Greg Sanders Sets Sights on One of Three Open Council Seats

INDIAN WELLS — Greg Sanders, an attorney specializing in planning and zoning law, has designs on one of three opens seats on the City Council in the Nov. 3 election. Each of the seats is a four-year term.

In addition to Sanders, qualified candidates are: Donna Griffith, Douglas Hanson, Kimberly Muzik and Kathy Strong.

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

Uken Report (UR): Why specifically do you want to be on the City Council?

Greg Sanders: I am running for the City Council because I have the expertise and leadership experience to address the three most significant challenges facing Indian Wells:  i) a pandemic-induced financial hardship resulting from a steep decline in tourism and cancellation of Tennis Garden events that may cause a 60-70% loss of the City’s annual revenue; ii) a State mandate that Indian Wells facilitate construction of nearly 300 affordable housing units without regard for whether the city has adequate residential land and traffic and other infrastructure to accommodate such large scale new development; and iii) the need to ensure that any new resort hotel development mitigate all noise, traffic and other impacts so that residents of Indian Wells are not adversely impacted.

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

Greg Sanders: A successful marriage with three productive, creative and independent children (a daughter and two sons).

UR: How do you define leader and leadership?

Greg Sanders: A good leader is a person who has the vision to accomplish a worthy goal, the will to persevere through multiple failures, and the ability to persuade others to join in the pursuit of ultimate success by gaining their respect and confidence.  Leadership is the embodiment of those principles.  In the case of elective office, leadership includes an attitude that one serves to lead and constantly asks three important questions:  Who am I serving?  How can I best serve?  Am I making a unique contribution while I am serving?

UR: Do you fit this definition?

Greg Sanders: I hope so.  I learned leadership skills hands on – as an infantry officer in the Army.  Leadership requires engendering the respect and confidence of those you seek to persuade to follow.

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

Greg Sanders:  My top three goals for Indian Wells are i) broadening the tax/revenue base of the City; ii) preserving and enhancing police protection by exploring opportunities with neighboring cities for cooperative public safety initiatives that take advantage of economies of scale resulting in lower costs; and iii) resolution of the State affordable housing mandate by partnering with neighboring cities to locate sites for development of affordable housing that make economic and good planning sense.

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

Greg Sanders: Indian Wells is very tourist dependent.  The City must engage in an aggressive advertising campaign on its own and in concert with regional entities such as the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract tourists to the City’s hotels (which offer many amenities for extended stays).  The City should also work with the Tennis Garden management to explore additional events that may be hosted there.  The City should work with Tennis Garden management to expand parking capacity to ease congestion in the area surrounding the facility.  Additional Tennis Garden events will boost the City’s economy and will result in additional admissions and transient occupancy tax revenues on which the City government depends.

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

Greg Sanders:  I am an author (Bait:  The Battle of Kham Duc and articles on the Vietnam War and Abraham Lincoln) and instructor on the Vietnam War (OLLI at Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus and at Cal State Fullerton).

UR: Is there one decision which City Council has made with which you strongly disagree?

Greg Sanders: While I appreciate the job that the current City Council has done with the City’s finances, I would have formulated and published a proposed “doomsday” budget that would have to be implemented in the event the pandemic lingers, tourists do not return soon and Tennis Garden events scheduled for 2021 are cancelled.  Such a budget requires cutting costs (which should be a continuing priority) and adherence to basic priorities.  The top priority must be public safety – police, fire and emergency medical services.

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

Greg Sanders: Kimberly Muzik, a fellow Rotarian, is a very gracious and friendly person.  Doug Hanson, also a Rotarian, served his country in the United States Navy.  While I do not know Donna Griffith personally, by reputation she is very dedicated to the City of Indian Wells, having served for many years on the City’s Golf Committee.  I do not know Kathy Strong personally; however, by reputation, she is knowledgeable and friendly.

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