The Election Guide
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Thank you to our 2020/2021 Board of Directors
Jeff Levine Board Chair Asher and Asher Consulting
Toni Merrihew Immediate Past Chair Chandi Group USA
Carmen Contreras Chair Elect State Farm Insurance - Carmen Contreras
Jay Chesterton, Treasurer Vice Chair Fantasy Springs Resort Casino â€“ Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
Rich Ramhoff Treasurer Desert Care Network
Valerie Ward Secretary Desert Regional Medical Center
David Nola Alpha Media
Vicky Franco Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries
Julie Frazier Frazier Pest Control
Cindy Burreson Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Miguel Viveros Mechanics Bank
Lesa Bodnar Coachella Valley Economic Partnership
Victoria Llort Mission Springs Water District
Mike Etheridge Western Water Works
Ramiro Jimenez FirstBank
Austin Beneteau Modern Woodmen of America
Julio Figueroa AT&T
Mickey Jumapao Envoy Mortgage
Tatiana Yturralde-Morales West Coast Cannabis Club
Jeff Fishbein Coldwell Banker
Scott White Greater Palm Springs CVB
Bob McCauley NBC Palm Springs
Sandy Lee Hardin The Lock Shop
Lee Osborne Osborne Rincon CPAâ€™s
Bob Bailey Torre Nissan
David Roth Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney, LLP
Jason Cabanyog Imperial Western Products, Inc.
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content 2020 Vote Guide - State Propositions Senator Melissa Melendez: A new Leader in the Coachella Valley Perils of shutdowns 2020 GCVCC PAC Endorsements *5 Crisp Questions With Kenneth Churchill, Owner/Founder West Coast Cannabis Club *Hightend * Denotes sponsored content
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2020 Voter Guide â€“ State Propositions Based on the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Legislative Advocacy Platform, the Legislative Committee has taken the following positions on Propositions appearing on the California State ballot.
Proposition 15 (OPPOSE) Requires commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market value, would result in a huge tax increase on California business.
Proposition 21 (OPPOSE) Expands local governmentsâ€™ power to use rent control.
Proposition 22 (SUPPORT) Considers app-based drivers to be independent contractors and enacts several labor policies related to app-based companies.
Proposition 23 (OPPOSE) Requires physician on-site at dialysis clinics and consent from the state for a clinic to close.
Proposition 24 (OPPOSE) Expands the provisions of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and creates the California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the CCPA. For more information on the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce or our Legislative Platform, visit our website at GCVCC.org.
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Senator Melissa Melendez: A new Leader in the Coachella Valley
n May of this year the Coachella Valley welcomed a new elected representive in the State Senate, Melissa Melendez. Senator Melendez filled the seat previousy held by Jeff Stone. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce was privledged to visit with our new State Senator to learn more about her background, positions, and representation of our area.
You’re a veteran of California politics, but you’re a relatively new face for some of us living on this side of the hill. How is your integration into the Coachella Valley community going so far? Having been a representative of Riverside County for 8 years now, the Coachella Valley is not foreign to me at all. I have been able to travel this vast region for some time and what I’m seeing are concerned Californians who worry about raising and growing their families in a state that is becoming less and less affordable. While local issues within the Coachella Valley like agriculture, water and energy may be unique, most of the issues I hear about from constituents are issues that plague the state as a whole. You have quite the military background, including flying missions during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. What was the most rewarding part of your military career? Wearing the uniform and knowing that my service is to protect our freedoms and the people who call this great country home is the most rewarding part for me. It didn’t matter who the people were. I wore the flag of the United States on my arm to showcase to the world that people of all ethnicities and backgrounds can live together to promote freedom and liberty.
