Gay Desert Hot Springs

Run For Desert Hot Springs City Council in 2024 — START PREPARING NOW! It’s Not Too Early.

Posted on January 14, 2023

RUN FOR DHS CITY COUNCIL AND CITY COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES

Thankfully, we have LGBTQ representation throughout our City Government. There are LGBTQ City employees at all levels, including in senior roles. We have one LGBTQ member of our City Council (we used to have two). We have LGBTQ members on the Planning Commission, and we have at least one LGBTQ Director on the Mission Springs Water District. But we need to do better. Much better, given the size of our population here in DHS. 

Members of the Desert Hot Springs LGBTQ community should seriously consider running for as many elected and appointed positions as possible.  That includes our City Council and Mayor races, appointments to the Planning Commission and the Public Safety Commission, and appointments to the numerous committees that are formed throughout the year. Our LGBTQ community should also become active in local groups such as Rotary, The Woman’s Club, DiversityDHS, Food Now, The Historical Society, or any of the many other service organizations that benefit the residents of Desert Hot Springs. Attend DiversityDHS events such as their monthly “Tea Social”. Attend City Council meetings. Become known in the community. Get your name, skills and reputation out there. Be visible and be heard. Expect to spend some money on campaigning, on things like a campaign website and advertisements and mailings. Be positive and optimistic. You can’t be thin-skinned, you will be challenged, sometimes by people who are not fans of the LGBTQ community. Get used to defending yourself. Then, work hard, very hard, to get yourself elected. Remember that you are serving to represent everyone in your District, but take time to think about the needs of the LGBTQ community that helped put you there. There are people who will help you as you run. This website can advertise your campaign and may even endorse you. Don’t run as the “Gay Candidate”, run as the qualified candidate who just happens to be a member of the LGBTQ community. You don’t need rainbow flags to get yourself elected or chosen, you need smarts, maturity and discipline. Most importantly, DON’T wait until a month before an election to start getting your name out there. Start preparing now.

In 2024, the following three City of Desert Hot Springs positions will be open for election: 

Mayor

Council District 2, currently held by two Council members, Russell Betts and Roger Nunez.

Council District 4, currently unfilled.

Gary Gardner just won re-election in District 1

Jan Pye just won re-election in District 3

(Gary and Jan are huge supporters of the LGBTQ community, as is Mayor Scott Matas).

Here’s a link to a map of the City’s Districts:

Desert Hot Springs has four “Districts”, each with a City Council Member representing them. Each district has roughly the same number of residents. Two districts (1 & 3) have Council Members who are in seats that expire in 2026, and two districts (2 & 4) have Council Members who are in seats that expire in 2024, although the district 4 seat is currently vacant and will likely remain vacant until the next election in 2024. The Mayor’s position can be filled city-wide. Someone running for Mayor can live in any of the four districts.

Qualifications for Office

A person who holds office as Council Member or Mayor must be at the time of assuming such office an elector of the City of Desert Hot Springs (City), and must have been a registered voter of the City at the time nomination papers were issued. (CA Government Code §§ 34882, 34904, 36502).

Additionally, City Councilmember candidate(s) must reside in the jurisdictional boundaries of their respective district for no fewer than thirty (30) days prior to filing nomination papers, and for the duration of their term. Proof of residency in document form must be provided to the City Clerk upon filing nomination papers. (Ordinance 760)

APPLY TO BECOME A COMMISSIONER ON THE DESERT HOT SPRINGS PLANNING COMMISSION OR THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION 

Serving on a commission is a rewarding way to get involved in and serve your community! Submit Applications now and whenever a vacancy opens. 

Appointments

The Mayor and each City Councilmember appoints one member to each commission, subject to ratification by a majority of the City Council. Appointments are made at the first regular City Council meeting in January following each regular election year. (Elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years (every two years)). Each member of a City commission is appointed for a two-year term commencing at the February meeting of the year of appointment.

Compensation

Each member of a City Commission shall receive compensation in the amount of $100.00 per meeting (DHSMC 2.40).

Vacancies

If vacancies in any commission occur other than by expiration of term, such vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor or Councilmember who had appointed the member whose office has been vacated subject to ratification by a majority of the City Council.

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meetings:

Regular Meetings of the Planning Commission are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:00 P.M. at City Hall/Council Chamber located at 11-999 Palm Drive.

About:

The Planning Commission consists of five (5) members, appointed by one member of the City Council, and ratified by a majority vote of the City Council. Members are appointed for two-year terms. Appointments are made at the first regular City Council meeting in January following each regular election year. Vacancies are filled by appointment for the unexpired term of the member replaced. (Desert Hot Springs Municipal Code Chapter 2.24) 

The City’s success is linked to its ability to plan for the future. As such, the Planning Commission plays a vital role. The Commission’s responsibilities include:

  • Ongoing evaluation of the City’s building codes and ordinances;
  • Continual update of the City’s General Plan;
  • General oversight of zoning review and variances.
Staff Liaison:  Erick Becerril, Community Development Director 
Email:  ebecerril@cityofdhs.org
Phone:  (760) 329-6411 

If you would like to be considered for an appointment to the Planning Commission, please submit a Commission Application.

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION

Meetings:

Regular Meetings of the Public Safety Commission are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:00 P.M. at City Hall/Council Chamber located at 11-999 Palm Drive. 

About:

The Public Safety Commission consists of five (5) members, appointed by one member of the City Council, and ratified by a majority vote of the City Council. Members are appointed for two-year terms. Appointments are made at the first regular City Council meeting in January following each regular election year. Vacancies are filled by appointment for the unexpired term of the member replaced. (Desert Hot Springs Municipal Code Chapter 2.24) 

Providing citizens with public safety is one of the most important services a city can offer. The Desert Hot Springs Police Department is charged with ensuring the city is safe, drug free, crime free and gang free. The Public Safety Commission is an ongoing public forum that ensures the public is involved in the process. Commission members serve as liaison between the community leaders, citizens and the Desert Hot Springs Police Department; and review budgets and proposal for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the area of public safety.

Staff Liaison:  Steven Shaw, Deputy Chief of Police 
Email:  sshaw@dhspd.com 
Phone:  (760) 329-6411 Ext. 315

If you would like to be considered for an appointment to the PSC, please submit a Commission Application.

RUN FOR A POSITION AS DIRECTOR, MISSION SPRINGS WATER DISTRICT (MSWD).

MSWD has Districts too, but they don’t match the Districts in DHS that City Council Members represent. What MSWD division do you live in? Check out our current division maps using our interactive map tool here, or view a PDF of the division map here. 

On June 24, 2020, MSWD adopted Ordinance No. 2020-2, establishing the election of members of the Board of Directors by five divisions, establishing the boundaries and identification number of each division, and establishing the election order of each division. The Adoption of the Ordinance was the final step in the transition to by-division elections as per the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) process. Map option 2 with five divisions was approved by the MSWD Board of Directors and the County Registrar of Voters.

The current MSWD Directors and their term expiration dates are:

Division 1: Amber Duff, Term Expires 2026

Division 2: Robert Griffith, Term Expires 2024

Division 3: Russ Martin, Term Expires 2024

Division 4: Ivan Sewell, Term Expires 2024

Division 5: Ted Mayrhofen, Term Expires 2026

Water is a big deal in California, especially when there is a drought and you live in the desert. Water is also very political, so if you decide to run for a Director’s seat at Mission Springs Water District, make sure that you know the issues surrounding water.