November election will see two-person races for each open City Council seat

The mix of candidates includes one incumbent, small business owners, civic leaders, and those with experience serving the LGBTQ community.

Six of the 10 people who indicated an interest in running for three contested seats on the Palm Springs City Council in November have qualified for the ballot, the City Clerk’s office reported Thursday.

Driving the news: Candidates have been announcing or completing forms declaring their intention to run for months. But only those who grabbed the proper paperwork from City Hall and secured a minimum of 80 signatures from voters in their district will actually appear on the ballot.

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  • Two candidates each in districts 1, 2, and 3 met the requirement, including one incumbent, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner in District 1.

  • Incumbent Councilmember Dennis Woods pulled the paperwork for gathering signatures in District 2 but did not meet the requirement and will not be up for re-election.

The mix of candidates includes one relative newcomer to the city and several lifelong or longtime residents. They include small business owners, civic leaders, and those with experience serving the city’s LGBTQ community:

  • In District 1, Garner, a Palm Springs native, is looking for a second term. She is next in line for the largely ceremonial mayorship and would be the city’s first Latina mayor if re-elected. She will face off against Scott Nevins, a television personality and member of the DAP Health Board of Directors who has been honored for his work as an LGBTQ and HIV awareness activist. He and his husband purchased a home in the city in 2019.

  • In District 2, both Renee Brown and Jeffrey Bernstein qualified for the ballot and will seek to replace Woods. Brown is a lifelong city resident best known for her work with the Palm Springs Historical Society. Bernstein is a longtime resident and small business owner who among other roles serves as chair of the city’s Measure J Oversight Commission.

  • In District 3, Ron deHarte and Joy Brown Meredith will look to fill the role of Councilmember Geoff Kors, a former mayor who is not seeking re-election. Both deHarte and Meredith are well known for their civic involvement. DeHarte serves as president of Palm Springs Pride; Meredith has owned small businesses in the city for three decades and serves as head of the Main Street Palm Springs business association.

Bigger picture: If Nevins were to defeat Garner, and current District 4 Councilmember Christy Holstege were to win her campaign for California Assembly, only one current member of the City Council would remain on the dais. Mayor Lisa Middleton’s term expires in 2024, the same year she is expected to campaign for the State Senate.

Looking forward: With formalities out of the way, the candidates will now turn their attention to raising money, securing endorsements, and wooing individual voters. Expect to see a flood of online and television ads, as well as mailers, in the coming months.

Next up: You can meet candidates and hear about their positions at a series of forums planned for early October. Invitations have been sent to all those campaigning for Palm Springs City Council. In addition, candidates looking to fill positions on the boards of the Palm Springs Unified School District, Desert Water Agency, and Desert Healthcare District may appear.

  • The forums are planned for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

  • Want to ask a question? You can do so in person or by emailing the organizers at


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