Ron deHarte Seeks City Council Seat to represent District 3
PALM SPRINGS — Two well-known residents and leaders of this community will face off in the Nov. 8 election. Ron deHarte, president of Greater Palm Springs Pride, and Joy Meredith, owner of Crystal Fantasy, are each vying for the District 3 seat that Geoff Kors now holds. He is not seeking reelection.
District 3 includes parts of downtown, as well as several neighborhoods including Vista Las Palmas and the Movie Colony.
Uken Report (UR) reached out to all candidates with identical questions in an attempt to allow the public to get to know each of them better. Following are deHarte’s responses. Meredith did not respond.
Ron deHarte: Human Rights Commissioner for the city of Palm Springs and Hispanic small business owner.
UR: Who or what motivated to run for City Council at this time?
Ron deHarte: My boys are grown. I can commit to the time. I’m not one to talk for years and years about what needs to be done. I see a need, and I do something about it. There is a need for proven, ethical, and credible leadership at city hall, and I’m committed to answering that call.
UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?
Ron deHarte: I’m respected in the community. I’ve been recognized by both business chamber of commerce organizations, community nonprofit organizations, and by leaders in tourism. I’m known as a credible and collaborative leader.
UR: What can you bring to the City Council that is currently missing?
Ron deHarte: Hispanic leadership and representation from District 3. I believe that effective government leadership reflects the people it serves. I bring diverse skills, unique perspectives, and lived experience to the city council.
UR: What is the single most important endorsement you have and why?
Ron deHarte: The most important endorsement to me is the collective group of several hundred community members, business leaders, those who have lived in Palm Springs for decades, and those who moved here recently.
UR: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment either in or out of office?
Ron deHarte: Being a father to two young men and empowering Coachella Valley youth to live authentically through my work with Safe Schools Desert Cities, the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, and Greater Palm Springs Pride.
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Palm Springs, other than homeless, and why?
Ron deHarte: Climate change and a sustainable future.
UR: What will you propose to do about it?
Ron deHarte: Just about everything we do needs to be done with a sustainability mindset. At the city level, we must do what we can now to conserve, reduce and recycle. Promote a culture of supporting sustainability in all city programs. Make sure Palm Springs is tied in at the state level with the Governor’s water strategy.
- Fuel a green economy with tax incentives that make a difference for the businesses that can bring good-paying jobs and strengthen our working-class families. Work at the state level to get a fair share of funding for incentives to encourage significant adoption of residential solar programs. I also want to see the city lead the way in using solar and wind power and transition to a clean energy fleet.
- Smart inclusionary housing development is a priority. This development must provide workforce housing adjacent to transit hubs so our workforce can easily travel to and from work.
- Accessible housing is a crisis issue. Many of our workforces travel an hour to and from home to work, and I’ll work to create workforce housing opportunities. We must allow our workforce to live, raise a family, and be involved in the community where they work. At the same time, we must continue pursuing housing for low-income earners, young people, and seniors.
- SUPPORT A DIGITAL FUTURE FOR ALL. One of my infrastructure priorities is high-quality internet connectivity for everyone regardless of income level, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, or age.
Everything we do, from business and residential development to reducing the transportation burden, will impact our environment. Sustainability and environmental stewardship must be culturally ingrained.
UR: Is there one decision with City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?
Ron deHarte: How many decades back are you asking? I’m sure there are many; however, I’m guided by learning from the past, not living in the past. I’m a forward-thinking consensus builder and don’t let the past consume my energy or focus.
UR: You are all well-known. What is one thing people don’t know about you?
Ron deHarte: I’m a proud Latino from a working-class family with a family of my own. I’m the youngest in a family of seven and a first-generation college student who grew up in a modest community in Glendale, Ariz. My family history is documented in the Arizona Chicano/a Research Collection at the Arizona State University, Archives & Special Collections. Dating back to 1863, my family history helps document the presence of Hispanic people in Arizona. It is a permanent part of the Arizona State University collection titled the Teodoro and Mariana Rodriguez Ocampo Collection.
- Ron deHarte: Ron deHarte