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We have noticed you are quite adept at utilizing social media to speak directly to your constituents. As someone who has served the public in office for over a decade now, how has social media changed the way we interact with our public officials (for better or worse)? In many ways social media has allowed public officials to connect with their constituents in a way unfamiliar to those who came before me. Most people today get their news or information online and through social media. In many respects that news is happening in real-time. Seeing a post on social media can allow our constituents to really feel that they have a seat at the table and to let us know how they feel about something. This can obviously be a viewed as a problem because it allows for people to use language and other words that they would normally not use if they were standing in front of you. For the most part social media has been an innovated way to communicate, but it’s definitely a medium that comes with its drawbacks. We will get to the current pandemic in a moment, but outside of that, or perhaps we should say before Covid, what was the number one challenge facing the State in your opinion? Without a doubt it was affordability and homelessness. Californians are being asked to shoulder the burdens of California’s political mismanagement and Sacramento is just not interested in solving problems. We know that housing affordability is a common barrier for millions, but instead of making housing more available and affordable by reducing regulations, we have to enact harsher, more stringent ones. Many of California’s homeless population have mental and substance abuse issues, but rather
than address those disorders Sacramento wants to make shooting up safer by creating meth dens. There is no leadership from the majority party to address problems because they want people to have to depend on government. COVID-19 has already started to have a serious impact on State, County and local government budgets. What should California’s expect as far budgets for the next few years? What actions need to be taken to stabilize them? California’s local governments should be extremely worried about revenue and funding shortfalls. The fact that the Governor chose to shutter businesses, twice since this started, is going to drain any reserves locals have to provide services. The prospects at the state level are also grim. California for a long time has had a spending problem. Never have we seen bloated or failing programs cut. Instead, they get reworked and renamed and rolled right back out there. As a member of the senate committee on budget
I was very critical about the numerous state programs being funded during these economic uncertain times. The Governor tried to include $10 million in the state budget for a new state park. This at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are still unemployed and businesses closed. Last year there were taxpayer funds used for a dog park. Expenditures like these need to be stopped if our economic picture becomes worse. California already has a fairly heavy tax burden, Prop 15 is threatening to make it even larger for businesses trying to operate in the State. Your thoughts on Prop 15 and tax increases in general? As the State and local budgets tighten, we assume this won’t be that last attempt to generate new revenue. It sure won’t. When the state runs out of money it chooses the credit card or more taxes. It’s why I said that affordability is one of the most pressing challenges facing Californians. How will business pay for reassessed property tax bills when their government doesn’t allow them to reopen? It doesn’t matter, the tax collectors are going to show up with their hands out. Let’s be clear here on where this money is going as well. Schools are currently closed, and students are distance learning. Kids are not even in classrooms, but we need to create a property reassessment to provide schools with more funding? For what? More zoom links? Sacramento needs a real hard economics lesson to truly understand you can’t tax people to
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smithereens. We are already seeing the mass exodus from California. Businesses and families are all leaving because they just canâ€™t afford to live, raise a family or grow a business in California. One of the hardest things about being a small business operator in California is keeping up with ever changing compliance standards. Are there specific actions State legislatures could do to ease some of the regulatory burden on small business? Engage with you more. I have always made it a priority to make myself available to hear concerns about legislation or to help solve problems that are impacting you. Unlike other elected officials, I went to Sacramento to help people, to help businesses. I went to give them a voice that has been, for so long, shut out of the discussion. In truth our elected officials need to listen and talk to you and our communities. Simply pandering for support needs to be taken out of the playbook. Last, your thoughts on the District you now serve. What are our greatest opportunities in the years ahead? What challenges concern you as you look down the road ten to fifteen years? The next decade is going to show how challenging it is to meet our energy demands using only renewables. How many more brown outs or power outages will this technologically advanced state have before it realizes 100% renewables donâ€™t work for us out here in the desert where it over 100 degrees every summer. Our water supply is being threatened by growing municipalities in other states who rely on Colorado River water that is rapidly decreasing. We need to find new ways to ensure Southern California has a sustainable water supply. I fear our homeless population will continue to grow without immediate action to address affordability and mental health services. We need to prioritize treatment instead of making it easier for addicts to suffer. We need to promote safer communities by partnering with law enforcement and making 10 | GCVCC.ORG
them part of our communities instead of stigmatizing them and making them out to be harmful. Our men and women of law enforcement put their lives in harms way protect us and our families, and to keep our neighborhoods safe from crime. The District also has an opportunity through education and collaboration to diversify our base economy, so we are not as reliant on the tourism and agricultural industries. Because of the high quality of live in our district we have all the tools to attract new businesses including the high skilled work from home professionals to the region. Unless we take a serious look at some of these issues, they can all lead to less and less businesses coming to our neighborhoods. Without small businesses or strong local economies, families will not want to move here and there is no hope for growing or sustaining a vibrant community where people want to live. Any closing thoughts or things we did not cover? The 28th California State Senate District has the opportunity to lead the State of Califonia in economic growth and prosperity. From the wineries in Temecula to the Colorado River in Blthye the 28th Senate District is the most diverse and successful District in California. I am honored to be your State Senator. Please contact my office for any support you might need: Office of Senator Melissa Melendez-Sacramento State Capitol Room #4082 Sacramento, Ca 95814 916.651.4028 Office of Senator Melissa Melendez-Indio 45-125 Smurr Street, Suite B Indio, Ca 92201 760.398.6442 Office of Senator Melissa Melendez-Murrieta 25186 Hancock Ave, Suite 320 Murrieta, Ca 92562 951.894-3530
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Perils of shutdowns Story by: David Robinson & Laura James, CVEP Economically, the Coachella Valley has been reeling since the cancellation of several of the region’s biggest events in the spring of 2020. At the time, the fear was that the region’s small businesses would experience greatly reduced sales during the busy spring event season, thereby rolling into the slower summer months with less cushion to get them through until fall.
f only the voluntary cancellation of major events had been the end of it. Instead, California issued a statewide shelter-at-home order and temporarily shut down thousands of businesses in the process. Since March, Californians have endured a lot: significant COVID hotspots in some parts of the state; several different iterations of reopening plans; rapidly changing guidance; and in many cases, navigating the practical and psychological turmoil of what it means to be a nonessential business or employee.
