CVIndependent

Fri09222017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

It was a simple, four-step exercise:

1. We came up with a list of 10 questions—five serious, issue-based questions, and five questions that are a little more light-hearted—to ask all of the candidates for city office.

2. We set up interviews with all of the candidates.

3. We asked the candidates the 10 questions.

That’s exactly what Palm Springs resident Jimmy Boegle did over the last couple of weeks. He interviewed every one of the 14 Palm Springs candidates—eight mayoral candidates, and six City Council candidates.

Now, comes the last step.

4. Report the answers to those 10 questions.

Here’s what all of the candidates have to say. We only made minor edits on the candidates’ answers for grammar and style; in some cases, we also edited out redundancies. Finally, in some instances, we did not include portions of candidates’ answers if they went completely off-topic.

Welcome to Candidate Q&A.

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Guy T. Burrows

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Robert “Rob” Moon

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Ricky B. Wright

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Bob Weinstein

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Ginny Foat

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Bill Gunasti

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Mike Schaefer

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs Mayoral Candidate Ron Oden

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate Anna Nevenic

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate Paul Lewin

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate David Brown

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate J.R. Roberts

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate Jim King

Candidate Q&A: Palm Springs City Council Candidate Geoff Kors

Published in Politics

Name: Anna Nevenic

Age: 66

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.

Published in Politics

Unless you’re one of those people targeted to receive vitriolic mailers from candidates blasting other candidates, you may not even know there’s a primary election taking place in California on Tuesday, June 3.

Even if you do know about the election: Are you one of those who doesn’t think it really matters—and might blow off voting?

Midterm elections are notorious for low turnouts, largely because the hype isn’t as great. They’re the elections in which nasty low blows and last-minute revelations dominate, yet they are often the elections which affect us most: city council members, judges, county supervisors, sheriffs and school board members are chosen. These are the offices closest to our everyday lives, and yet only the most ardent citizens follow these elections.

In the Coachella Valley, we have a couple of really interesting races, especially in light of the new open primary that means all candidates are in the same race, and the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, go into a final runoff election in November. California voters approved this by ballot initiative in 2010, another midterm lower-turnout election, apparently hoping it would end political gridlock. So much for that notion. If you don’t like this system, you should have voted against it.

As I recall, Republicans pushed for this open primary, because they felt they were getting completely shut out of California politics in this largely Democratic state. Its supporters claimed to want all parties to have an equal chance. That’s why you’ll see Democrats, Republicans, Peace and Freedom, and Green party candidates all running on this ballot, as well as some candidates who don’t identify with any party.

One of the offices up this election is Riverside County supervisor. We have the chance to fill this one seat with what would be the only non-Republican on that panel—and the first Hispanic, V. Manuel Perez. He was recently appointed as majority floor leader of the California Assembly, but he is termed out and cannot run again for that seat. Perez is running against present County Supervisor John Benoit. These are the people who decide how county funds are spent, and oversee programs that cater to populations and nonprofit efforts at the local level. How often have you heard complaints that the supervisors don’t take enough interest in our end of the county? This is a chance to impact who sits in that seat.

In the newly designated State Senate District 28—formed through redistricting and covering the desert communities, southwest Riverside County and Corona—the open primary is taking center stage. Drawn to be a Republican district (fair or not, that’s the way these things get done), the 28th has an active campaign that’s not always pleasant to watch, especially because it’s an “open” seat, meaning there is no incumbent with a presumed advantage up for re-election.

Four Republicans are running alongside two Democrats. Philip Drucker, a local attorney and educator, is a first-time candidate; he’s a lifelong Democrat, though he’s not well-known in local Democratic politics. The other is Anna Nevenic, who has run for various offices in the past, and is considered by local Democrats as something of a political gadfly.

On the Republican side, four candidates are vying for votes. Bill Carns is a business owner who is seen as having little chance to pull many votes. The other three Republican candidates are all political veterans who are running very hard campaigns.

Bonnie Garcia previously served in Sacramento, and was known for a while as the woman who wouldn’t “kick (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) out of my bed”; she has responded strongly to attacks on her integrity and family issues by her opponents.

Jeff Stone is a county supervisor who touts that he knows firsthand as a medical professional (owner of a compounding pharmacy) that Obamacare is a disaster. Of course, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is already law, is not on the ballot, and is not administered by county supervisors.

The Riverside County Young Republicans and Coachella Valley Young Republicans endorsed Garcia. The Southwest Young Republicans of Riverside County are going with Stone.

Also on the ballot for this Senate seat is Republican Glenn Miller, City Councilmember and former mayor of Indio. Miller describes himself as a fiscal conservative with progressive views on “social issues,” saying he supports abortion rights and gay marriage. He has recently been endorsed by no less than Equality California, a gay-marriage activist organization, and by some local Democrats (although these endorsements do not yet appear on his website).

These endorsements have caused no end of dissent among local Democrats, who ask: Why endorse a primary vote for a Republican, when there is a credible Democrat on the ballot? Wouldn’t that mean there is less likelihood that the Democrat might be one of the top two vote-getters? Or are they willing to bet on a friendly Republican, assuming any Democratic candidate will lose in the final election, anyway?

Some Republicans ask whether they can support a candidate who has gotten support from Democrats, especially pro-gay-marriage activists. Doesn’t that mean he’s a RINO—a Republican in Name Only? Are they saying not to vote for Miller because he might actually get elected? Is ideology more important than winning?

Since the district is presumed to be majority Republican, and since it’s not a bad bet that the primary will result in two Republicans being the highest vote-getters, why shouldn’t the Democrats hedge their bets and support the moderate Republican who could be a friendly ear in the State Senate? Remember the Rush Limbaugh “Vote for Hillary” campaign to hurt the Obama campaign, assuming Hillary could be beaten by John McCain?

I thought this kind of crap was what the open primary system was supposed to eliminate. What happened to caring about why they’re running, and how they plan to address issues and policies that matter to us?

Are you willing to let these decisions be made by political hacks playing games, or will you fulfill your responsibility as an American citizen, do some homework (the links are all here) and show up to vote for the best candidate?

The primary election is Tuesday, June 3. You don’t have to vote for everything on the ballot for your vote to count. But if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about the results.

Full disclosure: I have interviewed Philip Drucker and Glenn Miller on my radio show. I have not publicly endorsed anyone. Podcasts are available at www.KNewsRadio.com.

Published in Know Your Neighbors