Our Town

We asked the mayors of the nine Coachella Valley cities common questions from 
the serious to 
the silly. Contrast and compare.

Patti Myers Real Estate 0 Comments

Cathedral City City Hall is next to Town Square, which Mayor Stan Henry calls the most peaceful/meditative spot in the city.

STAN HENRY, CATHEDRAL CITY

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: Growth.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: Downtown.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: Code enforcement with illegal dumping; [it] took a turn for the worse with the recession.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Restaurants, the remodeling center [along Perez Road], and the East Palm Canyon resale markets.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Illegal dumping.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: Town Square, around the Fountain of Life.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: Ramon Road and Date Palm.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: At the dog park and also along the hiking trail in east Cathedral City at the wash going back to the canyon — those canyons look like cathedrals and that’s how Cathedral City got its name.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: El Gallito [landmark restaurant]

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: It would be my old job as police chief. [Henry was chief for 15 years and a member of the department for 26 years.]

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: Roadrunner.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: A margarita and Mexican food.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: Fountain of Life.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: Most of the landscaping around city hall and street medians are now drought tolerant. We have a program for residents and businesses to get assistance to transfer from grass to drought tolerant, and we work with [Coachella Valley Water District] and [Desert Water Agency] to offer smart converters.”


Coachella Vally Cities

Coachella City Hall.

 

STEVEN HERNANDEZ, COACHELLA

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: More people and better parks.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: El Sol sports bar.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Mexican restaurants.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Code enforcement.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: Benches in front of City Hall.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: Harrison Street corridor.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: Bagdouma and [Rancho] Los Flores parks.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: Jalisco Restaurant on 6th Street.

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: Right now, it’s the engineers because we’re building.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: Coyotes: family, pack animal, survivor.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Michelada; similar to a Bloody Mary with beer.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: City Hall with the whole Palm Springs modern look.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: We shut off the fountains in downtown and have an ongoing turf conversion.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Petty crime.


Coachella Vally Cities

Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs.
Photo courtesy of Two Bunch Palms

 

SCOTT MATAS, DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Q: Describe Desert Hot Springs in three words.
A: The Spa City.

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: Really in the last two decades we’ve gone from a senior retirement community to a family bedroom community.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: At lunch, it’s Sidewinder and evenings it’s Playoffs or Spa Hotel.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: Building unity with city council. We have everyone thinking in different directions and we all want to get on the same page.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Our spa industry. There’s over 40 in and around the city and that is $1.4 million in tax revenues.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Animal control services.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: For tourists, it’s The Spring, local boutique spa. For a local, it would be the north end of the city with the hiking trails and the vistas.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: Palm Drive and Two Bunch Palms Trail in the afternoon.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: We love the hiking trails. It’s a great place with not a lot of people and a great stress reliever.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: The Cottage Too [restaurant].

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: If I wasn’t mayor, I’d love to be on the water board [Mission Springs Water District]. They govern it and really work well together.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: [I]t might be roadrunner. They’re everywhere .

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Water. We have some award-winning water. [DHS is a seven-time medal winner for “Best Tasting Municipal Water.”]

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: Cabot Museum. It’s the first settlers here. They built the home out of recycled materials.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: We’ve worked closely with the water district to find ways of using drip systems in the government buildings. We only have a few parks, but we’re complying … both residents and businesses.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Domestic violence.


Coachella Vally Cities

Indian Wells City Hall.

 

DANA REED, INDIAN WELLS

Q: Describe Indian Wells in three words.
A: Casual and elegant.

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: The BNP Paribas [tennis tournament]. Ten years ago they had half the attendance as now, and it’s really turned into a world-class event under the tutelage of Mr. [Larry] Ellison. With the new hotel, it will be even more spectacular.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: The golf resorts.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: The short-term rental. We spent about a year working on that and it’s rewarding we came up with a compromise with a unanimous vote of council.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Doctors/lawyer offices and people who work out of their homes.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Weather in the summer. It’s toasty. We used to shut down and now we’re year round.

