INDIO – At least two challengers are primed and salivating as they prepare to go head-to-head with a pair of conservative incumbents on the Indio City Council in the November election.

Challengers Poised to Take on Indio Incumbents

Oscar F. Ortiz

Oscar F. Ortiz, an Indio High School graduate and 2012 graduate of Stanford University, has filed a Candidate Intention Statement, indicating he will make a bid in District 4, according to City Clerk Administrator Sabdi Sanchez. Ortiz will challenge Troy M. Strange who was elected to the City Council in 2014. Strange is currently serving as mayor pro tem.

Ortiz did not return a phone call, but responded to or email request for comment, saying, “We will get back to you soon! In the meantime, feel free to review our platform (on my website.”

After graduating in 2012, Ortiz worked in pharmaceutical quality control for a biopharmaceutical company and then for UCLA, according to his website. He has also worked in the medical cannabis industry for four years, according to his site.

He moved back Indio in 2017 and began working as a substitute teacher.

The issues he has outlined are education, housing, business and transparency.

In District 2, Waymond C. Fermon, a liberal Indio native, announced in January he would take on Michael H. Wilson, a conservative, who is currently serving a rotation as mayor. Fermon lived outside the district when he announced that he would run. He has since relocated to District 2, Sanchez confirmed Thursday. A resident must be a registered voter and resident of the district in which he or she is seeking prior to filing nomination papers. Nomination papers can officially be filed starting July 16 through Aug. 10.

To date, no one has emerged to publicly announce a challenge to Elaine Holmes in District 3, though there is ample time for challengers to emerge.

This will be the first election for Indio since moving from at-large elections to district elections, which could mean more challengers to individual incumbents. Indio didn’t voluntarily move to districts, and the community didn’t want district-based voting, Wilson has said. It, like Cathedral City and Palm Springs, were forced into the change or face litigation.

The current District Map was approved on a 4-1 vote with Lupe Ramos Watson dissenting.

One of the most polarizing issues expected to surface during the election cycle is whether Indio should become a sanctuary city, where local immigrants would not have to live in fear of immediate deportation or harassment from law enforcement. To date, the City Council has soundly rejected the idea.

Fermon has not yet publicly said where he stands on the issue.

Ortiz does not make any blatant reference to sanctuary city status on his website.

To date, two Coachella Valley cities — Cathedral City and Coachella — have adopted sanctuary status.

If you’re not registered to vote, there is time.

In order to be eligible to vote in California, an individual must be a United States citizen, a resident of California, and 18 years of age or older on Election Day. In order to vote in a city of Indio election, an individual must be registered to vote at an address in Indio.

For eligibility to vote in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election, voter registrations must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than October 22, 2018.

To verify your voter registration status: Call Riverside County Elections at (951) 486-7200.

To register or update your voter registration: Paper voter registration forms are available at Riverside County elections office, local libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and US Post Offices.


Image Sources

  • City of Indio: Shutterstock