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I-Team: Political ads turn up the heat in contentious Palm Springs District 4 race

The race for Palm Springs city council district four has taken yet another heated turn in one of the most contentious races in the valley.

Watch: Palm Springs District 4 council candidates report personal attacks, vandalism

The latest chapter in the race revolves around two very different TV ads, including one by the Palm Springs Police Officers Association attacking the incumbent Christy Holstege.

"I've worked hard to obtain $10 million from the state on homelessness just for the city of Palm Springs. I'm proud to have received endorsements from all of my colleagues on city council and the mayor," Holstege says in her new ad.

Here's part of the ad from PSPOA:

"Christy Holstege's record on the city council: A $75 million budget shortfall, rising crime, businesses shut, record homelessness, and now Holstege is dividing our community, calling our city racist and attacking our police department.  It's time to say goodbye to Christy Holstege"

One of her challengers, Mike McCulloh says he was not aware of the ad, nor did he want to see it or comment on it.. since it was created and paid for by a third-party.

Holstege questioned some of the statements made in ad.

"I think that attack ad is disgusting, it's untrue. So it's really unfortunate that it's sharing misinformation about our city throughout the Coachella Valley. It's not true that violent crime is up, it's significantly down. It's not true that homelessness is up. Our numbers have stayed the same and gone down based on our efforts, and it's not true that I'm responsible for the global pandemic that caused our economic shortfall," Holstege told News Channel 3.

The PSPOA stood by their ad's claims.

"We don't place any responsibility on the pandemic on her, but as far as crime and homelessness is concerned, that's something that's been occurring for years in the city of Palm Springs. It's still a concern whether the pandemic was happening or not," said Palm Springs Police Sergeant Mike Casavan, vice president of the PSPOA.

PSPOA's ad also addresses the letter Holstege sent to the county board of supervisors in June in which she wrote that "Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley has a "long history of racial segregation and exclusion, racial violence, racist city policies and policing…"

Full letter by Councilmember Holstege

Almost immediately after the letter was sent, the Palm Springs Police Officers' Association publicly criticized Holstege's letter.

Full Details: Palm Springs Police Officer's Association slams Councilmember's letter on police brutality

PSPOA's response to Holstege's letter

Holstege told News Channe' 3 Peter Daut that she does not regret sending the letter.

"I do not regret saying that there's a history of racism in our city. That's a basic fact," Holstege said.

"We don't take lightly to that type of accusation, especially when there's absolutely no basis to support it," Casavan said.

Holstege remains hopeful that her relationship with PSPOA can still be repaired.

"I have a close relationship with the department, I've worked closely with the police chief. What's important to say is the union is a political organization. It doesn't represent all of the members of our police department," Holstege said. "It represents their political beliefs and so they are currently under negotiations for their contract. They are spending almost $60,000 on a candidate they want in so when they negotiate their contract maybe it'll be more favorable."

Holstege's letter continues to be an issue in the relationship.

"This wasn't something we started. This was something she brought onto herself making accusations without any sort of basis to back them up. And given the opportunity that we gave her to try to clarify or at least give us some direction of what she's talking about, rather than just make accusations, we would have liked to have worked with her to resolve those issues. She didn't give us that opportunity," Casavan said.

Starting this evening, both TV ads will be airing on our station, KESQ.

It's important to mention that there's also a third candidate vying for votes in district four. Dian Torres, who unlike Holstege and McCulloch, has never held office.

District 4 of Palm Springs covers the communities of Gateway, Little Beverly Hills, Los Compadres, Sonora Sunrise, Araby Commons, Araby Cove, Melody Ranch, Rimrock, WestgatePS, parts of Tahquitz Creek Golf, and a small part of Lawrence Crossley.

Only District 4 residents can vote for this seat, find your district with the interactive map below.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates and be sure to download the KESQ News Channel 3 app for election day updates, including Presidential, Statewide, and Local results as they come in.

You can download the News Channel 3 app on the Apple Store or Google Play.

Investigative / News / News Headlines / Top Stories / Your Vote

Peter Daut

KESQ News Team

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