As Palm Springs City Manager David H. Ready vowed, there will be ample opportunity to learn and to provide feedback as the city begins the process of moving from at-large to district elections.
The first in a series of public meetings is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 during the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall, 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.
In addition, the following Community Engagement Forums have been scheduled:
- Business Stakeholders – Monday, July 9, 6 pm, Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
- North Palm Springs, Tuesday, July 10, 6:30 pm, James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center
- South Palm Springs, Thursday, July 12, 6 pm, Demuth Community Center, 3601 E. Mesquite Ave.
The city is using a demographer to document voting patterns by ethnicity and geography, and will share results at upcoming meetings. In addition, extensive community outreach is underway in order to ensure residents, particularly Latinos and others in underserved communities, are informed about the City Council’s transition to a district-based electoral process.
The move to districts is designed to empower more Latino residents to seek public office. Latinos make up approximately 25 percent of Palm Springs’ total population and about 16 percent of all voters.
There are currently no Latinos on the City Council. The panel is comprised of two women and three men; all are Caucasian.
Palm Springs joins Indio and Cathedral City in moving to district election. Palm Springs Unified School Board and College of the Desert Board of Trustees have also moved to district elections.
“Palm Springs has long-prided itself on being one of the most welcoming and inclusive communities in the country,” Communications Director Amy Blaisdell said in a news release. “(The city) is committed to civil rights and ensuring equity and diversity among elected officials, boards and Commissions while maximizing the goals of the California Voting Rights Act.”
Other goals of the transition include prioritizing the creation of majority/minority districts, keeping organized neighborhoods intact, if possible, and ensuring the city’s best interest as a whole remains the primary responsibility of all elected officials.
Additional meetings and public hearings will be held on the following dates at City Hall:
- 6 pm Wednesday, July 11
- 6 pm Thursday, Sept. 20
- 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 4
- 6 pm Wednesday, Oct. 17
- 6 pm Wednesday, Nov. 7
- 6 pm Wednesday, Nov. 21
- 6 pm Wednesday, Dec. 5