CATHEDRAL CITY — Alan Carvalho is challenging incumbent City Councilmember Rita Lamb in the Nov. 3 election for an opportunity to represent District 1 for a four-year term.
To better help voters understand the candidates’ goals and learn a bit more about each, Uken Report posed a series of questions to all candidates. Following are Carvalho’s responses.
Uken Report (UR): What is your motivation for running?
Alan Carvalho: I’ve attended nearly every single city council meeting since 2013, learning how we all best listen to and engage our residents. I’ve created great relationships with both city staff and local business leaders. Having proudly served on the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission for six years, and having had the privilege of being elected chair by my fellow commissioners for the last 5 years, my passion for our city has grown even stronger. I am proud to have volunteered for every city event committee promoting our diverse community, and providing free video services to each event, while helping to bring more volunteerism to our community. As chair of Public Arts, we collaborated with city council to help provide more art and educational opportunities for our high school students; our senior citizens through the senior center educational programs we sponsored; by supporting educational programs to our local boys & girls club; and by sponsoring our high school students as mentors to help with video story telling and editing programs. Our commission was instrumental in starting a district wide murals project, as a way to expressing our community and cultural pride. Our commission has done more in the six years I served than any other public arts commission, including a smart phone app that specifies descriptions and locations of all public art in our city. We also commissioned a 35th anniversary sculpture honoring our proud Latino community with a custom sculpture of folk singer and resident Lalo Guererro on the downtown street also named in his honor. We also worked with our city council to opening up a museum in City Hall to support our local artists, while working directly with Karen Riley and The Scrap Gallery to bring students into our city to better understand recycling, providing educational support for our Cathedral City Library, and supporting our high school DATA program by sponsoring an annual awards program that honored high school filmmakers, graphic artists, photographers, and creative minds by featuring their work at our own downtown Mary Pickford Theatre Complex. I plan on bring that level of community involvement and passion to our council, where progressive leadership is needed.
I have an excellent relationship with Ron Celona, executive director of the our very own CV Rep Regional Theatre, and also pride myself in having a very close friendship with Ted Hane, General Manager of the Mary Pickford Theatre Complex. I’m also friends with Geoff Corbin, the executive director of our Cathedral City Senior Center, providing financial and technical support whenever they require my volunteerism.
UR: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?
Alan Carvalho: My experience, my clear involvement, my volunteerism, my attendance at city council meetings, my ability to engage and collaborate with our diverse community, my working closely with city council members including my mentor Mayor Greg Pettis. I am proud of my relationship with our public arts liaison City Engineer John Corella, who was instrumental in helping us move our proposals for council approval. I’m proud to have provided support and instruction to our Communications Director Chris Parman, when he asked for my expertise in purchasing equipment and software required to create a video studio for citywide informational videos.
UR: What one project or issue do you want to see addressed in your term?
Alan Carvalho: Public safety during our pandemic dominates our entire country. I’d like to apply for federal, state and community grant funding for a much needed community center, that could be the home for a new Senior Center, a place for our youth to be creative, a place where our community can meet regularly to address their needs! I want to provide more parks throughout our city, and access to our High School pool for our young people during summer months.
UR: If someone walked up to you and told you that Cathedral City was the worst place to live in the Coachella Valley because of crime and gangs, what would your response be?
Alan Carvalho: I’d say that is just not TRUE. We have had one of the lowest crime reports in our entire valley. With new public safety hires during the previous council, and the focus of this council to maintain public safety utilizing our surplus to keep these valuable jobs in our police, fire and ambulance services, these efforts do need to continue through this economic challenge. We NEED our public safety officers NOW more than ever. The new policies and procedures under Chief Crum will continue our ongoing approach to appropriate levels of policing and community support.
UR: If you could require every Cathedral City resident to do one thing, what would that one thing be?
Alan Carvalho: WEAR YOUR MASKS, STAY SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND PLEASE VOTE. THAT’S BY FAR CRUCIAL FOR OUR SURVIVAL.
UR: The entire Coachella Valley has taken a huge financial hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. What needs to be done to help Cathedral City recover?
Alan Carvalho:; Our Mayor has taken a strong leadership role in bring awareness to how all of us MUST continue using masks and social distancing. Once we can create a safe environment and the spread is controlled, with a vaccine coming by Spring of 2021, we can begin to return to the new normal. BUT meanwhile, we can encourage purchasing at our LOCAL restaurants and businesses by using take out options and purchasing gift certificates that can be used later when we return to more normal operations. These are small steps that can really add up to a more economically sound future. WE must feel empowered to HELP each other. A unified community can accomplish MUCH MORE by working together. We need to pressure the state and federal government to provide additional stimulus plans to support businesses (and families). The House of Representatives passed the HEROS act in April to provide financial support to the States and this support is critical to keeping small businesses from closing. So again VOTE this November.
UR: Tell us one good quality your opponent possesses.
Alan Carvalho: As a member of our Evening Rotary Club, we would frequent our local HeadStart students and read out loud to the students. Afterward, we would give each student their own personalized copy of that same book to take home. Because of the pandemic, we aren’t able to visit the students, but the city has been active in creating a virtual story telling program. Councilmember Lamb was very engaging with her reading of children’s stories! That was an opportunity to give back, graciously and effectively.
UR: You are all well known, tell us one thing about yourself no one knows.
Alan Carvalho: I’m an actor, a singer, was in a band in high school, have taught acting classes at my alma mater, Emerson College. I was actually in the running for the Milos Foreman movie “HAIR” as the lead while attending college. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with amazing teachers, who taught me the skills of collaboration, the ability to LISTEN to all voices, and create a healthy safe environment for respectful debate.
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Cathedral City and what would you do to address it?
Alan Carvalho: We are experiencing a world wide epidemic, and the economic downturn is a serious and significant concern. IT IS NOW that we MUST NOT fail our residents. WE cannot allow the fear and loss of progress to diminish our city moving forward. Growth will be slow but steady. The auto dealerships in Cathedral City are still on course. Our previous city administration was instrumental in working with the Tribe to bring the downtown Casino into reality. Their plan to open before the end of 2020 is still on course. If we can continue encouraging our residents to remain hopeful, to not buckle under pressure but to continue having faith in our city council, our city manager, and our amazing staff, our phenomenal public safety officers, we will survive this temporary downturn better than we did in 2008. We need positive reinforcement on city council, someone willing to cheer our city on! I am that voice for progressive movement FORWARD. I’d be honored to serve our district, our city, and our valley as your next city council member.
- Alan Carvalho: Alan Carvalho