During her tenure on the City Council Grace has championed issues of housing and homelessness; public safety; COVID-19 and public health; diversity, equity, and inclusion; open and transparent government; economic development; and a host of neighborhood issues.
✔ Public Safety
Mayor Pro Tem Garner has worked closely with Palm Springs Police and Fire to understand the myriad of detailed needs and to convey the concerns of residents back to them in District 1. Grace regularly meets with officers and firefighters and has participated in ride-alongs with both departments. Through open communication and a willingness to listen, she has been instrumental in improving community relationships and supported a top-to-bottom study of the Police Department to determine their specific staffing and facilities needs as well as determine if any responsibilities led by the Police Department may be better handled by non-sworn officers such as homelessness.
In the 2022-2023 budget, Grace advocated for and approved the addition of 6 new firefighters to raise the staffing level of the Palm Springs Fire Department to achieve a higher nationally recognized standard for fire and other emergency services. This increased level of staffing will improve the response time by the Palm Springs Fire Department as well as alleviate some stress and burden on the firefighters.
✔ COVID-19 & Public Health
In a unanimous 2020 vote, the City of Palm Springs became the first city in Riverside County to require the use of face masks in public places to ensure every resident was protected from COVID-19. The Council quickly approved allowing the City Manager to take any actions necessary to support the health of Palm Springs residents. The City monitors our wastewater to determine the amount of virus circulating in the City to allow for the most appropriate response. The Council allocated funding for small businesses, allowed the use of parklets for outdoor dining, and approved the $2/hour increase in Hero Pay for front line and grocery and retail workers.
Grace also worked closely with Desert Regional Medical Center to provide vaccine clinics in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley to ensure hard to reach communities were vaccinated. She also worked with the Desert Healthcare District to select and implement a weekly health clinic in the Desert Highlands Gateway Estates neighborhood. This clinic provides a much needed service to an area of the City which lacks easy access to medical services. In addition, Grace regularly volunteers at the bi-monthly food distribution in the neighbrohood which serves hundreds of residents at each distribution.
✔ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Mayor Pro Tem Garner conducts all her work on the City Council with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Her efforts to have City events and meetings accessible to all community members include the following notable accomplishments:
● Approved and shepherded a new City of Palm Springs Spanish language Facebook page
● Facilitated improved translation services across the city in various public and community meetings
● In November of 2020, planned and hosted a Dia de los Muertos altar and event to honor those lost to COVID-19 while celebrating the rich Mexican culture in the community
● Together with Councilmember Christy Holstege, championed the creation of the Equity and Social Justice Committee to allow for a focused review of equity issues in Palm Springs
✔ Open and Transparent Government
Mayor Pro Tem Garner championed the requirement for three council members to support a new agenda item before it appears on a council agenda. This better allows the public and the City Council to review items as they develop and become priority topics of discussion. In addition, Mayor Pro Tem Garner pushed for limiting presentations at council meetings to allow more time to conduct the people’s business.
Along with her colleagues, Garner unanimously passed an ordinance change to allow for residents to serve on any of the City’s boards or commissions regardless of actual or perceived U.S. citizenship, immigration status, age, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, domestic partner status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Mayor Pro Tem Garner actively recruits and encourages residents to apply and participate in boards and commissions. She regularly connects new applicants to current commissioners to provide mentorship or guidance. During her tenure she has successfully appointed more women and/or BIPOC residents to boards and commissions.
✔ Economic Development
A key driver of economic development is workforce development. Mayor Pro Tem Garner has hired and mentored 3 college-aged interns to provide local youth an opportunity to better understand local politics and city work. In the 2022/2023 budget Grace supported allocating $1,000,000 to support workforce development programs in Palm Springs and prioritized increasing local hires for city positions.
She created a lunch time program to share city job opportunities with local high school youth which will launch this fall at Palm Springs High School. The program will allow city staff to present information to high school students about their jobs, education, benefits, and how students can best plan for a future job with the City.
Mayor Pro Tem Garner works closely with community organizations, including We Are One United, whom she helped to secure a $2.1 million dollar grant to support violence prevention in district 1. The grant will be used to support mentorship and workforce development programs for youth and young adults.
✔ Neighborhood Specific Issues
There are times where residents have very specific local neighborhood problems that require additional assistance. Grace works to resolve specific neighborhoods and resident’s issues. She has assisted in the approval of speed bumps, new traffic signals, and sidewalk and landscaping improvements throughout District 1. This includes working with community groups like Habitat for Humanity and Destiny Church to clean up yards and neighborhood spaces.
Some of the accomplishments include: withholding the release of bond proceeds until the completion of five pocket parks, street repaving, and new streets in Escena; assisted with and continues to work on improved landscaping in Mountain Gate and Vintage Palms; actively works with Four Seasons residents to mitigate noise and sand problems associated with a neighboring development; approved enhanced clean up at the Wastewater Treatment Center to limit odors at Demuth Park and the surrounding Veteran’s Tract neighborhood; assisted a resident in obtaining over $2,000 in refund after overpaying a sewer bill for years; organized neighborhood clean up days; and so much more. No issue is too big or small.