The State’s current color-coded blueprint for reopening is based on metrics that place the Coachella Valley – as part of Riverside County – in the most restrictive purple tier. Based on recent and current infection and testing trends, it could be many more months before the Coachella Valley’s small businesses are permitted to reopen at anything close to capacity. This would be a problem just about anywhere, but when taking into consideration the composition of the Coachella Valley’s demographics and business community – coupled with the impracticality of carrying out permitted outdoor operations in the desert heat - the problem is magnified. Depending on the source, academic and industry experts predict that between 25-50% of restaurants and hotels will close permanently due to COVID-19. Though that is a wide range, either end of the range is more than enough to devastate the Coachella Valley economy. Local experts believe that if capacity restrictions remain in place through the end of the year, Coachella Valley restaurants and hotels are facing closure rates at the high end of that estimate – near 50% -- due to the uniquely tourism-dependent mix of businesses here. Retail is also at high risk of suffering permanent damage. Small and specialty retailers have been deemed non-essential and have been subject to closures or reduced capacity, and even many major chains have faced bankruptcy and store closures since the pandemic’s start. Leading retail forecasters predict that as many as 20% of brick-and-mortar retail shops will face permanent closure, with COVID-19 rapidly accelerating the already-underway shift to online shopping. 12
In pure numbers, this means the permanent loss of over 650 local restaurant and accommodation businesses, and 310 retailers. These businesses employ an estimated 16600 people, or 11% of total jobs in the Coachella Valley. If shutdowns and capacity restrictions remain in place and these scenarios become reality, these jobs will be permanently lost. Because employment is so personal, job loss numbers are worrisome even without additional context. But consider also that restaurant, accommodation, and retail sales make up 1/3 of the Coachella Valley’s total annual revenue. Adding to predictions which aim to warn us of what might happen are the facts and figures reflecting that which has happened so far. Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) analyzed California unemployment claim data from mid-March through July 25 to identify demographic patterns among claimants. As it has been reported elsewhere, LAEDC found that distinct subsets of workers have been disproportionately affected, particularly: women; individuals aged 16-24; Hispanics; and those with a high school education or less. The Coachella Valley has high percentages of these subsets. Just how disproportionate are the effects on these groups? Of California workers with a high school education, 56.6% filed an unemployment claim during the studied period; of those with less than a high school education, nearly 1 in 4 filed for unemployment. Those with high school equivalent or less comprise 42.7% of the Coachella Valley population. In the Coachella Valley, the 16 to 24 age group represents 11.8% of the population; over 40% of those in this cohort filed an unemployment claim. Similarly, Hispanics make up 51.6% of the Coachella Valley’s population; and 1 in 4 Hispanics filed an unemployment claim during the studied period. While not unique to the Coachella Valley, where just over half of workers are women, the impacts on women as a group have been among the most profound, with 51.6% of all women filing an unemployment claim during the period.
The issues of lockdowns, business closures, and unemployment are felt in every Coachella Valley city and community. In fact, the valley’s most affluent cities have seen some of the most significant impacts to their small business communities. A recent study by Opportunity Insights highlighted this trend in a study of small business revenue from March 25 to May 26 as compared to January 2020. In more affluent areas, consumers are more prone to staying at home, reducing their typical small business spending at favorite local spots. For instance, small business revenue has fallen by 80% in Palm Springs’ 92262 zip code, and 55% in 92264. Small business revenue in Indian Wells has fallen by 73%, and in Palm Desert it has fallen by 48%. In sharp contrast, zip codes in Coachella and Bermuda Dunes have seen a 2% rise in small business revenue, as there are a concentration of home improvement and essential businesses in these areas. Residents of Coachella Valley cities have just begun to see the dramatic effects of diminished tourism and retail revenues. City budgets have already been cut: vacant positions are being left unfilled; departments have been reduced in size. Even the appearance of some municipally-owned landscapes is beginning to suffer as watering and maintenance schedules are reduced to save costs. Police and fire positions receive a great deal of publicity when they are considered for cuts. But there are dozens of less-visible positions which equally contribute to the quality of life in our cities. Code enforcement, planning, economic development, and engineering departments all provide critically important services to residents and businesses. Continued reductions in any of these departments will cause a degradation of the beauty that draws tourists here, a reduction in public safety; and protracted processes
for those who wish to start or expand a business. It is a downward spiral that is difficult to escape. This inevitable downward spiral of business closures and unemployment reaches beyond commerce and into daily life. According to a 2013 report by the Urban Institute, those facing long-term unemployment of 6 months or more face wide-ranging negative effects related to physical and mental health: breakdown of existing family structures; reduced future earning potential; declining performance of children in school; increased criminal activity; and more. For small businesses and the unemployed, government grants and stimulus packages offer a temporary stay. But they can never replace a once-thriving business or meaningful work, nor can they repair damage to families and health. When new city budgets were approved in June, leaders largely hoped that by fall, shutdowns would be coming to an end and that “normal” would return. Instead, as we creep into fall, the region is facing the very real possibility of watching nearly 17,000 people lose their jobs and livelihoods permanently. The ability of Coachella Valley businesses to reopen at full or very near capacity in the short term will be the difference between a recovery that takes mere months and one that takes many years. A robust small business community and the availability of productive, rewarding employment are cornerstones of a healthy community. The Coachella Valley has been closed for 6 months and the impacts have been severe. Continued shutdowns will profoundly weaken not only the financial security of Coachella Valley residents, but their physical and emotional health as well.
