PALM SPRINGS — Christy Holstege, who is currently serving a one-year rotation as mayor pro tem, is seeking a second four-year term to represent District 4.
If re-elected, Holstege, 34, an attorney, is in line to become the first female mayor of Palm Springs.
Uken Report submitted all candidates a series of similar questions. Following are the responses from Holstege.
Uken Report (UR): Why are you seeking re-election?
Christy Holstege: I ran for office for the first time in 2017 to build a Palm Springs for all of us, focusing on investing in quality of life amenities and services for all residents, investing in an economy for all of us, investing in addressing homelessness and housing, and investing in progress, like advancing transparency and ethics, promoting civil rights, and addressing issues like climate change.
Serving the people of Palm Springs has been the greatest privilege and joy of my career. We have successfully obtained $10 Million for homelessness from the state budget as the only city to receive funding other than the largest 13 cities, implemented programs that housed hundreds of homeless residents, worked to keep Palm Springs residents and workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, invested in parks, repaired streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure, created new business incentive programs, passed protection ordinances for tenants, approved the first affordable housing project in the city in 10 years, saved Oswit Canyon and protected open space like golf courses, championed sustainability policies, delivered a balanced budget with increased savings for reserves, and so much more. While we have accomplished so much, there is still so much left to do together.
UR: What qualities/strengths do you have that you opponents do not
Christy Holstege: I have worked full time as an attorney serving our community for the past eight years, working on civil rights cases, representing tenants and low-income people, helping seniors and veterans obtain disability benefits, helping injured workers, and representing LGBTQ clients and victims of discrimination and violence.
I have been directly involved in our city government continuously for over the past five years, serving on the Human Rights Commission and the Homelessness Task Force. Since 2012, I have served on local boards and been directly involved in local politics and issues impacting our community. I currently represent Palm Springs on regional and statewide boards and commissions, including chairing the regional committee on homelessness, serving on the regional committee on public safety, and serving on the League of California Cities’ housing and economic development policy committee, informing statewide policy decisions. I bring current, real-world experience on the council and an in depth perspective about all of the issues our city is currently facing; I’ll be able to hit the ground running and keep our work going.
I currently serve as the Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Palm Springs and if re-elected, I would become the first ever female mayor in the city’s 80-year history and the first District 4 mayor to rotate into that position, which will allow me to highlight the issues specific to our district at a city-wide level. (The mayor position requires seniority on council, so if another candidate were elected, the mayor’s position would pass over our district).
For the past three years (our council unanimously voted to cut our four year terms short by a year in order to move to districts and even year elections more quickly), I have been proud to work both as an attorney and as your councilmember, listening to your concerns, working directly with Palm Springs residents, and leading on the issues that are most important in our city.
Most importantly, I bring a fresh and different perspective as a councilmember. As the first millennial ever elected in Palm Springs and as someone who joined the council and served while working to make a living in Palm Springs, I have championed policies that make our government more transparent, more accessible, and more inclusive for all residents in order to build a better future and a Palm Springs for all of us.
Finally, I bring a dedicated track record of delivering results and getting the work done. I’m proud of all that I have achieved so far and I hope to complete all of the work we have begun together over the next four years.
And on a personal level, our family has lived in Palm Springs and specifically District 4 for 50 years. My husband is a third-generation resident of Palm Springs and he is actually the third generation to live in our home in Sonora Sunrise. My husband and I decided to start our professional careers as young people here nearly 10 years ago; we wanted to raise a family in Palm Springs because of the incredible quality of life that our city offers to all residents and the promise and opportunities of the future of Palm Springs. We are currently expecting our first baby due this fall, who will be a fourth generation resident of District 4 and of Palm Springs.
UR: If re-elected, what are your goals?
- Keeping Palm Springs residents safe through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ensuring smart economic growth and city planning.
- Supporting local businesses and our workforce, and investing in our economy.
- Promoting environmental sustainability.
- Addressing abandoned buildings and stalled development projects.
- Investing in quality of life amenities for residents, including dog parks, community centers and parks, our animal shelter, and safe roads and sidewalks.
- Building affordable and middle-income housing for Palm Springs residents.
- Protecting open space, including golf courses, and providing recreational opportunities for residents.
UR: Single biggest accomplishment in your first term and why.
Christy Holstege: When I ran for this office in 2017, we knocked on doors and called residents directly, contacting over 9000 voters to talk about the issues and opportunities facing the city. Residents told me time and time again that homelessness and housing was the most important and pressing issue to address. Residents also repeated that Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, like much of Inland California, do not get our fair share of state and federal funding, and we’re often left isolated or trying to re-create the wheel on our own. For that reason, I worked with our assemblymember and council to obtain Palm Springs-specific funding in the state budget. We traveled to Sacramento to meet with leaders and our representatives to explain that homelessness was a major issue for our residents and while Palm Springs’ homelessness count is smaller than larger cities, it actually is a larger proportion of our residents and has a large impact. We made multiple efforts to get funding for Palm Springs in the state budget, after our first attempt was not included. Our assemblymember and our council worked tirelessly to ensure that Palm Springs was not left behind, since typically only the 13 largest cities get a direct allocation from the state budget for homelessness. After working for over a year, the moment that Governor Newsom looked me in the eye and told us we would be getting $10M just for the City of Palm Springs is definitely the highlight of my career so far because of the huge impact this will have for residents and our community far into the future.
Of course, what matters is what we do with the funding and the results we achieve. We held a comprehensive public input process at both the regional level with other city leaders and at the city level with hundreds of Palm Springs residents, business owners, service providers, and held listening sessions with homeless people themselves. At a meeting earlier this year, the full city council decided to dedicate nearly all of the funding to housing and permanent solutions to homelessness, with specific set asides for rental assistance, seniors, and youth populations. After just receiving the funding from the state a few months ago, we have worked with the county and the state to find existing locations that can be renovated easily and quickly and vacant land that can provide permanent housing for our residents. Working in partnership allows us to leverage our $10M to tens of millions of dollars invested in Palm Springs to truly solve homelessness with homes.
- Christy Holstege: Christy Holstege