CVIndependent

Mon03302020

Last updateMon, 23 Mar 2020 12pm

Politics

25 Mar 2020
It’s been a turbulent year for Rancho Mirage’s city government. In October 2019, the city received a letter accusing the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act with its current at-large election system. Then, in November 2019, a group of residents sued the city after the council had approved an In-n-Out Burger restaurant, with a drive-through, on Highway 111. In January, that suit prompted In-N-Out to withdraw from the development agreement. It is against this backdrop that the voters of Rancho Mirage are voting by mail to select two members of the City Council. Ballots, which are being sent out to all registered city voters, must be returned by April 14. The Independent interviewed three of the four candidates. Both challengers, Maggie Lockridge and…
19 Mar 2020
At noon on March 17, the city of Palm Desert’s public information officer, David Hermann, issued a statement with the headline “Palm Desert Declares Local Emergency—Temporarily Closes City Hall.” “In response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and rapidly evolving public health guidelines, City Manager Lauri Aylaian on Tuesday announced the declaration of a local emergency in Palm Desert,” the statement read. “Palm Desert City Hall and other municipal facilities are closed, effective at noon on March 17, and will remain closed pending a public health risk re-evaluation on April 3.” On this crazy day, Hermann—displaying an impressive degree of professionalism—also took the time to respond to a few inquiries the Independent made regarding the status of the Palm Desert district-creation process for upcoming elections. To recap:…
06 Mar 2020
As you read this article, Proposition 13, the $15 billion school-construction bond, either failed by a historically wide margin, or it didn’t. Likewise, Bernie Sanders bulldozed the competition, beating out California’s second-place Democratic finisher, Joe Biden, by hundreds of thousands of votes. Or he didn’t. And turnout might have been historically high—who knows? Like Schrodinger’s Cat, the ambiguously fated feline in the physicist’s thought experiment who is both alive and dead simultaneously, California election results currently exist in a kind of quantum state of uncertainty. Hundreds of thousands—or is it millions?—of ballots remain to be counted. “California has election month, not election day,” said Mike Young, political director at the California League of Conservation Voters. So strap in. Why the delay? California’s votes now arrive…
26 Feb 2020
On Nov. 1, 2019, District 28 State Sen. Jeff Stone, a Republican, resigned to become the western regional director of President Donald Trump’s Department of Labor. On March 3—the day of California’s primary election, as well as Super Tuesday nationally—voters will start the process of choosing Stone’s replacement. Five candidates—three Democrats and two Republicans—are running in the district, which reaches from Temecula Valley in the west to the Colorado River in the east, and includes nearly the entire Coachella Valley. Presuming no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will move on to a special vote on May 12, and the winner will serve the final two years of the term. The Independent recently spoke to all of the candidates and…
21 Feb 2020
After enjoying pizza and salad compliments of the city of Palm Desert, more than 100 residents—including the two plaintiffs in the ongoing legal process spawned by the city’s previous failure to move from at-large elections to district-based elections—convened on Feb. 12 for the “Public Open House No. 2: A Conversation About District Boundaries for City Elections” at the Palm Desert Community Center. During a similar January event, city officials implied that a new elections system with just two districts was a foregone conclusion—even though it was not, as we learned in subsequent conversations with the city attorney and an unhappy plaintiff in the lawsuit, based on the 2001 California Voting Rights Act. However, city representatives at the Feb. 12 gathering were, at times, more candid,…
13 Feb 2020
Jennifer Jennings dons a veritable uniform these days: Whether she’s picking up groceries, cruising through a fast-food drive-thru or headed to the car wash, she’s always sporting Bernie wear—sweatshirts, T-shirts, whatever. But she doesn’t just wear her support on her sleeves. She’s also been making small online donations—hundreds of them—to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont who continually assails the “billionaire class.” “It has just become part of my life now. It’s a dollar a day,” said Jennings, a safety manager at the Port of Long Beach. “I live paycheck to paycheck, and somehow, I’m contributing this money, because I’m making that choice, you know? I’m making minimum credit-card payments by their due date, and that’s all I’m willing to do,”…
30 Jan 2020
Kathy Garcia is not your typical Republican candidate for the California Senate. For one thing, she only just joined the GOP. A lifelong Democrat, she won election as a Stockton school board member with the backing of the county Democratic party. She changed her affiliation to Republican in June 2019, six months before the deadline to enter the Senate race. She said the idea to run—under the banner of a party she’d opposed most of her adult life—was suggested to her by a Stockton lawyer and powerbroker who, records show, has helped fund the campaign of another candidate in the race. And that candidate, a moderate Democrat, incidentally stands a better chance if the Republican vote is divided. The 80-year-old Garcia, asked by CalMatters why…
24 Jan 2020
The settlement that would resolve a lawsuit accusing the city Palm Desert of not complying with the 2001 California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) is not so settled after all. The first public forum—held by the city to explain the two-district settlement, proposed in December to plaintiffs Lorraine Salas and Karina Quintanilla—gave attendees the impression that breaking the city into two voting districts was a done deal. However, after a conversation with Palm Desert City Attorney Robert Hargreaves, I now understand that it’s not a done deal: If a resident believes that a total of three, or four, or five districts would provide a better solution to the lawsuit, then it is still possible for a resident to push for those changes. In other words ……

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