Daily Briefing: Ballot notes, timely training, firefighters’ special act, and more

It’s Wednesday, 5/11.

?️ Today’s weather: Windy with a high of around 80 degrees

Setting the mood: “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow.

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✍️ Situational awareness: Organizers of Saturday’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action at Frances Stevens Park, which is currently planned for 10 a.m., say it’s crucial that you register if you’re planning to attend.

This is a 5-minute read. Let’s go …

Leading off: Ballots are on their way. Here’s what to expect

There are multiple Riverside County, state, and federal offices up for contention in the June 7 primary. Ballots were mailed this week.

How it works: Under California’s top-two primary system for state and congressional elections, all candidates are listed on a single ballot, and the two who receive the most votes, regardless of party, advance to the November election.

  • An exception: For county races, if a candidate gets even one vote over 50% in the primary, he or she wins outright and there is no need for a November runoff.

County offices on the ballot include races for district attorney, where incumbent Mike Hestrin faces a pair of challengers — Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky and attorney Lara Gressley; and sheriff, where incumbent Chad Bianco is being challenged by retired Sheriff’s Department Capt. Michael Lujan.

  • Of note: The District 4 county supervisor seat is also on the ballot, but Supervisor Manuel Perez is unopposed.

At the statewide level, you’ll see races for governor (again), attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, superintendent of public instruction, and insurance commissioner, among others.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom,you may remember, was the subject of a recall election last year. In this election he has a few primary challengers, including state Sen. Brian Dahle, who has the GOP endorsement.

Our State Assembly representative is also on the ballot. We’re now in Assembly District 47, newly formed after redistricting.

  • Assemblymember Chad Mayes announced he would not seek re-election, setting the stage for a fresh face in Sacramento.
    • Among those running, Democrat Christy Holstege,a current Palm Springs City Council member and former mayor, is endorsed by the state Democrats. Republican Greg Wallis has the GOP’s backing. He’s a staffer for Mayes.

At the federal level, we’ll vote for a U.S. House member for newly created District 41, and one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats.

  • In the House, five candidates are on the primary ballot. Among them are Republican Ken Calvert, the incumbent, and Democrats Shrina Kurani and Will Rollins (who lives in Palm Springs).
    • Of note: You won’t see Rep. Raul Ruiz on your ballot. Ruiz has been the Coachella Valley’s representative for the past decade, but is now running in newly formed District 25 that includes portions of the Valley outside Palm Springs.
  • In the Senate,incumbent Democrat Alex Padilla faces nearly two dozen challengers.
    • In an odd quirk, you will see this seat on the ballot multiple times this year. The LA Timeexplains why better than we can.

Timely reminder: You have until May 23 to register to vote in the primary. You can do that online here, or find forms at any post office, library, or government office, as well as the DMV. You can also call the county’s Registrar of Voters at 951-486-7200 and have a registration mailed to you.

Final step: Once your ballot is complete, you can drop it in the mail (the postage is already paid) or place it in a drop box at City Hall, 3200 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, or the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 West Tramview Way. Both are available through June 7.

Find sample ballots with complete lists of candidates here.

In brief: Vital, timely training

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and one local organization is offering some vital informational training to help de-stigmatize mental health.

The Jewish Family Service of the Desert (JFS) has been around for 40 years and provides a wide range of services for anyone of any faith.

  • They currentlyoffer mental health counseling, wellness check phone calls, socialization for isolated seniors, and even case managers who can help with emergency financial assistance. 

Driving the news: This month JFS is bringing in experts to teach the community what it means to be a support system for someone with a history of mental health problems. Two online meetings are planned.

  • The first meeting, “Quieting the Silence: How to be a Source of Support,” is on Tuesday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m. (Register here)
    • Dr. Jonathan Singer, former president of the American Association of Suicidology, will moderate the discussion.
  • The next training, “Suicide Safety: Early Warning Signs and Interventions,” takes place Wednesday, May 25, at 5 p.m. (Register here)
    • The trainingwill tackle the extremely sensitive topic with Dr. Arielle Sheftall, principal investigator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

What’s at stake: As we covered earlier this month, youth mental health is becoming a crisis, even locally.

  • A recent New York Times article details some of the recent startling statistics:
    • In 2019, 13% of adolescents reported having a major depressive episode, a 60% increase from 2007. 
    • Emergency room visits by children and adolescents in that period also rose sharply for anxiety, mood disorders and self-harm. 
    • And for people ages 10 to 24, suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, leaped nearly 60% by 2018, according to the CDC.

? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

Opening statements are underway for the retrial of a man previously convicted in a 2008 financially motivated killing of a Palm Springs resident. (KESQ)

If you enjoyed last weekend’s 70mm film festival, there’s more movie magic headed to the Palm Springs Cultural Center with the Noir Festival. (Variety)

More than 1,000 SCE customers lost power because of a traffic accident. (NBC Palm Springs)

? On tap

The Gand Band will rock The Oasis Music Festival.

? The Oasis Music Festival kicks off today and runs through Sunday.

  • Busy Week: More than 50 artists from a wide range of genres will perform at some 30 local venues.
    • Headlinersinclude The Milk Carton Kids, The White Buffalo, and Y La Bamba.
    • The Palm Springs International Jazz Festival this weekend is part of the event. It features Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, and more.

On stage today: Doors for the first set open at 12:30 p.m. at The Block at Kimpton Rowan for Alien DNA Band.

  • The fun continues into the evening at the Plaza Theatre and the Purple Room Supper Club, which will host jazz and swing acts.

Find ticket information here.

?️ Also today:

  • The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast is this morning at 8:30 a.m.

  • The Palm Springs Planning Commission meets tonight at 5:30 p.m.
  • The PSUSD speaker series continues this evening at 5:30 p.m. The speaker tonight is Robin Hinchliff, an English learner coordinator.

Looking ahead:

  • Geoffrey Mark sings the Ella Fitzgerald songbook at Oscar’s Thursday evening.
  • Palm Canyon Theatre opens its production of Into The Woods this Friday through Sunday.
  • An interfaith peace service is planned for May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at United Methodist Church of Palm Springs.
  • The next REAF-PS House Party, benefitting the Cathedral City Senior Center, is planned for May 21 at 5 p.m.

See our complete community calendar or list your event.

And finally …

When 5-year-old Kacey Dunn found a golden egg at April’s Palm Springs Fire Foundation pancake breakfast, little did she know it would be the firefighter/paramedics who would feel like they won something.

  • The annual event at Ruth Hardy Park features an Easter egg hunt for kids, who get a stuffed animal if they find one of 10 special eggs.
  • Unfortunately, somebody made off with the stuffed animals this year, Capt. Nathan Gunkel explained Tuesday. Winners, including Kacey, were offered a visit to a fire station.

Kacey and her father Tony visited Fire Station 5 on Sunday — Mother’s Day. When asked where her mom was, Gunkel explained that the girl said her mother was “in my heart,” and that she had passed away a few years back.

With their hearts sinking, the firefighters knew they had to do something more than just show the family around the station.

  • Promise made: After she dined on her favorite lunch (cheese pizza) and took a ride with the Station 5 crew, Gunkel said the men made a promise to Kacey: From now on, they said, she is welcome at the station every Mother’s Day as the guest of honor.

?  Kendall still has songs from West Side Story stuck in her head.

Mark is rethinking his cigar and ice cream diet.

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