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CITY NEEDS TO ENCOURAGE CITIZENS TO RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IN DISTRICTS 3, 4 AND 5
Nomination period opens July 18, ends August 11
Can Twentynine Palms do more to promote the upcoming City Council election for Districts 3, 4 and 5 and encourage candidates to run? The nomination period begins July 18! This election is especially important as the three seats represent a majority on City Council. After the election, Council will appoint three seats on the Planning Commission, also a majority on that body.
While the City recently added an “elections” tab to its website and issued a short press release to the Desert Trail, it has yet to promote the nomination period on any of its social media channels or issue an email blast to the residents subscribed to the City email list. 29 Palms’ election information does not produce a google hit when “Twentynine Palms City Council Elections 2022” is searched. Yucca Valley’s “Elections” webpage is the first hit in a Google search.
Reviewing the Twentynine Palms elections page, I learned that our nomination period of July 18 to August 11 is eight days shorter than Yucca’s (which ends August 19). According to the webpage, the Twentynine Palms nomination period may be extended to August 17 “if an incumbent fails to file nomination papers by the August 11 deadline.” That seems…odd. Isn’t three weeks a bit tight for new candidates to file necessary paperwork and gather needed signatures? Especially since nominators need to be registered voters AND residents of the district in which the candidate is running?
Lacking detailed information from the City, I wrote a guide to running for City Council.
Competitive local races with multiple candidates and engaged voters are the sign of a healthy democracy. In the last election for these seats, the first under the new council districts, Council Member Daniel Mintz ran unopposed in District 3, and Council Members MacArthur Wright and John Cole each had one opponent. Cole lost his seat to current Mayor Karmolette O’Gilvie by just 2 votes. Fewer than 700 residents voted in each district. This is the sign of a city democracy on life support.
Twentynine Palms has a history of obfuscating information needed for active citizen participation. Citizen pressure forced the City to promote its redistricting process and their social media has improved since then. Do we really need to similarly pressure the City to promote the upcoming election and encourage its citizens to run?
Please consider running — we need great candidates! And set aside November 8 in your calendar and plan to vote!