Tag Archives: 80th Assembly District

U.S. Representative Barney Frank: Spurs Crowd to Work for Pettis for 80th Assembly District

U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and Congressmember from the Massachusetts 4th CD, gave a stirring speech early this evening to spur local Progressive Democratic activists to action on behalf of Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis in his bid to replace the termed-out Bonnie Garcia (R) in the CA 80th Assembly District.  Pettis is in his 14th year as Cathedral City Councilmember and has served as Cathedral City Mayor Pro-Tem.  Frank noted in his talk that State government always benefits from having someone of Pettis’ caliber move from local government to the State Assembly.

Frank, as usual, a combination entertainer, progressive Democratic rabble-rouser, and spiritual leader to thousands in the 80th AD, spoke about the failures of the Bush Administration in the areas of the environment, the economy, and education.  Sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes assertive, and oftentimes Barney Frank, he delighted his audience with stories of Washington, D.C., and hopes for California and the 80th AD.  Frank attacked the incompetence of the Bush Administration and the ambivalence of the Republicans towards freedom of speech.  Frank noted that the monies wantonly spent during election campaigns is necessary and is protected under ‘Freedom of Speech.’  However, according to Frank, the financing of campaigns is one of the few areas where Republicans seem interested in protecting Freedom of Speech.  Frank exhorted the attendees to help to fund Pettis’ bid for the 80th AD, especially in light of the appalling amounts of monies being spent by the AFL-CIO-labeled rogue union and associations on behalf of the pretender to the Democratic nomination.

More below the flip…

Frank was introduced to the almost 200 attendees by Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, co-host to the event.  Pougnet discussed Franks’ leadership in the LGBT community and his recent work as Chair of the Financial Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representative to help those severely affected by the mismanagement of the Bush Administration’ housing and financial policies.  Frank noted that Pres. Ronald Reagan spoke about a ‘rising tide lifting all ships.’  However, according to Frank, if one could not afford a ship, then one is face with certain difficulty in a rising tide, standing on tippy-toe.

The Barney Frank fundraiser was hosted by Andy Linsky, boardmember of the Human Rights Campaign, and his partner, in their Little Tuscany home in Palm Springs overlooking the Coachella Valley.  This is the type of home and living situation that certain bloggers from the Victor Manuel Perez campaign derides as ‘the West Valley elite.’  Perhaps the blogger forgets for what the American dreams stands.

Following Franks’ strong endrosement of  Pettis as a leader in the local community, a man of extensive governmental experience and expertise, and a stellar representative of the LGBT community, Frank turned the ‘podium’ over to Pettis.  Frank also noted that the results for LGBT candidates in the California June primary will affect the results of the November proposition banning Marriage Equality.  For sure, he indicated, the California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Desert Sun, will report that the success of LGBT candidates bodes poorly for the proposition should the LGBT candidates fare well across the state.  However, should LGBT candidates fare less than expected or surprisingly poorly, then the media will report that that bodes poorly for the November proposition from the LGBT perspective.

Pettis discussed his start in politics with his experience forty years ago next week with attendance at a Bobby Kennedy rally in California, a week prior to his assassination.  Pettis took his lead from Kennedy’s commitment to government as a response to peoples’ needs and began his quest to improve people’s economic situations, to protect the environment, and to improve their schools.  The attendees responded with resounding applause and cheers.

With the focus on improving the State and local eocnomies, protecting the environment, and improving the local schools and protecting them from the proposed budget cuts, Pettis held true to the central themes of his Progressive Democratic campaign.

Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat followed Pettis with a discussion about recent events of the campaign.  She discussed Pettis’ consistent support for the families of the Coachella Valley, for the CA National Organization for Women and freedom of choice, and for Marriage Equality and LGBT issues.  Foat indicated that the Coachella and Imperial Valleys could not afford to have someone inexperienced and with less-than-adequate success as State Assemblymember.  The 80th AD has had enough of that with Garcia.  This writer’s thinking is that although a janitor might be a good representative in theory, an ill-equipped maintenance engineer is not up to the job of helping the Coachella and Imperial Valleys with the economic, environmental, and educational challenges of the 21st Century.

Foat focused on the appalling amount of money that the AFL-CIO-labled rogue union is spending on independent expenditures thus far:  $450,000.  This writer wonders how the SEUI member who typically makes $18,000 to $24,000 per annum would respond to finding out that his/her union is spending his/her union dues in this manner.  And, just what might the ‘rogue union’ expect in return from Perez should he win the nomination?  Foat extolled the fundraiser attendees to meet the challenge.  She noted that with the problems that Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley communities face, they are unable to approach State Assemblymember Garcia to assist given her poor legislative skills and reputation in Sacramento.  Foat discussed the need for someone like Pettis with his experience and legislative skills in order to work for the peoples of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.

Following Foat’s cajolling, Linsky again took the ‘podium’ and discussed the fact that he was reminded that he himself was at the Ambassador Hotel in the second ballroom when Kennedy was assassinated 40 years ago.  This experience also set him on his path to public service.  He enjoined attendees to join him in supporting Pettis and the campaign.

Elected attendees at the Frank fundraiser included Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, Palm Springs Mayor Pro-Tem Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Desert Water Agency Trustee Craig Ewing, Candidate for Palm Springs Unified School District Greg Rodriguez, Cathedral City Councilmember and Candidate for Cathedral City Mayor Paul Marchand, and Desert Hot Springs Councilmember Karl Baker.

