If she wins her district, she will be the first woman of color to serve on the City Council in memory, if ever. Deni is a live wire. Ambitious, quick with a quip and running full speed.
Q. Why do you feel qualified to run for the council?
A. “I have lived in Hemet for 8 years and my parents resided in Hemet for many years before that. The demographics have changed here in the last 20 years, but Hemet has not kept pace. This city was once a retirement community with an average age in the 60s. Today it is closer to 38. Young people moved out here from the Los Angeles area and they are raising their children here. We have no representation for our single mothers living on the streets or for veterans out there who need assistance. Twenty percent of our Mt. San Jacinto Community college students are sleeping in cars or on the streets. They need a voice and I am that voice.”
Q. A lot of elementary and high school students have the same problem. How about them?
A. “That is a disgrace for a community to ignore children struggling to get an education while at the same time trying to eat and sleep in the richest country in the world in a state with the fifth-largest economy in the world. It is against everything America stands for. I believe I can make a difference in correcting some of the major problems we have.”
Q. What’s wrong with the current city council?
A. “I’m not going to say what’s wrong with individual council members but I know things can be changed for the betterment of the city by addressing the issues of our people and doing something positive to make those changes.
Q. As you know, the homeless situation is out of control in Hemet. How will you address that?
A. Glad you asked. People keep harping about the homeless. Our problem is the housing industry. If we bring affordable housing to the city, we will see many of these people disappear from the streets and show up in housing they can afford. When I ran for the 42nd Assembly District, a part of my campaign had to do with those small houses like the ones they brought to Banning. They now have 20 of them near the Freeway housing 40 formerly homeless citizens. As a start, the city has plenty of land where they could be located. They would be a big step to transition the homeless back into a working society. These are not lazy people; they are homeless and in most instances as a result of the declining economy. I saw a little girl sleeping on a slide. I went over to her and discovered her parents were sleeping under the slide with the other children. Don’t tell me we can’t correct that kind of situation if we put a little elbow grease to work. The psychological harm is horrible. One can lose all self-worth and self-confidence. Imagine a mother and young children suffering from heat, cold and rain. It is un-American and it needs to be ended.”
Q. You have mentioned education. What would you do to improve student skills?
A. “We need to bring back trade schools and the City Council can play a big part in that better if the School District to the lead, but apparently they haven’t done much about it. That’s where the council comes in. Trade schools are a business and business attracts business. If we have students graduating with trade school training it will make the area more desirable for a business that uses those kinds of employees. Between the city and business entities, I believe we can create a situation that includes the trades and trade schools; it will be another step in getting the homeless back into normal society. Not all workers want a college education. They work with their hands and love it. As they say, ‘one size does not fit all.'”
Q. So, in summation, where do you start if elected?
A. “With the help of others, I believe we have a number of issues we can all get together on: housing, education, health care and a future for our youth. Young folks go away to college and don’t come back because they don’t want to work at a hamburger stand, or a shoe store or mall shop. We need some manufacturing and high tech business here that we are not currently getting. I propose that we put forth all our energies to solicit such business. We have nothing. We have no industry. We will decay and fade away if we keep our current pace.
Q. Do you think you can get others to go along with your program?
A. “We have to work together for the common cause. I can’t believe any council member wants the city to fail. We must remember one thing. Nobody gets the whole pie at one sitting. Just keep compromising until you get the whole thing. Only through compromise do you make progress. We can have the best city council in the state, we forget self-interest and work together to do what’s best for the city and its citizens. That’s my hope and desire as a candidate.
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