PALM SPRINGS – From Palm Springs to Cathedral City, an odd pattern has developed among some candidates when it comes to endorsements. Some have chosen to passively participate in the endorsement process hoping they will receive the coveted stamp of approval without putting in any of the work or effort.

When they fail to win an endorsement, they complain and portray themselves as victims of an unfair system.

The pattern of so-called victimization has caught the attention of others, too. But who’s really to blame? Candidates or the endorsement process?

endorsement process

James Williamson

“I don’t know whether it is the inexperience of candidates or of their campaign teams but this seems to have gotten turned around.” James Williamson, president of the Desert Stonewall Democrats told Uken Report. “It is the candidates who are seeking the endorsements of clubs and organizations.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the candidates to reach out to the clubs and organizations and request/apply for an endorsement.  That is how most organizations and clubs operate.”

As for some who seemingly want to skirt the process and claim that it is unjust, here goes.

Example one: Rita Lamb, a retired educator, who ran for a seat on the City Council in the Cathedral City Special Election on Aug. 27.

Candidates Fault Endorsement Process [Column]

Rita Lamb

Lamb did not respond to a questionnaire that James Williamson, president of Desert Stonewall Democrats, sent to both Lamb and her opponent, Shelley Kaplan. He ultimately received the endorsement.

Lamb and her volunteers later complained on at least two different occasions to Dori Smith, president of Democrats of the Desert, about the endorsement process.

The night of the endorsement, Lamb’s husband, David, stood up to complain that his wife’s name was not on the ballot, according to two sources, as though she did not need to follow the rules or that she was above the endorsement process. (It was her MO during the campaign to have men come to her aid.)

“I personally talked to James (Williamson) about it and what I think happened,” Smith said, “(was that) Lamb didn’t have much of a campaign apparatus (James tried with her) and it slipped through the cracks on them or they ignored it.  She also didn’t show up for the interviews.”

Example two: Scott D. Myer, a civil rights attorney, who is seeking a seat on the Palm Springs City Council in the Nov. 5 election.

After Equality California released its endorsements for the upcoming Palm Springs City Council election, Myer told Uken Report he was taken aback.

endorsement process“I find it surprising because I was neither interviewed nor even invited to interview,” Scott Myer, a candidate for District 1, told Uken Report.

However, Myer never applied for the endorsement.

His complaint was much ado about nothing.

Myer was in the wrong, not Equality California.

The following is a statement directly from Equality California’s website regarding its endorsement process:

“Endorsement by Equality California requires completion of a candidate questionnaire and candidate interviews. Candidates who are interested in our endorsement should contact Tony Hoang at as early as possible to inform us of your candidacy.”

There is no record of Myer contacting the organization.

Example three: Alfie Pettit claimed that the Desert Stonewall Democrats process was “rigged” because Ginny Foat was chair of the Political Action Committee (PAC) and is supporting Geoff Kors.

“There are seven members of the PAC who vote on the recommendation to the general membership,” Williamson told Uken Report. “The membership then votes at a General Meeting on whether to accept or make its own endorsement recommendation — historically, it has gone both ways. Mr. Pettit did not apply for endorsement and clearly didn’t understand the process.”

Not all candidates passively engage in the endorsement process in which they expect something for nothing.

Candidates Fault Endorsement Process [Column]

Les Young

There is at least one person, Les Young, a candidate in Palm Springs District 1, who understands and respects the endorsement process. In a one-off conversation, Young mentioned to Uken Report that as he methodically mapped out his campaign strategy, he compiled a list. It includes names of people and organizations from which he would like an endorsement/support. His plan took nothing for granted and made no assumptions that anyone or any organization reach out to him.

Young’s list contains about 30 such names. They include people and organizations from Palm Springs, those across the state, and those across the country. He’s not sitting on his hands hoping they will endorse him. He is on a mission.

That encapsulates the endorsement process. Candidates should not assume people or organizations will seek them out.

“If clubs or organizations do proactive outreach to have candidates apply for endorsement then the candidates should be appreciative,” Williamson told Uken Report. “But they should not expect that to be the standard process.”










Image Sources

  • Rita Lamb: Rita Lamb
  • Scott D Myer: Shutterstock
  • Les Young: Les Young
  • Hello, I’m Endorsed: Shutterstock