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2020 GCVCC PAC Endorsements The following content is paid for by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. The content is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (GCVPAC) is proud to release their endorsements for the 2020 election cycle. The GCVPAC is represented by an independent Board of Directors made up of 14 busines professionals from across the Coachella Valley, representing our vast and diverse economy. The body is non-partisan and not affiliated or aligned with any political party. Their goal is to advance the interests of the business community within the Coachella Valley. The GCVPAC would like to thank all the candidates that actively engaged with them through the endorsement process, 45 candidates in total submitted endorsement packets for consideration. The GCVPAC carefully considered the responses, voting records, public statements, experience, and any other relevant information in reaching their endorsement decisions. In many cases the decisions were difficult. We are pleased with the political engagement being shown at all levels of government and we want to thank all the candidates that have stepped forward and volunteered to lead. We trust our community to have the final say, and ultimately hope all who are elected work to advance commerce, jobs, and prosperity for our collective community.
CA Assembly District 42 Endorsed: Chad Mayes (Incumbent) Assembly Member Chad Mayes (I) has represented the 42nd district, encompassing parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, since 2014. Mr. Mayes has proven through his years in the Assembly to be a reliable voice for business, advocating for pro-growth legislation and against regulation that unreasonably burdens small business. In 2019 he received a perfect legislative scorecard from the Chamber, voting in-line with their legislative platform 100% of the time during the legislative session. His opponent this cycle is Andrew Kotyuk (R), a businessman and Navy Veteran serving as Mayor on the San Jacinto City Council. While we have no reason to believe Mr. Kotyuk would not represent the interests of small business if elected, Assembly Member Mayes has earned the GCVPAC endorsement through his impressive pro-business track record in the Assembly.
CA Assembly Race 56 Endorsed: None Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D) is facing America Figueroa (R) to represent the 56th Assembly District. Ms. Figueroa is a relative newcomer to the Coachella Valley political scene, a Child Development Teacher running on a platform centered around family and child advocacy, and school choice. Ms. Figueroa has an impressive background that shows a commitment and love for her community, but unfortunately a lack of governance experience makes it difficult to evaluate her as a potential elected leader. She is challenging Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia who joined the Assembly in 2014. Assembly Member Garcia has become a powerful voice in Sacramento, especially in the area of environmental advocacy. He is the current chair of Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and the GCVPAC is appreciative of the extensive work he has done on the Salton Sea and other health issues facing the Coachella Valley. Unfortunately, Assembly Member Garcia has too often shown a propensity to support legislative bills that place a significant burden on small business owners and impede California business, including supporting AB-5 that reclassified thousands of independent contractors in California in 2019. This year he supported SB-1383 which forced California employers with as few as five employees to provide family and medical leave rights to their employees that go far beyond federal standards. 16 | GCVCC.ORG
Cathedral City Council District 1 -No Endorsement District 2 – No Endorsement The Cathedral City City Council race features several potentially new (and still new) members for the next council due to the still recent passing of Mayor Greg Pettis, and Mayor John Aguilar announcing he would not seek an additional term. Rita Lamb will look to defend the District 1 seat she won in August via a special election. She faces off against Alan Carvalho in a race that unfortunately has been marred by a less than cordial environment between the two candidates, something that as an organization committed to working with all members of the community the GCVPAC never likes to see. The District 2 race features two members of the community that have both been engaged locally through commissions and committees. The GCVPAC was encouraged to see that both are experienced business owners and are well positioned to understand the city’s role in helping or hindering business. The GCVPAC decided not to issue endorsements in this race based on a combination of factors, including race dynamics, similar backgrounds and experiences, and overall city direction, including recent city positions on STVR’s and budget priorities. Our hope is that whoever is elected will be committed to the city’s small business community and the advancement of overall business interest.
