A familiar name and face in the Coachella Valley is the first to file for a seat on the Cathedral City City Council in the newly drawn districts.

As of Jan. 1, councilors will no longer be selected in an at-large election.

Raymond Gregory, 53, who retired last year from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department after more than 27 years, is seeking election in District 5. He has called Cathedral City home for more than 20 years. District 5 is comprised of the Panorama and La Pasada neighborhoods, as well as the southern and western portions of Rio Vista and the Park David Senior Housing complex, and is one of the districts open in the November 2018 election. Together, these neighborhoods make up approximately 20 percent of the city’s population.

He is currently unopposed in District 5. Each of the incumbents lives in Districts 1, 2, and 3.

Although the election is not until November, Gregory said once he decided to formally seek the office and not just think about it, it was important to educate people about the new district system being used to elect councilors in Cathedral City and introduce himself in the community.

There are three seats up for election this year. They are currently held by Mayor Stan Henry, Mark Carnevale and Shelley Kaplan. The two remaining seats now held by Greg Pettis and John Aguilar will be up for grabs in 2020.

Gregory, who said he was encouraged to run by two incumbent city councilors, said he had been thinking about it since October and decided the time is right. Gregory said he wants to continue to serve his community in a way that is “more local.”

With his experience in public safety and government, as well as his business education, and considering that he has lived in the Panorama-area of Cathedral City for more than two decades, serving on the City Council representing the community’s neighborhoods seems to be the perfect way to give back, he said.

“I’m not coming with a particular cause,” Gregory told Uken Report. “I know some people do. They’ve got something that happened in the city that they didn’t like and they’re focused on that. I’m trying to run a positive campaign, and not come and criticize some of the past actions, but try to take us from where we are now and help move us forward in a positive direction.”

Gregory said that does not mean he will ignore what has happened in the past and what the current issues are, because those are things that the City Council will have to continue to be addressed.

“There are things that we’ll want to remember as we move forward, but I’m not really coming to try to attack anyone, or to criticize any particular action, but try to move us forward in a positive way,” Gregory said. “It does seem like sometimes the city has moved forward two steps and back one step. At least the city has made some progress. Maybe we can work together and try to eliminate some of this where we, or the city, have made some missteps in the past. I’m not trying to pick on any particular misstep, because I’m sure there were reasons and circumstances. I am trying to use my experience and education to help make good decisions moving forward.”

He is progressive on social issues and a staunch defender of individual rights and freedoms, yet believes government must be careful with how taxpayer dollars are spent. He said he also believes the city must help and encourage local business wherever it makes sense to do so.

If elected, Gregory pledged to bring to the office:

  • a commitment to working toward safe streets and communities;
  • an ability to skillfully evaluate important issues, and to advocate for residents’ interests at city hall;
  • a passion toward the promotion of new opportunities (business, educational, recreational, etc.) for all in the city, and to encourage sensible growth;
  • an emphasis on smart and balanced spending;
  • to work toward making Cathedral City the No. 1 place where all can thrive, while knowing they are protected and valued.

During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Department, Gregory held many ranks and worked a variety of locations and functions, including patrol, jails, as a courtroom deputy, and an internal affairs investigator, eventually rising to the rank of Assistant Sheriff before retiring from law enforcement. Locally, he served as commander of the Sheriff’s Indio Station as it transitioned over to its current location in Thermal. As part of that assignment, he served as Chief-of-Police for the cities of Coachella and La Quinta.

Previously, he also served as commander of the jail in Indio, and before that as the Assistant Chief for the La Quinta Police Department. Raymond has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, San Bernardino, in Administration with a Management concentration, taking most of his classes at the Palm Desert Campus. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in Management from the University of Redlands.

He is married and his husband works for a local non-profit organization. He has two grown children and one grandchild.