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I’m honored to have served as LQ Mayor since 2014, and as a Council Member 5 years prior to that.  We are still working on recovery efforts from COVID-19 and have had to make several tough decisions the past two years while trying to project the economic road ahead. I am seeking re-election to continue the work and momentum underway for full recovery of the city and its residents, businesses, and tourism industry.  Projects underway that are important to me and require further attention include the following: 

  • Short Term Vacation Rentals – ballot measure by residents in Nov 22 to ban.  I’m opposed. 

  • Affordable Housing – city acquired a mobile home park and additional land to activate additional units as part of our RHNA requirements

  • Dune Palms Bridge – our last low-water crossing section in LQ for north/south travel; funding stalled by CalTrans, so LQ is spending $14 mil to complete the project with hopes of repayment  

  • CV Link – La Quinta’s 2-mile portion – under construction – completion date in late 2023 

  • Highway 111 Vision & Re-Purpose – Study completed; Form Based Code underway; implementation to follow (over years) 

  • North La Quinta Perimeter Landscaping – Using Measure G Funds – 4 year project – in its final year!

  • SilverRock Hotels – Montage & Pendry, along with the homes and retail on that site (event venue/city park completed; Montage completion date is late 2023)  

  • Storm Drain / Flood Control Enhancements – near completion  

  • X-Park – Competition skate/bike/scooter park near LQ High School – opened March 2022, but exterior landscape/design remains along with programming for events/competitions

 

I am driven by the support, participation, and engagement of our residents – it makes the job to serve our community so much more enjoyable.  It’s a team effort – and I am grateful and humbled to be part of our La Quinta team.  My work in La Quinta is not done.  I love La Quinta, plan to retire in La Quinta, and I want to ensure its financial success and high standards for generations to follow.  For this reason, I want to serve another term as Mayor and be a role model for other women and the younger generation to become involved in local government as servants to the community.  

ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ACTIONS & PRIORITIES

CONTINUED FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Our Council successfully passed a balanced budget – during the coronavirus pandemic - without utilizing reserves. While this impacted some of our services and staff, it was necessary to appropriately alter our operations where State/County restrictions were put in place. Essential services, such as fire and police, remain fully funded but are under evaluation for cost saving measures that will be implemented during the 2022/2023 budget year. We have exceeded our projections for sales tax and TOT (hotel/short-term rental) tax. Our reserves remain strong and were fully funded with our projected targets by the end of the fiscal year. Because of strong reserves, we were able to financially assist our small businesses. Our financial stability is a direct result of fiscally responsible practices, pursuing sensible economic growth, developing new revenue opportunities, and managing our expenses prudently. Our budget remains conservative for the coming year with a strong revenue recovery process in place.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

My number one priority is to ensure strong law enforcement and fire service protection, while managing contract service costs and annual increases effectively. Public Safety comes at a price, and our service and protection will not be compromised. Exploring support services to complement our law enforcement team may assist in ensuring additional outreach and safety, in a fair and equitable manner for all residents. We live in a safe city because of the decisions and commitment made by our City Council to protect our residents.

 

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ECONOMIC GROWTH

Vision Highway 111 Corridor – The City receives nearly 76% of its sales tax from our 2-mile commercial corridor stretch on Hwy 111.  Moving from multiple specific plans to a form based code will assistance us with restructuring with businesses and transportation options that will attract new experiences for consumers to our economy. And, with the completion of the Complete Streets Project (roundabouts), the aesthetics in the Village and Old Town area will allow for safer, slower, more pedestrian-friendly travel, with an artistic component for residents and visitors to enjoy. Roundabouts improve traffic flow, reduce car emissions, reduce maintenance demands on the roads, eliminate traffic signals, and provide the ability to display public art.  

 

SilverRock (now Talus) is also a key factor to ensuring our cities financial future. Fortunately, construction has begun after a slow start and the project is progressing on schedule. We are developing one of the ultimate destination resorts in our valley that will produce hotel, retail and property tax revenue for years to come. The Montage & Pendry Hotels are exceptional additions to an already diverse travel and resort destination in the Coachella Valley. Hospitality trends are indicating that resorts with open space and less density will recover faster than big city travel. La Quinta is well-positioned for this projected recovery. 