Coachella City Council Mayor – Steven Hernandez (Incumbent) City Council – Emmanuel Martinez (Incumbent) City Council – Neftali Galarza The City of Coachella continues to evolve, with significant positive change visible in the city’s downtown and numerous infrastructure projects. We commend the current city council for showing a strong commitment to growing the local business base, even if it has meant taking some risk on potential development. Under the steady leadership of Mayor Steven Hernandez, the city has done an outstanding job of securing public funding via grants and pursuing projects like the new library that add to Coachella’s bold vision for the future. Council Member Emmanuel Martinez has also been a valuable voice at city council meetings, and we applaud his leadership within the community. The GCVPAC had several newcomers to consider this year that included a strong youth showing that bodes well for Coachella’s future. When evaluating all the candidates, the GCVPAC decided to support Neftali Galarza for the final seat on council. Neftali holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, has served in an elected position with the Coachella Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees, and currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach for the California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions (CARES), a non-profit, non-partisan organization working with labor, business, environment, and community groups to support bulk energy storage projects. Choosing from a strong group of candidates, the GCVPAC felt Mayor Hernandez, Council Member Martinez, and Neftali Galarza brought the right mix of experience and business acumen to lead Coachella into the next chapter of their growth.
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Desert Hot Springs City Council Mayor – Scott Matas (Incumbent) City Council – Russ Betts (Incumbent) City Council – Robert Griffith (Incumbent) City Council – Jessica Gilbert Desert Hot Springs continues to work hard to try and make the most of their community assets, including their natural hot springs, affordable housing, and burgeoning cannabis tourism industry. While the City has not always had the commercial success they have aimed for, it certainly is not due to a lack of pro-business initiative by the Council. The GCVPAC applauds Mayor Scott Matas for his steady leadership over the past five years as Mayor. Council Member Betts continues to be one of the most active elected officials in the Desert when it comes to community engagement. A frequent participant in social media and community forums, Betts is a strong advocate for the community he represents. Council Member Robert Griffith has also impressed the GCVPAC with his quick assimilation into the post he was appointed to in 2019, and with his strong background in business that includes service as the President of the Hoteliers Association. Finally, the GCVPAC was pleased to see a member of the local Chamber’s Board of Directors step forward and throw her hat into the elected arena. As both a community advocate and local realtor, Jessica Gilbert continues to demonstrate her strong connection to the Desert Hot Springs business community. While there are only two City Council seats available this election cycle, the GCVPAC feels Betts, Griffith and Gilbert would all represent their community well working alongside Mayor Matas.
Indian Wells City Council Kimberly Muzik (Incumbent) Donna Griffith The City of Indian Wells has three open seats this cycle, with longtime Council Members Ted Mertens and Ty Peabody termed out due to the recently adopted Measure Q. While the City Council has not always aligned perfectly with the GCVPAC, CV Link for example, there is no denying the Council’s steady leadership that resulted in strong finances and the development of Indian Wells as a world-class destination and major player in the Valley’s tourism industry. Thanks to that leadership, Council Member Kimberly Muzik easily received the GCVPAC’s nod for another term. The remaining candidates that are seeking election include former Council Member Douglas Hanson, Planning Commissioner Greg Sanders, local Columnist Kathy Strong, and noted community volunteer Donna Griffith. All of these candidates will bring strong experience and assets with them to office should they be elected, but of the four Donna Griffith stood out during the evaluation process and for her ability to garner endorsements from several of the current and past City Council members.
This content is paid for by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. The content is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. 18 | GCVCC.ORG
Indio City Council District 1 – Glenn Miller (Incumbent) District 2 – Lupe Ramos Amith (Incumbent) District 2 – Frank Ruiz Mayor Glenn Miller has been a reliable voice for small business and a strong supporter of The Chamber on the Indio City Council since his election in 2008. He has been part of a council that has seen tremendous growth in Indio, both in population and business development, over the last decade plus. His challenger, Erin Teran, is a registered nurse at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. While The Chamber applauds her for the work she does every day to support the community, especially during this pandemic, Miller has earned the GCVPAC’s endorsement through years of demonstrated leadership. Ditto for Council Member Lupe Ramos Amith, who has served even longer than her counterpart, elected in 2004. A strong supporter of the Indio Business Community and an Indio native, Ramos Amith continues to demonstrate a passion for Indio that has not diminished through the years. That was never more evident than in her 2019 State of the City where she laid out a bold vision for Indio’s future. In a rare move, the GCVPAC issued dual endorsements for District 2. In what should not be considered a reflection of Ramos Amith leadership, the GCVPAC also endorsed Pastor Frank Ruiz. While he is a relative newcomer to politics, he is a known quantity to The Chamber as an active member and supporter of the local business community. Ruiz is also no stranger to local issues facing the valley. As Director of the Salton Sea Program for Audubon California, he has helped secure over $280 Million in local impact funding.
