As each of the six candidates for the Rancho Mirage City Council take center stage tonight, Feb. 22, to make his or her case to the voters, hundreds are expected to attend, eager to hear directly from the candidates.

To set the stage, the candidates are:

  • G. Dana Hobart, 85, the oldest and longest serving member of the Rancho Mirage City Council. Hobart is the only candidate who has refused to disclose his age, but public records make it readily available. He is a licensed attorney.
  • Charles Townsend Vinci, 76, who currently serves as mayor of Rancho Mirage
  • Iris Smotrich, 74, incumbent
  • Michael Harrington, 59, a family law attorney
  • Robert “Bob” Mueller, 70, president of a business consulting company
  • Katherine “Kate” Spates, 50, a public relations consultant, businesswoman and mother of two teenage daughters

The candidates are only part of the equation.

Who are Rancho Mirage residents that will be selecting the next leaders? Ultimately, only registered Rancho Mirage voters will decide who represents them. To find out a little bit more about the community and its residents, Uken Report turned to the Southern California Association of Governments for a profile of the community. The profile is current as of May 2017.

Here are some nuggets from the report:

  • Between 2000 and 2016, the age group 65+ experienced the largest increase in share, growing from 43 to 47.6 percent.
  • The age group that experienced the greatest decline, by share, was age group 35-54,decreasing from 20.7 to 15.5 percent.
  • The age group 65+ added the most population, with an increase of 3,171 people between 2000 and 2016.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, the share of Hispanic population in the city increased from 9.4 percent to 12.9 percent.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, the share of Non-Hispanic White population in the city decreased from 87.2 percent to 79.3 percent.
  • In 2016, the city’s average household size was 1.96, lower than the county average of 3.2.
  • In 2016, about 39 percent of households earned less than $50,000 annually.
  • Approximately 36 percent of households earned $100,000 or more.
  • The obesity rate in the City of Rancho Mirage was 17.1 percent in 2014, which was lower than the County rate.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, total public school enrollment for grades 7-9 increased by 405 students.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, total public school enrollment for grades 10-12 increased by 1,161 students.

The forum begins at 6 p.m. at the Rancho Mirage Public Library, 71-100 Highway 111.

Candidates are not allowed to campaign in any way, including, but not limited to distribution of literature.

“This is not a debate and participants will not be given time for rebuttal,” Samantha Tweddell, executive director of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce, said in a letter to candidates. “Participants are asked to stay on topic, time allowed and refrain from personal attacks. The audience will be directed to remain quiet, and any outbursts or inappropriate behavior will result in their immediate removal.”

At 5:50 p.m. a random draw will be conducted in public view for order of sequence. All candidates will have the opportunity to answer each question. Each participating candidate will have the opportunity to be first to answer a question.

Each candidate will have the opportunity to make a one-minute opening statement and a one-minute closing statement.

Questions have been prepared in advance and will include those submitted by residents/business community by prior open solicitation, and vetted by the committee, to be read by the moderator.

anThe top three vote-getters in the April election will be seated on the City Council. Each of the three open seats is a four-year term.