Q: What’s the most common resident compliment?
A: Resident amenities card with discounts at golf resorts, hotel restaurants, free tickets to [BNP] tennis. That is clearly a selling point for realtors selling property in Indian Wells.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: The Living Desert. It has a Palm Desert address, but 90 percent of the property is in Indian Wells.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: The Nest [restaurant] on a Friday night.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: The iconic Highway 111 walk path.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: At the Vue [restaurant] for sushi and desserts.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: The Bighorn sheep, really the animals of the Living Desert.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Whatever you want from beer to Champagne. It’s our goal to make the visitor experience.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: The two municipal golf courses and the Tennis Garden next door.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: We really got on that eight or nine years ago, way ahead of the curve of nonpotable water, reducing and eliminating runoff and redoing turf. Meeting the requirements [was] easy. It was just putting on the finishing touches. With the rebuild of the golf resorts, we were connected to the nonpotable pipeline water.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: False alarms for service and 911 accidental calls are the top two calls for police.


Coachella Vally Cities

The streets of Indio.

 

GLENN MILLER, INDIO

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: Growth.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: The polo grounds [both Empire and El Dorado]. Not just for the arts and music [Coachella and Stagecoach], but the beauty, the polo competition, a little of everything.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: The outreach. … We’re very diverse — there’s 33 percent 18 and under, 33 percent 18 to 35, and 33 percent 35 and over, 50-50 women to men, and about 65 percent Hispanic.

Q: Has any issue been surprisingly easy to resolve?
A: Nothing’s ever easy, but the biggest investment we’ve made is in our parks. We’re in the middle of spending $3 to $5 million and we just rolled up our sleeves and away we went.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: It’s all the restaurants and most are mom and pop. That’s what makes our diversity so great.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: See the city do more to clean up and invest more in the infrastructure.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: The polo fields. That’s great but there are so many places throughout the city that are quiet and beautiful.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: It’s the polo fields, especially in April and May, but the other may be one of the newer ventures on the north side at the I-10 corridor. From the auto malls to the super Target and Winco shopping center to Fantasy Springs and Spotlight 29 casinos.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: Up in the trails on the north side of the city, the East Indio Hills Trail.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: The casinos.

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: City manager — they’re in charge of everything and run the day-to-day operations, in charge of every department. It also comes with the biggest challenges, but they get to see the greatness from the senior center to the parks, the teen center, through all the interaction.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: The polo pony. There’s nothing more gracious than seeing polo pony in action. Indio has a great love affair with animals, especially the horses and ponies. Dogs would be a close second.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Margaritas and tamales.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: The polo fields, of course, and the Coachella Valley History Museum. It holds history of the city, its sheriffs, its Queen Scheherazade costumes, and much more. And Shadow Estates ski lake and anything from Shield’s Date Garden.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: There’s a massive amount of changes from planning on what plants will be in new developments, the city conservation of taking out grass, the changes to drought tolerant plants. There’s huge conservation with the Indio Water Authority with rebates and heavy recycling.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Property crime.


Coachella Vally Cities

A walkers bridge in La Quinta.

 

LINDA EVANS, LA QUINTA

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: The overall growth of the city and the make up. We went from a retirement community to much more diverse. And the community is much more involved.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: Old Town La Quinta.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: To … manage our finances with the constant takes from the state.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: The restaurants — some are so unique. We have some chains, but there are others “only in La Quinta.”

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Right now, it’s landscaping around perimeters of north La Quinta — a lot of the nongated communities and we’re looking to upgrade.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: Top of the cove.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: Highway 111 and Washington — the busiest in the valley. And Costco on a Sunday afternoon.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: Anywhere in La Quinta. We’re very dog-friendly, with five dog parks and lots of trails.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: Nitroinfusions [ice cream] and The La Quinta Resort and Club.

