CVIndependent

Thu08062020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Politics

20 Jul 2020
Since March, the United States has endured its most turbulent period in decades. The fact that the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the economic downturn are happening in an election year leads to an obvious question: How will the turmoil effect what happens at the polls on Nov. 3? If local voter-registration numbers are any indication, the news is good for Democrats. The Independent recently reviewed voter-registration data from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters and the Democratic Headquarters of the Desert, comparing political-party voter-registration totals as of April 13 and July 13, in each of the valley’s nine cities. In that time frame, the number of Democrats registered to vote increased by 459, while the number of registered Republicans decreased by 226.…
12 May 2020
After a legal process that took nearly a year, the city of Palm Desert has finally moved to a district-based city voting system … sort of. On April 30, the Palm Desert City Council—meeting online due to the COVID-19 pandemic—voted 5-0 to enact the new system. One large district, including the vast majority of the city, will be represented by four council members, while the tentatively named Civic Center Core District will have one representative. The City Council had also planned to adopt a ranked-voting system in advance of this year’s city elections, but instead decided to put that off for two years due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic. Karina Quintanilla is one of the two plaintiffs who sued the city in June…
24 Apr 2020
Dr. Raul Ruiz is entering the final six months of his fourth term in the U.S. Congress (and running for a fifth term), and much to his own surprise, the medical doctor who spent years working in emergency rooms finds himself in a new role—as a widely sought-after expert. When nationwide social-distancing guidelines were announced back March, the U.S. House of Representatives was forced to stop meeting in person, so many representatives, including Ruiz, returned to their districts. “It was hard to find consistency, clarity and credibility here when I got (back) from D.C.,” Ruiz said during a recent phone interview. “I really took it upon myself—given my medical and public-health/disaster-response training and background—to make myself available and to keep this (discussion) in line with…
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:…
05 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,…

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