Interest in the 45th Congressional District debate between incumbent Mary Bono Mack and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet was evident in the number of reader letters appearing in Sunday’s edition of The Desert Sun newspaper. Among those was one from former State Senator Jim Battin, who now wears many hats –  including that of Republican Party political consultant, who’s Crystal Ball political instincts are pretty sharp. In his Letter to the Editor he wrote “I’m here to tell you this isn’t the year Mary Bono Mack retires. Steve Pougnet has made a valiant effort in fundraising, but he’ll lose by at least 10 percent.

Here’s the full text of Battin’s letter, printed under the heading “Rep. Mary Bono Mack will win in a walk“, in The Desert Sun on Sunday, August 22, 2010:

     “Every two years, it’s the same thing: ‘Is this the year Mary Bono Mack loses?’ I grow weary of the same stories in The Desert Sun year after year that try and show that finally this is the time that the Democrats will win. That story is just not real and never has been.”
     “This year, like all the ones before it, won’t even be close. Once again the voters of Mary’s district will re-elect our Republican representative. Why? Because the desert and all of Mary’s district is center-right. We elect Republicans. (This is where the valley’s Democrat operatives start writing angry letters saying I don’t know what I’m talking about.)”
     “I was in the Legislature when the district boundaries were drawn, and as the former vice chairman of the Senate Elections Committee (the committee that drew the lines), I’m here to tell you this isn’t the year Mary Bono Mack retires. Steve Pougnet has made a valiant effort in fundraising, but he’ll lose by at least 10 percent.”
     “I’m taking bets. If you think this is the year for a Democrat upset, let me know.”

Jim Battin
La Quinta

Note: Jim Battin served as a State Senator representing Coachella Valley’s 37th Senatorial District until being term limited in 2008. He previously served in the California State Assembly from 1994 until 2000. His early professional career was as a television executive with KMIR-TV in Palm Desert for 10 years.

Former State Senator Jim Battin’s assessment of Steve Pougnet’s zero chances of winning Mary Bono Mack’s 45th Congressional District seat this year is one of those rare occasions in which we agree. However, I suspect his Crystal Ball had more to say on the subject and it’s a bit of bad news he chose not to share. This year, 2010, may be Mary’s last hurrah!

The district continues to be a center-right community – PLUS this is definitely not a good year for Democratic candidates. However, the district is slowing drifting away from center-right and these congressional seat campaigns repeat every two years. The Steve Pougnet name is becoming more recognizable throughout the district and that, together with the expertise he is acquiring from his current campaign activities, will serve to make him a more formidable candidate the next time around. He has created a strong core support group and established a significant fundraising base. Both will serve him well in the 2012 rematch many political pundits think he could possibly win (and that could even be the year Mary Bono Mack voluntarily chooses to retire).

Bond Shands
Palm Springs

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

Last evening’s televised 45th Congress District debate between incumbent Mary Bono Mack and her Democratic challenger, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, was disappointing. Candidate performance was not the fault. It was the questions! They appear to have been selected based on television viewer production values, for relevancy to the 45th Congressional District was clearly not the most important consideration used in the question selection process.

My disappointment stems from not hearing a question that could have revealed how the district would benefit in the next two years from either of the congressional candidates occupying the office. There are many local issues in need of federal dollars and attention and yet no opportunities were provided for candidates to clearly state how and what they would expect to accomplish for the district’s benefit. Among questions clearly irrelevant with respect to district needs, the most egregious was one asking for candidate views of the “near Ground Zero” new Mosque proposal in New York City. While the question definitely had entertainment value, it took precious time away from genuine issues that should have been addressed.

The questions were designed to encourage candidates to attack the positions of the other and each showed no hesitancy in making responses. In listening to the candidates I found both to be good debaters and able to present positions with clarity. Congresswoman Bono Mack avoided directly answering a couple of questions, but her challenger wasn’t able to use her evasions to his advantage. Also, she wasn’t able to clearly articulate tangible benefits to the district arising from her twelve years in office and much of her campaign platform appears to be based on running against the Obama administration. Mayor Pougnet was portrayed by her as a potential “rubber stamp” for President Obama’s policies and his record on the Palm Springs city council as one lacking in accomplishments.

