CATHEDRAL CITY — In response to requests from the community, Mayor John Aguilar has asked that the City Council hold a community listening session to hear what people in Cathedral City have to say on the topics of race, policing and economic opportunity.

A special meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m.

Aguilar told Uken Report this this item was not generated by any incident in Cathedral City.

Rather, Aguilar said he decided in response to local community activists who wanted an opportunity to express their concerns around the George Floyd tragedy and other similar issues, to host a listening session similar to what other cities in the Valley have done.

The meeting is designed “to allow community members to talk about their concerns and what the city may be able to accomplish relative to any policy and/or structural changes that would improve community relations with all of our minority communities,” Aguilar said.

The Palm Springs City Council held a similar listening session in July.

The background doe the special meeting is the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers. The subsequent availability of video images shocked the nation and led to widespread protests, the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for an examination of the way in which Police services are provided.

The Cathedral City Police Department is committed to serving our community and protecting the life and property and the rights of all the people of our city, City Manager Charles McClendon writes in his staff report.

Chief George Crum will provide a brief update on policy changes made in the department, training provided to officers and a planned strategic plan update, which will offer the opportunity to examine in depth the calls for service the department receives and which ones require response by a Police Officer and which might be better handled by non-sworn personnel.

According to McClendon, Cathedral City has been a leader in promoting a culture of non-discrimination and protecting the rights of the people of the community as evidenced by:

  •  Adoption of prohibitions against arbitrary discrimination occurred early in the city’s history (1987) and code was amending twice thereafter to expand protections to additional groups. The protections also apply to employment, business, education and real estate transactions.
  • Adoption of a Sanctuary City resolution in 2017.
  • Adoption of an ordinance requiring that single stall restrooms be gender neutral in 2015.
  • Promotion of events celebrating the richness of our community including Cathedral City LGBT Days, Tejano Music Festival and Taste of Jalisco.

The purpose of the listening session is to allow the Councilmembers to hear from the community. It will not be a question-and-answer format and Councilmembers will likely not respond to speakers during the meeting and they will not be taking any action. Instead they will listen and what they learn from the people who speak may then lay the foundation for future agenda items and future action.

Image Sources

  • Police arrest: Shutterstock