 

Sphere of Influence & Annexation:  This is an area that is currently being assessed through a financial analysis process. There is a possibility of increasing the size of La Quinta towards the eastern border.  This is a long process and involves community input and approvals from LAFCO and the County.  Of course, components such as utilities and infrastructure are major elements – especially financially – to consider before any decisions are made.

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QUALITY OF LIFE

Preservation of parks, trails, dark skies and open space will enable La Quinta to preserve its charm while promoting a healthy community. As a hiker, I appreciate all that La Quinta offers and I’m proud to support La Quinta as a Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) city. We added an outdoor National Fitness Court in North La Quinta near La Quinta High School, providing the ability for free exercise to everyone. The North La Quinta X-Park opened in March 2022, and provides a state-of-the-art experience for all ages. La Quinta’s segment of CV Link began construction in late March 2022, with an estimated completion time of year-end 2023.  This multi-modal path will provide alternative, safe transportation and additional access to our commercial corridor along Highway 111, the cities primary source for sales tax.

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SHORT TERM VACATION RENTALS (STVRs)

With additional enforcements and a ban (since Aug 2020) on new permits in non-exempt areas, our STVR program has yielded an improved quality of life while ensuring a strong revenue source for our local businesses and for the city. This revenue allows us to fund police and fire services, as well as infrastructure, capital projects, and youth and senior services. Our complaints and number of permits have decreased significantly, which indicates our effort to balance the program is effective. It’s essential to find a balance between maintaining our neighborhoods in a peaceful manner while retaining a vital revenue source for our city’s tourism and hospitality segment. Our small businesses rely on our visitors to ensure viability and jobs for our local residents. The public will decide on the future of STVRs in La Quinta on a ballot measure in November 2022. Should the Measure pass (a yes vote eliminates rentals except for hosted), the city will adjust expenses accordingly to offset the revenue loss from the program.  I’m opposed to the proposed ban as it will negatively impact our small businesses and employment/jobs in our city, our revenue stream, and our image as a welcoming hospitality destination.  I will Vote No on Measure A so rentals can remain in certain areas of La Quinta.

INCREASE AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS

During my service to the City of La Quinta, we have provided several affordable housing projects for residents to enjoy.  These include Wolff-Waters, Coral Mountain Apartments, and Washington Street Apartments – both a rehab of existing units and new build of more.  In the past year, La Quinta purchased the Dune Palms Mobile Home Park to improve the quality of living for those residents.  We recently purchased 15 acres of land along Highway 111 to allocate for additional housing units.  We are looking at additional land options for increased housing supply. La Quinta has constructed more affordable housing units (approx. 1300) than any other city in the Coachella Valley and I’m proud of that.  The State is now requiring another 1500 in La Quinta.  This will be a difficult task, but we will work to achieve that goal and more as we potentially grow in the future.

RESPONSE TO COVID-19

COVID-19 impacts have taken a toll on our economy – for our residents and our businesses. Our City quickly responded to help mitigate the impacts on residents and businesses by taking the following actions: development of a COVID-19 microsite on the city’s website with Federal, State, County, Regional, and Local resources for residents, businesses, and visitors; executed a digital marketing and education campaign with various COVID-19 information messages; development and implementation of the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Economic Relief Programs with an allocation of $2 million to small businesses; established a food distribution partnership and donated $100,000 to FIND Food Bank to provide food for LQ residents and other residents in need; started a friendly caller program to provide a social connection with residents to ensure their needs are met; utilized the La Quinta Museum for childcare (collaboration with the YMCA) for children of essential workers; manufactured face shields at Creation Station for local hospitals; provided financial support for local homeless shelters and programs; expanded Code Compliance service hours and coverage to better manage short-term vacation rental issues; and participated in various Federal, State, County, and Regional emergency management and COVID-19 update calls; and served as lead and advocate amongst Valley Mayors to County and State officials in providing status on hospital activity/surge to assist in decision-making for business re-opening. In my healthcare position, I assisted the County with the first drive-through COVID-19 testing site in the Coachella Valley by working at the site and facilitating the process for the first few weeks. La Quinta still has a Curative testing site at the Wellness Center for those who need testing.  Upon availability of vaccinations, I coordinated vaccine clinics for the schools in Palm Springs Unified School District as well as JFK Memorial Hospital and other locations in the valley.  La Quinta is on the recovery path and has managed the pandemic favorably from a health and financial position. Our service to our residents continues and we are thankful for the support from our community.

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