The war in Afghanistan proved to be an emotional issue. The congresswoman supports the war and keeping the troops in place. Her opponent opposes the war and favors early troop withdrawals. She accused Mayor Pougnet of advocating no support for our troops and claimed he should be ashamed. He failed to provide a meaningful response such as highlighting the dreadful costs in lives and money that have resulted from votes to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The “near Ground Zero” new Mosque question was certainly one that begs the question whether either candidate was really prepared for it? Mayor Steve Pougnet said he supported President Obama’s comments on the subject, but that he had carefully reviewed the issue and believed it should not be built in that location due to noise and traffic density issues. His response amounted to bureaucratic nonsense and one unworthy of rebuttal.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has a nice television personality. She comes across as charming, at times emotional but with sincerity, appears knowledgeable, and sometimes forceful. Her pleasing physical appearance, coupled with personality, are all pluses and clearly worked to her advantage in the televised debate setting. Mayor Steve Pougnet is personally quite charming on a one-to-one level, however, he’s unable to exude that same degree of charm from a podium and was at some slight disadvantage in the television personality category. His presentation was rather methodical and appearance somewhat cold. Neither candidate appears to have the ability to crack a joke at the other’s expense or otherwise inject a bit of levity into their presentation. Too bad, for modern politics is turning out to be a calling in which entertainers have an advantage.

If forced to decide a winner from the candidate debate, I’d have to select Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. Mayor Steve Pougnet failed to demonstrate he would do a better job representing the district.

Bond Shands
Palm Springs – August 20, 2010

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

Blog Image  Desert Observer’s Page

Bond’s Palm Springs Community View
Questions, Observations and Interests

Election Wrap-up
Posted 6/9/2010 10:54 AM PDT on

Well, it’s all over and election wrap-up time is here. No more Meg Whitman versus Steve Poizner daily mudslinging airwave spectacles. Meg, as the winner in that nasty war of words, will still be with us. But it probably won’t be the same without Steve around determined to prove which is the genuine political Neanderthal. Just think of all that money spent on advertising. Too bad neither zillionaire appears to have the same interest in charitable giving. Makes me respect Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Warren Buffet all the more.

I wasn’t able to vote for either Meg or Steve – and perhaps that’s a blessing. My ballot was a Democratic Party one, and it had a 90%+ success rate. In addition to the winners, I voted for the former Facebook attorney from San Diego, but he lost to a lady from San Francisco. My vote against Proposition 17 proved to be in the minority for that contest, as well. And I was saddened to learn that locally the highly respected Justin Blake lost to a carpet bagger in his bid for a State Senate seat.

PG&E spent tons of money promoting their Proposition 16 effort to strengthen the firm’s monopoly as the state’s largest gas and energy supplier. Their defeat was well deserved. On the other hand, Mercury Insurance spent gobs of money on their Proposition 17 automobile insurance business expansion plan. They won but at least there could be some benefit to a portion of the state’s automobile drivers. Really good drivers may see lower premium rates. (Correction: Proposition 17 lost.)

Another political Neanderthal bit the dust when Judge Zellerbach handed county District Attorney Rod Pacheco his walking papers. Pacheco was one who appeared to only listen to his own drummer and that’s probably why he marched over the cliff and lost his reelection bid. Zellerbach is expected to bring a needed breath of fresh air, including commonsense and fiscal restraint, into the District Attorney’s office.

Was delighted by Supervisor John Benoit’s win against the Riverside Sheriff Association’s bought-and-paid-for candidate. That obvious power grab on the part of the RSA was apparently too much for voters to stomach. Must confess to really tiring of unions and employee associations buying candidates and elections. Somehow, someway, that’s got to stop.

The biggest win for California voters may well be the passage of Proposition 14. It will vastly reduce the stranglehold political parties have on our partisan elections. Most agree the state’s legislative system is broken and incumbents have lost the respect and trust of the public. Proposition 14 holds the promise of bringing change to the process that’s responsible for producing the current mess. If that promise proves false, well, there’s always someone with another proposition ready to try again. One point is certain. Voters are angry and promises of change have the best chance of winning at the ballot box these days.

Now that the primary elections have produced gubernatorial candidates, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman will face off in the contest for governor. If that election were held next month my gut instinct leaves me believing Whitman would win. She’s the candidate who appears to represent change, apparently has the most money to spend in pursuit of the job, would be the first woman elected to the position in this state, and comes across as the most determined, energetic and qualified candidate ready to serve. However, the votes won’t be cast next month and much can happen between now and November. One thing’s certain – the primary election battle may prove to have been little more than an opening act in this year’s contest for state governor.  And when the dust settles, if it’s Meg Whitman and Gavin Newsom in the top two slots, well – what a combination.

Bond Shands
Palm Springs

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

    Desert Observer’s Page

Palm Springs, CA.  Keeping Up With Eloise. Those who follow Palm Springs politics are probably aware there are twocity council seats up for election in November. Among the twoincumbents and eight challengers, is Eloise Garcia-Mohsin, age57, the last place finisher from the 2007 council race. Ms. Mohsin (sheadded the Garcia bit for voter appeal) didn’t really campaign thatyear. Instead she engaged in a variety of stunts destined to attractnewspaper coverage. She proved rather adept at manipulating the pressand received considerably more coverage than other candidates.

