Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: June 6, 2022

Sometimes, I despair for society. Today is one of those times.

Our partners at CalMatters headlined today’s “Whatmatters” newsletter thusly: “California’s primary is 1 day away. Do voters care?

The answer, apparently, is no, they don’t—at least not the vast majority of them.

The CalMatters piece links to a tracker showing how many of California’s primary ballots have been returned so far—and as of this Monday afternoon (June 6) writing, that statewide number stood at 15 percent. As CalMatters’ Emily Hoeven writes: “If this trend continues, California could potentially break its low-turnout record, set during the 2014 primary election, when just 25.17% of registered voters cast ballots, the Los Angeles Times reports. That’s despite every active registered voter receiving a mail-in ballot—and also having the option to vote in person.”

Now, a lot could happen today and tomorrow. It’s possible. But is it likely? As Hoeven says: “Why the apparent apathy? Well, when the races for state controller and insurance commissioner are among the most exciting on the ballot, it’s understandable why many Californians aren’t chomping at the bit. Indeed, for many voters, the statewide primary seems to be a largely perfunctory affair. The biggest takeaway from a Friday poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and the Los Angeles Times: The incumbents in three major races are light-years ahead of their challengers, and will likely easily gather enough votes to secure one of two spots in the November general election.”

That all makes sense. However, there’s a big, honking problem here: The June election is a really big deal for a lot of races—most notably for local races. Here’s why: For almost all statewide races, the top two primary vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of the percentages of votes the candidates receive.

But for many local races … if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, that candidate is declared the winner, period. Therefore, it’s almost certain that the Riverside County sheriff’s race will be decided in the June 7 election, seeing as there are only two candidates running.

As of today, according to the county, 178,170 ballots have been returned, while 1,304,447 ballots were issued. That’s 13.66 percent.

In other words, 86.34 percent of Riverside County voters have not yet weighed in on whether Chad Bianco or Michael Lujan should be the top law-enforcement officer in the county. Obviously, a lot more people will cast votes, be them by mail or at the polls, before the end of the day tomorrow … but it’ll take a minor miracle for turnout to even reach 25 percent, despite voters having ballots delivered to their homes.

Sigh. So I despair …

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Ahead of Her Time: Despite Multiple Delays and Setbacks, Desert Rose’s Mae West Double-Feature Is a Funny, Stylish Success

By Bonnie Gilgallon

June 5th, 2022

Desert Rose’s Mae West double-feature was delayed multiple times—but it proved to be worth the wait.

Making the Funny: Wayne Brady Brings Limitless Creativity and Improvisational Comedy to Spotlight 29

By Matt King

June 6th, 2022

Wayne Brady says his show “has music; it has characters, audience stuff—all the stuff that would come from watching Whose Line and everything else that I’ve done over the years.”

So Long, Norm: Netflix’s ‘Nothing Special’ Proves How Much the Late Comedian Will Be Missed

By Bob Grimm

June 6th, 2022

Norm MacDonald delivers a final set in a way that reminds us we’ve lost a lot with his passing..

Content Shifter: Eight New Summer 2022 Shows to Stream

By Bill Frost

June 3rd, 2022

A look at some promising new TV shows premiering this summer.

Not-So-Super Heroes: Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ Riffs on Modern American Polling and Popularity

By Bob Grimm

June 6th, 2022

The world is a screwy place right now, and The Boys has no problem shining a bloody spotlight on it.

More News

The newest Palm Springs wastewater testing results for SARS-CoV-2 levels offer a small dose of big news—and a heaping dose of concerning news. First, the good: The average amount of the virus in wastewater samples taken last Monday and Tuesday (May 30 and 31) was down slightly from the week before. As the report puts it: “The average of 789,479 copies (per liter) from the previous week’s average has gone down to an average of 629,277 copies/L for May 30 and 31, 2022.” The concerning news: We seem to be in the midst of a lengthy plateau—at a rather high virus level. Previous waves have had definite spikes. This one has not.

The New York Times published a fascinating piece on how someone’s vaccination status may determine whether someone who has COVID-19 tests positive or not. A snippet: “First, the swift immune reaction slows the rate of viral reproduction and spread. ‘This is what the vaccines are there for—to educate your immune system so that it gets a jump on the invaders before they are able to replicate out of control,’ Dr. (Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore), said. Because the virus doesn’t replicate as quickly in vaccinated people, they may be less likely to test positive for COVID-19 after coronavirus exposure, because their immune system ‘keeps the viral load below the level of detection,’ said Juliet Morrison, a microbiologist at the University of California, Riverside.”

The Los Angeles Times elaborates on the awful voter turnout problem addressed in the introduction. Key quote: “Election experts say the lackluster participation by Californians stems from a dearth of excitement over this year’s contests, which largely lack competitive races at the top of the ticket. It’s a stark contrast with other parts of the nation where voter turnout is exceeding expectations. ‘It’s a boring election,’ said Paul Mitchell, vice president of PDI. ‘It’s clear from what we’re seeing that we’re going to have a low turnout election despite the fact the state has made it easier than ever to vote.’” Ugh.

• The Desert Stonewall Democrats and March for Our Lives—a group founded by survivors of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—are co-organizing a rally at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 11, at Frances Stevens Park in Palm Springs (Palm Canyon Drive and Alejo Road). Organizers say the “rally (is) in support of sensible gun control legislation.” Learn more here and here.

• If you’re free this Sunday afternoon, you may want to consider heading to a very cool event at the Palm Springs Cultural Center: The Palm Springs Young Playwrights Festival, which will feature plays written by Riverside County teens. From a news release: “Four staged readings of selected winning plays will be performed by seasoned professional actors at the Palm Springs Cultural Center on June 12, 2022 at noon. Although tickets are free, RSVPs are required. … Actors who will perform the staged readings include Mark Espinoza of NBC’s ‘The Endgame’ and known for the original ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’; Joyce Bulifant, known for her roles on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ the films ‘The Happiest Millionaire’ and ‘Airplane!’ and as a frequent panelist on many televised game shows; Yo Younger, a multiple Desert Theatre League award winner; Desiree Clarke, award-winning performer last seen in SWEAT at Dezart Performs; David Kaufman, known for Nickelodeon’s animated series ‘Danny Phantom,’ and television actress Loretta Fox. These actors will be joined by local actors from Palm Springs High School.” RSVP and get more details here.

• And finally … Could the days of the Elvis-themed Las Vegas wedding be coming to an end? After a spate of media coverage about this possibility last week, you can now breathe easier, as it appears the weddings may live on after all. 3 News Las Vegas reports: “Chapel managers and owners around Las Vegas revealed they had recently received cease-and-desist notices from ABG over the use of impersonators, leading many to share their confusion and concern. ‘I actually reached out via phone two different times to two different people,’ Kent Ripley, an Elvis impersonator and co-owner of Elvis Chapel, told News 3 earlier this week. ‘I made an attempt. I have received no phone calls back. So I’m waiting.’ (Authentic Brands Group) acknowledged that Presley ‘is embedded into the fabric of Las Vegas,’ saying that impersonators and tribute artists help keep his legacy alive. (The) statement from ABG: “ABG is proud to be the guardian of the Elvis Presley legacy and is committed to protecting it for generations to come. We are sorry that recent communication with a small number of Las Vegas based chapels caused confusion and concern. That was never our intention. We are working with the chapels to ensure that the usage of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are in keeping with his legacy.” Whew. Thank you very much!

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...