About Kate McGinty

Kate McGinty has worked as a public safety watchdog on the iSun investigative team. She is now The Desert Sun’s digital editor of engagement. Follow her on Twitter at @TDSKateM and on Instagram at @kjmcginty.

Election Day on Tuesday: Vote for State Senator in District 40

Sample ballot for State Senator

Sample ballot for State Senator (via California Secretary of State).

Tuesday marks the special primary election for a seat in the State Senate.

Voters will eventually replace Juan Vargas, who resigned from District 40 after winning a seat in the U.S. House.

Hector Raul Gastelum, Xanthi Gionis, Anna Nevenic and Ben Hueso are on the ballot.

This election includes voters in parts or all of Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio, Mecca and Thousand Palms.

Nearly 45,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been issued in Riverside County. More than 9,500 — or 21.5 percent of those — have been returned, the Registrar of Voters said Monday.

Voters will be able to cast ballots at 21 polling places.

To find your assigned polling place, visit the Registrar of Voters office website at or call (951) 486-7200.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Raul Ruiz: Congressional office ready; NPR profiles freshman congressman

Incoming Rep. Raul Ruiz's Congressional office, as seen Wednesday (photo submitted by Greg Rodriguez)

On the eve of Dr. Raul Ruiz swearing into Congress, his office — and his plaque — are ready for showtime.

This photograph outside his new office, 1319 Longworth Building, circulated on Facebook today.

Ruiz will take the oath of office Thursday as a freshman member of the 113th Congress. It will mark the first time since 1998 that the Coachella Valley is represented by a new lawmaker in Washington.

Over the weekend, NPR’s Weekend Edition profiled Ruiz as part of a series of profiles of “the most diverse (freshman class) in congressional history.”

The four-minute segment that aired Saturday focuses primarily on Ruiz’s busy schedule and his life story.

“Ruiz’s personality — upbeat and inclusive — earned him voter approval across ethnic lines, and it didn’t hurt that he had a life story that resonated with an electorate that was growing more diverse each year,”  NPR’s Karen Grisby Bates said.

She summed up the race between Ruiz and outgoing Rep. Mary Bono Mack: “It was a nasty campaign.”

NPR also played audio from the only debate of the season, which was co-hosted Oct. 12 by The Desert Sun.

“Raul Ruiz says it pains him to leave his patients and community, but although he’s off to Congress he’s not giving up medicine completely,” she said. “He’s already making plans to volunteer in physician-short parts of DC in his spare time. How much of that he’ll have, though, is anybody’s guess.”

The audio and transcript are available here.

Desert Hot Springs mayor wants ‘to be queen,’ city councilman says during debate

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks (left) and Councilman Adam Sanchez

Desert Hot Springs City Council named its new mayor pro tem Tuesday — but not before one scorned city council member repeatedly vowed that he would no longer sit on any committees the mayor appoints him to because of the decision.

Mayor Yvonne Parks asked the council to approve Councilman Scott Matas as mayor pro tem, a selection that is made at the first meeting of every December at the mayor’s recommendation.

Councilman Adam Sanchez, the newest member of the council and the only one who has not served as mayor pro tem, kicked off a feisty 31-minute debate.

He accused Parks of unnecessarily “driving a wedge” between council members by nominating Matas.

“It’s almost like you just want to be the queen,” he snapped.

Sanchez — who sits on the policy and procedures ad hoc committee, which will present to the council in January — said he would prefer a rotating mayor pro tem position.

He warned that the mayor should never again ask him or any other council member why they couldn’t all get along.

“If that’s the way you’re going to continue to lead this council, you’re leading us down the wrong path, and for us to sit here and have to support this is the wrong thing to do,” Sanchez said. “… I will no longer serve on any committee you appoint me to.”

Parks, who said she followed council policy in choosing Matas, contended Sanchez was only upset because she didn’t select him.

“Why didn’t you bring this up earlier? Why didn’t you say something to me earlier? Why now?” Parks asked Sanchez.

After the heated debate, Matas was approved as mayor pro tem, 3-2. Parks, Matas and Mayor Pro Tem Jan Pye voted for the selection. Sanchez and Councilman Russell Betts dissented.

Meanwhile, later in the nearly five-hour council meeting, the council decided without any discussion to abandon the Wellness and World Music Festival after the city paid $265,000 in taxpayer funds.


Cathedral City mayoral recount to begin Thursday after Chip Yarborough loses to Kathy DeRosa

Challenger Chip Yarborough reacted on Nov. 6 to Election Night returns, which put him ahead in the Cathedral City mayoral race. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

A manual recount in the Cathedral City mayoral race will begin Thursday, the Riverside County Registrar of Voters announced Monday.

Chip Yarborough requested the recount after Mayor Kathy DeRosa’s come-from-behind victory. She finished with 5,729 votes, a 13-vote edge.

A recount costs about $1,873 per day, the registrar estimated.

A recount of the 12,303 ballots may take about three days, bringing the total cost to about $5,600.

The public recount will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at the registrar’s office, 2724 Gateway Drive in Riverside.

Today was the last day to request a recount in Riverside County.

Related link: How recounts work in California

Desert Hot Springs city manager automatic email: ‘No personal or political opinions’

Think twice before you send Desert Hot Springs City Manager Rick Daniels a snarky note — or anything at all.

Take a look at Daniels’ automatic “out of office” email, which doesn’t indicate he’s out of office but instead seems to be designed as an automated warning to anyone who emails.



From: Rick Daniels [mailto:rdaniels@cityofdhs.org]
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 11:19 AM
To: McGinty, Kate
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: City attorney


The City’s e-mail system and every e-mail sent to and from it are available for inpsection by any member of the public. I get many such requests for all e-mails. If you have something that I must have please call me at 760-408-4350 or 760-329-6411 x101. Avoid use of e-mail. If you must send an e-mail, please make sure that they are strictly related to business of the City and that there are no personal or political opinions, satire, or commentary.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact Kristie Ramos at (760) 329-6411 Ext. 260 or via email to kramos@cityofdhs.org.

Thank you,
Rick Daniels
City Manager


Under the California Public Records Act, emails written to and from government employees are public record, and anyone can ask to look at them.

We haven’t seen the emails — yet — to know what kind of emails Daniels was receiving to prompt him to write such a warning.

Here’s how recounts work in California now that Riverside County is done counting

Twenty days after the polls closed, the Riverside County Registrar of Voters certified the results of the election on Monday. The final tally came in at 3:17 p.m. and was sent on to the Board of Supervisors.

The California Secretary of State tracks the counting of ballots and, as of 5 p.m. today, showed 21 of the 58 counties were done tallying.

Two Coachella Valley candidates had come-from-behind victories that look like prime candidates for recounts:

Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa finished with 5,729 votes (46.57%) over challenger Chip Yarbrough’s 5,716 (46.46%) — a 13-vote difference.

Palm Desert challenger Susan Marie Weber finished with 6,153 votes (15.83%) to incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Bill Kroonen’s 6,108 (15.71%) — a 45-vote gap.

Under state law, here’s how recounts work in California:

  • Any voter can ask for a recount.
  • The person requesting the recount foots the bill.
  • The voter must file a request with the Registrar of Voters office within five days after election results are certified. (The deadline in this case is Dec. 3.)
  • Recounts are public and must begin within seven days of receiving the request.
  • Any ballot may be challenged for ambiguity, incompleteness or other defects.
  • Recounts continue daily — not including weekends or holidays —for at least six hours every day until finished.

Registrar Kari Verjil hasn’t been able to provide a cost estimate for what a recount would cost today in these specific races.

Raul Ruiz’s full statement on victory over Mary Bono Mack

Raul Ruiz campaigned Oct. 10 in Indio. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Dr. Raul Ruiz sent the following statement about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

That was minutes after Mary Bono Mack announced she had conceded to him in her race for reelection to Congressional District 36:


Today, I had the opportunity to talk with Congresswoman Bono Mack, thank her for her dedicated public service to our community, and talk about working together for the benefit of our community moving forward after this hard-fought election.

