COACHELLA – Megan Beaman-Jacinto, a highly respected civil rights and immigrants’ rights attorney, is seeking one of two, four-year terms on the Coachella City Council, tipping the race on its ear.

She is unafraid of making her voice heard and standing up for what she believes is right. In June, she rallied with others at the Fountain of Life in Cathedral City in support of immigrant families and against the inhumane separation of children from their families, a practice implemented by the Department of Homeland Security as part of its border enforcement routine.

“Family integrity – the relationship between parents and children – must be respected and preserved no matter the circumstances,” Beaman-Jacinto said at the time.

Beaman-Jacinto, 37, entered the five-person race after incumbent City Councilmember Betty Sanchez announced she would not seek re-election.

Others vying for one of two seats are incumbent Steve Brown, Victor Alcantara, Gilbert Ramirez Jr., and Josie Gonzalez. Mayor Steve Hernandez is unopposed in his re-election bid.

In addition to being a practicing attorney, Beaman-Jacinto manages her own private practice rooted in the community, works as a community justice advocate, and is the mother of two small children. She has made Coachella home since 2008.

“I am running for Coachella City Council because I love Coachella and I want to ensure that Coachella’s residents and children live, learn, work, and play in spaces that are safe, healthy, secure, and thriving now and in the future,” Beaman-Jacinto told Uken Report.

Smart economic and community development is critical in Coachella, where a large proportion of the city remains undeveloped and, in some ways, vulnerable, Beaman-Jacinto said.

“Our general plan and development decisions must take existing residents’ needs into consideration by investing into the revitalization of existing communities while providing avenues for new smart economic and community development growth and development as well,” Beaman-Jacinto told Uken Report. “We must be smart in our development decisions to ensure that we do not undermine the character of our city or create circumstances under which existing communities and residents are eventually squeezed out.”

To that end, Beaman-Jacinto ticks off a detailed plan of how she expects to achieve that. She said she will:

  • Seek funding to assist homeowners to repair and revitalize historic homes.
  • Adjust code enforcement framework to look first for collaborative restorative solutions for homeowners.
  • Ensure that residential developments meet the needs of existing residents, preserve Coachella’s character and history, and protect the future of Coachella’s children.
  • Explore ways to improve local educational and job training opportunities for all residents, which will create a stronger foundation and growth for our families’ futures.
  • Look for ways to increase the availability of diverse, strong, and stable local jobs, by creating incentives and pipelines for local entrepreneurship.
  • Increase investment in infrastructure and transportation to provide increased quality of life as well as foundation for future development.
  • Carefully balance Coachella residents’ need and concerns with Coachella’s economic growth goals, ensuring that our growth does not burden our families and positively impacts our city’s future.
  • Identify growth opportunities through community benefit agreements, in which developers will demonstrate their commitment to Coachella’s well-being.

Her plans to help the city do not stop there.

“I will bring a fresh perspective and key advocacy skills to the City Council, allowing me to improve the city’s positioning in regional stakeholder committees and in accessing competitive grants and funding,” Beaman-Jacinto said. “I will also bring to Coachella a community advocate’s framework, which will ensure that the voices of all of Coachella’s communities are heard, that people in power ethically serve the actual needs of specific neighborhoods and groups, and that we prioritize people over profits to affect real change on issues that affect our community in order to make Coachella a leader for our future.”

Beaman-Jacinto said she is “not fond” of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” because they are too black and white.

“I consider myself progressive, which to me is an orientation that considers the well-being of people and communities first in all policy and advocacy decisions,” she said.