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An attorney teaching at the College of Law at the California Desert Trial Academy in Indio has joinedthe race for the seat of District 2 of the Palm Desert City Council.

Steve Moyer, a 10-year-old Palm Desert resident, along with District 2 incumbents Gina Nestande and Kathleen Kelly, and local businessman Evan Trubee, owner of Big Wheel Tours in Palm Desert, qualified to vote.

The registration period ended on Friday. The election is on November 3rd.

In District 1, incumbent Susan Marie Weber was challenged by Karina Quintanilla, an educator and translator and one of two residents who sued Palm Desert last year, to bring the overall vote to an end and bring the city into compliance with the District Voting Rights Act bring to .

Steve Moyer (Photo: Submitted by Steve Moyer)

Kelly, an ordained minister, and Nestande, a real estate agent, are each seeking a second term of four years, while Weber, an accountant, is entering a third term.

In resolving the lawsuit filed by Quintanilla and Lorraine Salas, the city established two constituencies. District 1, the smaller of the two with 20% of the population, also known as the Civic Center Core District, will have a representative on the council who is elected every four years. In District 2, which includes the rest of the city, four representatives are elected for a four-year term. These elections will be staggered, two every two years.

Moyer said one reason he's running is because he believes the city should be divided into five districts.

The final map of Palm Desert shows the choice of District 1 in pink and District 1 in blue. (Photo: City of the Palm Desert)

“As a mediator, I'm everything for settlements. I think it's a good first step that we now have two districts, but I think ultimately we have to adhere to the California Voting Rights Act,” he said.

While the law does not mandate five counties, Moyer believes that is the CVRA's intent.

The people at the northern end of the city would have different problems than in the southern palm desert.

"I just think it makes sense for each region in Palm Desert to have its own representative, and we'll work it all out," Moyer said.

Moyer is from Southern California and grew up in Culver City. When he was 12 he came to the desert. His parents bought "a very small weekend house" in the desert.

"I've been coming here since then and always had a dream about living out here," said Moyer.

He and his 50-year-old wife June, a social worker, moved in 2010.

A graduate of UCLA Law School, Moyer began his career as a public defense attorney for Los Angeles County and then spent four years as a litigator in Los Angeles.

He switched to civil law when he was offered a job with a Los Angeles law firm, where he served for 25 years as a defense attorney for corporations sued in state and federal courts.

Moyer currently teaches civil litigation at the College of Law at the California Desert Trial Academy in Indio and is a mediator on the Riverside County Superior Court. He also teaches a class, Retired Learning, for the College of the Desert.

He supports ongoing efforts to make the CSU campus in San Bernardino Palm Desert an independent campus.

"A four-year university would be crucial to empower local businesses and create good family-wage jobs for our city," said Moyer. "It would be an economical generator."

He wants to rethink the city's short-term vacation rental regulation. He supports the ordinance passed in 2017 that bans short-term vacation rentals in single-family homes and fines anyone who violates the regulations $ 5,000.

However, Moyer said he believes there are some neighborhoods that were overlooked when the zones were created.

"I think we all have to see this," said Moyer. "I'm lucky enough to live in a community where … our CCRs prohibit rentals unless it's a year or more."

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the cities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be reached at or (760) 778-4694. Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherry

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