one of the most pressing issues in Mexico today: Donald Trump. What does the everyday Mexican think of “The Wall,” or Trump’s plan to send the millions of undocumented immigrants from Mexico living…
27 Jul 2016
This has been one of the most highly charged and controversial election years in recent memory. However, all is calm in State Assembly District 56, which includes Imperial County and much of the Eastern Coachella Valley. That’s the realm of Democratic State Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, who is facing no formal opposition for a second two-year term. In 2015, Garcia reportedly made history by becoming the most successful freshman California assemblymember ever: The Democrat authored or co-authored 14 bills and two resolutions that were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The Independent recently chatted with Garcia about his first term, as well as his plans for his second. What would you identify as the highlights of your legislative accomplishments to date? There were a couple of…
14 Jul 2016
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Before Mike Pence was bestowed the responsibility of being governor of Indiana in 2013, he served six terms in Congress, from 2001-2013. As the head of the state of Indiana, his political viewpoints have been blindly thrown onto the state within the past few years. (Most notable was his championing of a controversial “religious objections” bill in 2015 that would have allowed discrimination against LGBT individuals.) However, his congressional record contains even more information about his views—and now that Pence is Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, it’s a good time to take a look at exactly who Mike Pence is, and how he’s voted. As a Republican member of Congress, Pence strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) and worked to decrease tax hikes.…
12 Jul 2016
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A Palm Springs City Hall power struggle involving freshman Mayor Rob Moon and longtime City Manager David Ready seems like a classic David vs. Goliath battle. In this case, the mayor is playing the underdog role of David, while the role of mighty Goliath goes to Ready. Since 1994, according to the city charter, Palm Springs has basically been run by the city manager, while the role of the mayor is largely ceremonial: He’s just another City Council member who also gets to cut ribbons, greet dignitaries, attend events, give speeches and so on. However, that does not mean a mayor has no power whatsoever: A mayoral term is four years long, which offers plenty of time for a motivated mayor, if he so chooses,…
12 May 2016
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In the beginning, it isn’t clear if Donald Trump will even make it inside. It’s around 10 a.m., April 29, on Burlingame’s Old Bayshore Highway—just south of the San Francisco International Airport—and protesters have just finished forming the second of two human fences that they hope will block access to the only road entrances to the adjacent Hyatt Regency, site of the 2016 California GOP Convention. The protesters forming the fence sit cross-legged across the road, their arms joined through sections of plastic tubes that are penned with slogans such as “Stop Hate,” “Capitalism Kills” and “Love Trumps Hate.” Trump, the leading GOP candidate, is slated to speak at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon, and Burlingame police officers line the sidewalk nearby, their eyes fixed on…
01 Apr 2016
In the midst of the raucous and polarized presidential election, a quieter story has been at play as well: the growing political clout of Latino voters. Nationwide, about 12 percent of the country’s eligible voting population is Hispanic—and the West is home to nearly 40 percent of those voters, far surpassing other regions. This November, Hispanic voters are projected to turn out in greater numbers than they did in 2012, with a nearly 10 percent increase forecast by the the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. At the same time, the Latino voting bloc is in transition: Latino populations are getting younger, larger and more politically engaged. In the process, they promise to change Western presidential politics. Now, not only are…
19 Feb 2016
On June 7, Coachella Valley voters will go to the polls to cast their votes in the California primary—and the Republican Party is going all-out to reclaim the 36th Congressional District seat, currently held by Dr. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat. So far, two Republicans have declared their intentions to take on Ruiz (who did not return repeated requests for comment for this story). “When I entered the field, there was no Republican who had thrown their hat into this race and stayed in the race,” novice candidate Dwight Kealy told Independent. “We’re looking at a district where a strong Republican should have a good showing. Historically, it’s been a Republican district.” That historical advantage was altered dramatically in 2012, when Ruiz, then a novice candidate…
15 Feb 2016
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The year 2015 was not easy for Palm Springs government, especially after City Hall was rocked by an FBI raid targeting documents related to then-Mayor Steve Pougnet’s relationship with various developers and businessmen. Then came a contentious and at times ugly election season, which ended with businessman and former military man Rob Moon defeating City Councilmember Ginny Foat by 11 percentage points in the eight-way mayoral race—a result that shocked many political insiders. The Independent recently caught up with Rob Moon at Townie Bagels to talk about his first three months in office. I asked him if anything had surprised him about being mayor. “The only thing that’s been difficult has been keeping up with the e-mails,” Moon said. “I probably get 150 a day,…

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