RANCHO MIRAGE — Maggie Lockridge, a 20-year resident of this community, is challenging longtime incumbents Richard Kite and Ted Weill for one of two seats in the April 14 General Municipal Election.

Lockridge, president of Rebuilding America’s Warriors, dba Iraq Star Inc., is divorced and has two adult children.

Stephen Jaffe, 74, who has lived in Rancho Mirage since 2019, is also seeking one of the seats.

Uken Report posed a series of identical questions to all four candidates. Kite and Weill declined to respond. In an email to Uken Report, Kite wrote, “In response to your email dated 1/23/20 Ted and I have decided not to participate in your election questions.  We expect to be part of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce forum which will address many of the same issues. Thank you for your interest in our election.”

Following are Lockridge’s responses:

Uken Report (UR): Why specifically are you running?

Lockridge: I am a candidate for City Council as I feel the residents of Rancho Mirage should be allowed to participate in the growth and development decisions of our beautiful city. I feel major decisions regarding development are made by only a few. City Council has proven that it does not follow city and state laws when seeking approval for major project development.

UR: Do you think the current City Council is in touch with its residents? If yes, how does it demonstrate that? If not, how is it out of touch with the community?

Lockridge: On Oct. 3, 2019, I attended a City Council meeting that began with a Councilmember stating, “If anyone speaks out of turn you will be arrested and taken to jail.”  There were eight uniformed policemen in the back of the room.

These tactics do not belong in City Hall.  No, present Council is minimalizing the participation of its constituents as evidenced in the Planning Commission meeting of September 12, 2019.  Between 20-25 residents spoke of their opposition to the fast-food drive-thru under question, In N Out burger.  None of their comments were taken into consideration or even spoken of prior to four votes being made in favor of this restaurant.  They did not even discuss what they had just learned among themselves.  The residents’ comments had no impact on the Councils decision which appeared preconceived.

UR: Did you support In-N-Out coming to Rancho Mirage? Why or why not? (We know your votes, but this gives you a chance to explain in your own words.)

Lockridge: No, I do not support In N Out being approved for Rancho Mirage.  A standing law says no fast food drive thrus in this city.  Many residents based their decision to live in Rancho Mirage on its lack of commercialism, quiet enjoyment, and dignity.  There is no dignity in 20-30 cars lined up for a hamburger with residential homes within 140 feet.   Rancho Mirage closes its doors around 10 pm.  This restaurant would be open until 1:00 am on week days and 1:30 am on weekends.  It won’t be visited by Rancho Mirage residents after 10 pm, they will come from every surrounding town.

UR: Name one time (or one issue) when you rallied support to build a consensus?

Lockridge: My first major issue to build a consensus was learning of this fast food restaurant.  I was one of the early supporters of Saving Rancho Mirage and on its Board of Directors until I announced my candidacy when I resigned.

UR: Two years ago, the City Council was criticized for walking in lockstep and group think. Is that an accurate assessment of the current City Council? If so, why? If not, why not?

Lockridge: I had not heard of the phrase “lockstep” before but that was certainly what was witnessed during the Planning and the City Council meetings.  Not a moments hesitancy when time for a vote.  It was a pre-determined vote.

UR: Rancho Mirage has often been referred to as the best-run city in the Coachella Valley. Do you agree with that assessment? Why or why not?

Lockridge: I do not agree that it is the best run city in the valley. Fiscally responsible, yes.  Representative of the people and what they feel the direction of the city should be, no.

UR: Do you support moving Rancho Mirage to district-based elections? Why or why not?

Lockridge: I highly support moving Rancho Mirage to districting.  This way the people living in all corners of the city has their own representative.  We should also have term limits, the idea of serving for 20 years is ridiculous. Every Council deserves new individuals with alternative thinking, new ideas, new solutions, new concepts.

UR: With what issue do you want your name associated more than any other?

Lockridge: I feel that districting and resident involvement in city planning are my two primary issues.

UR: How much do you plan to spend on your campaign? (Your financial disclosure statements will be public record.)

Lockridge: I am hoping to hold my campaign to $20,000



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