La Quinta City Council Mayor – Linda Evans (Incumbent) City Council – Steve Sanchez (Incumbent) City Council – Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Incumbent) La Quinta truly is a Gem of the Desert. Benefiting from steady leadership on the City Council, La Quinta continues to build its brand as both an international tourism destination and a great community to live in. The GCVPAC Board has appreciated their commitment to investing in La Quinta’s future with projects like Silver Rock, the new skate park, and their willingness to embrace new events like IRONMAN. It has also become clear they are big fans of round abouts. The GCVPAC endorses their continued leadership, supporting Mayor Linda Evans, Council Member Steve Sanchez, and Council Member Kathleen Fitzpatrick, respectively.
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Palm Desert City Council District 1 – Susan Marie Weber (Incumbent) District 2 – Gina Nestande (Incumbent) The City of Palm Desert is working their way through newly formed District elections, a new quirk in this year’s election calculus. Incumbent Susan Marie Weber has a long history of involvement with the Coachella Valley business community dating back to 1972 when she was co-owner of the Corvina Marina, a recreational business on the Salton Sea. She has also been a steady presence on the Council for almost a decade, overseeing a strong Palm Desert economy that has been marked by steady commercial growth. Weber gets our nod for the District 1 seat. In District 2, four candidates are seeking to fill two seats. The GCVPAC Board was appreciative of the work Kathleen Kelly has done as a member of Council, as well as the strong pro-business positions Evan Trubee took during the process. But ultimately, our sole endorsement for District 2 goes to Gina Nestande. Nestande has proven to be staunchly pro-business in her first term on Council. The GCVPAC greatly admires the strong voice she has offered in support of reopening our local economy this year, and we are proud to endorse her for another term on Council.
Palm Springs City Council District 4 - Mike McCulloch Mayor Pro Tem Christy Holstege is seeking another term in office inside of the newly drawn District 4 boundaries in Palm Springs. Holstege has supported several causes the GCVPAC favors during her term, including expanding the City’s affordable housing inventory. Unfortunately, there have also been some hiccups, including a very public run-in with the local Palm Springs Police Officers Association. The GCVPAC has decided to endorse former City Councilmember Mike McCulloch. McCulloch is a proven leader with decades of government, business, and community experience, as well as a small business owner. The GCVPAC feels Palm Springs could benefit from his experience and steady leadership.
Mission Springs Water District Division 2 - Randy Duncan (Incumbent) Division 3 - Russell Martin (Incumbent) The Mission Springs Water District won a prestigious award recently, being voted best water in the world at the 30th Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting event. Beyond taste, they also run an efficient operation. With a solid budget and good community outreach, the GCVPAC has decided to support both incumbent candidates for the Water Board, endorsing incumbents Randy Duncan and Russell Martin to continue their service.
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Imperial Irrigation District Division 2 - JB Hamby Division 4 - Javier González Imperial Irrigation District has some things to be proud of, including a long and appreciated history of having affordable energy rates. For most consumers, that may be the extent of their interaction with the district. Unfortunately, behind those affordable rates are some serious operational concerns that have found their way into the public arena. IID continues to oppose net metering, the practice that for most homeowners makes solar power investment pencil out. They also can be difficult to work with when it comes to development, often asking commercial projects to pay heavy fees to buildout their infrastructure. All these issues bubbled up last year in a very public dustup over voter representation. For many in the Coachella Valley business community, there is a persistent view that IID openly makes decisions that favor their voting base in Imperial County over their customers in the Coachella Valley. The GCVPAC agrees. Newcomers JB Hamby (Division 2) and Javier González (Division 4) get our nod. More than anything, this is an expression on the part of the GCVPAC that change is needed. This content is paid for by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. The content is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
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THE LOCA L Sâ€™ FAVORI TE SAFE - FRIENDLY - CONVENIENT
10 am to 9 pm (760) 636 - 0827 Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, BERMUDA DUNES, Indian Wells, La Quinta, AND Indio
Come in and let our friendly knowledgeable staff show you why we were voted Best Dispensary in both Palm Desert and Cathedral City. With a wide range of quality tested products that include topicals, tinctures, flower, edibles, and drinks, we have something for everyone and every need.