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: The assistant police chief. He’s our go-to person.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: We do, and it’s the Gambel’s quail.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: The Arnold Palmer. He owns a home here and designed SilverRock golf course.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: The La Quinta Resort. It was established in 1926 as a Hollywood getaway. Next to Beverly Hills, we’re the only city to be named after a hotel.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: We have allocated funds for turf reduction program for parks, medians, golf course. When new development is underway, we’re preserving water levels in the aquifer. There’s rebate programs for residents, we’ve switched out fountains. For noncity owned golf courses, we’re working to convert to canal water.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Larceny theft, including vehicle burglaries.


Coachella Vally Cities

 

 

ROBERT SPIEGEL, PALM DESERT

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: Living Desert or Desert Willow.

Q: Has any issue been surprisingly easy to resolve?
A: There are no issues to resolve.

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Jewelry stores and cleaners.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: In the summer, it’s the heat but there’s not a lot we can do about that.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: Civic Center Park.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: El Paseo and Westfield [mall] at Town Center Way.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: One of our five dog parks.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: Total Wine and More.

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: Chief of police [contracted through Riverside County Sheriffs Dept].

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: Bighorn sheep.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Keedy’s [Fountain Grill] malt.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: We were the first city in the county to install drought tolerant landscaping to our medians and we have continued that … Our city-sponsored turf-buy back program encourages residents and businesses to replace their water-wasting lawns, and the city has also removed turf … City Hall reduced its own water use 30 percent.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Larceny, theft.


Coachella Vally Cities

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

 

ROBERT MOON, PALM SPRINGS

Q: Describe Palm Springs in three words.
A: Iconic, fun, and welcoming.

Q: What’s been the biggest change in the city over the last decade?
A: We’ve become more of a year-round city. And also our modernism attractions increased and have become world-renowned with the midcentury architecture.

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: Too many to list, but Workshop [Kitchen + Bar] is very popular.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: The downtown development project. It’s so large and complex — and so visible. We have a lot of bright people in the city with a lot of opinions …

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: It’s restaurants; small and medium, great iconic ones, small independent restaurants.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Homelessness in downtown.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: My backyard. It’s peaceful and wonderful with my little coffee table next to me, reading and looking up at the mountains.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: The dog park by city hall. It’s … a social center for both humans and dogs.

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: Cold Stone Creamery for coffee ice cream with Heath Bar, or Brandini (Toffee) — their ice cream bar or popcorn. Really, anything from Brandini.

Q: Excluding yours, what’s the coolest civil service job in your city?
A: Probably Amy Blaisdell(‘s) [communications director] who gets to interface with the public and take out the message about Palm Springs.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: A dog, a shelter dog.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: Tacos and tequila.

Q: What’s your city’s most interesting or significant landmark?
A: The Palm Springs Art Museum. The architecture is a superb example of midcentury. … A close second is City Hall.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: On city property, to change everywhere we can to desert landscaping. … We’ve cut down on water in parks and open spaces and exceeded all mandated water requirements.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Property crime.


Coachella Vally Cities

The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage.
Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton

 

DANA HOBART, RANCHO MIRAGE

Q: What’s the coolest place to be seen?
A: The Palms Café.

Q: What has been your thorniest challenge?
A: CV Link [master transportation plan].

Q: What’s the most common small business in your city?
A: Restaurants.

Q: What’s the most common resident complaint?
A: Hard to find anything wrong with the city.

Q: What’s the most peaceful/meditative spot in your city?
A: Lounging in your own backyard.

Q: What’s the busiest spot in your city?
A: The River [mall].

Q: Where’s your favorite place to walk your dog?
A: At the new Rancho Mirage Dog Park [scheduled to open this summer].

Q: Where do you indulge a guilty pleasure?
A: Koffi.

Q: If your city had an official animal, what would it be?
A: Bighorn sheep.

Q: What food or drink best represents your city?
A: The blonde beer at Babe’s Bar-B-Que.

Q: What initiatives has the city undertaken in response to the ongoing drought?
A: Encourage elimination of grass yards, lawns using desertscape and drought tolerant plants. Solar planning and rebates on various water and electricity-saving projects.

Q: What’s the most common crime in your city?
A: Theft.

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