Linda Evans Seeks Fourth Term as La Quinta Mayor

LA QUINTA — Linda Evans, first elected mayor in 2014 and currently in her third term, is seeking a fourth term in the Nov. 3 election.

Before becoming mayor, Evans had served as a member of the City Council since June 2009.

In addition to being mayor, Evans is Chief Strategy Officer of Community Advocacy for Desert Care Network.

Robert Sylk is challenging Evans in her bid for re-election.

Uken Report posed a series of similar questions to both candidates. Following are Evans’ responses.

Uken Report (UR): Why specifically do you want to be mayor?

Linda Evans: I’m honored to have served as LQ Mayor since 2014, and as a Council Member 5 years prior to that.  I am seeking re-election for Mayor to continue the progress we have achieved over the past few years, continue the momentum, and address and overcome the challenges that we face as a result of the pandemic and its impact on our community and economy.

Projects/opportunities underway that require further attention include the following:

  • Short-Term Vacation Rental Program
  • Economic Recovery due to COVID-19
  • SilverRock Hotels – Montage & Pendry
  • Storm Drain / Flood Control Enhancements – in process, but not yet finished
  • X-Park – Competition skate/bike/scooter park near LQ High School
  • CV Link – La Quinta’s 2-mile portion – to begin construction in late 2020/early 2021
  • Vision Highway 111 Corridor Plan – Transformation of retail/commercial tax base
  • North La Quinta Perimeter Landscaping – Using Measure G Funds – 4 year project – near completion

I remain driven by the support, participation, and engagement of our residents and am committed to them for the betterment of our city.  It’s a team effort – and I am grateful and humbled to be part of our La Quinta team.  I love La Quinta and plan to retire in La Quinta. I want to ensure its financial success and high standards for generations to follow. I desire to seek another term as Mayor, continue to serve as a role model for other women, and encourage the next generation to serve and become involved in local government and politics.

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

Uken Report: I’m blessed to have a loving and supportive husband, proud parents, and supportive siblings.  My life has been a progression of incremental successes through hard work, dedication, desire to serve, thoughtfulness toward others, inclusive care, and a good dose of good old American optimism that I learned from my parents.  I consider every achievement, whether personal (25 years of marriage), educational (2 Masters Degrees), professional (healthcare for 30+ years) or on Council/Mayor of La Quinta (11 years on Council) – collectively very rewarding accomplishments.

I have approached my service in the private and public sector with the same zest and enthusiasm I’ve had since my younger years.  This includes having to earn my way to pay for a trip to Ireland with my high school band at age 15 by babysitting, digging ditches, washing cars, selling school fundraiser items, and whatever odd job I could do.  Hard work continued during and after high school to work 2-3 jobs in order to pay for my college and later graduate education.  In my healthcare role, recruiting physicians to our area as they treat thousands of residents to improve their health is special to me.  I have been blessed in seeing the results of my work, through the highs and lows and everything in between.  As my healthcare and public service worlds collided because of COVID-19, I feel proud in my response to the call by functioning as a liaison between healthcare officials and elected officials in our region and County for information and advocacy towards the health of our community and the economy.

One of my guiding principles is developing strong personal and professional relationships.  To date, I feel this is a great accomplishment and the result of decades of dedication to serving others by supporting those who trusted my professionalism and ability to align people on complex issues.

UR: How do you define leader and leadership?

Linda Evans: I define a leader and leadership as action, not position.  It’s the ability to guide, mentor, and direct people/projects to achieve results.  It’s being a visionary – and having purpose.   It’s the ability to engage the stakeholders, forming a coalition of the willing, and then building a shared vision together.   Vision requires the courage of breaking the fears of the past, the perceived constraints of the present, and embracing the opportunities of the future by taking calculated risks while understanding the function of time in what needs to be done to achieve the shared vision. A leader must be a holistic thinker and have the ability to identify all the nodes in the environment he/she/they operates, and that means being able to engage others on a consistent basis to ensure that the full picture of the issues is fully visible to all involved.  Leadership is about outlasting and outperforming, and public leadership specifically is the ability to work restlessly without the expectation of enjoying the results (although La Quinta has enjoyed many positive results!).

