Covering elections in the Coachella Valley is not easy.
Why, you may ask, is it such a challenge? Because there are so many darned layers of government here. There are water boards and school districts and water districts and other districts and etc. … plus there are nine city councils—and all nine of them are having elections this year.
So … how does a smaller newspaper like the Independent cover all of this?
Regrettably, we can’t cover all of it—but we will cover as much as we can. Two of us here cover politics regularly: Myself and Kevin Fitzgerald, our staff writer. However, my plate is quite full with other things, which means most of the coverage falls on Kevin’s plate.
In 2020, we’ve decided to focus on the city council races, and we’re going to get to as many of them as we can with our Candidate Q&A series. Here’s how that works: We come up with a list of questions, tailored to each race, that we ask each of the candidates via phone interviews. Then we publish the candidates’ answers, in their entirety, with only very minor editing for style and clarity.
Simple, right? Well, yes, it is simple—until you get to the transcription part, when it gets quite daunting, because some of these candidates talk a lot.
As I write this, we’ve done Candidate Q&As with the contested council races in three of the valley’s nine cities. We did Rancho Mirage earlier this year, since Rancho Mirage runs its city election differently than all of the other cities (because, well, it is Rancho Mirage). In recent weeks, Kevin has interviewed the candidates in Palm Springs and Palm Desert.
Through Election Day, we’ll be doing more interviews with the candidates from the other cities, so watch for those. I am not sure we’ll be able to get to all nine cities by the time Election Day arrives—after all, we’re also covering other stories as well, because, as you may have noticed, a LOT is going on, including a raging pandemic—but we’re going to do our best.
I hope you find the Candidate Q&A interviews enjoyable and enlightening. As always, thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or feedback at the email address below. Oh, and be sure to pick up our October print edition, hitting more than 300 valley locations this week.