Photo Courtesy of  Christy Holstege

Christy Gilbert Holstege, an attorney at Gilbert & Bourke LLP, is one of six men and women are vying for two seats on the Palm Springs City Council in November.

The 31-year-old joins Judy Deertrack, Glenn Flood, Harry Hampton, Lisa Middleton and Robert Stone on the ballot.

Uken Report submitted questions to each candidate and all accepted.

Each candidate received identical questions. Their answers appear as they were submitted and were not edited or altered.

Question: Exactly why are you running?

Answer:
My vision for our city is to ensure that we build a Palm Springs that works for all residents. I have dedicated my career to fighting for residents as a local attorney and I have acted as a community leader on local issues, from LGBTQ equality to homelessness. I attended Stanford Law School to study public interest and local government law. I currently serve on the city’s Homelessness Taskforce and the Human Rights Commission. I decided to run for Palm Springs City Council to achieve real change for residents and obtain measurable results. I am running for office to serve as a representative for the people and to continue my commitment to public service. I bring a new and diverse voice to city leadership and I share a fresh and needed perspective to move our community forward securely into the future.

Question: What quality do you have that you believe your opponents do not? In other words, what sets you apart?

Answer: As someone with local work experience in a wide range of areas of the law, I understand how our laws and regulations affect different groups and our community as a whole. As someone making a living by working full time in Palm Springs, I bring true accountability and local work experience to Council. Working at a small business, I am data-driven and results-oriented. For example, in just over two years, my firm has obtained over $3,000,000 in federal Social Security Disability benefits and $3,000,000 in settlements and judgments for local residents, much of which has been invested back into our local economy.

As an attorney licensed to practice law by the State of California, I bring a higher level of ethics and transparency to city government. As a unique voice who brings diversity of thought and experience to the Council, I will bring fresh and new ideas to our city, which is required for a thriving democracy and successful future.

I am proud to be the first millennial to ever run for Palm Springs City Council. We need younger and diverse voices in city leadership to bring Palm Springs securely into the future and strategically plan for issues facing our city well into the future.

Question: How much to you expect to spend on your race?

Answer: Most successful campaigns for Palm Springs City Council have raised and spent between $100,000-250,000. I expect to spend about $100,000 to $150,000 in order to win, though I am.

Question: Who is your political role model?

Answer: John F. Kennedy.

Question: What are the three most notable endorsements you have received to date?

Answer: Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD, Riverside County Supervisor V. Manual Perez, and Equality California.

Question: Who recruited you, or did you decide to run on your own?

I decided to run on my own based on my dedicated track record of public service, my education in local government and public interest law, my experience in drafting policy proposals and legislation, and my experiencing representing over a hundred residents of Palm Springs as a local attorney.

Question: What will you specifically do to restore trust in City Hall?

Answer: I support the recommendations made by the Palm Springs Ethics, Transparency, and Government Reform Task Force and if elected, I will ensure that those recommendations are passed into law. I have also been leading by example on transparency and ethics. I held our campaign kickoff party in my own home and I am accessible and transparent to voters. As an attorney licensed by the State of California, I am held to a higher ethical duty, I have studied ethics in depth, and I follow ethical rules daily in my professional work.

Question: Do you consider yourself a liberal, conservative or moderate and what does that mean to you?

Answer: I consider myself a Democrat and I advocate for civil rights and access to justice for all residents.

Question: Is it appropriate for Palm Springs City Council candidates to accept campaign contributions from outside Palm Springs?

Answer: Yes, I am running a grassroots campaign and I received campaign contributions from friends, family, and colleagues from outside of Palm Springs who have worked with me directly and who understand my commitment to public service and to this community. I am proud to have received the largest number of individual contributions out of any candidate, and I believe that shows large-scale support for my track record of work, my candidacy, and my campaign.

Question: What is the single biggest challenge facing Palm Springs?

Answer: Homelessness.
We need to ensure that we work with community partners to replicate successful models from other cities, with action supported by research and data, that effectively alleviate homelessness. Taking this approach will lessen the burden on our neighborhoods, city parks, local businesses, our downtown, and our police and fire departments and ensure public resources are spent on effective and proven programs.
Adopt programs that a “housing first approach” that has been proven to drastically reduce homelessness.

Recruit and incentivize social services organizations to build and maintain permanent supportive housing for unhoused residents and people facing homelessness.

Work on obtaining available resources as part a long term plan – in partnership with other cities in the Valley – that includes coordination between mental health services, job training and placement, and housing resources.

Improve access to mental health services by seeking private foundation support for mental health and addiction treatment services and working to secure our fair share of federal, state and county funding.