Tag Archives: Craig Ewing

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 & 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.

Desert Stonewall Democrats Hold Election Analysis Meeting with Members and Electeds

George Zander, President of the Desert Stonewall Democrats, ran a great meeting today.  The montly DSD meeting took place at the Desert Pride Center and had between 45 and 50 progressive Democratic political activists in attendance.

Those in attendance included Bob Thomas, Co-Chair of the Palm Springs Democratic Club, Steve Pougnet, newly-elected mayor of Palm Springs, Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilwoman, elected last week as Palm Springs Mayor Pro-Tem, and Palm Springs power-broker, Rick Hutcheson newly-elected Palm Springs City Councilman, Craig Ewing, Palm Springs Planning Director and newly-elected boardmember of the Desert Water Agency, and April Hildner from No on C.  John Williams, an appointed Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation boardmember and defeated candidate for Palm Springs City Council, Greg Pettis, Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City and candidate for the CA 80th Assembly District to replace the termed out Bonnie Garcia, Richard Oberhaus, Pettis’ Campaign Manager, Paul Marchand, Cathedral City Councilmember, Greg Rodriguez from Yes on Measure E and the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, Robert Simmons, Palm Springs Airport Commissioner and supporter of the Barack Obama for President campaign, and Paul Clay and David Hunsicker, candidates for the CA 45th Congressional District to replace Mary Bono also attended.

More below the flip…

Thomas, co-chair of the Palm Springs Democratic Club, provided a thoughtful powerpoint presentation on the figures from the November election.  Democrats turned out in greater numbers than did the disillusioned Republican voters.  In addition, DSD voters turned out at an amazing 70%!  DSD clearly represents an important voting block for all progressive Democratic candidates.  Thomas attributed Williams’ loss by only 76 votes to the division of the vote between Hutchesion, Bob Mahlowitz, and Williams.  On the other hand, voter turn out may have been greater due to the interest in the hotly contested races.

Pougnet, recently elected as Mayor of Palm Springs, with his twins in tow, spoke elequently regarding his vision for the future of Palm Springs.  He thanked his supporters who lived in Palm Springs as well as his supporters, yours truly included, who did not.  Pougnet noted that downtown Palm Springs is important not only to residents of Palm Springs, but also to the entire Coachella Valley.

Hutcheson, recently elected to his first term as Palm Springs City Councilman, gave brief comments and thanked his supporters and the DSD and PSD Democratic Clubs for their support.  Hutcheson also noted that with the changing demographics of the Palm Springs area, it is important to continue to build the local Democratic Party from the grassroots level on up.  Hutcheson made a special effort to thank Williams for running such an outstanding campaign.

Foat, elected last week as Mayor Pro-Tem of Palm Springs, discussed the need for ongoing activism and a better approach to handling the negative campaigning of the Repugnant Party (my phrase, not hers) in the Coachella Valley.  Foat indicated that given the Repugnant behavior Nationwide, we should have expected that they would go negative here as well.  But the viciousness of the attacks against Williams and Hutcheson and the collusion of The Desert Sun was never anticipated.  I say, “Fool me once…”

Ewing, Palm Springs City Planning Director and recently elected to the Desert Water Agency, delivered a short statement and focused on what his own election means for the future of the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley Democratic Party.  Ewing noted that his was a breakthrough election and succeeded in part due to the complacency of the opposition.  He duly noted that in the next election, three of the Desert Water Agency seats will be up for election.  He expects that Democrats will continue to make gains on the DWA.

April Hildner of No on C discussed the resounding win.  No on C succeeded with 60% of the vote.  Hildner hoped that this will bring to an end the efforts of developers in the community to ravage the Chino Cone with unrestricted and unnecessary development.

Greg Pettis, Mayor Pro-Tem of Cathedral City and candidate for the CA 80th Assembly District, discussed his recent efforts to reach out to the Asian-Pacific Islander caucus in the California State Assembly.  With the most recent endorsements, Pettis is poised to receive endorsements from the entire caucus!  Pettis has also been actively seeking the support of labor and discussed his recent endorsement by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 440.  Other union endorsements are apparently coming down the pike.  And, next weekend, Pettis celebrates his 50th Birthday Party.  We expect that Pettis will fete us at Johnny Pasta’s in Cathedral City in a fashion to which we became accustomed with Hillary Clinton’s 50th birthday soiree.   Lol.

Greg Rodriguez discussed the importance of Measure E.  The Measure will assist in upgrading and renovating existing existing schools, making health and safety upgrades, constructing new schools, and constructing permanent classrooms at the elementary schools to replace portable classrooms.  Pougnet discussed his involvement with the Palm Springs Unified School District and his support for Measure E.  Pougnet also noted that much of the construction mandated by Measure E would take place in Desert Hot Springs and not in Palm Springs.  After a notably civil debate and discussion, DSD members voted to endorse Yes on Measure E by a vote of 20 yea, 6 nay, and an uncounted number of abstentions.

Clay and Hunsicker each individually discussed his candidacy for the CA 45th Congressional District.  Either way, it will be great to have a Representative who comes to the 45th CD for more than just fundraising and photo-ops (Bono is notorious for missing important votes on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.)  Clay and Hunsicker were well received, especially with their positive stands re Marriage Equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Sentate Bill 777, and the Hate Crimes Bill.

Turner discussed the activism of Vets for Peace and their petition to deter the warmongering Bush Administration from any military action against Iran.  (Yes, even though the war effort in Afghanistan is suffering from lack of soldiers and lack of equipment, and though the occupation effort in Iraq is faltering with more and more civilian and military casualties, this Administration is obviously considering military action against a Nation so much larger than Afghanistan and Iraq combined.  In area and in population.  

All-in-all, a great meeting.  Please join us at the next meeting on January 12, 2008.  In the meantime, Zander requested additional assistance for the DSD Voter Registration and Candidate Information tables at Palm Springs Village Fest.  Village Fests in December are scheduled for Thursday, December 13, 20, and 27, 2007.  

And, now the race for the CA 80th Assembly District and for the CA 45th Congressional District are in full swing.  Keep turning the Coachella Valley Blue!!!