Five Candidates Vie for Three Seats on Indian Wells City Council

INDIAN WELLS — Donna Griffith is one of five people vying for three City Council seats in the Nov. 3 election. With voter approval of Measure Q – Council Term Limits in November 2010, two City Council members are termed out this year, Ted Mertens and Ty Peabody. Council Member Kimberly Muzik can run for one more term — and she is.

Qualified Candidates are: Griffith, Douglas Hanson, Kimberly Muzik, Greg Sanders and Kathy Strong.

Uken Report posed a series of identical questions to all five candidates. Following are the unedited responses from Griffith.

Uken Report: (UR) Occupation

Donna Griffith: Law Office Administration, 38 years’ experience.

UR: Why specifically do you want to be on City Council?

Donna Griffith: I live and work in Indian Wells and am invested in the successful future of our City. I am running because I have the experience, determination, and energy to make a difference in our community.  I have lived in the Coachella Valley for over 55 years and have seen many changes in that time.  I have long term connections to people in our community which will benefit our residents.  I am informed on the issues that face our City now during this Covid-19 crisis and issues that we will face in the future with the State Mandated Affordable Housing directive, development, and revitalization efforts.   I have worked as a volunteer within the City of Indian Wells on the Grants in Aid program and the Golf Resort Advisory Committee. Those terms have ended, and I see working on the City Council as a way to further my service to our City. I have attended the strategic planning sessions and counsel meeting at the City for the past several years and I can imagine further potential for the City, all while understanding the need to move forward cautiously and with forethought.  I have leadership and management experience, an understanding of planning and city building and the implications of development within our City.  Being on the City Council is an honor, but it’s more than that, especially keeping in mind the decisions a council member makes can have a deep impact on residents – that being said I will always work to protect the Quality of Life for our Indian Wells residents.

UR: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment either in or out of office?

Donna Griffith: It is hard to narrow down a lifetime of professional and volunteer work to one accomplishment.  But I do feel the most accomplished when I am helping others.  I feel a great deal of accomplishment when I am able to help others fulfill their dreams.  For instance, I volunteer with students in their applications for college.  It is most commonly, a family friend who needs some organizational skills to help them along the way, or, through my leadership abilities I have organized and streamlined  law office administration in that I am able to transfer that knowledge to other firms as well as the process by which a lawyer, who has decided to branch out on their own, will open a sole proprietorship or new firm.  Both endeavors can be scary and daunting.  I have made those processes easier for the people I help and certainly more efficient.

UR: How do you define leader and leadership?

Donna Griffith: Leadership really is the act of motivating people to achieve a common objective. A true leader will be honest and forthright with the people they are leading and will care about them with a true desire to understand those people and/or group.   Being a true Leader is an art – It requires patience, good listening skills, respect, organization, and consensus building ability.

UR: Do you fit this definition?

Donna Griffith: Yes, I do.  I have always been a successful leader because I care about the people around me – those who I work with, live with, volunteer with and those who I lead in a professional arena.

UR: What are your top three goals for Indian Wells?

Donna Griffith: (1) Preserve the reserve budget, maintain the City of Indian Wells conservative financial structure/and post Covid 19 budget. (2) Maintain and enhance Public Safety, Fire and Emergency Medical Services. (3) Revitalize the existing retail center for the benefit of Indian Wells residents and our merchants.

UR: COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Coachella Valley’s economy. What specifically will you do to help Indian Wells rebound?

Donna Griffith: The economic downturn due to Covid-19 has been catastrophic for many cities.  Thankfully, the conservative approach to budgeting in the past at the City of Indian Wells has afforded our residents with a safety net that many other cities have not been able to enjoy.  As the debate rages on in different cities across our country as to economic recovery, it seems apparent that the solution is not a one-size fits all answer.  I think we can all agree – when it is safe to do so, our cities need to get up and running.  Here in Indian Wells, we are reliant on tourism.  Visitors to the Coachella Valley and in particular, Indian Wells are slowly rising and as the restrictions level off, tourism will increase.  I believe it is important for our City to look at producing other forms of revenue.  Revitalizing our current retail center would be a great start.  Further loss of business in our retail center could be irreparable.  Moving forward with forethought while looking at the possibility of additional forms of entertainment pieces at our Golf Resort campus is something we should consider.  These are just a few ideas.

UR: You are all well-known. What is one thing people don’t know about you?

Donna Griffith: I am a bourbon aficionado and have often been called upon to provide knowledgeable information and the organization of tastings for group events.

UR: Is there one decision with City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?

Donna Griffith: Yes, there are several decisions that I feel could have been made differently.   I am a consensus builder, and an adept mediator — that’s one of the reasons I am running for Indian Wells City Council — because I believe I can be that difference.

UR: Tell us one good thing about each of your opponents.

Donna Griffith: Kimberly is cheerful and always a pleasure to work with. Kathy is a compelling journalist. Greg has served our country proudly. Doug is a skilled businessman.



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  • Donna Griffith: Donna Griffith