Cathedral City's experience shows La Quinta residents should vote yes on Measure A

La Quinta Cove resident Jeff Smith speaks out against the proliferation of short-term vacation rentals during a press conference at La Quinta City Hall, on January 12, 2021.

Eighteen months ago, Cathedral City voters passed Measure B, restricting short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) in residential neighborhoods. Cathedral City residents, with support from their city council, reclaimed those neighborhoods by voting to phase out the damaging STVRs.  Our city's revenues are stronger than ever with a forecast $7 million surplus this year, while our residential communities once again provide peaceful enjoyment for families. If Measure A passes in La Quinta, the same will be true there.

The STVR industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cathedral City bombarding us with alarming and forbidding mailers, posting videos on social media, and paying for costly TV and radio ads. They outspent residents 10 to 1. But our residents passed Measure B with a 63% majority.

We are now watching a similar fight play out in La Quinta. However, in this case, residents are fighting not only that same industry (VRONLQ) but also their own city council. It is shameful that elected representatives have decided to fight against the best interests of their own voters. They have aligned themselves with activists in the real estate industry and out-of-town investors.

Both Cathedral City and Palm Desert are phasing out STVRs in single-family neighborhoods. The sky has not fallen.  Both cities are fiscally sound. In Palm Desert, the number of STVRs has grown substantially in areas where STVRs are allowed. In Cathedral City existing STVRs in single-family neighborhoods have substantially declined as the phase-out deadline nears, but they remain profitable in Resort Residential areas where they are still permitted.

How has this affected the quality of life in Cathedral City? No more loud parties, no cars blocking the sidewalks, no trash cans overflowing in the streets. Homeowners are no longer forced to act as first responders at all times of the day and night. There are now more houses available for purchase or long-term rental for people who want to live here. We have new families with children, new seniors, new couples, and new dog walkers. We now hear children playing next door, instead of drunken adults yelling obscenities. Our community came together to protect our families, homes, neighborhoods, schools, youth sports/activities and places of worship. Real people in a real neighborhood; a true community.

La Quinta residential areas were planned to be some of the finest in the Coachella Valley – great neighborhoods for families and seniors including the finest parks. They were intended for residential use, not commercial exploitation.

La Quinta has always prided itself on long-term planning. It saw the benefit of encouraging resort development and designated substantial “Tourist Commercial” areas with the goal of having investment properties that would be rented when not occupied by the owner. This is a key component in the Talus development (formerly SilverRock).

Other such developments already exist and there is room for additional Tourist Commercial developments. If planned correctly, STVRs can operate in resort developments just as they do in Palm Desert and Cathedral City.  If Measure A passes and STVRs are phased out of residential neighborhoods, those new Tourist Commercial developments will more than make up for any lost revenue. Measure A will not adversely impact the city's fiscal stability.

The La Quinta City Council fails to recognize the importance of listening to residents who voted them into office. Residents are the people who make up the fabric of their community and make it the “Gem of the Desert” - NOT a very small and noisy special interest group like VRONLQ.

We encourage all La Quinta residents to vote. We believe Measure A will surely win.

Danny Lee is president of the Cathedral City Yes on B Committee. Other committee members are Doug Evans, Pattie Hagedorn, Bob Ohda andTeri Hargreaves. Email them at

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Cathedral City's experience shows La Quinta should OK Measure A