Other local Progressive Democratic activists in attendance included Desert Hot Springs Vice-President Chuck McDaniel, Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Executive Secretary-Treasurer Laurie Stalnaker, City of Riverside Arts & Cultural Affairs Manager Jonathan Yorba, Ph.D., Pass Democratic Club President and Riverside County Democratic Central Committeemember Jaqueline Atwood, Pass Democratic Club Treasurer and Vets for Peace Boardmember Robert Atwood, Pass Democratic Club Recording Secretary David Knight, Palm Springs Democratic Club Co-Chair Sandy Eldridge, Palm Springs Democratic Club Secretary Peter East, Democratic Women of the Desert Member Nikki Stone, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club President George Zander, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Treasurer Bob Silverman, and Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee Members Donald W. Grimm, Ph.D., Richard Oberhaus, Greg Rodriguez, Robert Lee Thomas, and Lynn Worley.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Healthcare Workers, and the Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties amongst other unions had various members in attendance including Chuck McDaniel, IBEW Local 440, Laurie Stalnaker, Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Joe Duffle, and others.  Having been a union member of District Council 37, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, New York City’s largest municipal employee’s union and having had to walk a picket line when necessary, these Progressive Democratic leaders and activists hold a special place in this gay boyz’ heart.

Vets for Peace activists attending included Robert Atwood, Tom Swann, and Tracy Turner.  In addition, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Co-Leaders Mike and Carol Balassa cajolled their friends and fully embraced the spirit of the event.  Carol spoke of the need to continue to work to protect the newly-sanctioned Marriage Equality especially in the face of ongoing fanatacism of the fringe-right and their fellow travellers in the Coachella Valley.

All-in-all, a good day for democracy and the progressive Democratic movement in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.  More on the doings at the Frank fundraiser and pictures to follow in the blog of BluePalmSpringsBoyz on the online ediation of the Desert Sun, mydesert.com.

Coachella City Councilmember Gilbert Ramirez, Jr, Endorses Greg Pettis for 80th AD

XPosted 5/23/2008 6:21 PM PDT on MyDesert.com in blog of BluePalmSpringsBoyz

Coachella City Councilmember Gilbert Ramirez, Jr., former Candidate for the 80th Assembly District seat being vacated by the termed-out Bonnie Garcia (R), has endorsed Greg Pettis, Cathedral City Councilmember for more than 13 years and former-Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City, for the 80th AD.  Ramirez joins former-Mayor of Coachella Juan DeLara in endorsing Pettis’s bid for the 80th AD.

Pettis widespread support for his candidacy in the Latino/Latina communities is also apparent in his endorsements by Co-founder of the Palm Springs Democratic Club Lisa Arbelaez, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club activist Bill Cain-Gonzales, Candidate for the Palm Springs Unified School District Greg Rodriguez, and Candidate for the 41st Congressional District Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean.  Pettis has also received endorsements from such Latino/Latina community activists as Christopher Arellano, Larry Baza, Juliet DeLara, Olivia DeLara. Tony Escobedo, Sylvia Escobedo, Maylon Gonzales, Jose Lemus, Christina Marquez, Rodolfo Martinez, David Membrez, Sylvia Preciado, Leticia Quezada, Nicole Ramirez, Dan Ruiz, Anthony Tapia, Ed Torres, and Joe Velasquez.

More below the flip…

(Given that Rick Gonzales, a Wells Fargo investment manager, has obtained the endorsement of three Coachella Valley Unified School District Trustees, Gloria Maldonado, Anna Rodriguez, and Maria Elvia Rios. it seems that fellow Trustee Victor Manuel Perez’ campaign in his home base of Coachella is unraveling.  It begs the question “Just where is Perez’ support in Coachella?”)

In comparison, Pettis has the endorsements of every single Democratic elected who has endorsed in the West Valley except for former-Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden who endorsed Gonzales.  Cathedral City Councilmember Paul Marchand, Cathedral City Clerk Pat Hammers, Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Karl Baker, Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Palm Springs Unified School District Trustee Meredy Schoenberger, and Candidate for Palm Springs Unified School District Greg Rodriguez have all endorsed Pettis’ candidacy.  Although Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet has not made an endorsement, he is co-hosting the U.S. Representative Barney Frank fundraiser for Pettis tomorrow, May 24, 2008, at the home of Andy Lindsky, Human Rights Campaign Boardmember.

In addition, Pettis obtained the endorsements of every single Democratic Club that endorsed thus far in the campaign, including the Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club, the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Inland Stonewall Democratic Club, the Palm Springs Democratic Club, the San Diego Democratic Club, and the San Diego Democratic Women’s Club.

Ramirez was conducting a campaign for the 80th AD until his signatures were invalidated by Riverside County in March 2008 (see The Desert Sun):

A former Democratic rival endorsed Greg Pettis in his bid for the 80th Assembly District seat, his campaign announced today.

Coachella City Councilman Gilbert Ramirez Jr., who was knocked out of the race for the Democratic nomination in March, threw his support behind the Cathedral City Councilman vying to replace outgoing Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City.

Garcia cannot run again because of term limits.

“With our economy in recession and our kids facing budget cuts from Sacramento, we want leaders with a successful track record of showing up day in an day out and protecting vital services,” Ramirez said in a campaign press release.

“Greg not only has a track record of success creating jobs in Cathedral City, but also a sensible plan to cover every child with health care and to invest in our public schools. That’s the kind of tested and trusted leadership we need in Sacramento to turn our state in the right direction.”

Ramirez did not qualify for the race because he failed to get 40 Democratic nominating signatures. Only 33 of 68 of his signatures counted.

(CA 80th AD) Manuel Perez’ Campaign Fights ‘Dirty Little War’ Against Frontrunner Greg Pettis

XPosted 5/21/2008 8:50 PM PDT on MyDesert.com in Blog by BluePalmSpringsBoyz

Well, well, well.  The character of a man is demonstrated when under pressure.  Seems that the leadership of Victor Manuel Perez, Democratic Candidate for the 80th Assembly District fails in more ways than one in the closing weeks of the campaign.

