CATHEDRAL CITY — Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis will become this city’s first openly gay mayor in the city’s history when he is sworn in as mayor on Monday, Dec. 10.
Pettis, along with Mark Carnevale, who represents District 3; Raymond Gregory, and Ernesto Gutierrez, who represents District 4; and Raymond Gregory, who represents Districit 5; will be sworn in during a ceremony that has been carefully choreographed to embrace diversity. The fifth member of the City Council is John Aguilar.
In advance of Pettis being sworn in as mayor, Uken Report asked him a series of questions.
Uken Report (UR): As I understand it, you will be the first openly gay mayor in Cathedral City. What does that mean for the city?
Pettis: I think it just means that our community continues our efforts toward diversity and inclusion. Soon we will have Hispanic mayors, Asian, Native American and African American. We believe all our residents matter and should have a place at the table.
UR: What does being mayor mean for you?
Pettis: It means more meetings and more work. But also it means I have to work hard to make sure that my door is open for everyone. Our long-term residents know that but our newer ones shouldn’t feel they aren’t welcome.
UR: How will your term as an openly gay mayor differ from that of a heterosexual mayor?
It shouldn’t differ at all, but again, it’s my job to prove I am there for the entire community.
UR: Do you have anything special planned as the city’s first openly gay mayor?
Pettis: No. I have some ideas and thoughts I want to bring forward, but I think it’s best to share that with my colleagues first.
UR: It is no secret you have always wanted to be mayor. Why do you have that burning desire?
Pettis: I think there is a misperception about my political goals. Yes, it’s nice to have the title and the microphone, but I have said I was happy to be a councilman as long as I had three votes. More often than not I have had that.
UR: What can you do as mayor that you could not do as a member of the City Council?
Pettis: All five of us have the same vote. We all represent our districts and city. What the mayor does have is the bully pulpit if and should (he/she) ever needs it. Also, the job of mayor is to strive as hard as possible to continue to build the team camaraderie that Mayor (Stan) Henry began.
An inauguration reception will feature the Mariachi Arcoiris De Los Angeles, the world’s first Mariachi to represent the LGBT community.
The inauguration of Pettis as mayor and new members of the City Council is set for 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of City Hall, 68-700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero.
The 6 p.m. reception will be held on the Paseo of City Hall following the inauguration in the City Council Chambers. Light refreshments, including bottled water, finger foods, cookies, and more will be served.
The inauguration will feature the Cathedral City High School Color Guard and the Cathedral City High School Choir.