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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Politics

25 Sep 2015
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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 Desert Hot Springs resident Brian Blueskye did over the last couple of weeks. He interviewed eight of the nine Desert Hot Springs candidates (two mayoral candidates and seven City Council candidates)—everyone except Jeanette Jaime. Brian called her twice and emailed her twice; he even accepted help from another candidate who offered to put in a good word. No dice. Now, comes the last step. 4. Report the answers…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Scott Matas Age: 44 Occupation: Marketing, DHS City Council member Interview: In person 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? The city has obviously been through a financial crisis over the past couple of years. Politically, I think it was taken out of context. There’s $2.9 million in our cash-flow account, which is to pay the bills. That’s basically what our city manager said earlier this year and said, “I need you to make sure you have enough in cuts.” We believe that the tax revenue coming in from medical marijuana is also helping. In December, we get another push from property tax. In January, we’ll do a mid-year review…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Adam Sanchez Sr. Age: 57 Occupation: Mayor of Desert Hot Springs Interview: In Person 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? We have $1.5 million in general cash flow. We also made sure we had $1 million in case of an earthquake, or all the rain we’re going to get this year; we don’t want to be in the position to where we (need) to ask for money from the county to make repairs from a flood or earthquake. It’s our responsibility as a city to manage ourselves. We don’t want to borrow money. Our priority was to make sure we balanced the budget, had money for cash flow—and financially…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Russell Betts Age: 57 Occupation: Retired small-business owner Interview: Phone 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? The budget is balanced, and the city’s financial status is stable. I know there are people out there trying to tell people otherwise. We’ll finish up the year with $2.5 million in the bank as reserves. It’s not $2.5 million spent anywhere else, but extra money sitting in a bank account. It’s a complete turnaround for the city. 2. Aside from hiring more officers, what can be done to tackle DHS’ crime rate? What’s critical right now is to hire more police officers. By January, we will have our police department at full…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Larry Buchanan Age: 67 Occupation: Retired/president of historical society/secretary of the DHS Rotary Club/Economic Development Team Interview: In person 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? It’s dismal. We already knew that going in, and we have had to make extreme cuts in services to the point where we were in a real service deficit. My biggest concern is the cuts to the police department. The pay is not competitive with the rest of the cities in the area. We have a really small police department; we’re getting new people in; and we’re losing people at the same time. It’s not adequate, and we need to do something about it.…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Richard Duffle Age: 34 Occupation: Stay-at-home dad/planning commissioner of Desert Hot Springs Interview: Phone 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? There has been some recent movement in a positive direction in the budget. Obviously, there’s a whole lot more that can be done. In order to help with what we currently have with the budget, I believe whoever is sitting up there on our next City Council needs to dig down deep into our contracts that we hold as a city, and current expenditures that may have not been looked at for several years. I’m sure some money can be found in those to support some of the underfunded…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Asia Horton Age: 34 Occupation: Tax-preparer Interview: In person 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? Right now, I like to compare it to the emergency room: We stopped the hemorrhaging, and we’ve stabilized the condition of the city. That’s a good thing, but now we need to move it from the trauma unit to the actual ward so we can really get down to the problem. I think we can sustain ourselves, and I don’t think we’ll go into bankruptcy as it is now. We need to get some revenue-generating plans in there, and we need to produce more than we’re spending each month. That’s the problem: We don’t…
25 Sep 2015
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Name: Yvonne Parks Age: 79 Occupation: Former mayor of Desert Hot Springs/retired Interview: In person 1. Describe the city’s current budget situation. How do you plan to balance the budget and take care of the city? I think the council has done a pretty good job of just cutting everything. I would have done things a little differently had I been re-elected. What I would do—and what they didn’t do—is aggressively pursue economic development. We had five employers sitting there waiting to come into the city, and no one contacted them during these last two years. We had a hedge-fund person who was going to build a 3 million-square-foot distribution center at Interstate 10 and Indian, and a hotel that was going to go in…