As suggested in the last electronic filing period, Greg Pettis has outraised and outspent his Democratic rivals combined.  Not just outraising Perez, but Perez, Gonzales, and Gutierrez combined!  The Desert Sun, in its editorial endorsement in the Democratic primary, echoed the endorsements of Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, former-Controller Steve Westly, State Controller John Chiang, State Board of Equalization Member Judy Chu, State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, and State Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Sally Lieber in noting Pettis’ exceptional experience and accomplishments during more than 14 years as Cathedral City Councilmember and Cathedral City Mayor Pro-Tem.  The Desert Sun also noted that Pettis was sure to continue to be a presence in the Coachella Valley following election, in this writer’s opinion, much unlike U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Baxely Mack and State Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia.  Garamendi stated,

“I’m getting behind Greg Pettis because he has a long record of results that matter to families throughout the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, and the experience to deliver on the promise of creating a healthier California,” Garamendi said.

“We need to put this seat in the hands of someone who will be ready from the first day in office to make our health care system more affordable and accessible, to improve our economy by reducing the achievement gap in our schools and keeping college affordable for more students and to take the lead in combating global climate change,” Garamendi added.

More below the flip…

Now, with Pettis leading in the last Binder Poll by at least 7 percent, outraising and outspending his Democratic opponents, and garnering the endorsements on the State, County, and Municipal level of most progressive Democrats and all of the local Democratic Clubs which have thus far endorsed, Perez and his out-of-district cronies have launched a dirty little war against Pettis.

As noted in earlier blogging, Perez has vacilated and equivocated on Marriage Equality.  In Democratic Candidates’ forums in the West Valley and East Valley, when questioned directly on how he would vote on Marriage Equality in the State Assembly, Perez stated that he supported equal rights but avoided answering whether or not he would vote ‘yea’ on Marriage Equality in the Assembly.

Now, in blogging posts, his cronies employed by the AFL-CIO-labeled rogue union suggest that Perez is in favor of Marriage Equality.  Interesting.  My sources from elected Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle indicated that while Perez avows support for Marriage Equality in the West Valley before gay-dominated audiences, in the East Valley and Imperial Valley, he is highlighting Pettis ongoing and continual support for Marriage Equality in a Rovian manner.  We call that homphobia and gay-baiting.

Combine this information with the widely witnessed Perez statement before the Sun City Democratic Club in his opening remarks that he is not a member of ‘an Alternative Lifestyle,’ we get the picture.  The audience at Sun City recognized Perez’ statement for what it was – mudslinging at its repulsive worst.

Bloggers in the Perez camp pit the West Valley versus the East Valley in blogs, pit Latinos against the LGBT community, and pit the have-nots against the haves in blogs on mydesert.com and elsewhere.  I thought this beyond the pale.  I thought the Democratic Party the party of inclusion, not one that is divisive.  Apparently not for the Rovians in the Perez camp.

In addition, the ‘rogue union’ has begun a shadow campaign in conjunction with the Perez Rovians to sling mud of the slimiest sort.  Tens of thousands of dollars spent on long-discredited mud and slime.  All the while, the Rovians portray themselves as victims.

For anyone interested in a discussion of Democratic values and issues, the Perez tug is against the current and in the other direction.  Not surprising since it has not the issues: governmental and legislative experience, women’s issues and freedom of choice, LGBT issues and Marriage Equality, realistic plans to avoid budget cuts to our children’s schools and education, environmental and green issues, and a plan for universal healthcare for all children and adolescents.

Pettis has served with distinction on the Cathedral City Council for more than 13 years, advocating for the less advantaged, the uninsured, and the disenfranchised.  Hence, his strong support for universal healthcare for all children in the Coachella Valley, for improved educational opportunities for all children and school administrations that are accountable to the parents, teachers, faculty and staff and that actually serve the needs of the children, and for strengthened legislation that protects the environment.

California – National Organization for Women endorsed Pettis as the best candidate to preserve women’s rights and freedom of choice in the 80th Assembly District.  Perez had an opportunity for a dual endorsement, but could not articulate a position on freedom of choice.  Jeez Louise!  This is 2008.  A Democratic candidate unable to articulate a progressive position of reproductive choice has no business in the business of politics!

Equality California (EQCA) could not even consider Perez for endorsement because of his equivocation on Marriage Equality.  Now with his hypocracy, praising Marriage Equality in the West Valley and whispering about Pettis’ support for Marriage Equality in the East and Imperial Valleys, Perez could not even gain an audience with EQCA.

Pettis delivered a plan to protect our children and our schools from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts.  On the other hand, Perez nearly bankrupted the Coachella Valley Unified School District, turning to monies from the State that resulted in the State of California placing the CVUSD into trusteeship.  Man, three of his colleagues on the CVUSD could not tolerate his devastating leadership there, opting for another Democratic candidate, Rick Gonzales.

We thought that we were done with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rove after seven devastating years of lies and deception.  Seems that Rove is alive and well in the Coachella Valley.

Coachella & Valley Residents Celebrate Marriage Equality: Foat, Hutcheson, Pettis, etc.

More than 200 celebratory residents of the Coachella Valley and environs gathered before the Palm Springs City Hall to mark the California Supreme Court decision granting Marriage Equality to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities.  In a 4-3 decision, California, with one eighth of the population of the Nation, that is, more than 35 million out of 300 million American residents, leads the way to Civil Rights and Marriage Equality for all.  For All.

