Katherine “Kate” Spates is the subject of an unflattering anonymous letter that has started to reach Rancho Mirage voters.
In the letter, Spates is referred to as a “carpetbagger,” “financed by her boyfriend,” “can’t be trusted,” and more. The unsigned letter bears a return address of “Team Rancho Mirage.”
Is one to assume that is G. Dana Hobart, Charles Townsend Vinci and Iris Smotrich, the three incumbents who are running as a one slate, one team, sent the letter?
The letter smacks of childish insecurity, of losing control, feeling threatened and desperation.
But, an anonymous letter? Seriously?
The writers claim she is a carpetbagger who has only lived in Rancho Mirage 2½ years. They claim she is pro CV Link and that she wants “homeless people sleeping in Rancho Mirage.”
If that’s all they’ve got, Spates, an intelligent, accomplished and independent businesswoman says, bring it. She is not playing the victim and even found some parts of the letter funny.
“What an incredible waste of time and energy,” Spates told Uken Report on Saturday. “This is just another childish tactic from the incumbents to scare the residents in a feeble attempt to retain their power at City Hall. “It’s hilarious that they are calling me a ‘carpetbagger.’ I have lived in the desert longer than any of the candidates.”
Her position on the CV Link, Spates said, is well-documented and unwavering.
Spates’ detractors alleged in the letter that Skip Paige, the former COO of Goldenvoice and a supporter of CV Link is financing her campaign. Spates and Paige are in a committed relationship.
“Regarding who is financing my campaign, I intend to publish my 460 financial disclosures early next week,” Spates said. “You will see I have a very broad base of support and this will be an example of the transparency I intend to practice as a public servant, which is something the current council is lacking.”
The poison pen letter, intended to hurt Spates, could be having the opposite impact.
James Mahler, who moved to Rancho Mirage in January 2017, is a registered vote in the community. He has attended two political events and has met the candidates running for City Council, Mahler said.
Upon opening the letter, he scanned the bullet points designed to undermine Spates and her credibility.
“I immediately looked for a signature, which there was none,” Mahler told Uken Report. “I thought this must be the actions of a supporter to another campaign. No campaign would ever send out a mailing and make such claims. I asked my landlord if he received the same mailing. He did not. The letter was in bad taste and does not advance anyone’s candidacy. It’s my belief (that) this mailing actually worked against Team Rancho Mirage as I was unaware of Kate Spates until the mailing arrived. Now she is known to me.”
And, that’s not all, Mahler said.
“The carpetbagger comment was offensive to me personally,” Mahler added. “If Kate is a carpetbagger after living in Rancho Mirage for only 2.5 years, then I don’t feel welcome in this city after only being here for a year.”
Timing of the letter is no coincidence. Ballots for the all-mail election will soon be arriving in voters’ mailboxes.
Moreover, it is clear Spates is a threat to incumbents. At least 11 Coachella Valley government leaders are supporting her over any of the incumbents. They laud her open-mindedness, cooperative approach to solving issue and her willingness to listen.