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Wednesday, Nov. 30 | ☀️ 70°/48°

Happy Hump Day, unless you're waiting on final vote tallies in two key races involving members of the Palm Springs City Council. Then let us wish you a Happy Groundhog Day. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It's like deja vu all over again."
 
🎶 Setting the mood: "My Favorite Things" by Rodgers and Hammerstein, performed by Julie Andrews

Leading off: Section 14 group says billions could be owed by city

A city firefighter douses flames at the scene of a house fire in Section 14 in the 1960s.

A group of survivors and descendants of those forcibly removed from their homes in the heart of Palm Springs in the 1950s and 1960s have filed an updated claim against the city seeking what could amount to billions in damages, it was announced during a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Driving the news: Representatives of the Section 14 Survivors group said the move is necessary in order to avoid a lawsuit and push the city into action it promised last year after issuing a formal apology and promising reparations for its part in what the state said was a “city-engineered Holocaust.”

  • Section 14 was the primary residential area for minority residents of the city for decades. Hundreds of homes were built on leased land. But when white developers sought long-term leases to build on the land they also sought to push out the owners of those homes. The city aided in evictions.
The latest: The updated claim shows Section 14 survivors and descendants could be owed up to $2 billion in damages. That figure is significantly higher than the original filing earlier this year. It comes after an economist working on behalf of the survivors group was able to calculate the scope of the damage done to those who suffered following the evictions.
  • “That’s not the number that we’re necessarily asking for; that’s the number we come to the table with,” economist Julianne Malveaux told a local TV station present at the news conference. “We’re asking for Palm Springs to deal with us in good faith.”
In a prepared statement, Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton again apologized for the events at Section 14 and urged patience as city officials go through the lengthy process of determining compensation for those impacted by the events.
  • “While this process may seem to be taking longer than some might like, the city has an obligation, not only to those who were displaced, but also to its residents, businesses and taxpayers, to thoroughly investigate the history as it develops remedial programs that are fair to everyone,” Middleton said.
Next steps: Councilmember Christy Holstege, who has helped drive the discussion around reparations, acknowledged the city could hardly absorb a settlement that could run into the billions of dollars. Still, she does see a possible path forward.
  • "The city of Palm Springs has a $220 million annual budget,” Holstege told reporter Jake Ingrassia. “I think lifting this up to the statewide level and discussing ways that the state might be able to help fund this effort would be helpful.”
Read our complete story here. 

In brief: Seesaw race tips in favor of Holstege's opponent 

Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege (left) and Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner.

Both Riverside and San Bernardino counties released additional vote counts Tuesday evening, but in the race involving Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege it still wasn’t enough to produce a clear winner. For Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, however, her re-election bid appears secure.

Driving the news: Democrat Holstege, seeking a seat in the State Assembly as the 47th District representative, had been unable to pull away from Republican challenger Greg Wallis, leading by 52 votes entering Tuesday. But she is now behind by 12 —  84,420 to 84,408.

  • Wallis outgained Holstege again in San Bernardino’s vote count released Tuesday afternoon and she didn’t have enough votes fall her way to overcome his lead after Riverside County’s latest count was released hours later.
Next up: With 4,425 votes left to tally in San Bernardino County — which has been favoring the Republican — and only 1,000 left in Riverside County, Wallis appears to have the advantage. San Bernardino County has promised another release of results tonight, while Riverside County will release again on Thursday.

In races for the Palm Springs City Council, both Jeffrey Bernstein and Ron deHarte remain clear winners and will be heading to the dais in December as representatives of districts 2 and 3, filling seats vacated by Geoff Kors and Dennis Woods. If Holstege were to lose to Wallis, she would remain in the District 4 seat.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, seeking re-election District 1, appears headed to victory and would make history as the city's first Latina mayor. She maintained her 64-vote advantage over Scott Nevins and leads 1,460 to 1,396.
Read our complete story here.
A MESSAGE FROM THE BEST BOOKSTORE IN PALM SPRINGS

Shopping for the Holidays?

Books are the only gift that can be opened again and again! The Best Bookstore in Palm Springs has thousands of titles under $20, and we’re always glad to share recommendations for everyone on your list. Visit us at 180 E Tahquitz Canyon Way (at Indian Canyon) every day from 10am-10pm, or online at bestbookstore.com

The Roundup

🎞️ Variety has announced its "10 Directors to Watch for 2023," and they will be honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. (Desert Sun)

🖼️ The Palm Springs Art Museum will host an opening party tonight to celebrate its two new fall exhibitions. (MSN)

🎸 Wondering what the new music and hockey venue off Interstate-10 will be like inside when it finally opens? Reporter Bianca Ventura takes you inside. (KESQ)

Today's calendar

Annual Wreath Auction
Tonight | 5:30 p.m. | Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge
The Palm Springs Animal Shelter and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert are partnering to host their annual wreath auction. Take home a festive holiday wreath, or two. 

PS Rewinds: Tim Burton – Batman Returns
Tonight | 8 p.m. | Palm Springs Cultural Center
Palm Springs Rewinds, an ongoing film series featuring movies from acclaimed contemporary directors, will have a showing of "Batman Returns" at the cultural center. 

🎁 Your guide to holiday events
 

The 2022 holidays are in full swing in the city of Palm Springs, and we’re here to try and help you sort through all the events.

Click here for our complete list of events.
Submit Your Event

Looking ahead

Official City Holiday Tree Lighting
Friday | 5 p.m. | Frances Stevens Park
The Palm Springs tree lighting event will include holiday caroling, free cookies, hot cocoa and activities for children. 

Palm Springs Country Dance Association Dance
Friday | 7:30 | Step by Step Dance Studio
Join the dance association for country western dancing, including two-step, country waltz, shadow, East and West Coast swing and line dances. ($5)

Sounds of the Holidays at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Friday and beyond | Times vary | Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Holiday choir season kicks off Friday at the tramway. On more select dates through Dec. 11, visitors can listen to holiday favorites performed by different high school choirs.

And finally...

We'd like to bring your attention to a labor of love — for books.

What we know: What you see here is a masterpiece created by staff and volunteers at the Palm Springs Public Library over the course of the last few days. The "Holiday Book Tree" was finished Tuesday afternoon and now stands ready to welcome you and get you in the spirit of the season.

  • Librarian Madison, Friends of the Library board member Rosie, and library assistants Sheryl and Yrene get credit for its creation, and hopefully they receive a few extra goodies in their stockings this year.
What we don't know: There's no word yet on how many books it took to create this display.
  • We can tell you that none of the books used for the project are currently for sale. But we're pretty sure the copy of "The Great Gatsby" we reserved is on the bottom. We'll wait until after the holidays are over to pick it up.

🗞️ In case you missed it 
 

Some of our most recently published stories

🤷‍♀️ Kendall doesn't understand why "My Favorite Things" is played during the holidays, but she isn't complaining.

🕰️ Mark thinks he might be in some sort of news reporter version of "Lost" waiting for final vote counts from Nov. 8. If you've seen how the series ends, can you please text me?

📝 Miss a day? Read past newsletters here.

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