In our second annual community weigh-in, we asked readers to fill out a survey and tell us what they thought was the most important issue of 2022 and why, and to guess what may make the news in 2023.
Readers we polled said the ongoing homelessness crisis in Palm Springs was the most important story of 2022. Unlike past years, however, there was a sense of progress as the city focused on both short-term and long-term solutions. There also appeared to be a greater understanding that the housing crisis and the homelessness crisis are interrelated.
Looking ahead, readers said they expect the city to continue addressing homelessness and housing affordability, but also to address possible reparations for residents of Section 14 and their descendants.
Here’s a sampling of what you all had to say:
“I think there are two (top stories): Short term vacation rentals — the proliferation of Airbnb, Pacaso, etc. — and reparations for Section 14 removals. (STVRs) impact full time residents, a group that has been historically overlooked in favor of tourism. (Reparations) goes to the heart of our humanity and community.”— Terry House
“The top story of 2022 was the ack of affordable housing/apartments, especially for service workers. [There’s a] gap between rich and poor increasing and local businesses [are] not able to find qualified workers who can afford to live here.” In 2023, the Section 14 (legal issues) will be the top story because, “Legal costs or a court loss could cripple the city and increase community tensions.”— Warren Becker
“The elections and campaigns were the biggest story in 2022 because they have the biggest immediate effect on our day to day lives through various policies (taxes, garbage, security, transportation, housing etc.). In 2023, Water will be the biggest story. (W)ater and climate change is the biggest issue facing humankind in 2023. Everything else depends on our surviving.”— Ellen Strenski
“Short term rental changes were the biggest story of 2022. … I watched closely the task force results and the changes City Council suggests. I spoke up saying no more than 12% in any neighborhood. Short term rentals will be an issue again in 2023. This is still going on and being contested again. It will continue into 2023 and will fall into the new Council. Hopefully (Mayor) Garner will hold her stand on this issue.”— Bill Strong
“Prescott Preserve donated to Oswit Land Trust was the biggest story in 2022. While controversial, this project to bring a wildlife preserve to the center of Palm Springs is inspiring. Homelessness and housing affordability will be a top story in 2023. To preserve our town as a diverse community, we must avoid becoming just a second home destination for multi-millionaires.”— Karen Blinkinsop
“The lack of transparency and progress on the Palm Springs campus of COD was the top story of 2022. It raises the question of how our bond money is being used and whether the COD campus will be completed here and what form it will finally take. In 2023, reparations for survivors and descendants of Section 14 will be the top story. It is an issue of justice being delayed and the potential cost will seriously impact the city budget.”— Paul Zak
“Ken Calvert becoming our new congressman was the top story of 2022. Having a bigoted congressman represent our LGBTQ friendly community will mean not having a voice in Congress. Affordable housing and the unhoused will be a top story in 2023. Most jobs in the city are related to the hospitality industry which has traditionally paid low wages. The people who make Palm Springs the place everyone wants to visit can’t afford to live here, that’s a problem. Also if the city doesn’t do more about the unhoused visitors will stop wanting to visit.”— Katy Sullivan
“Funding of the homeless navigation center was the biggest story in 2022. Getting a $19 million state grant allowed the city to begin to fill a huge gap in social services amid a homelessness crisis that is both inhumane to those suffering on the streets and disturbing to local businesses and residents. In 2023, homelessness will be the top story. Untreated and unaddressed substance abuse and mental health issues have combined with economic challenges to create a burgeoning presence of unhoused people that must be addressed for the wellbeing and safety of all of us.”— Howard Goldberg
THIS WEEK: OUR YEAR IN REVIEW SERIES
WEDNESDAY: Palm Springs in 2022: A town in transition
THURSDAY: Palm Springs in 2023: A renewed focus on locals
FRIDAY: Meet our 2022 Palm Springs Person of the Year