Asia Horton.

Name: Asia Horton

Age: 34

Occupation: Tax-preparer

Interview: In person

1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city?

Right now, I like to compare it to the emergency room: We stopped the hemorrhaging, and we’ve stabilized the condition of the city. That’s a good thing, but now we need to move it from the trauma unit to the actual ward so we can really get down to the problem. I think we can sustain ourselves, and I don’t think we’ll go into bankruptcy as it is now. We need to get some revenue-generating plans in there, and we need to produce more than we’re spending each month. That’s the problem: We don’t produce more money than we actually spend.

2. Aside from hiring more officers, what can be done to tackle DHS’ crime rate?

We need to do prevention. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Where’s the source? It’s like we’re trying to deal with crime and everything after it’s evolved. We’re not getting to the source of the crime or the gang. There is a source, and big cities go through this all the time. We need gang-prevention programs through the police department, where they’re going into the community and engaging themselves.

3. How do you plan to attract new businesses to Desert Hot Springs?

Re-branding Desert Hot Springs has always been one of my key points. I don’t think we get as much business as we could; we don’t attract the developers and the money from investors because we have a bad rap. Our rap is pretty much in the toilet. We’re known for the crime; we’re known for the drugs; we’re known for the corruption in politics, and the bickering at City Hall.

What I would like to do is push all the good things and to always present myself as if I am the city of Desert Hot Springs, and represent my city. I wouldn’t bicker with my colleagues openly on television. It just wouldn’t happen. I would want the investors and developers to see that we’re sound. If you’re going to invest in foreign currency or overseas, one of the first things you look at is the stability of the government. If they’re on the brink of war or just coming out of a war, you’re not going to invest in them. The same thing with a city—no one is going to want to come here until we show them, in terms of leadership, that we’re together.

4. DHS has a problem with homelessness. What can the city do to fix this?

First of all, we need to address it. Let’s be real: We need to talk about it publicly, frequently. We need to be talking to the organizations in our city and around our city that specifically deal with homelessness.

I think (homelessness) is unnecessary. I don’t feel there’s any reason that any American should be sleeping on the street. I think that is a responsibility that society needs to own up to. I don’t hear enough about it. Where are the homeless shelters here in town? There are none. We just kind of shuffle them around, and that’s not acceptable. You can’t cure what you don’t confront.

5. If you could challenge every DHS resident to do one thing, what would that one thing be?

Get involved. I think one of the reasons we’ve had issues in our city in the past is because we, as voters, have not been informed enough about the issues and people we’re voting for. Let’s get more involved; let’s pack City Hall and let our voices be heard. I’d like to see more people asking questions, and each and every citizen ask a question to our local government.

6. Palm Drive/Gene Autry or Indian Canyon? Why?

Neither. Dillon to the 62! (Laughs.)

7. Date shake or bacon-wrapped dates? Why?

Date shake. There’s nothing else in this world that could compare. Have you ever tasted one? That’s frozen heaven in a glass! That’s my guilty pleasure, and that’s where mommy goes without telling the kids.

8. If someone gave you a $100 gift card to the DHS Kmart, what would you buy?

I’d probably buy up all of Rihanna’s body perfume and go straight to the jewelry section and get what I could afford.

9. If someone walked up to you and told you that DHS was the worst place to live in California, what would your response be?

I’d probably laugh at them and ask them if they live here. I hear about the crime, but it’s not that prevalent to me. I sit on my porch every night and watch the sunset, and my street is quiet.

10. Award-winning water from the tap, or bottled water?

I do both, but I’ll only do tap if I have ice. If I don’t have ice, I do bottled water. 

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Blueskye moved to the Coachella Valley in 2005. He was the assistant editor and staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent from 2013 to 2019. He is currently the...