PALM SPRINGS — This community, an international tourist destination,  is a playground for some Hollywood celebrities and entertainers — and home to others.

One of those entertainers who called it home was the late Sonny Bono. He set a precedent in the community for entertainers not only running for public office but also winning.

Bono, half of iconic American music duo Sonny and Cher, served as mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992. He was elected as Republican to the House of U.S. Representatives in 1994. He served in the House until his death in 1998.

He wrote the ever-popular, I Got You Babe.” In August 1965, the single spent three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States where it sold more than 1 million copies and was certified Gold. It also reached number 1 in the United Kingdom and Canada. He was known for his music and comedy, not his political moxy.

Bono entered politics after experiencing great frustration with local government bureaucracy in trying to open a restaurant in Palm Springs, California. Bono made a successful bid to become the new mayor of Palm Springs. He was instrumental in spearheading the creation of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which is held each year in Bono’s memory.

The question as to whether entertainers are equipped to become local, state, or national politicians has surfaced in Palm Springs following Alfie Pettit’s political announcement. Pettit is seeking the lone seat in District 3.

Pettit, a drag queen, lists his occupation as an entertainer. Coffee klatches, happy hours, breakfasts, and more have been abuzz with his potential candidacy. He has his fans and supporters. Pettit also has his detractors. Among the naysayers are those who question the entertainer’s qualifications, his knowledge of local government, and govern beyond photo ops.

To date, Pettit has not publicly responded.

The decision in District 3 rests with registered voters. Pettit is challenging incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors.

In addition to Bono, numerous entertainers have run for — and won — political office.

Consider this list of entertainers:

  • Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan left the bright lights to serve first as California governor and then as U.S. president from 1981 to 1989.
  • Academy Award-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood Actor Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, Calif. in 1986. He was later appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission in 2001 under Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Fred Thompson, best know for his television role in “Law & Order,” served as a U.S. senator for Tennessee from 1994 to 2003. He also ran in the Republican presidential primaries in 2008, ultimately losing to the late Sen. John McCain.
  • Real estate mogul and reality TV personality Donald J. Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign and now serves as president of the Free World.

There are many other entertainers who sought a life in politics. Consider Jesse Ventura, Jerry Springer, World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, and Al Franken.

Below are the candidate qualifications for elected office:

  • Be registered to vote at their current residence in the City of Palm Springs.
  • Must reside in the district in which they are running.
    Obtain not less than 80 nor more than 120 voter signatures on the Nomination Paper.
  • A citizen of the United States.
  • Not disqualified from holding office by the Constitution or laws of the State of California.

The Nov. 5 Palm Springs City Council is about choices.



Image Sources

  • Sonny Bono: