Local politicos to attend Pride Prom

Between 150 and 200 students are expected to attend the first-ever Pride Prom at the Palm Springs Art Museum tonight.

The event is supposed to be a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students to enjoy a dance without worrying that their sexual orientations will be an issue.

The event happens to fall during a week when same-sex marriage and LGBT issues are dominating the national discussion.

So it’s little surprise that at least three of the desert’s progressive politicians — Democratic congressional candidate Raul Ruiz, Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Foat and Palm Springs Councilman Paul Lewin — are expected to attend tonight’s prom to show their support.

Ruiz said this week that he agreed with President Obama’s position that same-sex couples should be able to marry. And last year, Palm Springs council passed a resolution to formally support same-sex marriages.

RSA jumps into Palm Springs race

The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association has jumped into the Palm Springs council race, endorsing the position of the Palm Springs Police Officers’ Association.

That means you can expect the well-funded bargaining group to be campaigning for Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, and council challengers Paul Lewin and Liz Glass.

The efforts included at least one round of automated phone calls to voters this week.

The RSA tends to endorse conservative candidates, so it is unusual that the group would join local Democratic clubs in backing Pougnet and Lewin.

The support for Lewin’s campaign is also surprising as Lewin spearheaded the community opposition to the now-shelved plans to build a county jail in Whitewater.

“We have no issue with Mr. Lewin’s disagreement with the county over the specific location of the new jail,” RSA president Pat McNamara told The Desert Sun in an email.

“The bottom line is he supports adding the necessary bed space and the specifics of a location can be worked out when and if the county is ever able to fund it.”

Notable items from the police officers’ endorsement

In case you missed today’s Political Insider, the Palm Springs Police Officers’ Association endorsed Mayor Steve Pougnet and council challenger Paul Lewin in this November’s council elections.

The endorsement is likely to surprise people who have followed the city’s politics.

Consider this:

1. The association chose to endorse only one person in the council race – newcomer Lewin – even though two seats are up for grabs.

2. Both incumbents – Mayor Pro Tem Lee Weigel (a former police chief) and Councilman Rick Hutcheson – had earned the police association’s endorsement in 2007 but didn’t get it this time. Ironically, the elected leaders’ photos still grace the political action section of the association’s website.

3. The police officers’ association supported Pougnet in 2007. But it is certainly notable that he was able to retain that endorsement, even though the 2010 budget forced city officials to shutter the jail, close a fire station and make other cuts to public safety.

Joining the race

Palm Springs resident Paul Lewin will be among those vying for city council this fall.

Lewin, a chief financial officer for K&L Endeavors, helped spearhead the grassroots protest of the county’s now-shelved Whitewater jail proposal.

“I am confident I can bring the type of leadership that is needed to ensure economic development, public safety and a prudent but successful redevelopment of our downtown core,” Lewin said in a news release today.

“Simply put, Palm Springs has given me a great life, and now I want to repay my community by helping it come back to life.”

Real estate broker Liz Glass also has announced plans to run for council this fall, when both Councilman Rick Hutcheson and Mayor Pro Tem Lee Weigel will be up for re-election.

Council hopefuls on July 18 can start gathering the signatures needed to make the November ballot.