This year Eloise waited until the filing date approached before announcing she was a candidate once more. Her stated reason for running was: “I had such a good time the last time I say why not.” Some may smirk at the reason, but it is refreshingly honest. While she has few qualifications when it comes to education, experience, community support, money, etc., it’s nice to know that one candidate is in it strictly for the publicity and need for attention. It’s probably safe to assume Eloise will continue her style of engaging in weird but newsworthy stunts to garner attention and voters will benefit from the entertainment value she provides.

In the current campaign season Eloise was first out the starting gate with an attention-getting stunt on August 12th. This time around her initial publicity-seeking effort was a hunger strike “to raise awareness”. Her targets were City Manager David Ready and downtown administrator Tammy Perezchica, for Eloise claims they’re being paid “obscene” salaries.

KPSI radio host and blogger Steve Kelly was so impressed by the hunger strike stunt that he added Eloise’s name to his list of city council candidates noted for their “bizarre and wacky stunts by candidates who seek office (in Palm Springs)”. Presumably Steve’s original list of six favorites, since 1991, with the addition of Eloise’s name, has now grown to seven.

Eloise went into semi-quiet mode until yesterday, August 22nd, when news was received she’d apparently survived that painful hunger strike ordeal but was putting her campaign “On Hold Until After Labor Day“. Her many fans surely were saddened by the turn of events and those desperately seeking the comic relief she provides, expressed hopes the campaign interlude would be as brief as promised.

Today, August 23rd, thoughts of Labor Day have surfaced. Labor Day? Well, our calendars must be off, for Eloise, instead of being in “On Hold Until After Labor Day” mode, is back today with a new campaign blog. Or, it may be her post today, in which she attacks the Mayor and current City Council, doesn’t represent her idea of campaigning. It’s all so confusing. Has her campaign hiatus ended and she’s back with a new act, or will she again suspend her campaign? Answers to such questions are so difficult to discern. Someone needs to help us out – a “Guide to the Circuitous Eloise” is desperately needed.

The links below may help those who missed earlier chapters in the Eloise saga. One is a link to a blog I posted in March 2008 and the other is a link to a national news source about Eloise’s presumably paid role as a National Inquirer confidential source following employment at the Phoenix Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arizona from 1999 to 2002, when she left amid a scandal. The third link is to Steve Kelly’s blog about “bizarre and wacky stunts by candidates”.

One goal of this corner will be to help readers keep up with Eloise. While such a venture probably requires a whacky, weird, younger and more adventurous type, the effort will certainly be made.

Bond Shands
Palm Springs

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

Julie Bornstein for Congress

Julie Bornstein



While there are about 100,000 ballots left to be counted in
our race, it appears now that Mary Bono Mack has won re-election in California’s
45th Congressional District.  I congratulate

I am sure you will join me in wishing her well, and in the
hope that she will return to Washington to work in a truly bipartisan and
constructive way with the Democratic majority and President Obama’s

This was a hard-fought campaign, and I am very proud of the
effort we made together.  I want to thank my tireless staff, our
hundreds of volunteers and the nearly 600 of you who contributed to our campaign
for change: you are the essence of any campaign and I appreciate your efforts
and support more than I can say.  I am also truly grateful to my
husband, Steve Gordon, my sons Loren and Brian Gordon, and my extended family
for their love and support.

And I thank all of you for your efforts before and on
Election Day.  Your kind words and encouragement sustained me
throughout this campaign, and continue to do so now.

I hope all of you will look at this election as I do: Not so
much a loss as a point in a process.  Democrats made enormous
progress this cycle in our district and all over Riverside County.  We closed the
registration gap by more than half, mounted the first-ever comprehensive ground
effort and made great gains at the ballot box.

Let’s not stop now!  Let’s work together with
our County Chair Betty McMillion and her team, as well as newly elected
Assemblyman Manuel Perez, to keep building our party and making Riverside County a better place.  As
President-elect Obama said Tuesday night: “This is not the change we seek, it is
the opportunity to make that change.”

Thank you all again for everything.

All my best,



Paid for by Julie Bornstein for Congress.

P.O. Box 2585
Palm Desert, CA 92261

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

       Desert Observer’s Page

Palm Springs, California.  Today The Desert Sun newspaper printed its entirely predictable endorsement in support of Senator John McCain for President. The Editorial Board ended their litany of pro-McCain platitudes with the following statement.

     “We support McCain because his leadership is proven and he best reflects the values of this part of California“.

What arrogance! That statement is an absolute disgrace and the newspaper staff owes the entire pro-Obama/anti-McCain 
communities an apology. The editors have really gone overboard this
time with the manner in which they’re expressed their low regard for
the moderate and progressive communities. According to The Desert Sun staff, the “values of this part of California” are those of John McCain supporters. It must then be their opinion that all with different views, including those who support Senator Obama, have values not appropriate for this community.

