Name: Richard Duffle
Occupation: Stay-at-home dad/planning commissioner of Desert Hot Springs
1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city?
There has been some recent movement in a positive direction in the budget. Obviously, there’s a whole lot more that can be done. In order to help with what we currently have with the budget, I believe whoever is sitting up there on our next City Council needs to dig down deep into our contracts that we hold as a city, and current expenditures that may have not been looked at for several years. I’m sure some money can be found in those to support some of the underfunded programs in the city. Our City Council (members) also need to be leaders; they need to be dignified when they’re sitting in City Council meetings, free of bias and respectful to each other. Often times, things get heated at City Council meetings, and I believe those heated conversations are more heated than they need to be.
2. Aside from hiring more officers, what can be done to tackle DHS’ crime rate?
Our chief of police, who is doing a fantastic job, wants to go back to community policing. In order to combat crime in Desert Hot Springs, we definitely need the community’s help. We can’t put it all on the police department. We have to be willing to work with the police department as citizens reporting crimes, no matter how big or small they may be, and supporting our officers in the city.
3. How do you plan to attract new businesses to Desert Hot Springs?
Being professional. Cleaning up our streets is obviously something that’s going to take us a long way, but we need to change the perception of Desert Hot Springs. We have been called Desperate Hot Springs, The Dirty-D. Desert Hot Springs has a bad reputation throughout the valley and outside the valley, throughout the county. In order to attract new businesses here, we have to clean up our act.
4. DHS has a problem with homelessness. What can the city do to fix this?
With our current budget status, there’s nothing that can be done right this second. However, there are programs that can be instituted, and there are people within the community who are looking into helping with this homeless population. In any low-income city, you’re going to have a homeless problem, and every city deals with a homeless problem.
We need to get some sort of treatment facility up here for some of these people who are in and out of the prison system, and we need to find some kind of rehabilitation program and work with community leaders within Desert Hot Springs with what can be done, as well as some religious organizations that are looking to promote help for these individuals.
5. If you could challenge every DHS resident to do one thing, what would that one thing be?
I would have to say to trust our chief and report crimes. Don’t just report those crimes on Facebook to other citizens. Pick up the telephone, and report those crimes so our police department can do their job as effectively as possible.
6. Palm Drive/Gene Autry or Indian Canyon? Why?
I use both Palm Drive/Gene Autry and Indian Canyon frequently. I have a daughter who attends school in Palm Springs, so I travel those roads quite frequently for doctor’s appointments. I use Gene Autry a little bit more, given it’s closer to where I live; it’s a little bit more of a bigger road, and a bit more maintained.
7. Date shake or bacon-wrapped dates? Why?
I’d have to say date shakes. I have a sweet tooth.
8. If someone gave you a $100 gift card to the DHS Kmart, what would you buy?
I do shop at the Desert Hot Springs Kmart, but if someone walked up to me out of the blue and handed me a $100 gift card, I would probably turn around and take it to someone in the community in need, to take that gift card to purchase groceries or clothes for their children.
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’ve been in Desert Hot Springs since 1993, and before that, I was in Coachella. Just like any city, Desert Hot Springs has good areas and bad areas. I believe Desert Hot Springs is a wonderful community with a lot of potential. We just need help from the citizens and the City Council on getting our act together.
10. Award-winning water from the tap, or bottled water?
I would have to go with the award-winning water from the tap. I do not buy bottled water very often, unless we’re going camping.