Dear Indio Neighbors,
As you may know, the filing period for our November City Council and City Treasurer elections closed in August. At the end of this message is a link to our city website that identifies the five candidates for three City Council seats and the one candidate for City Treasurer. Our local election is a bit different this time because it is our first one with separate City Council election districts. Thus, the election will include two candidates for District 2, two for District 4, one candidate for District 3, and one candidate for City Treasurer. The first elections for Districts 1 and 5 will be in November of 2020. The elections are staggered so that there is always continuity on the City Council.
While some cities have had Council districts and district elections for many years, there has been a substantial movement toward district elections in California In recent years. In large part, this has been driven by a movement (and sometimes threats of lawsuit under federal law) aimed at granting equitable representation to all residential populations within a governmental entity. Indio’s district boundaries were adopted following the recommendations of a professional third-party consultant and following considerable community input. They will be revisited every 10 years following each census to make sure they are reasonably proportionate to the population measured in a variety of ways (relative population growth, geography, ethnic or racial composition, economic factors, etc.). They even attempt to factor in natural or man-made separations that distinguish one part of a city from another (major roadways, rivers, rail tracks, etc.).
In any case, for the first time, we will have Council members elected from established districts. For those who engage in our local democracy, it is important to understand one aspect about these election districts. A Council election district is NOT a political subdivision. All five elected City Councilmembers are obligated by the Municipal Code and the oath they take to represent the entire City – all citizens. They must live in the district from which they are elected and they will obviously be very conscious of issues that affect that portion of the community. But their obligation is citywide. Each councilmember represents the entire City. Residents will always be welcome to contact their district Councilmember, but may also contact any other Councilmember.
And speaking for the paid staff, you are also welcome to contact us. In case you wondered, a City Manager is not elected. I live in awe of those who have the courage and energy to step up for elected office, but I am constantly grateful that I do not have to get re-elected. A City Manager is appointed by the City Council and I work at their pleasure. I am actually obligated to be entirely non-partisan. I work for the City Council (taking my direction only from the entire City Council when sitting as a body in a publicly noticed meeting). You will not see me at any candidate campaign events and would not dream of endorsing any candidate for any elected office – local, state or federal. But like each City Council member, my obligation is to serve the entire community.
I am honored to work with our elected officials and all those who signed up to run for office in our November election. To our Indio public, we hope you will do your best to educate yourself on the candidates and that you will register and vote. We are counting on you.