In an occasion marked by ‘mere’ citizens like Scott and Jon Hines and their two young children, Steve O’Brien and Scott Evans, partners of 13-years, Carol and Mike Balassa, leaders of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – Palm Springs (PFLAG), and others, law-abiding and tax-paying citizens all, paid tribute to the heroism of the California Supreme Court for the landmark decision.  Coachella Valley electeds such as Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Water District Board Member Craig Ewing, Cathedral City Councilmember and Candidate for Cathedral City Mayor Paul Marchand, and Cathedral City Councilmember and Candidate for the 80th Assembly District Greg Pettis attended the celebration.

More below the flip…

More from mydesert.com, the online edition of The Desert Sun:

(Scott and Jon Hines) had just lost a Tennesee Supreme Court case to try and overturn a ban on same-sex marriage.

“They treated us like second class citizens,” Scott Hines of Palm Springs said.

On Thursday, the chance they took for legal marriage in California paid off.

The family of four joined 200 others at Palm Springs City Hall to celebrate the California Supreme Court decision Thursday to overturn a ban on gay marriage.

“We came here because we knew there was a chance,” Scott Hines said.

When he got the news early Thursday, he called his partner of five years and asked him to marry him.

“I was in (a) dentist chair,” Jon Hines said with a big smile as he and Scott’s children, Louis, 11, and Sage,3, played nearby.

Louis, a fifth grader, has been known to say that two dads are better than one, Jon Hines said.

“They rock,” Louis said.

Several who attended the rally wore black T-shirts that read “Let California Ring…”

…Several hugged and cheered when Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Foat shouted, “Happy Marriage Day!”

Councilman Rick Hutcheson said Thursday was a “joyous day for Palm Springs and a joyous day for my family.”

He joked though that it was also an expensive day because he and his partner of 10 years would now need to shop for wedding rings.

Local radio talkshow host Bill Feingold said he was surprised at how affected he was by the Supreme Court decision, adding he cried a little.

“I feel validated,” Feingold said. “I am an American like everybody else today.”

Foat discussed the long, hard struggle of the LGBT community, and the leadership that members of the Palm Springs community provided to the Marriage Equality struggle.  Foat noted that the City of Palm Springs, amongst many other California cities like Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, and others, filed friends of the court amicus briefs to support today’s California Supreme Court ruling.  Foat reported that she had left a message for her long-time partner, Pam, asking her to marry her in a voice mail message.  The crowd responded in laughter when Foat indicated that her partner expected more, including an in-person marriage proposal and a ‘bended knee.’  Nevertheless, Foat’s partner said “Yes!.”  Foat also reported that the Palm Springs City Council, lead by Mayor Steve Pougnet, Hutcheson, and herself would seek to have a Riverside County clerical presence in Palm Springs to allow locals to seek a marriage license here, rather than having to travel to Indio as presently planned.

Foat read a congratulatory letter from Pougnet who with his partner and twins were at a family function in Rochester, NY.  Clearly Pougnet, attending a family event, missed being in Palm Springs to celebrate a LGBT family event with the California Supreme Court ruling.

Hutcheson discussed the personal and community blessings of the Court ruling, indicating that Palm Springs could become the Marriage Equality capital of California.  Clearly, Marriage Equality will benefit Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, and Rancho Mirage hotels, resorts, spas, restaurants, caterers, and entertainers in the near future.

Foat introduced Greg Pettis, Candidate for the 80th Assembly District, as ‘THE 80th Assembly District candidate,’ to which Pettis received resounding applause.  When Foat reported that Pettis would replace Bonnie Garcia (R), the applause and cheers exploded further.  Pettis has fully supported Marriage Equality, foster parent priviliges for the LGBT community, anti-bullying measures for the schools, and other LGBT issues during his 13 years + tenure as Cathedral City Councilmember and former-Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City.  Pettis discussed his previous leadership in crafting measures to protect the interests of members of the LGBT communities in Riverside County and in Cathedral City.

Pettis has had the endorsements of every member of the LGBT legislative caucus in Sacramento including Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), Chair, Senator Christine Kehoe (San Diego), Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), Senator Carole Migden, and Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).  Other local electeds, members of the LGBT community endorsing Pettis include Foat, Hutcheson, Marchand, Desert Hot Springs Councilmember Karl Baker, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Treasurer Bob Silverman, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Secretary James Reynolds, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Vice-President Roger Tansey, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club Steering Committee Members Donald W. Grimm, Ph.D., Bob Mahlowitz, Greg Rodriguez, and Lynn Worley, Desert Stonewall Democratic Club activist Bill Cain-Gonzales, Palm Springs Democratic Club Co-Chair David Pye, Palm Springs Democratic Club Co-Chair Sandy Eldridge, former Palm Springs Democratic Club Co-Chair Robert Lee Thomas, amongst others.

In addition, Pettis has been endorsed by all, by all of the local LGBT Democratic Clubs including the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Inland Stonewall Democratic Club, and the San Diego Democratic Club.

Pettis discussed the benefits to the West Valley communities of Marriage Equality.  He also discussed the fact that the impact on the Imperial Valley communities might be even greater as the visibility of the LGBT communities there becomes even more evident at neighbors, family members and friends publically seek and obtain marriage licenses in El Centro, Brawley, Coachella, and Indio.  That is where real change in the local political and social environment as a result of Marriage Equality will occur.

Pettis for CA 80th Assembly District: Receives Endorsements From Every LGBT Caucus Member

Greg Pettis, in his 14th year as Cathedral City Councilman, former-Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City, and Candidate for the CA 80th Assembly District, has now received the endorsements from every member of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus in Sacramento.  Pettis has widespread support in the LGBT community Nationally, State-wide, and locally because of his progressive stands on issues important to the LGBT communities: Pettis fully supports the HIV/AIDS communities, universal healthcare, a strong local economy, good local schools and responsible academic oversight, a healthy environment, equality and justice for all Californians, and mentoring other members of the LGBT community.

More below the flip…

Pettis’ support in the National, State, and local LGBT communities includes but is not limited to:


U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA)

U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)


Every LGBT Caucus Member in Sacramento:

CA State Senator Christine Kehoe

CA State Senator Sheila Kuehl

CA State Senator Carol Migden

CA State Assemblyman John Laird

CA State Assemblyman Mark Leno


Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat

Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson

Cathedral City City Councilmember Paul Marchand

Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Karl Baker

LGBT Organizations and LGBT Community Leaders:

Desert Stonewall Democratic Club

Vice-President Desert Stonewall Democrats Roger Tansey

Treasurer Desert Stonewall Democrats Bob Silverman

Secretary Desert Stonewall Democrats James Reynolds

Membership Chair Desert Stonewall Democrats Lynn Worley

Public Relations Chair Desert Stonewall Democrats Donald W. Grimm, Ph.D.

Steering Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Bob Mahlowitz

Steering Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Richard Oberhaus

Steering Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Greg Rodriguez

Steering Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Robert Lee Thomas

Steering Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Lynn Worley

Political Action Committee Member Desert Stonewall Democrats Bond Shands

Desert Stonewall Democrats Member Bill Cain-Gonzales

Equality California

HRC Board Member Andy Linsky

Inland Stonewall Democratic Club

Co-Chair Palm Springs Democratic Club Sandy Eldridge

Co-Chair Palm Springs Democratic Club David Pye

Secretary Palm Springs Democratic Club Peter East

San Diego Democratic Club

Victory Fund

Pettis is the only Democratic candidate who has indicated publically and consistently that he fully supports issues important to the LGBT community, including Marriage Equality.  In fact, two of his opponents, Rick Gonzales and Richard Gutierrez, have indicated publically that they will vote ‘nay’ on any Marriage Equality bill if elected as Assemblymember to represent the 80th AD.  Victor Manuel Perez has stated publically that he supports equality for all, but consistently avoids stating whether he will or will not vote for Marriage Equality.

Thus, Pettis is not only most qualified to represent the Coachella and Imperial Valleys as per The Desert Sun, but is also the most committed and will most represent all of their interests in Sacramento as Assemblyman (forty percent of the population in Palm Springs are members of the LGBT community, sixty percent of the population is LGBT-identified during the ‘season’).  Recently, most of the major electeds in the West Valley have been openly-gay or openly-lesbian, including former Mayor of Palm Springs Ron Oden, Mayor of Palm Springs and former-Palm Springs City Councilmember Steve Pougnet, Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Palm Springs Unified School District Trustee Justin Blake, Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Karl Baker, Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis, and Cathedral City Councilmember Paul Marchand.  Other electeds in the West Valley have endorsed Pettis for the 80th AD, including Palm Springs Unified School District Trustee Meredy Schoenberger and Cathedral City Clerk Pat Hammers.  The only ones of these mentioned not endorsing Pettis for 80th AD are Oden and Blake, the latter not endorsing anyone thus far.

Also, unlike other campaigns for the 80th AD, Pettis is reaching out to all communities in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, not deigning to divide the communities along race, class, sexual orientation or other lines of distinction.  In fact, Pettis has widespread support in the wealthier cities in the District including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Rancho Mirage as well as in the less advantaged communities like Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Coachella, Brawley, and El Centro.

Members of the LGBT Caucus endorsing Pettis include Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), chair of the caucus,

According to a press release from LGBT Caucus chair Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz):

Formed in June 2002, the role of the LGBT Caucus is to present a forum for the California Legislature to discuss issues that affect LGBT Californians and to further the goal of equality and justice for all Californians.  Formation of the LGBT Caucus made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators.

Members of the LGBT Caucus endorsing Pettis include Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), chair, Senator Christine Kehoe (San Diego), Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), Senator Carole Migden, and Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

Accomplishments and activities of the LGBT Caucus that Pettis is committed to help to further and to accomplish as a State Assemblymember representing the Coachella and Imperial Valleys:

Champion and prioritize laws/legislation that promote equality for LGBT Californians:

Equal rights and responsibilities for same-sex couples and their families

Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender in employment, housing, and business establishments / public accommodations

Prohibit discrimination in state government

Prohibit discrimination and harassment in public school

Promote fair policies and adequate funding for HIV/AIDS and LGBT-related health and human services

Promote prevention programs and policies against hate-crimes and bias-motivated violence

Sponsor annually the LGBT Pride Exhibit every June, celebrating Pride Month.

Present before the California State Legislature the LGBT Pride Recognition Awards, which are given to outstanding individuals in recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments and leadership in their respective fields of endeavors.

Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2002, and re-elected in 2004, and in 2006,  Laird represents the 27th Assembly District, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Counties.  Prior to being elected to the State Assembly, Laird served two terms on the Santa Cruz City Council, two terms as Mayor of Santa Cruz, and eight years as a Cabrillo College Trustee.

In his role as Budget Committee Chair, Mr. Laird helped deliver the first on-time budget since 2000-a budget that reduced community college fees, restored funding for transportation and K-12 education, dramatically increased funding for deferred park maintenance and foster care, and increased the budget reserve while reducing the so-called “out year” deficit. Along with the Budget Committee, Mr. Laird also serves as a member the Labor and Employment, Judiciary, and Natural Resources Committees.

Raised in Vallejo and educated in Vallejo public schools, Mr. Laird’s parents were both educators. He graduated from UCSC’s Adlai Stevenson College. In 1981, Assemblymember Laird was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council. He was elected by the City Council to one-year mayor’s terms in 1983 and 1987, becoming one of the first openly gay mayors in the United States.

Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) was first elected to the Assembly in 2002,  Assemblyman Leno represents the 13th District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San Francisco.  He is one of the first two openly-gay men ever elected to the State Assembly.  He currently chairs the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which oversees all bills with a fiscal impact on the state of California.  Leno also serves on the Election & Redistricting and Labor Committees.  Leno was also chair of the Public Safety Committee from 2003 to 2006.  Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Leno served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from April 1998 to November 2002.  Leno has also been in the forefront of Marriage Equality battle with the recacitrant Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in sending the Governor Marriage Equality bills each year which Schwarzenegger then terminates with a veto:

While in the Assembly, Leno has fought for better schools and access to higher education, a cleaner and sustainable environment, universal affordable and quality health care, improved transportation, renewable energy, safer streets and equal rights for all Californians.  In 2007, Leno is continuing his pioneering battle for LGBT couples and their families by authoring AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This historic civil rights legislation would allow same sex couples to marry in California . In 2005, Leno’s nearly identical AB 849 was the first marriage equality bill in United States history to be approved by both houses of a state legislature.

A native of Wisconsin, Leno attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, then went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at the American College of Jerusalem, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Leno also spent two years in Rabbinical Studies at The Hebrew Union College in New York . He is the owner of Budget Signs, Inc., a small business he founded in 1978 and operated with his life partner, Douglas Jackson. Together the two entrepreneurs steadily grew their sign business until Jackson passed away from complications relating to HIV/AIDS in 1990. This deep loss would not deter Leno. Instead, he redoubled his efforts in community service.

Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) was first elected to the State Senate in 2004, to represent the 39th Senate District,  Senator Kehoe chairs the State Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.  In 2006, Kehoe chaired the Senate’s Local Government Committee where she sponsored the most important redevelopment reform bill in more than a decade:

Senator Kehoe is a member of the Senate Committee on Budget & Fiscal Review; Natural Resources & Water; Transportation & Housing; Local Government, the Governor’s Broadband Task Force, the California Cultural and Historical Endowment; and the Sea Grant Advisory Panel.  

She also serves on the Select Committees on Defense and Aerospace Industry; the Natural Resources and Water’s Subcommittee on Delta Resources; the Joint Committee on the Arts; and the Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Watershed Conservation.

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Kehoe served two terms as a California State Assemblymember representing the 76th District (2000-04).  

During her first term in the State Assembly, Kehoe distinguished herself by becoming the second woman ever – and the first woman from San Diego, to be elected Assembly Speaker pro Tempore, the Assembly’s second highest-ranking position.  In her first year in the State Assembly, she carried the largest energy conservation bill package in the state’s history.  

Prior to being elected to serve California’s 76th Assembly District, Kehoe served seven years as City Council Member representing San Diego’s Third District. As a Council Member, Christine was at the forefront on environmental issues, serving as chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee. She led efforts to improve and beautify San Diego, reduce street crime, and improve recreational opportunities for families.

State Senator Sheila James Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) was first elected to the State Senate in 2000, and again in 2004, after serving for six years in the State Assembly. During the 1997-98 legislative session, Senator Kuehl was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly. Kuehl is also the first openly-gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature.  A former civil rights attorney and law professor, Kuehl represents the 23rd Senate District in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.  She is the chair of the Senate Health Committee and serves as a member of the Agriculture, Appropriations, Environmental Quality, Joint Rules, Judiciary, Labor and Employment, and Natural Resources and Water Committees.  Kuehl is also chair of the Select Committee on School Safety and Chair of the Select Committee on the Health Effects of Radioactive and Chemical Contamination.  Kuehl previously served as chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee from 2000-2006:

In her thirteen years in the State Legislature, Sen. Kuehl has authored 171 bills that have been signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, establish the rights contained in Roe vs. Wade in California statute, overhaul California’s child support services system; establish nurse to patient ratios in every hospital; require that housing developments of more than 500 units have identified sources of water; further protect domestic violence victims and their children; prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education; increase the rights of crime victims; safeguard the environment and drinking water; many, many others.  Since 2003, she has led the fight in the legislature to achieve true universal health care in California, and, in 2006, brought SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act,  to the Governor’s desk, the first time in U.S. history a single-payer healthcare bill had gone so far. Undaunted by its veto, Senator Kuehl continues to work to bring universal, affordable, quality health care to all Californians.

She was selected to address the 1996 Democratic National Convention on the issue of family violence and the 2000 Democratic National Convention on the issue of diversity.  In 1996, George magazine selected her as one of the 20 most fascinating women in politics and the California Journal named her “Rookie of the Year.”  In 1998 and, again, in 2000, the California Journal chose her as the Assembly member with the greatest intelligence and the most integrity.  In 2006, the Capitol Weekly picked her as the most intelligent member of the California Legislature.

Prior to her election to the Legislature, Senator Kuehl drafted and fought to get into California law more than 40 pieces of legislation relating to children, families, women, and domestic violence.  She was a law professor at Loyola, UCLA and USC Law Schools and co-founded and served as managing attorney of the California Women’s Law Center.

Senator Kuehl graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978 where she was the second woman in the school’s history to win the Moot Court competition.  She served on the Harvard University Board of Overseers from 1998 to 2005.

Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) represents the 3rd District in the California State Senate, which includes the eastern half of the City and County of San Francisco, all of Marin County, and portions of Sonoma County.  Senator Migden was first elected to the Senate in November of 2004.

