Following are some political snippets from a reporter’s notebook for the week of Nov. 6-12, 2017.

Dan Ball Braces for Democratic Machine

At 42, Dan Ball’s skin appears tougher than wang leather.

Nothing seems to bother him. In fact, he invites tough questions.

“Keep going,” he invites a reporter. “What else you got?”

“What else?” he insists.

Dan BallHe engages opponents online, joining in their conversations.

“I know this is being recorded, but, like I said, the gloves are off. This is a fight for the people. That’s why I’m doing this. I know that next year, once the primary’s over and it’s just me versus Raul (Ruiz), that the Democratic machine will come after me, guns blazing. I know they’re going to make up rumors and hearsay and conjecture, and be nasty and tear my family apart.”

He is already under fire for dating a 24-year-old woman, Peyton Drew. He refers to her as his fianacee, adding quickly that she not yet have a ring.

He refers to her as an “old soul” and seeks her counsel on his campaign. He professes his love for in love-struck fashion in Facebook threads.

On her Facebook page, she identifies herself as a “Model. Singer. Actress. Country girl at  💛, conservative.”

He makes no apologies and doesn’t blink at the criticism leveled at him.

“It’s not going to work,” Ball said. “My family, my friends, and I think a lot of supporters that are behind me know that I’m doing this for the right reasons, and I in my heart know I’m doing it for the right reasons, so no matter what they throw at us next year, I’m ready for this.”

For all intents and purposes, he is looking beyond the primary and toward the general election in November 2018, he said.

The “Queer Debate”

In the wake of a historic election in Palm Springs on Nov. 7, a headline in the New York Daily News left more than a few people uneasy. Some said it was the equivalent of using the derogatory “f” word to describe an LGBTQ person; others defended the use of the word “queer” as the new normal.

Queer Debate

I turned to the newly elected Lisa Middleton, the first out transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California, for her help in understanding the conversation.

“Often people find that term offensive while others do not,” Middleton said in a telephone interview. “It’s not one of my favorite terms, but, it’s not something that I find offensive.

There are many people when you say LGTBQ, identify and use the work queer to identify gender neutral,gender non-conforming identity and so it’s not an offensive term. People have adopted it as such. I think there’s just history associated with that term and people are trying to change the meaning.”

Mental Health Issues in Riverside County

(Photo courtesy of V. Manuel Perez)

Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez has started a Behavioral Health Blue Ribbon Committee to focus on mental health issues in the county.

The current need in the Coachella Valley is Psychiatric Health Facility beds, according to a report created by Cheryll Dahlin, management analyst for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CAG).

With one location in the Coachella Valley with 16 beds, the Indio facility is constantly full and clients are prioritized based on severity or on a first come-first served basis. If clients have no base of support or are homeless, they receive services from local non-profits, such as Martha’s Village and Kitchen and Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, due to the location in Indio.

These organizations help them as much as they can, but this creates a revolving door between agencies. CVAG member jurisdictions can advocate for additional beds with our local hospitals, according to Dahlin. Two funding community organizations have identified Mental Health as a priority, Desert Healthcare District and Regional Access Progra