Steven Hernandez is seeking a fifth, two-year term on the Coachella City Council

COACHELLA — Steven Hernandez, who works as Chief of Staff to Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, is seeking another term as mayor on Nov. 8. Denise Delgado, who is an incumbent councilmember is challenging him. She was elected two years ago. Her term is set to expire in 2024.

Both mayoral candidates were asked a series of questions. Delgado did not respond.

Following are the responses Uken Report (UR) received from Hernandez.

UR: Who or what motivated to run for mayor at this time?

Steven Hernandez: Coachella families are some of the hardest working throughout the nation. They deserve the best and someone that knows how to get the job done from day one.

UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

Steven Hernandez: Experience, network, and thorough understanding of local government. The mayor’s job is to get buy in from Councilmembers, city staff, the community, regional and state leaders, and the nonprofit and private sector. We have a record of getting the job done and moving Coachella forward.  My eight years as mayor has ushered in a new library, senior center, elementary school, parks, new businesses, renewed roadways and affordable housing, to name a few of Coachella’s accomplishments.  This has been accomplished because of the experience, network, and understanding of how to get things done.

UR: What can you bring to the mayor’s office that is currently missing?

Steven Hernandez: The mayor’s office is perfect.  Lol. I’m kidding. On a serious note, the office can do a better job of getting the youth engaged (18-25). When I first started in elected office, I was 23 years old. I’m now 39 and Coachella needs to make sure that young people know this city is theirs and we are all here to serve them.  We need to make sure our youth have hope for the future. My message to youth, I’m here to help you find your place in the city.  The question becomes what do you want to do and how can I help you become the best version of you?  We are open and want you to thrive. Let’s go!

UR: What is the single most important endorsement you have and why?

Steven Hernandez: Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia. Assemblyman Garcia has been a champion for his district.  He has brought in millions for cities throughout the Coachella and Imperial County. We need to maintain a strong relationship with the state.  Let’s also be realistic. Absent the American Rescue Plan Act, which brought in $10.9 million to Coachella, the federal government has done a poor job of delivering resources to the district.  For the last two, years we can total $54 million in state assistance. Eduardo is also very visible in Coachella and well known.

UR: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment either in or out of office?

Steven Hernandez: My family. Adriana and I have two beautiful daughters in Isabella (14) and Camilla (6). Watching them grow up has also afforded us the ability to grow together.  When my political career comes to a close it’s my family that will provide the foundation no matter what we decided to do in the future.

UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Coachella and why?

Steven Hernandez: There is never just one singular issue in a city.  Depending on who you’re hearing from, their issue is the singular most important issue for the city to handle.   With respect to what I see as issues we must address as a community public safety such as bring back our own Police Department, housing such as addressing work force housing (people making over low and very low wages), and getting us through the upcoming recession are going to be of importance.

  • Public safety: Throughout my tenure I have known many captains, lieutenants and officers.  We respect and thank them all for their service.  What has transpired, however, is a lack of continuity of service. The Sheriff’s Department gets to know the community but because the Sheriff’s Department structure is very large, officers leave Coachella very quickly.  We need to stop that as our community is asking for more community policing and services.
  • Housing: we need more robust first-time home buyer programs, set an allowed percentage for vacation rentals in any community thereby protecting community from investors, and allow for more missing middle housing.
  • Recession: build on the city reserves and know how to properly evaluate market conditions. We learned a lot from last recession. Coachella made the cuts before many other cities did.  These moves positioned us well and we took advantage by creating our own form of stimulus in investing in infrastructure.

UR: Is there one decision with City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?

Steven Hernandez: As Mayor, the council has voted over 95% in unison. What has been upsetting is that 5% has mostly come from councilmember’s abstaining on issues.  Coachella voters elected members of the City Council to chime in on important decisions, not abstain when it’s not politically convenient.

UR: You are well-known. What is one thing people don’t know about you?

Steven Hernandez: I’m a walker. I try to walk everyone morning.  This has allowed me to get some fresh air, get my priorities for the day in order and get my circadian rhythm going. Walking is for everyone, and I want to continue throughout the aging process.







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