A former Palm Springs business owner is facing backlash after getting involved in the 45th District congressional race.
Erica Stone owns Soldiers Organized Service, a nonprofit group that provides free transportation to Marines.
She appeared in a TV spot sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mary Bono-Mack that criticized Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, who’s running against Bono-Mack in next month’s election.
“Downtown has been devastated stores and restaurants are closing while marijuana dispensaries are opening. Pougnet’s priorities aren’t our priorities,” Stone said in the spot.
In addition to the TV spot, Stone also sent out a letter to downtown businesses saying she moved out because of the way Pougnet has run the city.
Her actions rubbed some business owners the wrong way. They threatened to pull support from the group.
“Why am I not allowed my first amendment rights? I’m not trying to shame the business owners, I’m trying to bring to the community awareness that Steve Pougnet has not done what he was promised to do,” said Stone.
But some of those critics are thinking twice about pulling support.
Joy Meredith owns Crystal Fantasy is one of them. She said those businesses don’t want to hurt stone’s customers.
“I personally don’t want to see the military people be victimized by this situation in the same way the businesses were victimized,” said Meredith.
Stone said her business is non-partisan and doesn’t deserve the backlash, and she’s not planning to stop supporting the long-time congresswoman anytime soon.