As an effort to engage the community in local elections, the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a “Meet your City Council Candidates” forum at the Indian Wells Theater at California State University San Bernardino in Palm Desert.
The five candidates running for the two city council seats had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community for three minutes and then a debate followed.
Todd Rhoden is the president and chief executive officer of the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce. He said candidates were going to debate on local issues such as zoning, revitalization of El Paseo and cannabis.
“It’s very important to vote in the sense that number one, these are people that represent you,” Rhoden said. “I would also say Palm Desert right now, while still an older community is also looking for a little bit of revitalization.”
Both Jan Harnik and Sabby Jonathan are running for reelection. Jonathan said he hopes to remain part of the team that is building the future of Palm Desert.
“I feel like nearly a 40 year resident of Palm Desert, I do feel a sense of obligation to be a part of shaping the community in the future,” he said. “I have to be honest it’s been immensely fulfilling.”
Challengers in this race are Matt Monica, Kenneth Doran and Carlos Pineda.
Doran said he has experience in local government and hopes to redevelop the Highway 111 corridor and build a hotel at the Desert Willow golf course.
“I think I can bring something in to the table in terms of economic development, bring in new ideas like community building, and also on ethics as well, I think we should have an ethics program,” Doran said.
New in the world of politics is Carlos Pineda. He is the only Latino candidate whose passion for politics came from his recent experience in social activism.
“Even though I don’t have political experience, I offer commitment,” Pineda said. “I’m not here to make any promises, but I offer my commitment that I will be the voice for change.”
Both Jonathan and Pineda expressed interest in creating affordable housing opportunities for residents in Palm Desert.
Rhoden said the only candidate who could not make it to the debate was Matt Monica, due to a family commitment.
Midterm elections are on November 6, 2018.