O P E N D A I LY CATHEDRAL CITY
PALM DESERT (760) 636 - 0824
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9 am to 9:50 pm
9 am to 9:50 pm
W e s tC o a s tC a n n a b i s C lu b . c o m
5 Crisp Questions With Kenneth Churchill, Owner/Founder West Coast Cannabis Club Story originally published on forbse.com
enneth Churchill is the owner and founder of the West Coast Cannabis Club. First started as a medical cannabis dispensary, now they are vertically integrated, offering the finest cannabis products to the Coachella Valley in California. Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me about yourself? What brought you to the cannabis/botany world? Healing? What was your inspiration to do what you do? Kenneth Churchill=KC: I mostly grew up in Woodland Park, Colorado, a small mountain town just outside of Colorado Springs. I moved around a lot in my life, but Woodland Park will always be my hometown as far as I am concerned. The people of that community taught me how to be resilient, motivated and hard working. The years I spent in that town really shaped me into the person I am today. Being from Colorado, cannabis was always around in my life. I started smoking as a young teen and never really looked back! It was mostly social for me in my younger days, although it did provide some side income for a kid who didn’t have many other options. I started working with Chipotle Mexican Grill while attending the University of Nebraska, thinking that it would give me a more “legit” income. My first day I was a prep cook and dishwasher, making $7 an hour. It was hard work, but I was blessed to have a job that would let me keep going to school. I worked for Chipotle for 5 years and by the end of my time there, I had worked my way up to an area manager position where I helped oversee several locations. I learned a lot in that job, how to hire and train staff, how to motivate a team of people and how important the bottom line of a business truly is. Honestly though, the most important thing I learned was that I had much higher goals for myself then I was going to be able to accomplish working in corporate restaurants. Nebraska was great to me, but I was ready for my next chapter, so I quit my job and moved to California the next day. One of the first jobs I got in California was with a prop 215 collective in San Diego. This was where I really started to realize that cannabis was a LEGITIMATE medication for so many people. I was a delivery driver, and I was taking medical cannabis to dozens of people every day. One particular night, I made one of my weekly RSO deliveries to a family in North San Diego County. I had made this stop several times before, but usually I waited on the porch and simply dropped off the order. This day was different. The man who owned the house asked me to come inside and meet his wife and son, because they wanted to “thank
me.” His son had severe epilepsy and had been using the RSO I was taking them to treat the seizures. They had seen how it could help on TV. His wife broke down crying to me as she told me their story. She explained that they were so nervous to try the oils, because they had never used cannabis themselves. They were desperate and decided to give it a go. After using the RSO for the entire summer, their son had reduced his seizures enough that he was going to be able to go to school full time for the first time in his life. I left that day with a completely different outlook on how cannabis can impact this world. 3 months later I started West Coast Cannabis Club, so that I could continue to do this the rest of my life. WB: Please tell me about your company? What do you do that’s different, therefore better than your competition? What stigmas do you face? KC: West Coast Cannabis Club is a vertically integrated cannabis company out of Coachella Valley, California. We currently have 3 retail locations in the desert and are hoping to add more soon. We started West Coast Cannabis Club the hard way. I got together with a few of the smartest people I had in my circle, who all had the perfect skills to counter each other. Together we pooled what little money we had in our savings, a grand total of $10,000 and got started! We bought a few pounds, put an ad up on Weedmaps, and WCCC was born. We slowly built the company until we were able to get our first brick and mortar license in Cathedral City, California. At the time, we were still operating under medical only regulations and were able to position ourselves well for the launching of recreational sales in 2018. We were one of the first dozen licenses issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control and at 6:00 AM on January 1st 2018, we had the first recreational cannabis sale in California history!
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in additional cities, we already have SOP’s and capable managers to operate these locations. We are going to go after additional licenses aggressively over the next year and are confident we will be able to make sure that each of them lives up to our standards. WB: What is your favorite food memory from childhood? What does your favorite (birthday) meal look like now? Favorite food?
Our newest project is a 35,000 square foot micro business, which we are now doing retail sales, cultivation, manufacturing and distribution out of. The former ABC nightly news studio is a beautiful building that gives us a truly one-of-a-kind facility. As far as what sets us apart, it is absolutely my team. My staff is the most motivated, happy, and loyal team that you will find. We understand that people could go to any number of dispensaries, but they choose to come to us because they trust us, and we treat them well. Our team is filled with locals and we actually know about the products we’re selling. We love our local community and are proud to be a part of it. WB: What is your six- and twelve-month plan? What obstacles exist in your professional world? How do you anticipate removing them? KC: Six Months - Covid has obviously thrown some obstacles our way and caused us to take a lot of our immediate goals and move them to the near future. On top of not being eligible for any federal relief, the cancelation of local events such as Coachella, Stagecoach, and BNP Paribas, took what should have been the 3 busiest months of the year and instead made them the slowest. Luckily for us, we run lean. The next 6 months will be focused on fixing inefficiencies that we have discovered through the bumps and bruises of this pandemic. These several months have only reinforced how important it is for us to have control of some of our own supply chain. As a retailer, when the brands we carry cannot fulfill orders due to their own Covid struggles, we are left scrambling to make sure we still have a full menu for our customers. This coupled with what seems to be a statewide drought on quality product, has left dispensaries with less of a selection and higher prices. We plan to use the remainder of this year to focus on our in-house cultivation and manufacturing, so that we can provide more consistency in our menu and pricing. Stabilizing our supply chain will help us build trust and reliability with our customers.
