Elaine Holmes has a single challenger in her quest for another term on the Indio City Council
INDIO — As a 12-year veteran on the City Council helping to guide the Coachella Valley’s largest city, Elaine Holmes says she has more to give and more she wants to do while representing District 3.
In addition to her work on the City Council, Holmes, since 2004, has owned PJ’s Desert Trophies & Gifts in downtown Indio.
She has one challenger who declined to respond to Uken Report’s questions.
Holmes graciously and promptly replied. Her responses follow.
Uken Report (UR): Why Specifically do you want to be on Council?
Holmes: I’ve served on the Indio City Council since 2010. My focus has always been the support of small business. I have advocated for providing monies during the pandemic to keep businesses afloat. The city also waived the permit fees during COVID to help restaurants build outdoor structures in order to stay open as much as possible during the pandemic. I have worked with City Hall to streamline permit processes, ensure timely follow up communication with the business owners, reduce red tape and assist businesses with the tools for their future success.
We have made strides with our Economic Development Goals for Indio and have been bringing hotels and businesses to Indio so that we reduce the amount of leakage. I have voted for additional Police and Fire resources to fully support our growing population and while I have been a Councilmember, we have trained a Quality-of-Life team to support our homeless population and Indio has the first Behavioral Health person that works with IPD.
We just completed the Housing Element; Indio was 7th in the State to complete the process. Indio has taken the lead on housing, specifically affordable housing, where we have 5000 existing apartments. Indio currently has 1000 attainable apartments for Seniors, veterans, and the general employment population. I look forward to implementing our housing strategy for Seniors, Veterans, Attainable housing stock in its many forms. We have also completed the Specific Plan for the Highway 111 Corridor which provides the detail for the Indio Marketplace and the shaping of the Hwy 111 corridor for transit, bicycling and walkability. We also completed the Downtown Specific Plan, and most importantly, the 2040 General Plan, which is our cities roadmap for housing, retail, commercial and industrial. As the City of Indo grows, so does the opportunity to create jobs and meaningful careers.
We have the expansion of the College of the Desert so there will be approximately 8000 students working toward a degree and career. COD is also building a Child Development Center with curriculum for parenting and those in the childcare business. We are in the process of building our Public Safety Campus, Police and Fire, so that we can build the technology to better serve and support our community. Our police officers have body cams and license plate readers, which I voted for.
We have received a large grant that will be used to create a new sports park for our community. I very much want to continue to be a part of implementing the elements of a growing and successful city which include Public Safety, business, education, housing for all, commerce and jobs.
UR: Greatest Accomplishment
Holmes: I will always be an advocate for small business, as they are the backbone of any city. It’s important that our city is business friendly. Ensuring our processes, are business friendly is a component that our Fire Dept provides our community. Working with our small business community to help them build successful business is very important to me, as it effects family, community and quality of life.
UR: How do you define Leadership?
Holmes: I believe in the collective and collaborative success of any organization, whether business or political. As a team, we are all infinitely more successful. Creating the vision for success is critical to the process. Decisions that leaders make impact the lives of people, businesses, family and community. Effective Leaders are humble and have the courage to reach out and work for change, even when change is not always popular. Most importantly, an effective leader helps others achieve their goals and reach their highest potential.
UR: How do you fit the definition?
Holmes: After 12 years, my record speaks for itself. I’m proud that our city has continued to change for the better, to improve the lives of our residents. Our Council works together as a collaborative team, and I am honored to be a part of it.
UR: Top Three Goals for Moving Indio Forward
Holmes: Providing ongoing educational opportunities, Business resources and Economic Development; Housing, Public Safety/Quality of Life
UR: In May the Council approved the sale of Marijuana in Indio. You voted no. Why?
Holmes: I voted “no” on one particular segment, which was to include indoor consumption of Cannabis in Cannabis Lounges. I believe in taking opportunities in steps and learning from other cities that have ventured into Cannabis. This is our first foray into the retail Cannabis business, and it’s important that we help the businesses that come to our city to be successful. Cannabis Lounges are an additional element that I felt needed to be considered at a later date.
UR: Do you think this will hurt you in your re-election bid?
Holmes: What’s important is that I made my decision in a very thoughtful manner, with the best interest of the city’s residents in mind.
UR: COVID 19 has taken a toll on the Coachella Valley’s economy. What specifically will you do, or are doing, to help Indio rebound?
Holmes: In the middle of COVID, the city worked closely with the restaurant industry to help them develop usable, safe outdoor spaces so that business could keep going. We did not charge for permits during this challenging time, rather, we worked hand in hand with our restaurant and business community to ensure both the success of the businesses and the safety of the community. Indio also provide grants, over $1.5M, to small businesses and childcare facilities to help them bridge the financial constraints that prevailed during the pandemic. We are currently working with the SBDC to assist business with financial requirements, business plans and location scoping. From an Economic Development perspective, we may assist in loans, incentives, facade improvements etc., based on certain requirements. The future of business and commerce is pivotal to the success of our community.
UR: What is one thing people don’t know about you?
Holmes: That I am interested in and Music Therapy and minored in it in college.
UR: Is there one decision that City Council has made with which you strongly disagree? If so, what was it and why?
Holmes: We work as a very collaborative Council.
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