There are fewer topics richer for discussion in the Coachella Valley than politics. There is always a hearty helping of political red meat on which to chew and try to digest.
This week is no different. The political fare served up includes a helping of sanctuary city talk, a Republican endorsement in the 36th Congressional District, Dan Ball’s once-friendly relationship with Democratic Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, and more.
The table is set. Let’s dig in.
U.S. Department of Justice Doesn’t Scare Local Leaders
Cathedral City leaders aren’t exactly quaking in their boots over the U.S. Justice Department’s threat subpoena 23 jurisdictions if they don’t turn over information about their “sanctuary” policies. They say there is nothing to hide.
In letters to New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and other jurisdictions, the Justice Department demanded records relating to whether these localities are “unlawfully restricting information sharing by law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities.”
On May 24, 2017, the City Council voted 3-2 in favor of recognizing current city immigration policies and officially declaring Cathedral City as a place where all families can live without the fear of local law enforcement seeking their immigration or citizenship status. Cathedral City became the first city in the Coachella Valley to adopt the sanctuary city designation. Stan Henry and Mark Carnevale cast the opposing pair of votes.
“Our policies are public record and have been posted publicly for all,” Mayor Stan Henry told Uken Report. “Our policy also does not restrict our police department (from) sharing information.”
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis said, “The feds attempting to sue blue states smacks as retribution for the election and they will not succeed.”
Three months later, the Coachella City Council unanimously approved a resolution to become a sanctuary city.
Indio has been pressured to become a sanctuary city, but the City Council to date has unanimously rejected the idea.
“It’s only going to get worse,” Indio Mayor Mike Wilson said of the Justice Department’s threats. “The Feds will end up locking up some elected officials for obstructing justice before this ends. Mark my words.”
Dan Ball Fails to Earn High-Profile Endorsement
In December, some of the biggest and most influential names in Republican politics, business, commercial real estate, development and philanthropy in the Coachella Valley endorsed Dan Ball in his bid for the Republican nomination for the 36th Congressional District.
Richard R. Oliphant, president of the Lincoln Club of Coachella Valley, was one of them. At the time, he called one of Ball’s Republican opponent’s a “carpetbagger” and told Uken Report that several local businesspeople were supporting Ball, trying to get him enough money by January to get him named as a Young Gun by the National party. “That opens the door to major funding opportunities. All of them are a long shot, but Dan, I think, has the best opportunity to make it.”
Ball did not make it.
Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a transplant from San Diego to the 36th Congressional District late last year, received the coveted endorsement from the National Republican Congressional Committee this week under its “Young Guns On the Radar” program. It is designed to help and support first-time Republican candidates.
On Tuesday, Oliphant called it “great news” of Brown Pelzer.
“That will be a big boost for her campaign,” Oliphant told Uken Report. “Unfortunately, Dan has not been able reach his goals. Let’s see what June brings.”
Marc Troast is Ball’s fundraising manager.
Where Did Things Go Wrong In This Relationship?
In June 2016, U.S. Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz tapped then-television anchor Dan Ball to emcee his Veterans University, a one-day event tailored for veterans, service members, their families, and anyone in the community interested in learning about how to improve the lives of veterans in a classroom environment.
Ball captured the moment for posterity.
Did Ball know then that he would plot to oust the Congressman from office and become one of his Attackers in Chief?
At 43, Ball has called Ruiz nothing more than a “rubber stamp.” Ball has also accused Ruiz of not doing enough for the 36th Congressional District, in particular for the Salton Sea.
Ball has also attacked Ruiz’s voting record.
“I guarantee you, his voting record does not show he’s cared for all of the people of this district,” Ball said in an interview with Uken Report. “You have to take everybody into consideration, not just a specific group that might get you elected, but all of the people. To me, he’s been a rubber stamp and that’s not how I will legislate.”
Now, back to the seemingly happy photo ….
Which Dan Ball do we believe? The perfectly coiffed, smiling man with his arm around the Congressman in an apparent act of kindness or friendship – or the attack dog that has surfaced in recent months?
What’s In a Name?
As you probably know by now, there are six candidates vying for three seats on the Rancho Mirage City Council. One of them is Robert Mueller.
No, not that Robert Mueller. Not the man appointed as special counsel to oversee the department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Both spell their name the same way, but the man in Rancho Mirage says he pronounces his name as MEW-ller. He is president of a business consulting company.
Will the instant name recognition help or hurt him? Time will tell.
“It’s an odd twist of fate,” he said with a laugh.
Though not a special prosecutor, Mueller said he is ready to fire the current City Council.
“Rancho Mirage is a city of gated communities and private country clubs, but there’s one five-member private club running the city called the City Council. Recent alleged embezzlement by a city employee occurred for nearly two years before being discovered. This is unforgiveable. The current city council is nodding off in the rocking chair. Taxpayers deserve greater transparency and accountability of their hard-earned tax dollars.”
While the council is often heard to say, “Rancho Mirage is the safest city in the valley,” data clearly shows Rancho Mirage has the second WORST property crime stats among cities in the valley, Mueller claims. “Most Rancho Mirage taxpayers would be shocked to learn Indio, Coachella and Bermuda Dunes are all far safer than Rancho Mirage — for property crimes.
Another concern the council glosses over is the plight of the city’s elderly, some of whom must wait more than six years for affordable housing, Mueller said. This is a direct result of the city’s policies and shameful for such a wealthy city.
“Rancho Mirage is an affluent city and a nice place to live but the City Council misleads taxpayers regarding some of the city’s realities,” Mueller told Uken Report. “Citizens raising concerns are scolded for saying ‘bad’ things about the city. The council is long overdue to adopt evidence-based policymaking. Greater community involvement is needed. More of the same is simply not good enough.”