CATHEDRAL CITY — Ernesto M. Gutierrez, a real estate broker and developer, is one of four people vying for a single seat to represent District 4 in the November election.
Gutierrez, 50, is competing with John A. Rivera, Enrique “Rick” Saldivar, and Sergio Espericueta.
District 4 includes Desert Princess Country Club, Outpost and the Dream Homes.
In the interest of fairness, all candidates were given identical questions. Espericueta did not respond.
Uken Report (UR): Do you support or oppose Proposition 6?
Gutierrez: I’m not in favor of increasing taxes and this is a huge tax on every Californian.
First, what I would like to see is where the money for our roads and infrastructure that was being allocated for such purpose is going. We must evaluate, analyze and audit our state finances so that we can find out where is the money being spent. We in the state of California pay the highest amount in taxes and we have the worst roads in the nation. How is it possible, the more we are taxed the more mismanaged the money is. Our city is in desperate need of road repairs and we do need the money to carry out such tasks. Currently our city is benefiting from SB1 with improvement on Dinah Shore Drive. If there is certainty that our money is spent properly, I would be satisfied with opposing Prop. 6.
UR: City Council races are typically nonpartisan, but this particular race seems highly partisan. There are public calls to maintain a progressive majority on the council, Party registration information is being posted on social media and more. This is your chance to set the record straight and speak for yourself. Are you liberal, conservative, or other and what that means to you and your constituents.
Gutierrez: City Council races are always nonpartisan. Our city must concentrate on local issues that matter to our city and our residents. We are not running for county, state or federal offices in this race. We are running for a local political office. I am pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro local residents.
Nowadays you are treated as if you have leprosy or some other disease for being affiliated with a different political party. You are attacked and disrespected for simply having a D, R or any other letter as your political affiliation.
UR: Cathedral City has a significant LGBTQ community. What specifically have you done as a leader in the community to address the needs this segment of the population?
Gutierrez: I have never served in any political office. In Cathedral City, we have approximately 60 percent of our population that is Hispanic. They have many, many needs as well. We cannot concentrate on one segment of our population versus another. We must work together for all residents not just Hispanics, Caucasians, LGBTQ or any other group or race. Our entire population has needs that need to be addressed. We must be inclusive and not divisive. In our city, we also have numerous Hispanics that are members of the LGBTQ community that also have needs that must be met. We must include every resident in our community. If there is a certain community such as the LGBTQ that has a specific need, the entire City Council, shall unite and address certain issues that arise.
UR: With what issue, ordinance, project do you want your name to be most associated?
Gutierrez: My No. 1 priority is the residents and anything that would benefit our community and our city.
UR: What sets you apart from your challenger(s)?
Gutierrez: I have lived in Cathedral City for nearly 40 years. I know the people, I know their families and I know their needs. I have the business knowledge to address the issues that will come forth in the future.