KC: We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid, so eating out was always a birthday reward. As a Colorado native, there is one restaurant that I will always remember going to, Casa Bonita! Casa Bonita is basically a cross between a restaurant and an amusement park. The 60,000 sq foot restaurant was complete with an arcade, fire jugglers, a giant gorilla running around scaring people and a 30-foot waterfall that people would dive off of while you ate your meal. Full disclosure, I’ve gone back as an adult and the food doesn’t exactly live up to the nostalgia, but it was always such a unique experience that I loved it as a kid. Plus, unlimited sopapillas! I am very passionate about my food. I love to cook and have worked in restaurants for most of my life. One of my favorite things about Coachella Valley is there are so many incredible Mexican restaurants here, that I am always 10 minutes away from a margarita and some Carnitas. However, when it comes to a “birthday meal” the choice is an easy one. Prime Rib, the largest one I can possibly find. Medium rare, with a side of mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and a glass of Macallan (neat). WB: What is your passion? KC: My passion is my business. It comes from the excitement of seeing what we have created and how it has impacted the lives of those involved. I am obsessed with this business. Every aspect of it, from creating a safe workplace for my team, to making sure that the people of Coachella Valley always have access to the highest quality cannabis in the world. I wake up every single day, hoping that I can improve the quality of life for the people around me. Everything we are going to achieve from here is truly the cherry on top. If I can help my friends and employees achieve their goals and provide for their families, then I have lived a fulfilled life.
12 Months - We plan to pursue new locations in emerging markets. As cities and counties begin to rewrite their cannabis regulations, the companies who can move quickly will be at an advantage. We pride ourselves in having the deepest budtender bench in cannabis. We set a standard when hiring, that every person we hire is capable of being a manager for us. We only bring on people who want to work hard and learn every day. As we secure licenses
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81-931 Hwy 111 Indio, CA 92201 (760) 342-5900
36-901 Cook St. Palm Desert, CA 92211 (760) 836-1133
Full Bar, Dine In or Take Out!
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Largest selection of Tequilas! Delicious take out food to-go, or have it delivered with GrubHub.
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YOUR BUSINESS AND MANDATORY ORGANICS LEGISLATION AB 1826 - Law requires that California businesses arrange for organics recycling services Who Must Comply: All commercial or public entities, including multi-family dwellings of five units or more, that generate 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week. How Do I Comply? • To comply you must arrange for organic waste recycling services. Please call Burrtec Waste & Recycling Services to schedule a FREE organics recycling assessment. • Per the State legislation, multi-family dwellings need only to arrange collection for green waste (including landscape/pruning waste). Multi-family dwellings are not required to arrange for collection of food scraps at this time. Our Recycling Solutions: • Burrtec Waste & Recycling Services provides a separate container for your organic waste. • Burrtec Waste & Recycling Services recycles your organics through composting and mulching at our compost facility.
Open 7 Days A Week!
Lounge | Retail | Curbside
Thinking of Growing in the Southwest Region? “Southwest: The Southwest’s dry climate can become debilitatingly hot. Cannabis plants thrive where nighttime temperatures stay above 60°F, while daytime highs over 100°F will slow their growth. When relying on A/C, growing indoors in this region can be costly, especially in the summer.
Infused Grilled Salmon: Ingretients: 1 1/2 Pound of salmon 1 Small bunch of fresh dill divided 1 Medium lemon 2 Tablespoons Simply High Extracts Vegan Butter 2 Tablespoons Simply High Extra Light Olive Oil
Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids are the best choice for outdoor growers in the Southwest, as they can handle higher temperatures and will
3 Cloves minced garlic 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
have time to finish their long flowering cycles.
Thank you to our friends at Simply High Extracts for this delicious recipe!
Soil in the Southwest is often lacking necessary nutrients, so purchase your own soils or utilize a hydroponic system. Water is more scarce and expensive in the Southwest, so it’s a good idea to use conservative hydroponic methods and drip lines.”
What is a Cannabis Lounge?
Directions: Preheat an outdoor grill to about 375 degrees.
A Cannabis Consumption Lounge is very simlar to a ‘bar’ setting,
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil.
but with Cannabis as the central product instead of alcohol. At
Lightly coat the foil with baking spray. Then, arrange a few
Hightend, in Palm Springs, we’ll have a full consumptoin ‘dab bar’
sprigs of dill down the middle. Cut the lemons into thin slices
and lounge area (COVID Compliant). Our team curates the finest product, and creats a vibe for our customers to safely consume, and enjoy themselves.
Delivery Coming Soon! HIGHTEND.US
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and arrange half of the slices down the middle with the dill. Place the salmon on top. Drizzle the salmon with the melted butter and oil. Sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic over the top, then lay a few more springs of dill and the remaining lemon slices on top of the salmon. Grill your salmon for about 18-25 mins (time may vary), take it out, and enjoy!
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GCVCC Voice of Business Fall 2020 - The Election Guide www.gcvcc.org