Former Indian Wells council member Doug Hanson seeks re-election

INDIAN WELLS — Doug Hanson, who served on the City Council from 2008 to 2016, is seeking another four-year term. He is one of five people seeking three seats in the Nov. 3 election.

Other qualified candidates are: Donna Griffith, Douglas Hanson, Kimberly Muzik and Greg Sanders and Kathy Strong.

Uken Report posed a series of identical questions to all five candidates. Following are Hanson’s unedited responses.

Uken Report (UR):  Occupation

Doug Hanson: I am a Semi-retired Entrepreneur and Real Estate Broker.

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

Doug Hanson: I had no intention of running for City Council this term. However, In 2019 a couple of the council members and a couple of their close friends was able to get a Life Time Term Limit Measure (Measure J) passed attempting to prevent me and Ty Peabody from ever seeking office again in Indian Wells.  That did not set well with me, they even went so far as to try to convince the others on the council and the City Attorney that the measure was retroactive. I felt that was unconstitutional, its one thing to create a draconian piece of legislation for all future persons wanting to serve, but then to try to make it retroactive to prevent someone who had run previously from ever seeking office just because you didn’t like them was just unfair.  A lot of residents contacted me and believed the same and asked me to run, but I first had to win a legal battle and we did.  The judge ruled in our favor and so my name was placed on the ballot. In addition, Mayor Peabody is termed out.  We had the possibility of having 3 vacant seats.  With Mayor Peabody gone, that left Richard Balocco alone as the only person with any kind of business experience so I thought he would need help.  I have been in business my entire career. That sums it up.

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

Doug Hanson: Out of office, my greatest accomplishment are my 5 children.  They are all adults now and so we can look back see all their accomplishments.  Second to them is my creation of one of the first Nationwide Fiber Optic Networks, under the name of Qwest Communications.  We blazed trails that people thought could not be done.  In office, being able to change the dynamic in Indian Wells.  I came on the council as an agent of change and in the face of a lot of adversity we were successful.  And I was re-elected.  No one accomplishes anything alone, we were able to build a consensus on important issues.  Developed an economic plan that created a rainy day fund that has proven to be one of the better things we did.  It is allowing the city to operate  normally.

UR: How do you define leader and leadership?

Doug Hanson: Never asking anyone to do anything that you would not do yourself.  Always making sure that those working with you get the credit of the work done, knowing that without them, you can never accomplish anything.

UR: Do you fit this definition?

Doug Hanson: I work to make sure those working with me understand that we work as a team and that they should feel comfortable telling me what they think. Giving me their ideas.

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

Doug Hanson: First and foremost is to protect our citizens. Work to see they feel safe and secure in our city. Second, to maintain a balanced budget, working to find new revenue and managing our expenses.  Third, is to assist the owners of the shopping center at Cook and Highway 111 find tenants for their vacant buildings. Fourth, work with the Hotels to create marketing plans to bring more visitors to our city. Fifth, get the vacant land at Miles and Highway 111 developed and sixth, complete an affordable housing project west of Mountain View Villas.

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

Doug Hanson: Indian Wells relies heavily on tourist business.  We need to find ways to bring our visitors back to the valley and the city.  If we can do that it will go a long way to helping our city’s economy.  Get the tennis tournament back next year will also help.  Reduce our loses at the Golf Resort. All of these ideas will happen when the governor opens up the state and Riverside County in particular.
You are all well-known.

UR: What is one thing people don’t know about you?

Doug Hanson: That I love Pinto Beans, Corn Bread, and West Virginia Hotdogs.

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

Doug Hanson: Mayor Peabody has shown great leadership during the Covid 19 crisis.  It’s not in my nature to second guess why people do what they do.  Personally I am an asset builder. I would not sell assets unless absolutely necessary.   I like to create recurring revenue streams.

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

Doug Hanson: Let’s see, I will start with Greg Sanders: He is a Rotarian like me and he served his country like me. Kimberly Muzik: She appears to be a very kind person and also a Rotarian. Donna Griffith: she seems to genuinely be interested in the success of the Golf Resort. Kathy Strong: I don’t know.

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