On Monday, December 10, 2018, history was made in Cathedral City as the new City Council was sworn into office in front of a standing room only crowd. The inauguration began with the Cathedral City Junior ROTC Color Guard presenting arms while the Cathedral City High School Choir sang the national anthem, and afterwards, several holiday songs.
A historical first happened when Greg Pettis became the first openly gay mayor to represent Cathedral City. Mayor Pettis began his service on the City Council twenty-four years ago and is the longest serving councilmember in the City’s history. He will serve as mayor for one year as the new City Charter, passed by voters in 2016, calls for the rotation of the mayor position by appointment annually.
Second, Raymond Gregory and Ernesto Gutierrez became newly elected councilmembers to represent Districts 5 and 4 respectively. This was the first time in the City’s history that councilmembers were elected by districts rather than at-large.
Third, Councilmember Mark Carnevale won re-election by winning District 3. The Council voted on Monday night to appoint Councilmember Mark Carnevale to Mayor Pro Tem.
Mayor Pro Tem Carnevale and Councilmembers Gregory and Gutierrez will represent their districts until 2022. Mayor Greg Pettis and Councilmember John Aguilar terms end in 2020 and each will have to decide whether to run for Districts 1 and 2 respectively.
Finally, history was made with an invocation by Reverend Clinton Crenshaw of the Metropolitan Community Church, a tribal blessing by Sean Milanovich of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and a blessing by Rabbi Kreiman. In addition, the inauguration reception featuring food and champurrado from Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant (soon to re-open at the corner of Monty Hall and East Palm Canyon Drive) was serenaded by Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, the world’s first all LGBTQ mariachi band.
The crowd also provided a standing ovation to former Mayor Stan Henry and Councilmember Shelley Kaplan for their outstanding job moving Cathedral City in the right direction with the development of our downtown into an arts and entertainment district, new parks, over $100 million in public infrastructure projects, the first CV Link in the Coachella Valley, more than 40 new restaurants, two new fitness centers, city reserves of more than 50% of the general fund, a record low 2.3% unemployment rate, fully staffed police and fire departments, expansion of auto brands for the Cathedral City Auto Center and satellite auto sales centers. The previous council was also praised for the refurbishment and/or development of three major hotels, new healthcare center options, adoption of cannabis regulations and the economic growth of this emerging industry, new housing developments that were stagnate for over 10 years, expansion of our city limits north of Interstate I-10. And finally, they oversaw the creation of the Festival Lawn and a long list of city events including the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival, Food Truck Mash-Up, Taste of Jalisco Festival, LGBT Days, Snow Fest, Halloween Spooktacular, Easter Kidapalooza, Kids Summer Film Series, Dia de los Muertos, Movies in the Park, Healing Field, Tejano Music Fest, the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, and bringing four film festivals to the Mary Pickford Theatre including the Palm Springs International Film Festival, AmDocs – Latino, Cinema Diverse, and Hola! Mexico Film Festival.