Do you fit this definition?  Yes. This is my leadership philosophy, and yes, I live by this definition.

UR: What are your top three goals for La Quinta?

Linda Evans: My top areas of focus for La Quinta are:

  • Economic Recovery due to COVID-19
  • Short-Term Vacation Rental Program Revisions
  • SilverRock Hotels – Montage & Pendry Development

Other priorities include the following:

  • Storm Drain / Flood Control Enhancements – in process, but not yet finished
  • X-Park – Competition skate/bike/scooter park near LQ High School
  • CV Link – La Quinta’s 2-mile portion – to begin construction in late 2020/early 2021
  • Vision Highway 111 Corridor Plan – Transformation of retail/commercial tax base
  • North La Quinta Perimeter Landscaping – Using Measure G Funds – 4 year project – near completion

UR: COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Coachella Valley’s economy. What specifically will you do to help La Quinta rebound?

Linda Evans: La Quinta has been a LEADER in our valley and county in regards to responding to and supporting our businesses and residents during the pandemic.  Our City quickly responded to help mitigate the impacts on residents and businesses by taking the following actions:

  • Developed a COVID-19 microsite on the city’s website with Federal, State, County, Regional, and Local resources for residents, businesses, and visitors – to keep everyone informed;
  • Implemented executive orders to ensure enforcement of State/County orders to assist with flattening the curve to avert a surge to our local hospitals;
  • Executed a digital marketing and education campaign with various COVID-19 information messages;
  • Developed and implemented the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Economic Relief Programs with an allocation of $1.5 million to small businesses;
  • Developed an Al Fresco Program to provide financial support for restaurants creating additional outdoor space to comply with the State Industry Standards to remain open;
  • Established a food distribution partnership and donated $40,000 to FIND Food Bank to provide food for LQ residents in need;
  • Started a friendly caller program to provide a social connection with residents to ensure their needs are met;
  • Utilized the La Quinta Museum for childcare (collaboration with the YMCA) for children of essential workers;
  • Manufactured face shields at our Creation Station for local hospitals;
  • Provided financial support for local homeless shelters and programs;
  • Expanded Code Compliance service hours and coverage to better manage short-term vacation rental issues;
  • Participated in various Federal, State, County, and Regional emergency management and COVID-19 update calls;
  • Served as a leader and advocate amongst Valley Mayors and businesses to County and State officials in providing status on hospital activity/surge to assist in decision-making for local jurisdictions;
  • Authored letters to County and State officials (either for LQ, several valley mayors, county-wide Mayors, and local entities (PSAM & The Living Desert) to advocate and support re-opening businesses, request relief/CARES funding, and ensure health and safety (masks, space, distancing);
  • In my healthcare position, I assisted the County with the first drive-through COVID-19 testing site in the Coachella Valley by working at the site and facilitating the process for the first few weeks.

Our efforts to support our residents, businesses and city services will continue.  Our efforts to effectively manage expenses with our revenues have always occurred – regardless of a pandemic – and will continue as well.  I’ve served with La Quinta through the last recession, the loss of redevelopment funds, and now COVID-19.  Our Council, city staff, volunteers, residents, and business owners take pride in La Quinta – I’m proud to be part of such a passionate group of people who work hard – together – for the betterment of our community.

UR: You are both well-known. What is one thing people don’t know about you?

Linda Evans: When I was a little girl, we grew tomatoes in our backyard.  I would dress up in my denim overalls and go door-to-door to sell tomatoes to my neighbors to earn money (my family didn’t have much).  This was in addition to the housecleaning, car washing and babysitting I would do.

I am passionate about my hard work, energy and enthusiasm for our city, and would be grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the residents and businesses of La Quinta.


Image Sources

  • Linda Evans: Linda Evans