COACHELLA — Denise Delgado, an educator in the Coachella Valley Unified School District, is seeking one of two open seats on the Coachella City Council in the Nov. 3 election. Each of seats is a four-year term.

She is one of four people seeking two open seats. The others are Neftali Galarza, Emmanuel Martinez, and Philip Bautista. The only one not to respond is Bautista, an incumbent.

Uken Report posed a series of identical questions to all candidates. Following are the responses from Denise Delgado.

Uken Repoet (UR): What is your motivation for running?

Denise Delgado: My motivation for running is my love for our community. I am homegrown. I grew up in Coachella and attended K-12 schools here. There is a certain pride that comes along with being from our community.  I have been privileged to form lifelong relationships with many of my neighbors, childhood friends, family and from community organizing.  This opportunity to serve my community in a greater capacity and include their voices in local decision-making means the world to me, and it is a role which I take quite seriously.

UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?

Denise Delgado: I believe that my combined career experience and education give my candidacy a considerable advantage over my opponents. I have extensive hands-on, applicable experience serving our local government, gained from my time spent while serving on several commissions for the City of Coachella. This valuable experience includes leadership as Chairwoman on two of the commissions, as well as the City’s library committee. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in secondary education, and am currently completing my second master’s degree in local government from the University of Southern California. While working as a company executive in the private sector, I managed a quarter of a billion dollars in retail stores, was responsible for 50+ team members, and several corporate departments. The nonprofit organizations in which I am currently involved provide resources and access to free healthcare services and literacy programs for Coachella residents. I believe that my background is more well-rounded, and I am better prepared to effectively serve the people of our City.

UR: What one project or issue do you want to see addressed in your term?

Denise Delgado: Our platform is comprised of three issues: safer neighborhoods and equity; economic opportunities; increase community engagement and resources. Highlighting the third issue that should be implemented immediately is the need for our City government to encourage greater involvement from our community residents. I am very interested in developing and implementing outreach programming designed to invite more input from all community residents and business owners. In the interest of inclusion, I believe that all external city communication should be available in Spanish and reflective in local policy to accommodate our community members.

UR: If someone walked up to you and told you that Coachella was the worst place to live in California, what would your response be?

Denise Delgado: I would ask this individual to spend a day in our City. I would suggest that they enjoy a meal at one of our family-owned restaurants. I would also recommend that they take a stroll through the heart of our City, where they can view many of our renowned murals up-close and visit our Public Library to learn about our Coachella’s rich history and Latinx culture. On many days, this person could experience a cultural performance on stage in Veterans Park. Most weekends, our parks are bustling with young people playing sports, and their families cheering them on from the sidelines. There is a special friendliness and sincere hospitality our City extends to visitors which cannot be found anywhere else.

UR: If you could require every Coachella resident to do one thing, what would that one thing be?

Denise Delgado: Considering the alarming rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the City of Coachella in comparison to other desert cities, I would ask that every resident comply with our Riverside County Public Health official’s recommendations, in the interest of slowing the spread and keeping our community’s most vulnerable residents safe. And remember to vote this November 3rd.

UR: The entire Coachella Valley has taken a huge financial hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. What needs to be done to help Coachella recover?

Denise Delgado: It is critical that our City government does all it can to keep our households and local businesses financially sustainable. This means that the Mayor and Council must work to optimize our tax revenue from existing revenue streams, while also identifying and exploring opportunities to create additional revenue streams. This also means continuing to attract investment that will create more employment opportunities, and new development that will keep pace with our population growth.

UR: Tell us one good quality your opponent possesses.

Denise Delgado: I truly believe all individuals who want to serve their community, should run for office and I respect them for it. As a fellow educator, I have great appreciation for Councilmember Philip Bautista for his commitment to education and as a veteran who served our Country as a medic in the airborne infantry.

UR: You are all well known, tell us one thing about yourself no one knows.

Denise Delgado: At the time that I relocated to Maryland in order to accept a promotion with Saks Fifth Avenue, I was a couple of months pregnant with my daughter. One thing folks don’t know about me is, I hid me belly up until I was almost due for fear of being discriminated. I wore oversized sweaters and coats.  In the fast pace world of the corporate industry, pregnancies are at times seen as a disability or an obstacle. I have a strong work ethic and the fear of being viewed as “less than” or not capable of performing at the level above was required of me was very real.

UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Coachella and what would you do to address it?

Denise Delgado: I think it is difficult to point to one single issue, as many of the challenges our City faces are inter-connected, especially during the time of COVID-19. I would emphasize the urgency of ensuring that Coachella is positioned for a rapid recovery from the current economic crisis impacting us. If elected, I am committed to ensuring that our City Council is proactively moving these important discussions forward, and that we regularly re-evaluate our progress and make necessary adjustments in order to minimize waste and preserve our precious resources.

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