Evan Trubee makes another run for Palm Desert City Council

PALM DESERT — Five candidates, including incumbent Councilmember and current Mayor Jan Harnik, will be on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election. Both council seats up for grabs are in District 2, which includes about 80% of the city’s population and has four council members — two elected every two years.

The other incumbent from District 2, Sabby Jonathan, is not seeking re-election, which guarantees that at least one new face will join the five-member council.

Along with Harnik, Gregg Akkerman, Carlos Garcia, Gregory Meinhardt and Evan Trubee have qualified as candidates for the council seats.

This will be Palm Desert’s first election with ranked-choice voting.

Only District 2 voters will decide who will fill the chairs on the dais, but all residents will be asked whether Palm Desert should switch from two to five voting districts.

The question is straightforward:

“In Palm Desert now, District 1 (the area surrounding Civic Center with 20% of the population) selects one Council representative every four years, and District 2 (the other 80% of the City) votes for a total of four Council representatives, picking two representatives every two years. Should District 2 be divided into four smaller districts, with all voters electing a single person from their smaller district every four years?” Yes? No?

The ballot measure is an advisory vote only, meaning the City Council will make a final decision on the districts after Palm Desert residents weigh in at the polls. The city shifted to its two-district system in the 2020 election as part of a settlement agreement in a voting rights lawsuit filed in 2019.

The election will also feature a new voting method, using the ranked-choice system in the District 2 City Council race. Ranked-choice voting, which was implemented as part of the same lawsuit agreement, allows voters to rank up to three candidates by preference.

Palm Desert is the first in Riverside County to make the change to a ranked-choice system, though it has been used in a few California cities, including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

Uken Report posed identical questions to all qualified candidates.

UR: Occupation

Evan Trubee: Owner, Big Wheel Tours outdoor adventure company, and Assistant Coach Xavier College Prep Cross Country

UR: Who or what motivated to run for City Council at this time?

Evan Trubee: I am running for Palm Desert City Council because I want to make sure that we preserve our community’s quality of life.  My campaign slogan that I created in 2020, “Protecting Palm Desert’s Future” still holds true today.  Palm Desert has been blessed with great leaders who have guided our city to the enviable position that we are in today.   I am looking to continue that tradition.

UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent(s)?

Evan Trubee: I believe that my combination of longevity (I have lived in Palm Desert since 1993), service to the community as a youth sports coach and on the Resource Preservation and Enhancement Committee and Public Safety Commission, and my involvement in and awareness of City Council activity over the years makes me the best choice to lead Palm Desert.  In addition, I have “skin in the game.” I own a business here, I own both commercial real estate and a home in the city, and my children have all gone to school here in Palm Desert.   All of these things give me a depth and breadth of familiarity with the city, its residents, its history and its culture that I believe puts me ahead of the field.

UR: What can you bring to the City Council that is currently missing?

Evan Trubee: Well, with Sabby Jonathan not seeking reelection there will be a change on City Council this November.   If I am lucky enough to win his seat, I will bring a little bit more youth (I am 51 years old), but I like the mix of perspectives that we would have on the council should I earn the seat.

UR: What is the single most important endorsement you have and why?   I have dozens of endorsements from citizens from all walks of life here in Palm Desert but the one that I am most proud of is my endorsement from Juan and Helen Mireles.   Juan served as city manager of El Monte for 30 years and Helen was their city clerk for 34 years.   They are both outstanding people of the highest integrity.   Juan served our country in Vietnam and is a purple heart recipient.  They know and understand good local government.   The fact that they trust me to guide our city forward gives me great faith and confidence in my campaign.

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

Evan Trubee: My family. I love them dearly and am proud of who we are, our places in the community and the love and support that we provide for one another.

UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Palm Desert and why?

Evan Trubee: Ensuring that that we continue our tradition of “smart growth.”  The northern portion of our city is booming and will continue to grow.   I want to make sure that with this expansion comes the same emphasis on public safety, amenities and services, and overall quality of life that our residents have always enjoyed.

UR: What will you propose to do about it?

Evan Trubee: Consider every issue with fiscal responsibility, public safety, and overall quality of life for our residents in mind. Those are the criteria that will guide me.

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

Evan Trubee: There is not a decision that I can think of that I STRONGLY disagree with.   With the benefit of hindsight, the El Paseo paint and crosswalk project hasn’t been quite as popular maybe as the council had hoped.

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

Evan Trubee: I rode my bicycle across the country from Seattle to New Jersey in 1993 and 1995 to raise money for Shelter from the Storm, a local home for battered women.

Image Sources

  • Evan Trubee and family: Evan Trubee