Currently, Senator Migden is chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and also serves as Chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  In 2004, she began serving as Chair of the Appropriations Committee:

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Carole Migden served as Chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization (BOE); the nation’s only publicly elected tax commission; represented San Francisco’s 13th District in the California State Assembly; and for five years served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

During her tenure at the BOE Senator Migden worked to modernize the state’s outdated tax system and manage taxpayers’ money responsibly. Her accomplishments at the BOE included strengthening domestic partners’ property rights, leveling the playing field between Main Street and on-line retailers, protecting California’s precious open space, and advocating for increased revenues to fund vital services by eliminating obsolete tax breaks.

In the State Assembly, Migden served for five years as Chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. She was the first woman and the first freshman legislator to chair that influential committee. For four years she also served as a conferee on the state’s Joint Budget Conference Committee, which writes the final version of California’s state budget.In that time Carole Migden authored legislation to create California’s landmark domestic partner registry, promote children’s health, preserve the old growth Headwaters Forrest, increase accountability in K-12 schools, protect borrowers from predatory and deceptive lending practices, protect consumers from manipulation by energy generators, and promote the use of emergency contraception.

Senator Migden has received numerous awards for her service. California Journal named her among California’s power elite of women elected officials and awarded her with their “Rookie of the Year” award in 1998, taking top honors in the categories of most integrity, most intelligence, hardest working, most ambitious, and most influential. She received “Legislator of the Year” honors in 1999 from the California School Employees Association and in 2001 from the California National Organization for Women (NOW), as well as leadership awards from prominent environmental and civil rights organizations. She continues to receive high honors in California Journal’s annual rankings, including “Quick Study” in 2002.

Carole Migden is a longtime member of, and current super-delegate to, the Democratic National Committee. She also served as chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party for eight years.

CA League of Conservation Voters Endorses Pettis for 80th AD: Long History Of Involvement

XPosted 5/7/2008 9:55 PM PDT on MyDesert.com by BluePalmSpringsBoyz

Greg Pettis, a Cathedral City Councilman for more than 14 years, a former Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City, and Democratic candidate for the 80th Assembly District to replace the termed out, thank God, Bonnie Garcia (R), has long demonstrated his commitment to the environment and considered growth.  In its endorsement, The Desert Sun (Pettis is our pick for Democratic nominee in 80th Assembly District), stated:

Pettis has been in office 14 years as a Cathedral City councilman. He knows the Coachella Valley best. He has strong relationships with local officials and understands local issues.

He has built a solid record of achievement while on the council, and we believe he is electable and will be effective in Sacramento…

…He plans to focus on…expanding incentives for green and renewable energy sources.

More below the flip…

Part of his ‘record of achievement’ in the Coachella Valley has included that he has been instrumental in creating an economically vibrant community with strong neighborhoods and a thriving downtown to attract good paying jobs to Cathedral City.

Among some of his proudest legislative accomplishments include:

(1) Creating green building standards to save water and make buildings more energy efficient

(2) Negotiating the Multi-Species Habitat Plan to guide sustainable growth

(3) Serving on the Salton Sea Authority

In addition to his duties as a Councilmember, Pettis has served as board member of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy.  He has also served on the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Pettis is also Harvard-educated, graduating from the State and Municipal Government Program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In recognition of Pettis’s commitment to the environment and to smart growth, the California League of Conservation Voters found him most qualified to defend the local and state environment and to promote rational growth amongst the local communities.  The following is from a Press Release from the Pettis for 80th Assembly District campaign:


The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) announced (February 18, 2008) that they are endorsing Greg Pettis (D-Cathedral City) for the open 80th Assembly District seat.  

“While there are many good candidates running for this seat, Greg Pettis’ long history of involvement on improving air and water quality, forward-looking smart growth planning and commitment to combating global climate change is what earned him our Board’s trust,” said David Allgood, CLCV Southern California Director.

“We were particularly impressed with forward-looking legislation Greg has implemented like Cathedral City’s Green Building Standards which require new construction in Cathedral City to be 10-15 percent above state efficiency standards to help reduce water use, his tireless work negotiating the Multi-Species Habitat Plan to manage growth in the desert and his vote to install solar panels to provide all electricity needs for City Hall.”

“Additionally, his Pettis Plan for Progress takes a thoughtful look about how Sacramento can act locally while leading globally.”

Pettis said he was honored by CLCV’s endorsement because “it validates my campaign theme that we need experienced leadership in Sacramento if we are going to create a healthier California, and that includes a healthier environment.”

Pettis is serving his 14th year on the City Council of Cathedral City. He has also served on the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Salton Sea Authority and Riverside County Transportation Commission.

CLCV is the non-partisan political action arm of California’s environmental movement.  

CLCV conducts rigorous research on candidates in order to make endorsements in key races. Our endorsements are backed with expertise, and we assist candidates with the media, fundraising, and grassroots organizing strategies they need to win. We also campaign to educate voters about candidates’ environmental records.

Clearly, according to CLCV goals, the board ‘rigorously’ investigated each of the four Democratic candidates in the 80th AD race and found Pettis to be the candidate with the best bona fides for the California environmental movement.

Democrats of the Desert Awards Banquet: Sonja Marchand and Rosalie Zwain Honored

XPosted 4/6/2008 10:15 AM PDT on MyDesert.com

Yesterday, Democrats of the Desert had its annual awards banquet to honor Life-Time Achievement Awardee Sonja Marchand and Activist of the Year Rosalie Zwain at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage.  Speakers included Stephanie Miller and Jim Ward, “Stars of Progressive Talk Radio” at AirAmerica.

