After a full day downtown, I returned to the hotel to relax. Seated in a Starbucks, she indicated the gender-neutral toilets, the result of an ordinance passed last year by the previous council, which had four LGBT members. The struggle for gay and transgender rightsin other words, has so triumphed in this wealthy desert oasis it sees little remarkable about electing three gay men, a transgender woman and a bisexual woman, all Democrats, to its five-member council. At first, I had to consciously think about not letting my eyes drift south, but after a moment, their nudity became a non-issue. That was, until I started chatting with a visiting couple. Before going into its restaurant, I admired La Serena Villas.
On one side of the station, the pristine alpine wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park awaits with numerous hiking trails and—in the colder months—a romp in the snow.
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Conserving energy for the drive home, I turned back to relax with the valley views. But extra visibility brings extra responsibility. Local politics used to be deeply Republican but the demographic shift prompted an evolution, said David Ready, the city manager. Seated in a Starbucks, she indicated the gender-neutral toilets, the result of an ordinance passed last year by the previous council, which had four LGBT members. She said her qualifications as an attorney with expertise in homelessness clinched victory, not her sexual orientation. The real victory, he and other council members said, was not that LGBT candidates swept the election but that they did so with barely a mention of sexual orientation or gender identity. Once the sun went down and I had a cocktail in my hand, I even managed to lose my shorts and get the full experience lounging in the bubbling Jacuzzi.
Before going into its restaurant, I admired La Serena Villas. Every Thursday, Palm Canyon Drive closes off to vehicles and is filled to the brim with local artisans, food stands and happy festivalgoers. I shucked off my clothes and applied a healthy dose of sunscreen—paying special attention to the places that tend to not see the sun—but wavered on actually opening the door. Bread-and-butter issues, not grandstanding gestures such as a resolution to impeach Trump, will be the focus. The menu at Reservoir, the on-site restaurant overlooking the large pool area, was also decidedly hip.