CATHEDRAL CITY – A Latino candidate for City Council is under fire by a handful of residents in the community for purchasing $225 worth of political banners from Mexico rather than patronize local businesses.

Ernesto M. Gutierrez, one of four Latino candidates seeking a seat in District 4, told Uken Report that his nephew owns an advertising business in Mexico and really wanted to do this for his uncle.

Gutierrez said many, if not most, of the candidates had political printing done at Vistaprint, whose headquarters are in Venlo, Netherlands. But none of those have been publicly ridiculed, chastised and called out like he has.

One of the loudest critics has been Alan Carvalho, chair of the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission, who has repeatedly upbraided Gutierrez on social media. Carvalho, a Democrat, has consistently taken Gutierrez, a Republican, to task for his conservative values and for supporting President Trump.

“The GOP promotes ‘America First,’ which I find bothersome since that is also what the KKK promotes, but at least, on the upside, (it) means to support financially local businesses,” Carvalho told Uken Report. “As a businessman, why would Ernesto purchase his banners in Mexico?  Aren’t we supposed to be supporting local unions and local businesses? Was it just because he got a discount?  And, some of his fliers were purchased from the Netherlands. (It’s) outrageous that a man who supports this toxic administration could be so out of touch with supporting local businesses.”

Gutierrez dismisses Carvalho’s missives as “just petty.”

“I could possibly be a City Councilman. I grew up here and know a lot of people and he’s disrespectful to me, to women,” Gutierrez said. “It’s not acceptable. I’m fed up with him. If he crosses the line, he could be in big trouble. He’s publishing things online that are defamation, character assassination, and slander. I’m not going to put up with it. The buck stops here.”

Mayor Stan Henry, who has endorsed Gutierrez for City Council, told Uken Report that when the two met to discuss campaign financing Gutierrez confided in him that he had a relative who wanted to help with his signs.

“As you know, the campaign can get expensive and I don’t see anything wrong with getting some help with the cost,” Henry said. “It is done all the time in campaigns and business.”

Sue Townsley, vice chair of the Cathedral Public Arts Commission, also takes issue with Gutierrez getting his banners out of the country.

“The same as Trump making his hats in China,” Townsley said. “We have plenty of good printers in Cathedral City – and a union shop in Riverside.”

This is the first election in which residents will be voting in districts.  The move was done to encourage more Latino participation.