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Human Rights Campaign report upsets Valley leaders

Rancho Mirage HRC Report

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - A Human Rights Campaign report rating how well cities across the country serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community left the Coachella Valley up in arms. Twenty-one California cities ranked in the report. Palm Springs came in 10th place, Cathedral City rolled in at 11, and Rancho Mirage finished last.

"There has been no coordination with our city whatsoever. The first we read about this report was in the newspaper. That's not the way to do business, especially when you have LGBT elected leaders who work very hard for equality in their cities," Rancho Mirage mayor Scott Hines said.

The HRC based the 1-100 scores on the city's laws, policies, and services. Rancho Mirage walked away with a 44. In addition to research, here's how the HRC came up with these numbers.

"We sent scorecards to the offices of each mayor of the 137 cities we rated. We asked for input from all of those mayors," Cathryn Oakley, legislative counsel for the HRC said.

Hines said he saw none of this.

"I've talked to my colleagues in Palm Springs and Cathedral City, we never saw anything. Never got any results, no phone calls, no emails, nothing," Hines said.

Palm Springs city manager David Ready confirms he didn't get a request for information on his city and plans to make sure Palm Springs is portrayed accurately.

"It is too bad if they truly didn't receive them. It is too bad, but we certainly did send them out," Oakley said of the scorecards.

Hines calls variables in this study "absurd" and firmly says the low 44 doesn't reflect Rancho Mirage accurately.

"You get bonus points if you participate in a pride parade. How do you measure equality based on those types of arbitrary factors? The fact of the matter is, I did ride in the pride parade and still got a zero," Hines said.

"If it turns out there are policies that exist that we were not made aware of, I would like to have that conversation with him so I can make sure our data is correct," Oakley said.

Hines replied with this statement: They should not have posted the report in the first place if they had no information from us to base the scores. Zeroing us out indicates we failed and discriminate. That's very different from making a note that information is unavailable.

Hines said he wants the numbers publicly corrected.

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