Palm Springs District 4 council race is heating up

Palm Springs District 4 council race is heating up

Olivia Sandusky

All eyes have been on the 2020 Presidential election, but in Palm Springs, the local city council race is heating up.

For District 4, there are three candidates: current Mayor Pro Tem Christy Holstege, Mike Mccullocuh and Dian Torres.

On Sunday, Holstege held a campaign event in which supporters walked through District 4 neighborhoods to share information about her platform.

Holstege ran for office for the first time in 2017 and says, if re-elected, she wants to build off the council’s accomplishments over the past few years.

“We obtained ten million dollars for the state just for the city on homelessness, we saved Oswit Canyon, an important open space for the city, we approved affordable housing developments in our city,” said Holstege. 

Holstege is currently supported by four Palm Springs City Councilmembers, Congressman Raul Ruiz and Equality California.

She believes her opponents have been unfairly attacking her stance on public safety.

“Unfortunately, there’s been false information put out about me and my track record. I have a demonstrated track record on public safety. We reopened a fire station serving my district. We have fully funded police, fire and emergency medical services to pre-recession levels,” said Holstege on Sunday. 

If elected, Holstege would become the Mayor of Palm Springs, as the position is awarded to the council member with the most service time.

One of the incumbent council member’s opponents, Mike McCulloch, is currently endorsed by the Palm Springs Police Officer’s Association, Palm Springs Fire Department and Riverside Sheriff’s Association.

McCulloch says public safety is a priority for local government.

“We need to have a fully funded police department. Recently, the council voted to spend $3 million on a downtown park that could have helped fill vacant positions in both the Palm Springs Police Department and the Palm Springs Fire department,” said McCulloch. 

McCulloch previously served on the Palm Springs City Council from 2003 to 2007.

He started his own Certified Public Accountant group, McCulloch and Company, and says his background positions him uniquely to help the council address the $75 million budget deficit.

“I think we have duplications in services and we have personnel that have overlapping duties. We’re going to have an opportunity to make a more efficient, leaner government that focuses on the essentials of government. I think there’s no one on counsel right now who has my credentials,” said McCulloch. 

The third contender in the race is Palm Springs resident Dian Torres.

Torres refers to her campaign as a “grassroots movement,” and says she’s running not as a politician, but as a concerned citizen.

“People are, as I’ve learned out on the path, disgruntled with what feels like a lack of transparency, the fiscal choices that are being made, the non-inclusion and a real us versus them,” said Torres. 

Torres is a health care worker who has a diverse work background, including education and a member of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

Torres says she is also a proud member of both the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, and wants to be a representative of their voices.

If elected, Torres says, local public safety departments would have her full support.

“How you can really judge a city is how the city takes care of our public safety people and it’s not happening. Without a doubt, they are not being given what they need to serve our community and it’s not fair,” said Torres. 

The other race in Palm Springs is District 5 in which Lisa Middleton is running unopposed.

The ballots for Riverside County were sent out on Oct. 5 and elections are Nov. 3.


*This story has been updated to correct the name of the endorsement organization for Palm Springs City Council candidate Chrisy Holstege; “Equality California” was previously misnamed as “the equality group.”

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