PALM DESERT — Jan Harnik has a well-known passion for public service, which is why she wasted no time in seeking a third term on the Palm Desert City Council.
Harnik, 62, is a City Councilwoman and businesswoman who has lived in the Coachella Valley since 1977 and Palm Desert specifically for 20 years.
An eight-year incumbent, Harnik is one of five qualified candidates vying for two, four-year terms on the City Council in November. The others are:
- Sabby Jonathan, incumbent, Certified Public Accountant
- Kenneth Doran, challenger, retired
- Carlos Pineda
- Matt Monica, challenger, retired educator
Following are a series of questions Uken Report posed to Jan Harnik and her responses.
Uken Report (UR): Are you liberal or conservative and what does that mean?
Jan Harnik: Palm Desert has clear community values and I support them. Fiscal responsibility, public safety, protecting the natural environment, supporting businesses, arts and education, and transparency are integral to our community. Additionally, Palm Desert has great vision, is resilient, flexible and has a history of open-minded, creative solutions to issues presented. Some of these values may be described as liberal, some as conservative; I view them as values of a successful city. As a result, Palm Desert has a balanced budget and strong reserves, high quality pre-k through Ph.D. education, inviting parks and diverse recreation and activities for everyone, safe streets, inspirational arts programs, etc.
UR: Why specifically are you running?
Jan Harnik: Over the last two terms on Council we have achieved a lot and we are in the midst of many exciting and important projects — projects that will positively and significantly impact Palm Desert and the surrounding region. Having lived in the Coachella Valley for more than 40 years, watching the evolution and raising my children, I know that we must continue to broaden our economic base while supporting our tourism and hospitality industry. We are moving in that direction, making progress and we must continue. I understand that and I understand the process to do so.
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Palm Desert, why and what are you doing – or will you do – to correct it?
Jan Harnik: Understanding that there is no “single biggest issue” is critical. Issues do not exist in a silo. Think of a pebble dropped in a pond and you can visualize the impact even the smallest issue has on the entire city government and our community. Our City issues, e.g., infrastructure, education, homelessness, affordable housing, general fund revenue sources, health and wellness, etc., are linked and for the best results, these issues must be addressed holistically, taking all facets of the city into consideration.
UR: Where (in what area) do you think you can make the biggest difference?
Jan Harnik: My time and experience on City Council, knowing the history and understanding of the issues, are great assets and serve our current City Council and our community well. Also, having lived in the Coachella Valley for more than 40 years and understanding our community allows me to easily connect with our community members. My involvement with, and knowledge of, public safety, transportation, economic development and education are all assets to Palm Desert and my passion for service to our community is my motivation.