My political notebook for the Coachella Valley for this week is overflowing. The challenge was deciding what to put in and what to leave out. If you have a political item, send it to me at Cindy@UkenReport.com. Following are items from the notebook for Nov. 19-25 and it’s already filling up for next week.  Politics is clearly a passion and pastime in the desert.

Progressive Democrat Challenges Sen. Jeff Stone

Vowing to use her voice for “real issues” and “real people,” Joy Silver of Palm Springs, a Democrat and member of the Courageous Resistance has her campaign on fast forward to unseat Republican Sen. Jeff Stone.

Joy Silver MugShe has secured the coveted endorsements of some of her party’s most prominent leaders – former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz.

She is not a “career politician,” which she uses as valuable political currency in the campaign she publicly announced in earlier this fall.

Silver was unavailable for comment during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“In this chaotic environment, I will use my voice to focus on what is happening to us, and what could happen for us” Silver said on her website.

Together, she says we can: build more schools, not prisons; end the for-profit prison industry in California; ensure that all Californians have healthcare; advocate and care for all of our vulnerable communities; create sustainable cities and a sustainable state; and generate new jobs, by education and training.

Stone, who represents District 28, was first elected to the chamber in 2014. Prior to being elected to the state senate, he was a Riverside County Supervisor. In 2016, he was the Republican nominee for the 36th Congressional District of California, but lost the general election by a wide margin.

The 28th Senate district is located entirely in Riverside County. It reaches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Wildomar.

 

Former U.S. Congresswoman Mary Bono’s Newfound Passions

In a recent interview with former Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono, it was abundantly clear she has moved on from politics in her former 36th Congressional District. I tried to engage her in banter about current candidates and get her opinions on specific issues as they relate to the district. She would have none of it.

I got the word loud and clear when she said, “Again, Cindy.” It startled me. It was a clear signal she’d had enough political questions. It was refreshing. It would be so easy for her to criticize her successor or those eyeing the seat now. She did not.

“I’m not dabbling in politics in my old congressional district,” she said firmly. “That’s just not what I do anymore. I don’t

Mary Bono

(Photo courtesy of Mary Bono)

need to grind an ax with (Congressman Raul) Ruiz. Cindy, I have passions in Washington, D.C., that I work on every day.”

Sexual harassment is one of them; the opioid epidemic is another. She has been working  on the latter issue for about 12 years she said. She recently testified before the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. She, along with Patrick Kennedy were part of an Expert Panel to Discuss the National Opioid Emergency and Need for Medication Assisted Treatment.

“I have certain passions,” she said. “I’m in search of solutions. If somebody’s in my way for what I want to do in addressing the opioid epidemic or other things, I’ll have a conversation.”

Then she threw me a curve ball. She ticked off yet another passion: Her grandchildren.

The telephone interview took place on a late Friday evening. She was eager to get home. I respected that. I was ready to hang up and she said, “I just want you to know, really fast. I remarried. Fourth time’s a charm. I got it right this time and I finally have a great work-life balance.”

She said she works for a great firm with a “great bunch of brilliant people” on K Street. Her daughter and grandchildren live nearby.

“That work-life balance to me is just critically important because for 15 years, if not even before that when Sonny was a member of Congress, I was out of whack,” Bono said. “What are important to me now are work-life balance, the issues that I care about, and the people that I love.”

Bono married Stephen Scot Oswald, a former NASA astronaut, in 2015.

Indio City Councilwoman Lends Support to Young Republicans

In a recent interview with Uken Report, Indio City Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Watson said she blames the “fragmentation,” the “deterioration” and “disintegration” of the GOP in the Coachella Valley to the loss of continuity from the previous leadership – Mary Bono, Roy Wilson, John Benoit, and Brian Nestande – with no time to shape future leaders.

Lupe Ramos WatsonShe is working to change that by lending a hand to the Coachella Valley Young Republicans.

The Young Republicans have been very supportive of her and other Republican elected officials in the past through precinct walks, phone banks and Get Out the Vote on Election Day, Ramos Watson said.

“I participate with them in that effort for others,” she said. “I like to think that I am also a role model of good government and an inspiration to them. Last election I personally precinct walked with one of them who decided to run for office. Young Republicans are our future and I fully support them wherever possible.”

 

New Faces Take Leadership Posts in Coachella Valley

With the dawn of December comes the annual rotation of mayoral seats in several valley cities and the swearing in of new city council members.

Lisa MiddletonChrisity HolstegeIn Palm Springs, Lisa Middleton and Christy Holstege will be sworn in as members of the five-member City Council. They fill the seats vacated by Chris Mills and Ginny Foat who did not seek re-election in the Nov. 7 city election.

In Cathedral City, Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis will rotate into the mayor’s chair. Palm Desert Mayor Sabby Jonathan moves to the top post for the coming year. Indio Mayor Pro Tem Michael Wilson, one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders and hardest workers, according to one of his colleagues, steps into the mayor’s chair, following Elaine Holmes. And, in Indian Wells, Kimberly Muzik takes the helm. Palm Springs and La Quinta have directly elected mayors and Rancho Mirage rotates leadership roles in April after its election.