CATHEDRAL CITY – Former City Councilmember Shelley Kaplan has confirmed to Uken Report that he plans to seek election to the vacant District 1 seat in the August 27 special election.

The foundation for his campaign started to take shape over the weekend as his husband, Alan Carvalho, changed the name of the group “Shelley Kaplan, former City Council — Cathedral City …” to “Shelley Kaplan, City Council Candidate — Cathedral City…”

Some friends and supporters immediately offered words of congratulations on social media.

Kaplan declined an interview with Uken Report saying, “The filing period is from May 6 through the end of the month so we will not know everyone who is planning on running until then. I think I should wait at least until the filing period before I do any formal interviews. I am just starting to work on campaign materials so let’s wait to talk until the middle of May. Thanks.

The City Council first considered appointing someone to fill the vacancy, which was created when Mayor Gregory S. Pettis died in January, and sought applications. Kaplan was one of 14 residents who applied for the appointment and one of six from District 1.

After a firestorm of accusations that the appointment process was rigged and fixed, the City Council voted 3-1 to hold a special election. Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez cast the dissenting vote.

Kaplan was among those who called the appointment process “a sham.”

Kaplan served on the City Council from 2014-2018.

In November 2018, Kaplan ran unsuccessfully in a tight race for the Desert Healthcare District. Certified election results posted Friday, Dec. 7, by the Riverside County Registrar’s office show: Evett PerezGil — 3,842 votes, 50.76 percent Shelley Kaplan — 3,727 votes, 49.24 percent

During the short-lived effort to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, residents and nonresidents alike filled the City Council Chambers to support Kaplan. Many argued that Kaplan, an openly gay, progressive man would be best suited to carry on Pettis’ legacy. Kaplan was also part of Pettis’ inner circle of friends.

He was lauded for his support of Cathedral City being a Sanctuary City. Cathedral City was the first community in the Coachella Valley to become a Sanctuary City.

No official word yet on who might challenge Kaplan.

The winner of the August election will serve until November 2020 when Pettis’ term expires.

Image Sources

  • Shelley Kaplan: Cindy Uken