Name: Anna Nevenic
Occupation: Registered nurse
Interview done: Phone
1. When you stand at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Road and Palm Canyon Drive, and look northwest, what comes to mind?
Well, what really comes to my mind is that (the mall) was standing there for 10 years, and Wessman got lots of tax breaks, and the city lost lots of money because of that. It’s already all planned, and there’s nothing we can do to change. The only thing we have to do for the future project (is make sure) that everything is done right in a timely manner, and that everybody is informed (about) what is going to be there. (We need) more transparency about every project that we do, because at the moment, there is no transparency; people just hear it after the fact.
2. Does Palm Springs have a crime problem? If so, what should be done about it?
We need definitely more police officers, so they can police all the neighborhoods, not just a limited few. We have to get better relations (between) the police and the community as well, and I would think we should have some more citizen patrols. That would help a lot, so there would be a visibility, and people don’t not know if they are police or not, so that would encourage people to volunteer. … You know, the homeless people are not really creating crimes. I talk with them every day. There are too many mentally ill people just begging, basically for money, but they do not commit crimes.
3. What, if anything, should be done about alleged corruption in Palm Springs city government? Be specific.
Transparency is needed. … Many cities are experiencing these issues, and right now, so many of them are forming the ethics task force committees, because it is really a problem everywhere. Without transparency, nothing can be done. We have to have more public forms, to inform the public about the things that are going on. … Whatever is happening, people are in the dark; they have no idea, and that is very wrong.
They have, at the same time, to know what their limits are, the scope of their job, because you can not be a consultant at the same time you are a City Council (member). … Some of the City Council (members) were hired as consultants. You have to be a lobbyist for that; you have to be a registered lobbyist. They have to know their boundaries, but unfortunately, they don’t communicate with each other. So if you’re recusing yourself from something, they should ask questions: Why are you recusing? What are the reasons for that? What is your relation? But they don’t ask any questions, they just go, “Oh I’m recusing myself.” … Palm Springs (officials have) to learn their lesson, that something like that is going to be discovered one way or the other, and that brings a bad image to our city. Many people are very unhappy, and that’s not good for our city to have such an image. It can be changed.
4. What specific steps will you take to help solve the city’s homelessness issue?
I am a registered nurse. Every city has problems. Many cities are so huge, and they have 20,000-30,000 (homeless) people, but we don’t. We have a small population. We have animal services, and we have (people) crying for animals, which is good, but nobody is really crying for the homeless people. We have to have a big shelter, where they can get (what) they need, and where they can get social services. I would get volunteer nurses and social workers so we can provide them the help they need, and provide them the job training, because some of them have skills. You see, every day, I’m downtown. I talk to them. I sent three or four people to the emergency room, because I saw they were confused and dehydrated, and they don’t have a place to leave their carts, and many of them don’t go to sleep in a shelter, because they don’t allow you (to take) the carts. You cannot go on the bus with the carts, and that’s all that they have in the cart—all of their belongings. It is doable to have a big shelter, because some of them have Social Security; some of them could have disability—and they are isolated. They don’t know how to get help. Some of them have Parkinson’s disease, and they are 60 years old. … Many of them are on their own with nobody to talk to. A couple of them may be there together, but many of them never talk to anybody, unless you sit there with them and see the story.
So this is what I will do immediately: It would take me two months to find a place for a big shelter where … all will be there. They will have TV like normal people do, (and we will) provide all the services at one place. Nurses could come. Some of them have wounds, and they end up in the hospital for a week with infections, and the hospital is losing lots of money because … most of them don’t have insurance. So everybody would win in that situation. The homeless people would win; the hospitals would have less cost; and the community (would win), because it’s very sad to watch it. Nobody’s happy. The community not happy; the business community is not happy, because you don’t want to smell urine everywhere you go, which we do downtown. You don’t blame the homeless, because there is no place for them to go.
5. Do you support electing City Council members by district, or do prefer the current at-large system? Why?
I’m kind of ambivalent, to be honest. Maybe it is better by district. It probably is, because you would have more equal representation. Because of the moment, most people (on the council) live in Las Palmas or (or other select few neighborhoods). (I’d also like to make the elections) in even years, as opposed to the odd years, when so few people vote anyway. That will save money, too, if we do it in the even years.
6. If you were not running for this office, which of your two opponents would get your vote? Why?
Do I have to answer that? I don’t think I can say that, you know. That’s not so good for me to say who I’m voting for when I’m running.
7. A dear friend is in town for just one night, and asks you where to go for dinner. Where are you sending this dear friend?
I will send them to some place in Palm Springs. I am not making any preference. I would ask them what kind of food they like. Is it Asian, or is it steak, or is it depending on that? But I would make sure that they come to Palm Springs, and not go to other towns.
8. Name one business or service that you wish Palm Springs had (but currently does not have).
I plan to bring the high-tech industry here. If I have a little power, I would go to Silicon Valley and talk to these young social-media entrepreneurs. … Los Angeles is very expensive. They have created a half-million jobs in two years in L.A. in the high-tech industry, but the housing is very expensive, the rent is very expensive—and we are ideal for that. If we bring a couple thousand high-tech jobs, the people who are paid good wages, they will be able to go to restaurants, because young people love to go out. This is what I’d want to bring. That’s the reason I’m running.
9. Which annual Coachella Valley event or festival is your favorite? Why?
The Palm Springs (International) Film Festival is my favorite, because I like that people from all walks of life come, because everybody likes movies, and it’s multicultural … and it’s a very quiet event at the same time. It doesn’t bring any disturbance. This is, for me, (important), because I’m an older person, I guess. … I think that the music fest is good, too, but that’s mostly for the young people. I’m glad they have that, but my favorite is the film fest.
10. If the FBI was about to raid your home or office, which personal item would you grab to make sure it didn’t get broken?
I wouldn’t grab anything, because I have nothing to hide. They could search whatever they want. I wouldn’t grab anything, really.