People are taking aim from every direction.
At least 10 elected local leaders from Cathedral City, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Indio are throwing their political muscle behind one of the incumbents’ chief rivals, Katherine “Kate” Spates. These are elected leaders who have worked side-by-side with Hobart for more than 15 years who are now supporting one of his chief competitors. It begs the question as to whether they have lost confidence in Hobart’s leadership.
The local leaders to date are: Stan Henry, mayor, Cathedral City; Linda Evans, mayor, La Quinta; Kimberly Muzik, mayor, Indian Wells; Sabby Jonathan, mayor, Palm Desert; Michael Wilson; mayor, Indio; Lupe Ramos Watson, councilwoman, Indio; Elaine Holmes, councilwoman, Indio; Steve Sanchez; councilman, La Quinta; Robert Radi, councilman, La Quinta; and Jan Harnik, councilwoman, Palm Desert.
In an email that is making the rounds among elected officials, Hobart is referred to as “autocratic” even “psychotic.” The email that landed on this desk showed that it was sent or forwarded from Evans to Harnik, Wilson, and Tom Kirk, executive director of the Coachella Valley of Governments. Since then, the email has spread like wildfire.
Skip Paige is supporting Spates in the upcoming election. He minced no words in a recent post on the Uken Report Facebook page.
“G Dana Hobart has been in office for 16 years,” Paige wrote. “He’s made his mark now let someone else have a shot. He is so afraid of losing that he will do anything to keep his spot. The other incumbents don’t even think for themselves. Dana prepares taking points for the others prior to council meetings. There is rarely a dissenting voice. Everyone just falls in line … G Dana Hobart wants to control everything. Many residents and local business owners are afraid of him. It’s like it’s his city and everyone has to do what he wants. He’s just (a) bully.
Michael Harrington, a family law attorney and a candidate in the April election, filed two complaints against Hobart in as many weeks with the City Clerk. In one complaint, Harrington alleged Hobart has violated the Code of Fair Campaign Practices. In the other, Harrington alleged Hobart libeled him.
Robert Mueller, also a candidate in the upcoming election, said that all current City Council members seem to be good, sincere folks.
However, he added, “After having observed City Council dynamics for several years, one does get the impression that Mr. Hobart exerts a leading, if not dominant, Council presence. Predictably, in the (16) years Mr. Hobart has served on the Council, he has accrued ardent proponents and strong antagonists. Though the city is financially strong, it has unfortunately become an isolated island in the Coachella Valley, unable or unwilling to participate in some regional solutions to regional problems. More troubling, the council itself has become isolated from its citizens, according to many Rancho Mirage residents with whom I’ve spoken. If it is impossible to change the Council’s mind-set, it becomes necessary to change the Council members. Time for a fresh voice.”
Hobart, first elected to the City Council in 2002, has served longer than anyone on the City Council.
Charles Townsend Vinci, who is also seeking re-election in the April 10 election, was elected to the Rancho Mirage City Council in 2014. From 2016, he was Mayor Pro Tem and on April 20, 2017, he was sworn in as the Mayor of Rancho Mirage.
The third incumbent seeking re-election is Iris Smotrich. She was first appointed by the Rancho Mirage City Council on July 7, 2011. In 2012, she ran unopposed and was reappointed by the City Council to serve for a two-year term. In 2014, she ran for office and won.
Ultimately none of the outsiders will have a say in the election. The only who will have a say are the registered voters of Rancho Mirage.