PALM SPRINGS — Oh, what a night! An evening designed for Desert Stonewall Democrats to endorse potential candidates in the upcoming Palm Springs City Council election was appointment politics.

There was an element of theater about the event both leading up to the event, during, and after.

The event drew attacks from a critic, a registered Democrat, who alleged the process was tainted and refused to participate.

A registered Libertarian and civil rights attorney questioned whether Desert Stonewall Democrats jeopardized its tax-exempt status by holding a political event at the Mizell Center Center.

Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors was both cheered and jeered after ticking off a list of accomplishments that he and the City Council achieved.

Oh, what a night!

As more than 100 people gathered for the event, Alfie Pettit, who is challenging Kors in District 3, peddled allegations that there was a significant conflict of interest.

The fact that Kors is both on the Board of Directors of the Mizell Senior Center, and an elected member of the Palm Springs City Council, and his husband,James Williamson, is president of the Desert Stonewall Democrats,  proves that the endorsement process and this specific candidate forum is nothing more than really bad political theater, Pettit alleged.

“Kors and indicted former Mayor Steve Pougnet are playing from the same corrupt political playbook,” Pettit told Uken Report. “The voters will see through this charade.”

To date, Pettit has shown no proof to indicate that Kors is corrupt or has any conflict of interest other than his accusations.

“These allegations are insulting,” Kors told Uken Report. “They make the claim that people who are involved as volunteers in our community organizations shouldn’t be able to rent space at the same location and rent as everyone else can — and that candidates should be disqualified from an endorsement from an organization they or their spouse has a leadership position in.  As to the actual facts.  Mizell rents space to any candidate or organization that requests to rent space and charges them rent. I rented space for a community town hall and paid the same rent any other candidate would pay.  Stonewall has rented space for their monthly meetings for a decade, before I was active in Stonewall or on the Board of Mizell.

“I am proud to serve as a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of this wonderful organization that serves our senior community and provides meals to homebound seniors,” Kors continued. “James was elected unanimously by the Stonewall membership and I was endorsed four years ago, before James was in that position.  He recused himself from the PAC vote on my endorsement.”

Oh, what a night!

Prior to the forum each candidate wannabe was asked to complete a questionnaire regarding his or her background and views on issues. The Stonewall’s Political Action Committee interviewed each of the potential candidates.

At the forum each potential candidate was given time for an opening and closing statement about his or her potential candidacy. The audience then submitted questions that gave each potential candidate an opportunity to express his or her views on a wide variety of issues from homelessness to vacation rentals to dealing with the closures on Indian Canyon caused by the weather.

After the introductions, the questions, the closing remarks, and the ovation, Summer Helene, aka Summer Morris, turned to Les Young, one of her challengers, said said, “Can I speak to you?”

Young asked her when.

“Now,”  she said, according to Young.

oh, what a night

Summer Morris

The pair stepped  into the lobby where she asked him if he would support her community, which includes the Crossley Tract, a housing subdivision where Morris believes people feel isolated and marginalized,, Young told Uken Report. He assured her that he would give more than lip service to “her community.”

At that moment, in the lobby, Morris told Young that she would withdraw from the endorsement process and do everything she could to support him, according to Young.

“It was breathtaking,” Young said. “I was so honored.”

He said Morris’ spokeswoman told Ginny Foat after they re-entered the room. Once they were back in the room, the endorsement vote was held.

Contrary to one media report, Morris did not withdraw after failing to win the endorsement. It is patently false, Morris said and Young confirmed.

Foat also confirmed that Morris withdrew before the endorsement vote. The media ouatlet that reported it “got it wrong as usual,” Foat said.”

Oh, what a night!

“In this arena, Les Young is better than any of us,” Morris told Uken Report. “I know when someone is better than me — and I rarely say that. I love someone who gives a shit and really does care. We need a real politician who can get things done. He’s that person.”

To get an idea of Young and one of his challengers, Grace Garner, Morris said the duo reminds her of Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. One is a show horse; the other a workhorse.

In her example, Young would be Clinton.

“He’s not a good showman, or a great speaker, but he has a great deal of substance,” Morris said.

Young said she told him the same thing with no sugarcoating. He plans on tapping her for pointers.

Oh, what a night! Oh, what a campaign season!

Immediately following the candidate presentations, Desert Stonewall Democrat members in attendance voted by ballot on the Political Action Committee endorsement slate. A 60% vote was required for endorsement.

A reported 80% of the membership voted for the following people:

District 1: Dual Endorsement – Les Young and Grace Garner
District 2: Dennis Woods
District 3: Geoff Kors

Receiving an endorsement from Desert Stonewall Democrats has traditionally included support in the form of a financial contribution to each candidate, campaign volunteer assistance from the membership, and mail pieces to Democratic voters.

Oh, what a night

Ginny Foat

“We are anxious to offer our support and expertise to this outstanding group of endorsed candidates who have expressed an incredible understanding of the issues facing the city and have all exhibited a positive outlook for their future involvement in its success.” Foat said in a prepared statement.

Oh, what a night!

Image Sources

  • Summer H. Morris: Summer H. Morris
  • Political Theater: Shutterstock