The most important endorsement Gregg Akkerman has received might surprise you
PALM DESERT — Gregg Akkerman, a retired professor of music for the University of South Carolina. is one of five people vying for one of two seats in the Nov. 8 election to represent District 2. Each of the seats is a four-year term.
The seats are currently held by incumbents Jan Harnik and Sabby Jonathan. Harnik is seeking re-election, Jonathan is not.
Palm Desert is comprised of two geographical districts, with one member of the City Council representing District 1, which is comprised of approximately 20% of the city’s population, and four members of the City Council representing District 2, which contains approximately 80% of the city’s population. Terms are staggered with three seats available during one election cycle and two seats available during the next cycle. The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are selected from the membership of the City Council to preside at City Council meetings and to act as the ceremonial head of the city.
Uken Report asked all five candidates identical questions. They were all given a specific deadline and no word limit. Akkerman and Carlos Garcia responded immediately. Therefore, their responses will be published first. The others will be published as they are received.
Uken Report (UR): Who or what motivated to run for City Council at this time?
Akkerman: I was motivated by a family discussion around the kitchen table during the Covid shutdown about how I can give back to our city of Palm Desert. I began by becoming the president of my neighborhood HOA. Next, I volunteered to serve on two Palm Desert Commissions. And now, serving on the city council is how I can best be an advocate for all of Palm Desert.
UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent(s)?
Akkerman: I am the only candidate who grew up in the Palm Desert area. No one else has a deeper appreciation of our history and how we’ve grown from a city of date groves and vacant lots to a thriving resort destination.
UR: What can you bring to the City Council that is currently missing?
Akkerman: As the primary caregiver to my 91-year-old mom, I would make better access to senior care an issue for Palm Desert to address.
UR: What is the single most important endorsement you have and why?
Akkerman: I know what you’re asking but I will answer by saying the most important endorsement I’ve received so far is from my wife, Kathy. This endeavor only happens because I know she has my back. For the more conventional endorsements I’ve received, please click here.
UR: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment either in or out of office?
Akkerman: I feel great satisfaction knowing that as a university professor I counseled thousands of young adults through their college experience and into careers where they would be contributing members of their communities.
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Palm Desert and why?
Akkerman: Water conservation is our biggest long-term issue. Everything we see and hear says we have to prepare now for the new normal of having less water.
UR: What will you propose to do about it?
Akkerman: Palm Desert needs to lead by example and conserve water wherever possible. Recently, a developer stated that the Desert Willow golf course be altered to use 24 million gallons less water per year. I would follow up on that and see where else similar savings could be made.
UR: Is there one decision with City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?
Akkerman: I disagree with the decision to make the 5-district ballot issue only an “advisory” vote. We should trust the voters to settle it one way or the other.
UR: You are all well-known. What is one thing people don’t know about you?
Akkerman: I worked for years sailing the world as a cruise ship piano bar entertainer, and I still perform occasionally in the area.
- Gregg Akkerman: Gregg Akkerman