Democratic officeholders in attendance included Greg Pettis, Mayor Pro-tem of Cathedral City and Candidate for the 80th Assembly District, Paul Marchand, Cathedral City City Councilman, Pat Hammers, Cathedral City Clerk, Ron Oden, former-Mayor of Palm Springs, Rick Hutcheson, Palm Springs City Council, Shari Stewart, Board President, and Justin Blake Board Member of the Palm Springs Unified School District, and Rob Simmons, Palm Springs Airport Commission.

Attending Democratic candidates included Julie Bornstein, Candidate for the 45th Congressional District, Pettis, Candidate for the CA 80th Assembly District, Rick Gonzalez, Candidate for the CA 80th Assembly District, Paul Marchand, Candidate for Mayor of Cathedral City, Greg Rodriguez, Candidate for the Board of the Palm Springs Unified School District, and Kira Klatchko, former-candidate for the Palm Springs Unified School District.  Amalia Deaztlan, campaign manager for the Victor Manuel Perez for the 80th Assembly, also attended.  

Union activists in attendance that I recognized included Chuck McDaniel, IBEW Local 440, Juan Carlos Sanchez, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, and others.

Many Coachella Valley Democratic Party activists were also in attendance, including Elle Kurpiewski, Chair, Beth Caskie, Vice President Programs and reknowned blogger, and Carole Sumner Krechman, Vice President & Chair Fund Raising, Chris Escobedo, Vice President – Political Action, each of the Democrats of the Desert, Chuck McDaniel, Co-Chair of the Desert Hot Springs Democrats, George Zander, Chair and blogger, Bob Silverman, Treasurer, James Reynolds, Esq., Secretary of the Desert Stonewall Democrats, Desert Stonewall Democrats Steering Committee members Donald W. Grimm, Ph.D., Richard Oberhaus, and Simmons, Sandy Eldridge and David Pye, Co-Chairs of the Palm Springs Democratic Club, and Jackie Atwood, President, Betty McMillan, 1st Vice President, Robert Atwood, Treasurer, each of the Pass Democratic Club.

Sonja Marchand was accompanied by her husband, Robert, and her son, Paul.  She rendered a stirring speech about Democratic activism, the failures of the Bush Administration over the past seven years including the ‘massive mess in Mesopotamia,’ and the need for Democratic Party unity this coming November (sorry for mangling the alliteration, but that was what I could recall early this a.m.).

Of local mydesert.com readership interest, it seems that the identity of the people behind the Pettis files will soon be known.  The blogger and/or his financial backing had taken out advertisements in the media which require campaign finance reporting.  As a result, the identities should be known shortly.  The noose tightens and scandal is abrewing!

Blue Coachella Valley: Fast Becoming the Reality

Please be gentle as this is my first post on Calitics.com.

Beth Caskie, a member of the Democrats of the Desert and a diarist on Calitics.com, with the assistance of George Zander, President of the Desert Stonewall Democrats organized a fascinating meeting re blogging in the Coachella Valley.  Well-attended, this meeting raised awareness of the importance of blogging in turning the Coachella Valley blue.

Recent history shows that the Coachella Valley is already well on the way to becoming Blue Coachella Valley.  Zander noted that the Coachella Valley is already blue on both ends with five cities giving John Kerry their majority vote in 2004 (Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, and Cathedral City in the West Valley and Indio and Coachella in the East).

Greg Pettis reports that in 1995, Ron Oden was elected to the Palm Springs City Council as its sole Democrat.  Simultaneously, Pettis was voted to the Cathedral City City Council as its lone Democrat.  In 2003, Oden became the first African-American and first openly-gay mayor of Palm Springs.  Simultaneously, Ginny Foat and Steve Pougnet each won City Council seats as Democrats, giving the Palm Springs City Council three Democrats on the five member council!!!  Likewise, in 2004, Cathedral City elected a majority of Democrats including Pettis and Paul Marchand to its City Council.

In 2005, Foat was by far the biggest vote getter in the Palm Springs council race for a complete term and John Williams just barely lost to the Republican incumbent after a last-minute yellow journalistic assault by the local so-called newspaper (aka the Desert Scum).

For your information, in 2007, Pougnet is running to succeed Oden as mayor of Palm Springs when Oden elected to not run for re-election.  Pougnet is highly favored to become the second consecutive openly gay Democrat mayor in Palm Springs.

In addition, Rick Hutcheson, Planning Commission member, has received the endorsement of all three Palm Springs Democratic clubs including Democrats of the Desert, Desert Stonewall Democrats, and Palm Springs Democrats.  In turn, Williams has received endorsements from Desert Stonewall Democrats and Palm Springs Democrats.  On the downside, rather than endorse Williams, the Democrats of the Desert endorsed Bob Mahlowitz.  According to some this action resulted in the recent decision of the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee to withhold formal endorsements for any Democrats in the Palm Springs City Council race.  However, with 40% of the Palm Springs electorate identified as members of the GLBT community, with the increasing Latino voter registration, and with Democrats far outdistancing Republicans in voter registrations in the past few years, Palm Springs is poised to have four Democrats on City Council!

Cathedral City with its two Democratic City Councilmen, Pettis and Marchand, means that Cat City will shortly follow Palm Springs into the Blue Coachella Valley.  Also, prior to his unexpected death, Gary Bosworth was the biggest vote-getter in the Desert Hot Springs city council race in 2005.  Desert Hot Springs Democrats hope to regain this seat during the current election cycle.  Residents of both Indio and Coachella in ‘Down Valley’ regularly elect progressive Democrats for mayor and city council.

So, the idea of a Blue Coachella Valley is no longer a fanciful dream, but should with the ongoing presence of strong local Democratic clubs and demonstrated Democratic unity become reality!

Thanks to soyinkafan for helping me to learn how to incorporate hypertext links into my text.  You obviously have great kharma!