Third try for Joe Johnson could be a charm

LA QUINTA — When it comes to the election ballot for La Quinta City Council, the name Joe Johnson is familiar. Johnson, a retired investigator for the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs, ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2016 and 2018.

Johnson is among four political newcomers — Richard Gray, Brian Hanrahan, and Deborah McGarrey — and one incumbent to have qualified to appear on the November ballot, according to a public records request to La Quinta City Clerk Monika Radeva. Council members are elected at large, so the top two vote-getters will win the council seats.

Incumbent John Peña, a member of the City Council since 2014, is seeking another four-year term. Peña served as mayor from 1988 to 2002,

The other incumbent up for re-election, Robert Radi, is not seeking re-election.

Mayor Linda Evans will face two challengers — Alan Woodruff and Robert Sylk — in her bid for a fifth term as mayor in the Nov. 8 election. In La Quinta, council members serve four-year terms, the mayor is elected every two years.

Registered city voters will also decide whether to approve a ballot initiative to prohibit short-term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods. You may read the city attorney’s impartial analysis by clicking here.

Uken Report reached out to all City Council candidates with identical questions. Following are Johnson’s answers.

Uken Report (UR): Who or what motivated to run for City Council at this time?

Johnson: I believe our current City Council has lost its way and has prioritized development over the quality of life of currently residents. l am hoping to be an independent voice of the people not holding to any corporate or special interest groups.

UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent(s)?

Johnson: I believe I bring to the table skills lacking among other candidates.  My knowledge of law (juris doctor), graduate level accounting and working for a larger government agency along with my investigative skills gives me the ability to analyze contracts and obligations often rubber stamped by this Council.  I also believe I have common sense and will look at projects with greater scrutiny.

UR: What can you bring to the City Council that is currently missing?

Johnson: Currently the Council votes 5-0 on almost every motion.  There may as well be one person making the decisions. I bring another point of view to many issues where discussion and compromise could bring better solutions

UR: What is the single most important endorsement you have and why?

Johnson: I am endorsed by our former mayor and both mayoral challengers.  They know the importance of having someone who can help the city and not just go along.

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

Johnson: As an investigator I was responsible for the largest cases during my time at DCA.  I was also a good manager and organizer and supervised the Consumer Protection and Real Estate Fraud sections.  I turned the Dispute Settlement section into an award-winning mediation service in Los Angeles County.  I built and established the first Identity Theft unit.

UR: What is the single biggest issue facing La Quinta and why?

Johnson: The single biggest issue in my opinion is changing zoning to accommodate development that will waste our water when we are facing a drought with no known end.

UR: What will you propose to do about it?

Johnson: I will do everything I can to stop zoning changes just to accommodate development without regard for residents and our future.

UR: Is there one decision with City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?

Johnson: It appears to me that the city looks for revenue to cover up their many mistakes.  I believe there is so much money wasted, the city shouldn’t be selling their soul for revenue from hurtful projects.  SilverRacket,  full time STVRs in residential neighborhoods, cameras at intersections no one monitors, a wave park in the desert, all are costly problems in money and/or quality of life.





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