‘Being a lifelong resident gives me a unique view of our city and region as our city faces development pressures.’ — John Peña

LA QUINTA — John Peña, a staple of politics in this community, is hoping to secure another four-year term on the City Council in the Nov. 8 election. He has served as a member of the City Council since 2014 and served as mayor from 1988 to 2002.

Peña is among five City Council hopefuls — Deborah McGarrey, Joe Johnson, Brian Hanrahan, and Richard Gray — to appear on the November ballot. Council members are elected at large, so the top two vote-getters will win the council seats.

Incumbent 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 (UR) reached out to all City Council candidates with identical questions.  Hanrahan did not respond. Peña’s answers follow.

UR: Occupation

John Peña: Business Development Consultant

UR: Who or what motivated to run for City Council at this time?

John Peña: La Quinta continues to make major strides as a premier community in the Coachella Valley. I wish to continue working with a council that has our city as the primary focus to continue to develop as a world class destination while addressing and resolving issues that face our community. I am committed to serving La Quinta.

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

John Peña: My experience coupled with my ability to work with a diverse community in a non-adversarial approach. Being a lifelong resident gives me a unique view of our city and region as our city faces development pressures. I face the public every two weeks in council meetings. Several of my opponents sit at home never coming to council meetings to provide solutions and face the scrutiny of the public. They say what they think the public wants to hear without resident input.

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

John Peña: A historical perspective and years of experience and a voice for working families. My wife and I have had several businesses in La Quinta (Sherry’s Place) as well as our daughter’s business (Bunz) that gave me a perspective of what a businessperson faces while trying to make a living.

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

John Peña: The entire La Quinta City council. It demonstrates my ability to work with a city council to get things done. An effective council member needs to be able to work with others to initiate change when needed. I have also received endorsements from many elected officials throughout the Coachella Valley.

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

John Peña: Having developed La Quinta into a community that residents can be proud of. Out of office is raising two wonderful and successful children.

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

John Peña: Electric Power, in fill development and unfunded state mandates. Fitting new developments into existing areas in the city will continue to bring concerns to surrounding residents. The state continues to make demands on cities that stress the budgets while not realizing that one size does not fit all. Power and aging infrastructure will be the most pressing issue facing the eastern Coachella Valley.

UR: What will you propose to do about it?

John Peña: Continue to work with Indio, Coachella with La Quinta with (IID) Imperial Irrigation District to find solutions for both the long term and short term.

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

John Peña: Prior decisions by the City Council related to the development of SilverRock now Talus and the contract with the then-developer which the current City Council has had to amend several times.

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