Palm Desert Voters to Vote on Division of District 2 into Four Districts

City News Service

(CNS) – Palm Desert voters will decide Tuesday whether to change the way it selects the five members of the City Council.

Under the current system, voters choose one council member from District 1, which covers the Civic Center area and includes roughly 20% of the city’s population. The other four council members are selected — two every two years — from what is known as District 2, which covers the rest of the city and about 80% of the population.

Measure B on Tuesday’s ballot would expand the city’s two current districts into five by carving District 2 into four individual districts, from which members would be chosen.

District 1 Councilwoman Karina Quintanilla wrote an argument in favor of the measure, saying she believes it will help “districts elect leaders who represent the values of the community.”

But current District 2 Council members Kathleen Kelly and Gina Nestande along with Mayor Jan C. Harnik and Mayor Pro Tempore Sabby Jonathan wrote in a rebuttal that elected officials should be “accountable to everyone, not just a small pocket of people.”

They argued that maintaining the current system means the four District 2 members focus on the city as a whole, not just an individual slice of it. They said such a system has led to improvements in road maintenance, community programs, the CSU campus expansion and more.

Former Mayor Van G. Tanner, business owners Megan Baeman Jacinto and Carmen Rubio, Palm Desert Greens Democratic Club President Charles Ara and retired resident Shirley J. Ara wrote in support of the measure, saying different parts of Palm Desert are affected by different issues that would be better addressed if council members are focused on individual districts. They said the measure would lead to more equal representation of all residents on the City Council.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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