Lisa Middleton, a retired senior vice president of Internal Affairs for the State Compensation Insurance Fund of the State of California is vying for one of two open seats on the Palm Springs City Council.
Middleton, 65, joins Judy Deertrack, Glenn Flood, Harry Hampton, Christy Holstege and Robert Stone on the ticket.
Uken Report submitted questions to each candidate and all accepted.
Each candidate received identical questions. Their answers appear as they were submitted and were not edited or altered.
Question: Exactly why are you running?
Answer: Palm Springs is the best place I have ever lived. I am running to keep it that way for all of us. I am running because I believe that I am the best qualified candidate to build on the strengths of this remarkable city.
Question: What quality do you have that you believe your opponents do not? In other words, what sets you apart?
Answer: I bring 36 years of increasingly responsible experience working in government with the State of California. I have leadership ability and a proven consensus-building record as the 2015-2106 Chair of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS). I know how this city government works having served for three years on the Planning Commission and that will allow me to hit the ground running as a member of the City Council.
Question: How much to you expect to spend on your race?
Answer: To date I have raised approximately $100,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from over 300 people and numerous organizations.
Question: Who is your political role model?
Answer: There are two individuals that I consider political role models:
Barbara Jordon. I keep a framed copy of her obituary by Molly Ivins in my office — “She was always a First and an Only. First woman, only black………The degree of prejudice she had to overcome by intelligence and sheer force of personality is impossible to overestimate. She wasn’t just black and female: she was homely, she was heavy and she was dark black.” She was also, while not out, a lesbian and spent her last years with her partner Nancy Earl. She was a passionate advocate, who could reason with those on the other side of the argument. To listen to Barbara Jordon speak was to be enveloped in her intelligence, wit and that commanding voice of reason.
Kenny Hahn. He was common looking, he was not a good public speaker, but he was absolutely honest, thoughtful and got things done. He served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1952 to 1992. A white man he won ten elections in an overwhelmingly black district. He never missed an event in his district and made certain his constituents got the best of every day public services. He served long before cell phones and was the originator of freeway call boxes. He was responsible for the first public paramedic services. Lots of people talk about practical solutions. Kenny Hahn walked the walk.
Question: What are the three most notable endorsements you have received to date?
Answer: I have over three hundred public endorsements, including Congressman Raul Ruiz, Supervisor Manny Perez and California State Controller Betty Yee.
Question: Who recruited you, or did you decide to run on your own?
Answer: I heard from dozens of people across Palm Springs encouraging me to run. Knowing that I would enjoy the support of my family and a broad cross-section of voters was very important; but ultimately the decision to run was my own.
Question: What will you specifically do to restore trust in City Hall?
Answer: You can’t restore trust with words or promises, only actions can do that. The people will judge me by what I do and how I do it. I have promised to always listen. I have promised to hold “office hours” open to all every week at City Hall. I will meet at least once a year in every one of our 44 neighborhoods. I will work to have every one of the 97 pages of recommendations of the Ethics, Transparency and Government Reform Task Force acted on by the end of 2018.
Question: Do you consider yourself a liberal, conservative or moderate and what does that mean to you?
Answer: I am not a fan of labels. I am a proud Democrat. Across the board on policy questions, I consistently support progressive causes; but at the same time, I am temperamentally a moderate. I am concerned by the ever-increasing polarization and isolation of our politics and information sources. We are losing our ability to compromise, to address major issues and to implement lasting reform.
Question: Is it appropriate for Palm Springs City Council candidates to accept campaign contributions from outside Palm Springs?
Answer: I have accepted contributions from people outside of Palm Springs. They are individuals who care deeply about electing common-sense progressives to public office. In addition, many individuals from across the country recognize the importance of my election as I will the first transgender person elected to a City Council in the state of California. Recently, I was introduced to a seven-year old transgender girl from San Diego who wanted to meet me. I am proud that my support is overwhelming from Palm Springs, but I know this election will mean something to many people outside of my town.
Question: What is the single biggest challenge facing Palm Springs?
Answer: There are many challenges facing our city – homelessness, long and short-term budget obligations and public safety stand at the top of any list. It is not however, just a slogan – Palm Springs is a very unique and different city. We are small city of 45,000 permanent residents and a world-class destination that draws both visitors and new residents from all over the world. Palm Springs has a legacy of attracting the best of the arts, architecture and philanthropy to our city. We are a city of volunteers, diversity and incomparable talent. I think the biggest challenge we have is keeping it all in balance. The miracle of Palm Springs is that we are both a small city of neighborhoods and neighbors; and a world-class city that receives over 5 million visitors a year.