It’s clear The Desert Sun
newspaper and its management are the ones out of touch with the valley
community. In the time I’ve lived here it’s been my experience there
are many different resident interests and no single group or ideal
qualifies as a representative “values” segment. What is becoming
certain is that either the newspaper Editorial Board members wear
blinders or else their daily routine consists of home, office and
little else. The Coachella Valley is a diverse community that’s
definitely not tied to the narrow set of values held by those in The
Desert Sun
newspaper building.

For the record, neither John McCain nor The Desert Sun newspaper “best reflect the values of this part of California“!

Bond Shands

Palm Springs, California – October 26, 2008

blog post photo


0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

       Desert Observer’s Page

The Desert Sun newspaper continues to offer every possible campaign advantage to the incumbent 45th Congressional District representative. The paper has made no effort to appear fair or objective and today’s website front page campaign offering by Congresswoman Bono Mack is one more example.

The following campaign piece appears on the newspaper’s front page.

blog post photo
Mary Bono Mack: Rescue plan frustrating but ultimately necessary

This past week, I heard from frustrated constituents and concerned local business leaders. More than one small business owner told me, “Because of this credit crunch, I may not be able to make payroll this Friday.”


The blurb above appears on the front page! The underlined portion links to an opinion piece by Representative Mary Bono Mack. The representative wrote the story in defense of her vote favoring this week’s congressional bailout resolutions. The reasons, which I support, represent her opinion and properly belong in the newspaper and website sections designed for that purpose. However, the representative is also up for reelection and it’s clear the opinion piece represents a campaign statement.

The election for the 45th Congressional District seat is less than 30 days away. The Desert Sun should not be allowing one candidate use of the newspaper and website without offering equal access, including same day rebuttal opportunities, to each candidate. In this instance the paper has clearly crossed the line and their unwavering support for the incumbent shines brightly, as ever. If the paper continues to adhere to partisanship in it’s reporting, they should acknowledge that position and simply state their lack of interest in objectivity and fairness. Stop claiming to be a community newspaper!

Today, The Desert Sun newspaper has provided free campaign support to the 45th Congressional District incumbent. It’s just sad confirmation of the monopoly position the newspaper holds and their use of it to achieve partisan political ends. Such actions do not benefit the valley community and the editors need to reconsider their actions.

The above has been cross-posted on the website.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

    Desert Observer’s Page

Yucca Valley resident Mary Brhel, who posts on as AllAmerican, has reproduced a nasty, hateful email as part of her blog that attacks Senator Barack Obama. She admits receiving the information in an email, that she’s not verified its truthfulness, but showed no hesitation in spreading the false email for she’s posted it online. Here’s what she said.

“Someone sent this to me in an email..(honestly, I have not read either book) but, with the quotes attached I felt compelled to send it on. I was tempted to purchase the books and read these quotes myself to confirm them. But, if you are a major B O supporter you may already have purchased his books.”

The remainder of her blog consists of the email of made-up quotations falsely attributed to Senator Obama in his book “From Dreams of My Father“. Click here to view AllAmerican‘s blog.

The highly reputable Annenberg project has thoroughly debunked the email in question and has posted a full report on their website. Their review of that email resulted in the following statement. “A widely circulated e-mail fabricates some quotes from Obama’s books and twists others.Click here to view their entire report.

AllAmerican could easily have learned the truth about the nasty, false, hateful email she received. However, she contributed to spreading the falsehoods by incorporating them into her blog. In doing so she is following in the footsteps of her husband who posts on MyDesert under the pseudonym mbrheljr. He too produced a spurious blog about Senator Obama (“Obama and Race“) which contained false information from an email that had been thoroughly debunked by reputable fact checking sources on the Internet. His blog, and my rebuttal (click here to view it), appear elsewhere on the MyDesert website.

Shame on you, Mary Brhel. Spreading slander is simply shameful, shameful, shameful!

This has been cross-posted on the website.
0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

DSD Endorsements for November 2008

NOTE: The Desert Observer website does not agree with the California Democratic Party recommendation for Proposition 11, the redistricting measure. We recommend a YES vote on PROPOSITION 11, for it represents a needed first step towards ending gridlock in Sacramento while requiring greater accountability from elected representatives in the state legislature. Proposition 11 is supported by the California League of Women Voters, AARP, Common Cause, NAACP, many Democratic clubs and elected politicians, and major newspapers throughout the state. The principal opposition to Proposition 11 comes from the California Democratic Party Central Committee and certain large labor organizations. Proposition 11 represents needed reform and it deserves a YES vote at the polls.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes