Denise Delgado Secures Seat on Coachella City Council

COACHELLA — Denise Delgado, a native of this working-class community of about 46, 813 people, emerged the top vote-getter in a four-person race for two seats on the City Council in the Nov. 3 race. She handily secured a four-year term. She will be sworn into office on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The only woman in a race that has been described as a group of good ol’ boys, Delgado garnered 4,566 votes, according to the official vote count from the Riverside County Registrar of voters. The next highest vote-getter was Neftali Galarza who netted 3,673 votes yo also win a seat on the City Council.

The two political newcomers unseated two incumbents Emmanuel Martinez, who received 3,625 votes, and Philip Bautista, who garnered 1,771.

Denise Delgado Emerges Victorious in CoachellaWhile Democratic Women of the Desert attempted to discredit her through attack ads and others defaced campaign literature, Delgado stayed laser focused on her goal of wanting to serve the residents. She refused to get in a political mud fight even though the attacks stung.  One in particular was a piece of campaign literature that was was distributed in which her name was crossed out making it appear as though her name was not on the ballot.

Delgado was not the only woman to come under attack this election cycle. So did Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Christy Holstege, who went on to win re-election, and Lesly Fiigueroa, a candidate for mayor of Coachella. Figueroa was unsuccessful in her quest for office.

In the aftermath of the blistering attacks and sweet victory, Delgado agreed to a phone interview with Uken Report. Following is the interview,

Uken Report (UR): To what do you attribute your victory?

Denise Delgado:  I think it’s a lot of things. Anytime that anybody runs a campaign, there’s so many components to it. One is that I had incredible amount of support from my family, and I had a lot of support from the community, from the small business community. In the City of Coachella, we have a big presence of recreational sports. These and a lot of individuals who are highly engaged also really came out in support of our campaign as well. And then we were highly endorsed by many organizations. And luckily, that helped with having funds at our disposal to be able to pay for literature, mailers, text messages, and many other things. So I think it was a collective basically of all these different components in the campaign that I think that we were ultimately successful.

UR: As you know, some members of the Coachella City Council, many of them have worked together for years. How do you plan to break into that and become part of the family. so to speak?

Denise Delgado: First, I would like to say that before anything else I represent the community. I represent the Coachella community, I represent Coachella residents, and I also represent Coachella stakeholders because we do have a lot of people who invest in the City of Coachella and may not live in the City of Coachella, but they invest or they have small businesses there. My responsibility is to them first and I hope that my colleagues on the Council see that the residents are who we are supposed to be working for. And that ultimately we work together professionally and efficiently to make sure that our city staff has the support that they need to be able to provide the quality services that Coachella residents deserve.

UR: What is the first thing you want to do after being sworn in as a member of the city council? What is one issue you want to address?

Denise Delgado:  There are so many issues that I heard from residents while I was campaigning. It’s hard to pinpoint one, especially when we’re just going through our third (COVID-19 shutdown. And once again, things shift, we have a lot of not only residents, but small businesses who are depending on us as local leaders to make sure that we’re communicating all the guidelines and restrictions that are in place so that they can follow them in a timely manner. And we also have residents who we need to ensure that they really are following the health guidelines. This is very serious. People are losing their lives, people are losing their jobs. I’ve seen firsthand where individuals, residents are in food assistance lines for three hours. So, I would say that one of my first issues is making sure that we’re communicating as much as possible with city residents and stakeholders to make sure that not only do they feel supported, but that they don’t feel that they’re being ignored during this time.

UR: Has anyone from the Coachella City Council called to congratulate you?

Denise Delgado:   The mayor reached out and congratulated me as well as council woman Megan Beaman-Jacinto. They both did.

UR: I know that you were the subject of at least one attack ad. I know some of your campaign literature was vandalized and your name crossed out on some of that. How did you get through your campaign with the negativity that you were facing?

Denise Delgado: First of all, anybody who decides to run for office, it is an enormous amount of work. And to have to then face these types of challenges in addition to everything that you already have to go through was extremely disappointing. It was also hurtful that it came from the Coachella community. I think that we’re better than that. I think that we shouldn’t have to resort to those types of methods to discourage or to try to discredit and to really just disrespect one another. It was hurtful to my family. When I’m running for the first time and my name is on a piece of literature, then at that time with a candidate who’s running for president and Kamala Harris, that’s very exciting. And to see my name crossed out was definitely hurtful to family members to see that.

It was just disappointing to see people resort to those types of methods. We’re better than that and how we treat each other matters. I strongly believe that not only do we have to respect one another, but that we’re also being looked at. People are watching how we behave, how we lead. It matters. And so I hope that in the future, that those types of methods are no longer used. When I was attacked in those ways, I never responded. I never responded for several reasons.

One, is I didn’t think it was fair to Coachella residents to have to see candidates going back and forth. I think it’s silly and I think it’s just extremely unprofessional and it takes the time away from them as to other things that they need. And the second part of that as well is that we want people to run for office. I want to see people run for office. And when you’re using these types of methods, it discourages people from running and that’s the last thing that we want.

UR: Is there anything that you would like to add?

Denise Delgado:  I have a lot of work cut out for me, a lot of work. I’ve started meeting with the executive team last week and I met with other executive team members this week. And just to get updated on projects, pending developments, upcoming developments, finances. There’s a great deal of responsibility that comes with this position and I take it very seriously. I want the community to know that I’ve already started working and that I’m going to continue to work and that I have an open door policy and I can’t wait to hear from them more.



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