Whoever is behind ads pushing for mayor’s resignation say they will remain anonymous

The person or people behind a Facebook page and website calling first for Palm Springs city leaders to better address issues and now for the mayor’s resignation are choosing to remain anonymous, a group member said Tuesday.

“The best way to be involved is for people to comment and discuss these issues,” a member of the group behind The Palm Springs Account wrote in a direct message to The Post when asked if its backers would identify themselves. “The issues stand up for themselves.”

Early in the ad campaign, which started August 1 and has so far cost approximately $4,300, those issues included homelessness and crime.

“The homeless issue in Palm Springs is an epidemic, so why is our City Council ignoring our community and playing politics? Tell them to fix our homeless crisis!” stated one ad, which ran August 1 through August 6 and cost between $300 and $400, according to Facebook data.

As of mid-August, however, the campaign and an associated website have focused primarily on Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege. Messages in the ads state, “Palm Springs Mayor Not Listening and Doing Nothing and Running for Another Office!” and “Demand the Mayor Resign – She is Already Running for Another Office!” On the website, visitors are asked to enter their name and email address to “Demand Holstege Resign!”

The dig at Holstege is in reference to her recently announced campaign for California State Assembly.

Unless those responsible for the ads and the website choose to come forward, Holstege and others in the community won’t find out anytime soon who is behind the efforts.

Information required to run Facebook ads lists the group’s address only as Grass Valley, Calif. A phone number with a 760 area code associated with the page does not show up in public records. Owners of the website’s domain, hosted by GoDaddy starting in late July, paid to keep their names hidden. A privacy policy required for collecting email addresses and other personal information through the website was previously missing.

Holstege said Tuesday that while she and other city leaders always welcome input and criticism, the anonymity is troubling, especially as it appears timed to coincide with her campaign to take on current Assembly Member Chad Mayes in the 42nd District.

“It seems like they are using talking points that are not local,” she said by phone. “They are criticizing our COVID response, which is not the position held by most Palm Springs residents who have strongly supported our efforts to keep the community safe.”

“It’s concerning whenever somebody is doing political attack ads that aren’t transparent,” she added. “It’s disingenuous to hide behind a general account that doesn’t list who is running it.”

Holstege said she has no plans to resign and pointed out that her vote is just one of five under the city’s current form of government.

“They’re criticizing me for City Council policies,” Holstege said. “It’s the city manager who runs the city. I don’t. I am just one vote out of five on the City Council.”

She also defended the efforts of all of her fellow City Council members to combat issues called out in the ads.

“We’re doing more than any other city in the region on homelessness,” Holstege said. “We’re working with the police department and with behavioral workers to get homeless individuals into treatment and to find them housing. We’ve been working to use our own city buildings for homelessness services and working with the county on the development of a shelter and permanent housing. We received $10 million from the state to help solve this issue, and we were the only city outside of the top 14 cities in size to receive these funds.

“I know that this is a really important issue for our community, and we continue to work on it and show progress. But homelessness is increasing everywhere. It’s not an issue specific to Palm Springs. It’s an issue everywhere in California.”


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