The entrance to the Council Chamber at Palm Springs City Hall features a poured concrete disc supported by four pillars.
On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 4, I will be sworn in -- along with new Councilmembers Grace Garner and Dennis Woods -- as mayor. As we thank Mayor Rob Moon and Councilmember J.R. Roberts for their dedication and hard work over the past four years, it feels an appropriate time to share with you my priorities for the next chapter in the life our city.
First though, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the recent City Council election itself. The results reflect that what our residents' value is demonstrated commitment to our city; the candidates who were already involved and had experience in Palm Springs government were those elected.
Secondly, district elections achieved their goal. Concerns that moving to district elections might result in unqualified candidates being elected with just a handful of votes and that the election would not increase diversity on the council proved to be unfounded. Voters elected two new, highly qualified individuals, with differing skill sets, including the first Latina in the city's more than 80-year history.
My immediate priorities moving forward. During my re-election campaign, I had the opportunity to hear directly from many residents and business owners. I heard repeatedly that you are overwhelming supportive of the changes our government has made over the past four years and that you support the direction in which we are headed.
As I look ahead to the next six months, I have prioritized the following three initiatives to continue that momentum.
1. Homelessness. Our city cares about those less fortunate; residents appreciate the city's stepping up to provide services and transitioning over 200 people off the streets. Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved allocating $10 million to Palm Springs to address homelessness. We were the only city other than the largest 13 in the state to receive such funding. Councilmember Christy Holstege and I worked hard to secure this funding, along with Assemblymember Chad Mayes, and we will, after holding public meetings, finalize a plan to utilize this funding.
2. Jobs. The need for good-paying jobs for our residents is a priority. I am committed to passing a Community Workforce Agreement in the next six months. This agreement will require the owner or developer of any construction project receiving substantial city funding -- including city-initiated projects -- to prioritize the hiring of residents of Palm Springs. This will enable more of our residents to earn salaries that will allow them to afford to stay in Palm Springs.
3. Environment. Our planet is in an environmental emergency. One city cannot solve this issue, but we can do our part -- and lead by example. I am chair of Desert Community Energy initiative, a joint project, through CVAG, of Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Cathedral City. The objective of the project is to provide residents more choice in the power they receive and do so at an affordable cost. My commitment is that the Palm Springs will be the first city in the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire, and one of only a handful in California, to transition to 100% carbon-free power.
During my campaign, I talked about many other issues, including increasing housing that is affordable, upgrading and activating our parks, building an even stronger relationship with the Tribe, supporting local businesses, and ensuring that we continue to build our financial reserves. I will be working on all these issues but wanted to share some immediate, short-term priorities, with you now.
Thank you for allowing me to continue serving the city I love. I look forward to hearing from and working with you in the years ahead.