Palm Springs Mayor Addresses Transgender Income Misinformation

Carmela Karcher

“The big misinformation was that the action the Palm Springs City Council took was going to immediately start to provide funding directly to individuals. That was never what we were doing,” Mayor Lisa Middleton explained.

Frustration and anger are the emotions directed toward the Palm Springs City Council from callers expecting immediate payments from a new universal income program being tested by the state, and those who are confused about what the program really is about.

Mayor Lisa Middleton clarified that this is a state program and the city council is only the application facilitator.

“We need to keep in mind that this is a state of California program, and the state has set aside $35-million for organizations to participate in pilot programs testing out whether or not universal basic income programs are something that’s a viable part of public policy moving forward,” Mayor Middleton said.

The Palm Springs City Council voted to provide a $200,000 grant to DAP Health and Queer Works back in March.

This money will help the organizations apply for state funding for its universal basic income program.

The people they are trying to help are transgender and non-binary residents.

But ever since that vote, misleading headlines from state and national media outlets caused a mix of reactions from inside and outside the Coachella Valley.

Now, Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton wants to clear up the misinformation.

“What we have done is provide $200,000 that will help DAP Health complete the application process,” she explained.

The bigger decision as to if this passes isn’t up to council, but to the state.

While Mayor Middleton supports helping those who are below the poverty line, she doesn’t believe universal income is the solution.

“I personally am not someone who is an advocate for guaranteed income programs,” she said. “I don’t believe they have the capacity to scale up to address the needs of the 37 million Americans who are living below the poverty line.”

But, she does believe transgender and non-binary people do need help.

“There are so many transgender children and their families who are truly suffering,” Mayor Middleton shared. “We also know there are many within our community where it’s just too much for their parents to accept. That’s something that never goes away, no matter how old you get, no matter how successful you get. You can’t make up for those lost years.”

Mayor Middleton said DAP Health and Queer Works were the only ones who presented their case to council.

Now, it’s up to the state on whether or not they will approve this funding.

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