Gale force political winds pummeled the Coachella Valley leaving behind some debris and some diamonds. You decide which is which.

All of it scattered into the pages of this reporter’s notebook. So, let’s get started and empty it.

♦ ♦ ♦


Joy Silver

Every once in a while, an ambitious candidate comes along and collects enough signatures in lieu of paying a filing fee. Joy Silver, the Democratic candidate for California’s 28th Senate District is one of those once-in-a-while candidates. She needed 2,000 signatures to meet that threshold and delivered 2,900 signatures, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. Do not underestimate this woman’s drive, determination and grit.

In what some said could not be done for a political newcomer, Silver collected nearly $160,000 for her state Senate campaign in the last six months of 2017, outraising incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Stone by a 3 to 1 margin.

She is like a television series cliffhanger. She leaves you wondering what’s coming next.

♦ ♦ ♦


Jan Harnik

Jan Harnik, a member of the Palm Desert City Council, announced that her campaign for Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor is hosting a Signature Party. She must submit 60-plus signatures of qualified registered voters to the Riverside County Registrar of voters to qualify for the June ballot.

Harnik is seeking the seat now held by V. Manuel “Manny” Perez.

Her Signature Party is set for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12 at O’s American Kitchen (formerly Pat and Oscar’s) in Westfield Palm Desert next to Macy’s on the second floor.

Perez currently has a significant lead in fundraising over his challenger. He raised more than $280,000 during the most recent fundraising period and has a cash-on-hand total of $486,115, a lead of about $175,000 over his opponent.

Harnik raised slightly more than $155,000 for the same period, July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017. She reported cash on hand of $311,256.

♦ ♦ ♦

Local Politics Buoyed by Milestones, Mired In Spin

Mayor Michael H. Wilson

Indio Mayor Michael H. Wilson announced a kick-off fundraiser for his re-election campaign. Wilson’s fundraiser is set for Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Indian Springs Golf Club, 879940 Westward Ho Drive in Indio.

This will be the first Indio City Council election since the five-member panel voted to be elected by districts. Wilson, a conservative, is expected to be challenged by Waymond Fermon, a liberal, who says he will relocate to District 2 to go head-to-head with Wilson.

Expect this race to get especially lively – even downright nasty.

♦ ♦ ♦

Local Politics Buoyed by Milestones, Mired In Spin

Michael Harrington

Within hours of Michael Harrington, a candidate for the Rancho Mirage City Council, filing a complaint against Rancho Mirage Mayor Pro Tem G. Dana Hobart, City Attorney Steve Quintanilla said it would go “nowhere.” Quintanilla said Harrington’s complaint was between him and Hobart and that the city was not in charge of either man’s campaign.

Harrington filed the complaint alleging Hobart is in violation of the Code of Fair Campaign Practices.

Quintanilla also said he did not understand why Harrington would file such a complaint with the city.

Obviously frustrated, Harrington reached out to Uken Report to say because the Riverside County Registrar of Voters told him to. He supplied photographic “evidence.”

Local Politics Buoyed by Milestones, Mired In SpinFrom the evidence he presented, Harrington was told his source would “double-check” what she told him.

It is not clear if he waited to file the complaint until the “double-check” was completed.

“If I understand the wobbly complaint that Mr. Harrington has filed against me, he is moaning about me connecting him with the (Skip) Paige-(Kate) Spates-Tom Kirk campaign to get CV Link into Rancho Mirage,” Hobart said in an email to Uken Report. “Why that would bother him is bewildering considering that he has stated publicly that “A VOTE FOR HARRINGTON IS A VOTE FOR CV LINK.”  They are already two peas in the same pod with both looking to establish a CV Link anchor in the heart of our city. If they have signed some joint powers document they have not shared it with me.  That is not to say they don’t have an agreement.  Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

Hobart did not say where Harrington had allegedly made the pro CV Link remark.

♦ ♦ ♦

Local Politics Buoyed by Milestones, Mired In Spin

G. Dana Hobart

The brouhaha surrounding the 30th Anniversary celebration for the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert continued to raise the ire of many throughout the weekend to the point they began to bully and badger me online. They, all Mayor Pro Tem Dana Hobart supporters, demanded a correction saying no one was boycotting anything, that Hobart has never attended the function and this year would be no different, that he is not thin-skinned and more. They took umbrage with my use of the word “boycott.”

I would be happy to correct what I got wrong if someone would come out of the shadows and tell me exactly what I got wrong. I have offered Hobart supporters to write a guest column pointing out what I got wrong. All have declined. They continue the bullying in private via messages.

This is what I know to be true:

  • Fact: All members of the Rancho Mirage City Council were invited to the celebration.
  • Fact: Richard Kite and Iris Smotrich had questions about the honoree and voiced those to Amir Asfar, president of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
  • Fact: Once their concerns were allayed, Smotrich and Kite will attend the celebration.
  • Fact: Asfar has publicly said he believe every City Councilmember and every candidate should attend this event to support children.
  • Fact: Kite told Uken Report he would encourage “all” members of the City Council to attend. I had no reason to distrust him. Whether he did or did not is between him and his colleagues.
  • Fact: The assistant to the City Council called Uken Report to confirm who would and would not attend.
  • Fact: Hobart, Mayor Charles Townsend Vinci and Councilmember Ted Weill are not going. Are they simply not going, or is it a boycott? To boycott means to withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest. To not go or to boycott is a distinction without a difference. Are we seriously debating this while a fundraiser for a children’s museum is at stake?
  • Fact: City Council candidate Katherine “Kate” Spates is attending. Spates, like Kite, is an ex-officio member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
  • Fact: City Council candidate Robert Mueller has not returned request for comment.
  • Fact: City Council candidate Michael Harrington said, “I wasn’t even aware of the fundraiser until now and I have a previous engagement.”
  • Fact: One of Hobart’s chief supporters said the “right” thing for me to do is correct the story.

To debate the use of the word “boycott” is like former President Bill Clinton wanting to debate the definition of “is.”

The debate, the attempts to bully, control and manipulate bullying and harassment can call continue, which is fine, although counterproductive.

Or, it can come to an abrupt halt.

The “right” thing to do it seems is clear: Attend the celebration/fundraiser and end any hint of speculation about your absence.








Image Sources

  • Mike_wilson: Michael H. Wilson