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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Politics

23 Oct 2018
Palm Desert was incorporated as a city just 45 years ago—on Nov. 26, 1973, making it the second-youngest city in the Coachella Valley. This November, Palm Desert is poised to become the fourth valley city to approve and regulate cannabis-industry retail sales, commercial cultivation and delivery services within its city limits—presuming voters approve the resolution put on this year’s ballot by the current City Council. Also on the November ballot: Palm Desert voters will choose among five candidates—two incumbents and three challengers—for two seats up for election on the City Council. The Independent recently spoke with four of five candidates. (Matt Monica, who identifies himself as a retired educator on the city’s candidate-information form, did not respond to the Independent.) Incumbent Jan Harnik is winding…
17 Oct 2018
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has given the public a series of piecemeal explanations as it acknowledged making more than 100,000 errors in recent months while registering Californians to vote. Software problems, it said in May. Human errors from toggling between computer windows, it said in September. Data-entry mistakes that were corrected but never saved, it said in October. What DMV officials didn’t acknowledge—and still haven’t—was what may be the underlying problem: The agency rolled out a massive new voter-registration effort with a piecemeal computer system. Instead of the properly integrated computer program that was needed, the agency launched in April with disparate computer systems that didn’t automatically link together, according to advocates who have been working closely with the DMV on the new…
09 Oct 2018
The two men competing to be the next governor of California met earlier this week for their first (and, alas, probably only) one-on-one debate. If you didn’t see it, that’s because the showdown—which was structured more as a spirited conversation than your standard dueling-podiums-style debate—was on the radio, hosted by political reporter Scott Shafer, out of the San Francisco-based station KQED. And if you didn’t hear it, that’s because it was on a Monday. At 10 a.m. On a federal holiday. It’s a low-profile treatment for what may be the sole in-person exchange of ideas between the two candidates vying to become the next leader of the fifth-largest economy on Earth. But then again, few voters will have a difficult time distinguishing Lt. Gov. Gavin…
05 Oct 2018
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On Nov. 6, Desert Hot Springs voters will choose between five candidates for two City Council seats. Incumbent Joe McKee chose not to run for re-election, while Jan Pye hopes to retain the seat to which she was appointed earlier this year when Yvonne Parks stepped down. She’s joined on the ballot by a former Desert Hot Springs mayor and several relative newcomers. We spoke to four of the five candidates for this story. (Peter Tsachpinis didn’t respond to e-mails or phone messages.) Here’s what they had to say. In 2015, then-DHS Mayor Adam Sanchez narrowly lost his re-election bid to Scott Matas. Sanchez’s term started off with the city near bankruptcy. Sanchez helped turn the city around, but a feuding City Council, as well…
04 Oct 2018
Patricia Brooks said it was sexual harassment when she was taking a call as a 911 dispatcher in San Mateo and a colleague reached his hand inside her bra and fondled her breast. The courts disagreed in 2000, saying it wasn’t sexual harassment because the single incident didn’t amount to a “severe or pervasive” problem—the legal standard necessary in a civil suit. That decision led to a long-standing legal interpretation that critics say has allowed harassers “one free grope.” But not anymore. A bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed over the weekend rejects that interpretation, clarifying that a single incident of harassment can be enough to meet the legal standard. In other words, starting on Jan. 1, California law essentially says: “Actually, no free gropes.” It’s…
04 Oct 2018
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When Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas defeated then-Mayor Adam Sanchez in 2015, the city was recovering financially after narrowly avoiding bankruptcy. Today, the city’s finances are on solid ground—thank you, marijuana!—but Desert Hot Springs still faces a lot of challenges and issues, all of which will be on the minds of voters when they head to the polls on Nov. 6. Matas is running for re-election to a two-year term, and he’s facing relative political unknown Stephen Giboney. Matas says he wants to keep the city’s progress going; Giboney views the city as having many problems that have potential small-government solutions. We recently spoke to both of them; here’s what they had to say. When I met with Matas at the RV resort that…
20 Sep 2018
California state politics only comes in two flavors: Democrat or Republican. And according to the conventional wisdom, that isn’t changing anytime soon. We know, because we asked. Two weeks ago, we teamed up with California Target Book to find out whether political insiders around the capitol think a viable third party might emerge onto the California political scene by 2025. Not a single respondent in our Target Book Insider Track Survey said that it was “very likely.” Roughly two-thirds, in fact, said the opposite. But Tom Campbell—a Chapman University law professor, former congressman, former state senator and former Republican—says they’re wrong. He’s setting out to bust up the Republican-Democratic lock on political power in Sacramento by launching a third party—and he predicts candidates will be…
13 Sep 2018
The biggest question hanging over the November election: Will Democrats be able to ride a blue wave of anti-Trump enthusiasm back into national political relevance? We surveyed political insiders in California, and most of them are putting on life jackets. All 45 respondents in the Insider Track Survey—including campaign consultants, party players, lobbyists, and labor and business-group reps who are California Target Book subscribers—predict Democrats here will gain at least one congressional seat. More than a quarter of respondents say they’ll gain five seats or more. Nationwide, Democrats need to flip 23 seats to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives. Some of the most competitive seats are in California California Republicans have been hoping that Proposition 6—a ballot measure that would roll back…

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