Elected local officials across the Coachella Valley are queueing up to endorse Katherine R. “Kate” Spates for a seat on the Rancho Mirage City Council.

It could make for some awkward, even tense, relationships moving forward.

Those who have publicly announced their support for Spates, 50, a public relations consultant, are:

  • Linda Evans; mayor, city of La Quinta
  • Kimberly Muzik, mayor, city of Indian Wells
  • Sabby Jonathan; mayor, city of Palm Desert
  • Michael Wilson; mayor, city of Indio
  • Lupe Ramos; councilwoman, city of Indio
  • Steve Sanchez; councilman, city of La Quinta
  • Robert Radi, councilman, city of La Quinta
  • Jan Harnik; councilwoman, city of Palm Desert
Local Officials Rally Around Kate Spates

Sabby Jonathan

“I like and respect all the members of the Rancho Mirage City Council and have good relationships with all of them,” Jonathan told Uken Report. “I think Kate brings a fresh perspective, vibrancy, and an ability to work more cooperatively with the other Coachella Valley cities. I think her fresh perspective could be beneficial to not only the residents of Rancho Mirage but also the Coachella Valley.

Jonathan reiterated his respect for the incumbent City Councilors, adding, “I have no vendetta against anyone. I just think Kate would be a positive addition. It’s up to the voters.”

All local leaders in the valley could support opponents but  the ultimate power, as Jonathan said, rests with those who mail in their ballot for  the April 10 election. As of Feb. 6, there were 9,866 registered voters in Rancho Mirage.

Pressed to identify the areas on which he thinks Rancho Mirage could work more cooperatively with other valley cities, Jonathan immediately ticked off a list of three: homelessness, the Community Choice Aggregation program for the Coachella Valley, and projects of the Cove Commission.

Community Choice Aggregation, developed by the Coachella Association of Governments, allows cities and counties to pool or aggregate their buying power to secure electrical energy supply contracts on a region-wide basis, and to offer competitive rates to their consumers with the option of purchasing power from greener sources.

Rancho Mirage not only rejected the CCA program, it went outside the valley to find its own.

The city has also declined to participate in CVAG’s homelessness program.

Rancho Mirage voters also rejected participating in the CV Link. CVAG is the lead agency on the transportation corridor.

The common denominator is, of course, CVAG, which is led by Tom Kirk. There is longstanding history of bad blood between Kirk and G. Dana Hobart, mayor pro tem of Rancho Mirage and who is scheduled to become mayor in April, if re-elected.

Rancho Mirage, along with Indian Wells, also refused to help pay for a new, $221,000 generator at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert last year. The Center serves the cove communities of Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage. The opposing cities doubted the importance of a new, bigger generator and the cost.

Some local leaders have spoken openly, lamenting how Rancho Mirage is isolating itself from the rest of the valley. Some have called it “elitist.”

Local Officials Rally Around Kate Spates

Mayor Michael H. Wilson

Indio Mayor Michael H. Wilson said he has worked with Spates for many years. He described her as a bright talent who has an ability to connect and work with residents and elected officials throughout the Coachella Valley.

“Kate Spates understands in today’s political climate that collaboration and regionalization is the way to lift cities up and make everyone successful,” Wilson said. “I believe Kate Spates has the leadership and understanding that a rising tide floats all boats and, thus, will work to bring Rancho Mirage back into working with all Coachella Valley cities instead of the current self-alienation that has occurred. Kate Spates will make Rancho Mirage proud and will make an outstanding City Council member.”


Lupe Ramos Watson

Lupe Ramos Watson described Spates as a local leader, businesswoman and community representative with whom she has had the privilege to work with throughout the Coachella Valley.

“From her early years as a child growing up in the city to her leadership with the Children’s Museum in Rancho Mirage and the College of the Desert Foundation, Kate has demonstrated her commitment and passion for building a community that all families can be proud of.,” Ramos Watson said. “Kate is a product of our Coachella Valley and the face of the new Rancho Mirage.”

Spates is one of six candidates vying for three seats on the five-member panel. The terms of three incumbents – G. Dana Hobart, Iris Smotrich and Charles Townsend Vinci – are set to expire.

To register to vote or check voter registration status, please visit the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website at www.voteinfo.net or call (800) 773-8683.

To register to vote or check voter registration status, visit the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website or call (800) 773-8683. The deadline to register or re-register to vote for any election is 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the 15th calendar day before that election.

Image Sources

  • Mike_wilson: Michael H. Wilson