Name: Jim King
Age: 66 on Oct. 1
Occupation: Retired business executive
Interview: In person
1. When you stand at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Road and Palm Canyon Drive, and look northwest, what comes to mind?
Well, development’s going to happen. Palm Springs is resurgent. The mall (had) been there for such a long time; it’s good to have something new in town. We need to have something new. I took over neighborhood watch in my neighborhood, and I had to change our neighborhood watch signs—something new. We have a police badge that says “We call police,” and it’s something new. … So, we’re looking at new ideas coming to town.
2. Does Palm Springs have a crime problem? If so, what should be done about it?
Yes, there is a crime problem. I understand crime has increased up to 30 percent. One thing: I rode around with a police officer in June, and we just went from place to place to place. He was busy all day long. Then when he shows up to one place, he has a call from somebody else, because they want to have two officers going … together. … We need more (officers), especially now that development is coming in. We need more police during the non-season and the season time. … We need to have a cost-benefit analysis to see if the jail can be reopened. Because the jail is a critical facility. Instead of taking (arrested people) all the way to Banning or Indio, they can be housed in Palm Springs. This last month, we had two fights in the streets with police officers. That’s critical. We need to have our police officers safe and sound.
3. What, if anything, should be done about alleged corruption in Palm Springs city government? Be specific.
The state has an ethics course. I was on the Workforce Investment Board. We had to take that course every year, or every two years, to make sure our ethics were balanced. Even though I was just a Workforce Investment Board member, they made us take the ethics course. The same thing should happen in Palm Springs. Also, you have to just tell the truth. … If you do something wrong, apologize, and then go from there, because if you don’t apologize, it gets even worse later on.
4. What specific steps will you take to help solve the city’s homelessness issue?
The mayor and Ginny Foat are working on a homeless project. I went to a meeting. My nephew’s homeless by choice. He’s 34. He had a kid when he was 17. He’s dyslexic, so his skill level is not good enough to find a good job, so he had minimum-wage jobs. His girlfriend took him to court, and they wanted to take part of his salary away, even though he was making minimum wage. They also took his driver’s license away, because he wasn’t paying, so he didn’t have a job. He just chose to be homeless, even though we tried to get him some help from the county. We got him help, but … it was too much paperwork coming at him. He couldn’t read it; it was too much for him. … So I’m interested so I can learn in Palm Springs and get involved with this group, and then I can help my nephew out, and also help other people out. I believe you have to help out one individual at a time. … One idea’s not going to solve everything. I look at Housing First in Utah. If you get people off the street, that will make them a lot better, and then slowly work them into counseling or whatever they need to get themselves squared away. I’m very serious about homelessness, not because my nephew’s (homeless), but because I understand how people can just give up.
5. Do you support electing City Council members by district, or do prefer the current at-large system? Why?
By district. We need diversity. Right now, most of the people are from the same zip code. Everybody should vote on the mayor. Palm Springs is a charter city. That means the mayor and City Council are supposed to run everything. We may have to look at that also.
6. If you were not running for this office, which of your two opponents would get your vote? Why?
I haven’t made a decision.
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?
If they’re in town for a night, Lulu. It’s in the center of downtown. It’s kind of festive. That’s where I take people all the time. Or Tropicale, because I like that place. I go to Tropicale for birthdays and special events.
8. Name one business or service that you wish Palm Springs had (but currently does not have).
We have a fish market, but we don’t have a … “You buy, we fry.” It’s a fish market; you buy the fish; they’ll fry it for you. We don’t have one of those. … They do serve fish at the fish market, but it’s not the same. … We don’t have a Nordstrom Rack. We don’t have a Tommy Bahama store. … A courthouse. … We have a small one, but a nice courthouse. We need a very nice courthouse. (Editor’s Note: Jim King emailed after the interview to say: “A indoor/outdoor wedding chapel to take advantage of our fantastic views, right downtown.”)
9. Which annual Coachella Valley event or festival is your favorite? Why?
The Tour de Palm Springs. I like bicycling. That’s good exercise.
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?
Maybe the TV. … My Lladrós. Those are porcelain … statues. They have a black version. They’re made in Spain. You can buy them at fancy jewelry stores. At the gas company, our boss gave me a Lladró, and that got me started collecting.