Holstege, McCulloch Discuss their Voting Records, Endorsements, Economy
PALM SPRINGS — As the Nov. 3 election inches closer, Christy Holstege, Mike McCulloch and Dian Torres are stepping up their efforts in District 4 with campaign literature in residential mailboxes, virtual meet-and-greets and neighborhood walks.
District 4 is located primarily east of Sunrise Way and south of Ramon Road. Some of the neighborhoods included in the district are Los Compadres, Melody Ranch and Sonora Sunrise.
The district, according to the city, has an estimated 9,100 residents. Its voting-age population of roughly 7,400 residents is 80% Caucasian 12% Latinx according to city figures.
The closer it gets to Election Day, the more questions voters seem to have as they seek to make an informed choice. Uken Report has posed numerous questions to the candidates during the past several weeks and they have been generous with their time in responding.
We heard residents asking questions, so we posed some of those to the trio of candidates. Here we go.
Uken Report: Did you vote in the 2016 presidential election? Why or why not?
McCulloch: I have voted in every presidential election since 1980.
Holstege: Yes, I have voted in every presidential election since I registered to vote at age 18. I was proud to cast my vote for possibly the first female president in United States history and vote decisively against Donald Trump who is threatening our democracy and the rights of our communities. Voting in 2016 (and especially in 2020) was an incredibly important moment for the future of our country and I would not have missed the opportunity to cast my vote.
Uken Report: Have you voted in any of the City Council elections between 2012-2018? Why or why not?
McCulloch: I have voted in every City Council election since my return to the city in 1987. Local elections are very important as council decisions affect the quality of our lives, every day.
Holstege: Yes, I have been involved in local politics in Palm Springs since 2011/2012 when my husband and I moved to Palm Springs after graduating from law school. I have not only voted in council elections, but I have volunteered on city council campaigns and supported local candidates.
I truly believe all politics is local and we can make the differences we want to see in our communities by not only voting in local elections but also working to help get true public servants who support our values elected into office at the city level. While national elections are important, City Council affects all of the areas that are important in our everyday lives: housing and homelessness, jobs and the economy, sustainability and our environment, parks and open space, our quality of life, and now, even our public health through this pandemic.
Torres: No response
Uken Report: Tell me your top 3 endorsements.
Holstege: Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD; Equality California; The Sierra Club
Torres: No response
UR: What specific plans do you have for economic development in the city? When COVID-19 grabbed a hold on Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, I heard and read comments on Facebook that Palm Springs needs to diversify its economy and not be so reliant on tourism. Do you agree?
McCulloch: The pandemic has caused the diversification of the Palm Springs economy in an unexpected way. As people are allowed to continue to work remotely they are fleeing big cities like San Francisco and Seattle and settling in Palm Springs long before they retire. The housing market in Palm Springs has greatly benefited with increased prices and low inventory. These new arrivals are here to stay and understand the gracious quality of life Palm Springs offers. This phenomenon has eclipsed all previous efforts to attract new industry and business here.
City government needs to increase outreach to business operators before taking steps “to help business” like closing down Palm Canyon Drive without enough consultation and planning. Some retailers who rely heavily on foot-traffic were caught unaware and are now struggling for their very survival. When I was on council, I attended every meeting of the Palm Springs Economic Development Corporation. That organization was dedicated to diversifying our economy. There were many obstacles to getting industry to move here. However, COVID has changed everything. Ironically our tourism industry is booming. And Palm Springs is more attractive than ever. The new residents here have imported their businesses along with them building in diversification that Palm Springs has long dreamed of having. Substantively supporting those new businesses should be the priority of City Hall.
Holstege: Yes, Palm Springs needs to diversify our economy so that we are not so dependent on the ups and downs of the tourism economy, our city’s revenue is more guaranteed during downturns, and we provide higher-paying jobs in the city. In order to do so, we need to support our local businesses, invest in industries like green energy, continue smart economic growth to ensure our city survives the economic crisis due to the pandemic, expand internet infrastructure to allow for telecommuting workers and jobs of the future, and ensure we guarantee and expand good paying, living wage jobs in Palm Springs. I have been working on these issues and policies over the last three years and I will continue to work to make progress on diversifying our economy to other sectors.
While serving on City Council, I have led our city’s economic development and business retention subcommittee, holding monthly meetings with local businesses and workers. From that, we have brought forward economic policies like: a program to provide matching city dollars for businesses to improve their storefronts and improve outdated buildings, an incentive program to renovate small boutique hotels, and programs to support apprentice programs, living wage jobs, and local hiring requirements. I have also led our re-opening and re-entry task force to ensure that we keep our businesses, residents, and workers safe during the pandemic by requiring masks in local businesses, requiring social distancing in our city, issuing specific regulations to protect workers, allowing businesses to expand outdoors, ensuring enforcement of city orders, and leading a public awareness campaign to educate tourists and residents.
We have also invested in expanding our economy by recruiting new types of businesses, gathering economic data to share with potential new businesses, expanding green energy jobs, supporting start-ups in Palm Springs through the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and iHub, and working regionally on issues like internet access, all of which which we should continue to expand.
This year, one of the top issues facing our city are economic survival and recovery through the pandemic, ensuring the success of our downtown and other business corridors, and supporting our small businesses and workers. If re-elected, this will be my top priority.
Torres: No response
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