I believe that this election sends a message that it’s time to put an end to partisan gridlock. I’m excited to go to Washington and represent the entire district — including supporters of Congresswoman Bono Mack. The issues that we have to work on are clear — the high cost of healthcare, bringing jobs to the Coachella Valley, and investing in education and renewable energy.

My door is always open to everyone. If you have a good idea – Democrat or Republican – I want to hear it. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life, and this campaign – that we achieve more through conversation than confrontation.

Today, I will celebrate this big victory with my supporters, family and friends, but tomorrow the hard work begins, and I can’t wait to get to work.


See Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s concession statement here.

Mary Bono Mack’s full statement on concession to Raul Ruiz

Mary Bono Mack spoke to The Desert Sun after polls closed. (Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

Rep. Mary Bono Mack posted the following message on her Facebook page about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

That was about an hour after the most recent voting results showed that Dr. Raul Ruiz widened the lead over her in her race for reelection to Congressional District 36:


Dear friends,

Thank you for giving me the distinct honor of serving in the United States House of Representatives for 14 years. Today, I called Dr. Ruiz and congratulated him on his impressive victory. Dr. Ruiz will do a fine job if he is guided as well by the people of the congressional district as I was. Please give him the opportunity to succeed.

After 25 years of public life in the beautiful desert, it is now time for me to start a new chapter in my life. My family and I are very excited about the prospect. It was almost 15 years ago that Sonny died and I became a Congresswoman. Honestly, nobody worked harder or gave more since then than my two amazing children. They, along with my stepson Chaz, my grandson Sonny and my beloved husband Connie have been so supportive of me this week. I simply couldn’t ask for more.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.With love to all and may God continue to bless the United States of America,Mary


See Dr. Raul Ruiz’s victory statement here.

Raul Ruiz bursts ahead of Rep. Mary Bono Mack in latest election tallies

Dr. Raul Ruiz speaks Tuesday during a results watching party. (Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)


Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz surged ahead in his race for the 36th Congressional District in the latest tally released Friday evening.

He now leads by 7,268 votes over the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

Ruiz has 94,633 votes (52%) to her 87,365 (48%).

The Republican incumbent flew out of Palm Springs on Friday afternoon amid a national report she had conceded.

See the statement Mary Bono Mack issued about one hour after the results.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has now counted 559,089 votes countywide since polls closed late Tuesday.

It still has about 123,000 ballots to count — or about 18 percent of the vote. The uncounted ballots are 49,500 of vote-by-mail ballots left to count, as well as 60,000 provisional and 13,500 damaged ones.

The registrar has not been able to say how many of those votes could count toward the Congressional race.

The next update will be released at 6 p.m. Saturday.

In other close Coachella Valley races, challenger Chip Yarborough now leads Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa by 208 votes.

None of the leaders in valley races changed with the latest round of updates.


Registrar prioritizes Raul Ruiz, Mary Bono Mack ballots for next results update

As the Riverside County Registrar of Voters prepares to release updated results today, poll workers will prioritize ballots cast in the 36th Congressional race.

About 22,000 vote-by-mail ballots had been scanned into the ballot counting machines by about 2 p.m. Friday, Registrar Kari Verjil said.

“That number will keep continuing to increase because we’ve got a few more hours,” Verjil said.

The results of those 22,000 ballots — and the undetermined number of other ballots that will be scanned in the next few hours —will be released about 6 p.m.

The registrar has 140,000 ballots left to count, or 20.5 percent of the vote left to count. That includes 64,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional and 18,000 damaged.

After sorting ballots by precincts, the poll workers have prioritized today sending through ballots that come from precincts in the 36th Congressional District.

“We are focusing on that race because we know how much interest there is,” Verjil said.

Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz leads the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack by 4,679 votes, or 2.82 percentage points, in his campaign for the 36th Congressional District seat.

In the Cathedral City mayoral race, challenger Chip Yarborough maintains his lead over incumbent Mayor Kathy DeRosa. He now leads by 185 votes.