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Coachella Valley cities win higher HRC rankings

By Rich Tarpening, Assignment Manager, Rich.Tarpening@kesq.com
Jenifer Daniels, CBS Local 2 Morning Anchor, jenifer.daniels@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 12:33:54 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2012 01:37:00 PM CST
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Three Coachella valley cities saw their Human Rights Campaign scores rise after a representative from the group visited the Valley to correct the survey.

The City of Palm Springs has received news it had wanted to hear. Upon further review, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has awarded Palm Springs an improved score of "95" out of 100 points in its inaugural Municipal Equality Index Scorecard. 

The City had previously received a score of 77. However, upon a request from Mayor Steve Pougnet, the Human Rights Campaign met with the mayor and City staff and then took a closer look at the City's LGBT policies and practices. The HRC determined that the City of Palm Springs is exemplary. 

Scores are based on criteria falling under six categories, including non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, employment practices and inclusiveness in city service, law enforcement, and city leadership.

"The City of Palm Springs is a unique and wonderfully diverse community and we pride ourselves on welcoming everyone," said Pougnet. "I am extraordinarily pleased that following our meeting, the Human Rights Campaign modified their score to better reflect the city of Palm Springs LGBT policies and practices."  

Two other Coachella Valley cities also received good news from the HRC. Cathedral City's Municipal Equality Index Score went up from "70" to 81. This now places Cathedral City in the top 10 high scorers of the cities surveyed in California.  The City of Rancho Mirage went from a score of 44 to 89.  Rancho Mirage Mayor Scott Hines helped spearhead the meeting with the HRC which proved to have a positive impact for the Valley on the survey. 

"The accuracy of the data in the Municipal Equality Index is of paramount  importance and we thank the city leaders for their patience and willingness to work with us," said Cathryn Oakley, HRC legislative counsel for state and municipal advocacy and the author of the MEI.  "The MEI is a celebration of the important work that cities across the county are doing and we appreciate the opportunity to fully showcase the work of these three cities."

To see the detailed survey results go to <http://hrc.org/apps/mei>.