CATHEDRAL CITY – Mayor Stan Henry sent shockwaves through much of the community this week when he announced his endorsement of Ernesto M. Gutierrez in District 4. Some jeered; others cheered.
“He is one of our young and up-and-coming community members, local small business owner, and a locally grown person from Cathedral City,” Henry told Uken Report. “I believe he is the best candidate from that district.”
Gutierrez, 50, is a real estate broker and investor, a developer and contractor, and the owner of Tortillas Restaurant.
Some residents were shocked because Henry’s endorsement of Gutierrez runs counter to the majority of the City Council’s endorsements for District 4. Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis, and Councilmembers John Aguilar and Shelley Kaplan have all endorsed John A. Rivera for District 4.
Incumbent Councilmember Mark Carnevale, who is seeking re-election in District 3, said he has not endorsed anyone in District 4.
“There are four candidates,” Carnevale told Uken Report. “This could be a real horse race. I have interviewed two of the candidates and I found them very good, almost too close to call. I intend to watch and listen, then make my choice possibly. At this time I feel it is best not to commit.”
District 4 is the only race in which Councilmembers are divided.
Gutierrez gets a rap in Cathedral for being too conservative and not in tune with the vibe of one of the more progressive communities in the Coachella Valley.
The entire City Council has unanimously endorsed Raymond B. Gregory in District 5 and Carnevale in District 3. The City Council is also unanimously supporting Carnevale.
Henry said he believes that Gregory and Carnevale “are the best candidates” in their respective districts.
“Mark has worked hard these past four years and has been an integral part of the rebirth of our city,” Pettis said. “Raymond brings a wealth of knowledge in public safety and (has) relationships with the county. John comes with many years on the Planning Commission and the Architectural Review Committee. He is a prepared to go to work on day one and will provide a calming, knowledgeable voice on the Council.”
Aguilar said Gregory, Rivera and Carnevale are the “most experienced, professional, passionate, and committed” and will best be able to embrace the existing vision to keep the city moving forward.
When it comes to Gregory, Carnevale said it is Gregory’s wealth of knowledge in public safety that earned his endorsement.
“As you know, I am all about fire and safety,” Carnevale said. “The main reason I have endorsed Ray is his knowledge and experience of police protocol. Ray knows the ins and outs of keeping these streets safe and (he has) experience with homeless, vagrant issues. That is an asset.”
Additionally, Carnevale said, Gregory possesses strong leadership skills, is a team player, is not hung up on party differences, has lived locally for years, is fiscally responsible, and is committed to working toward safe streets and communities.
“Ray has an open mind to the promotion of new business, educational, and recreational opportunities,” Carnevale said. “Since Ray has lived here for years, he knows what Cathedral City needs and wants.”
Kaplan said he supported Carnevale his inaugural run in 2014.
“He has been a great addition to the Council for the past four years,” Kaplan told Uken Report. “Greg and I talked to both Ray (Gregory) and John (Rivera) about running and we’re pleased that they made the decision to run for office. Ray has a great background in law enforcement, is a longtime resident and is progressive in his approach to city issues. John has been on the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Committee for the past six years, is a talented planner and architect, and has great ideas for the future of the city.” Not just District 4.
Outside of Cathedral City, Henry said he had also been asked and endorsed Linda Evans in La Quinta and Jan Harnik and Sabby Jonathan in Palm Desert. He will also endorse Councilmember Kaplan who is seeking a seat for the Desert Healthcare District.