PALM SPRINGS – In a move many did not see coming, Mayor Rob Moon announced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting he will not seek re-election when his term expires later this year.
Moon has been a resident of Palm Springs since 2001. He was elected to a four-year term as mayor of Palm Springs in November 2015.
He could not be reached immediately Wednesday for comment.
Moon is the second member of the City Council to announce he will not seek re-election later this year. Councilmember J.R. Roberts announced in December that he also would not seek re-election.
Both announcements come as the city moves from at-large elections to district-based elections.
Moon and Roberts both opposed the move to district elections.
The City Council voted 3-2 vote on Dec. 10 to approve a final five-district voting map in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. Within a five-district Electoral process, the position of mayor will rotate among Council members and be appointed annually.
The already-weak mayor form of government will likely become even weaker as the position rotates among City Councilmembers. That might have played in Moon’s re-election decision.
Moon, Roberts, and Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors all live in District 3. With Moon and Roberts out, the only unknown is Kors and whether he will run. Kors previously told Uken Report he would announce his decision by the end of January.
On Thursday, the day after Moon’s announcement, Kors told Uken Report, “Moon’s announcement doesn’t impact my decision or already-planned timing of my announcement.”
It has been a challenging year for Moon, which could, in part, explain his decision not to seek re-election.
He is currently the subject of a forensic investigation for installing recording devices in his office without anyone’s knowledge. Results of the investigation are expected soon.
Former City Councilmember Ginny Foat called Moon “unfit” for office.
Upon learning of the devices, Councilmember Lisa Middleton said, “I’m extremely concerned that members of the staff at our City Hall were made to feel uncomfortable in carrying out the performance of their duties. They have an extremely difficult job in responding to a very demanding public, a public that we admire. One of the things that they have a right to is that we who are elected political officials keep our disputes among ourselves, and do not extend those disputes to the staff who has to serve each and every one of us equally, regardless of their opinion personally, whether or not we should or should not have been elected, whether or not we are following the right course on any public policy. It is incumbent on us to go the extra mile to ensure our staff is under no political pressure.”
In March, the mayor was booed amid chants of “vote him out” that erupted during the “March for Our Lives” Rally in the community as an estimated 2,000 people gathered to protest gun violence in the nation. The jeers erupted after one of the student speakers announced that Moon had refused to sign a proclamation declaring March 24 as March For Our Lives Day in the City of Palm Springs.
Despite the mayor’s refusal to sign a Proclamation, the students were still able to obtain their requested proclamation courtesy of Councilmember Geoff Kors, who was also elected to a four-year term in 2015. Kors not only signed the proclamation but also certificates of appreciation for the student speakers and organizers.
Whether that played any role in his decision not to seek re-election is not clear.
Moon’s decision not to seek re-election comes as the City Council is poised to adopt a strict Code of Conduct. The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to define the role of elected officials in governing the city, according to the proposed Resolution. The suggested Code consists of policies and rules intended to provide efficient and responsive services to residents – and provide a safe and productive work environment for its employees.
The Code also addresses proclamations.
“Proclamations should be issued on behalf of the entire City Council by the entire City Council, Middleton told Uken Report.
In addition to the District 3 seat that will be open in the November election, seats in District 1 and District 2 will be up for grabs.
- Geoff Kors: Geoff Kors