(Editor’s Note: Mark Carnevale was sworn in as mayor of Cathedral City after the shocking death of Gregory S. Pettis. Following are his reflections on his year in the role.)

In the Beginning — Part One

November 6, 2018, Election Day. My campaign is over. I won with the help of my incredible campaign team led by my two of my friends, Jo Ann Kennon and Sue Townsley, and the support of my wife, Rhonda, and son, Nick, who covered all my responsibilities at the restaurant.

It was time  to relax a bit, stop and smell the roses. After all, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, three wonderful times of the year, were coming.  Not to mention my highpoint would be sitting next to Mayor Pettis as his mayor pro tem. Life is good. Getting ready to be a part of new council to continue moving Cathedral City forward.

January 9, 2019 —I remember how I felt sitting next to Greg and what a difference it was from councilman to mayor pro tem. It is difficult to put into words but the feeling was there. Get ready Cathedral City we are in for a new adventure with Greg at the helm and I am on his right, John Agular is ready to rock and there are two new councilmen —  Raymond Gregory and Ernesto Gutierrez.  This is going to be exciting and fun. That was the last time I got to sit next to a man who has done so much for state, local government, and myself. I will remember that council meeting for the rest of my life. Greg passed on January 15,2019.

Moving forward — Part Two

So, I was appointed Mayor, Councilman Agular was appointed Mayor Pro Tem, got applause and slap on the backs that night, all good just move over another seat on the dais. Now I am in the middle, John on my right, here we go.  Should not be to difficult

( I thought ) I am up for the challenge. I truly believed that with all the experience I received from Greg getting me ready for this position. I was on council for four previous years. How difficult  can it be sit in the middle?

Going from Councilman to Mayor Pro Tem then mayor in less than three weeks, you could imagine the stress factor I experienced. Charlie McClendon, Tami Scott, and Tracey Martinez were my go-to people before meetings. I must give them a shout out to thank them very much for being there for me.

First meeting all good, not too difficult. I struggled a bit with protocol, but thanks to Tracey, Councilmen Gregory and Mayo Pro Tem Aguilar, who would whisper to me if I made an error on the agenda or got ahead of myself. Got through it, hey this is pretty sweet.

Down to business, need to fill the  fifth seat. Aagain, should not be to difficult, appoint someone. Easy peasy. After all, when I was appointed I had all the support from residents in the city. Well, we all know how that turned out. The same people who had high-fived me now want to bury me. What happened? Wait a minute. This isn’t in the job description, or maybe it was and I  just did not see it coming. I was told that I was baptized thru fire.

That brings me to REGRETS, only one I have. If I knew then what I know now, that night would have turned out different and Stan Henry would have been on Council. I chalk that up to experience and growing pains.

Year to Rise —Part Three

Councilmember Rita Lamb won the special election and now we have a full council. All good.

The most-asked question I get asked by constituents is. “What’s going on in the city. I love it because there is so much going on here. The casino, a 13.5 acre development downtown, amphitheater, Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, two large housing developments are beginning, $900,000 in street improvements, new management in code compliance, additional homeless officer, balanced budget, the new Varner and Bob Hope addition, lowest crime in the Coachella valley, cannabis industry booming, and more to happen in 2020.

I would be remiss if I did not mention our current department staff heads and their staff.  Council Team 2014 was a tremendous force for Cathedral City to be where we are today, Mayor Stan Henry, Mayor Pro Tem Pettis. along with John Aguilar, Shelley Kaplan, City Manager Charlie, John Corella, Robert Rodriguez and myself laid out a strong plan for Cathedral City’s future. A huge shout out to Chris Parman who is an amazing individual who helped me tremendously .

The second most-asked question is how to you like being mayor? Let me end this column with this answer. I attend about six events a week (sometimes more), any time between 7 o’clock in the morning till seven o’clock in the evening. Twice a month council meetings lasting anywhere from five to seven hours. I answer about 15 calls, emails or texts a day. I read the staff-written agenda before council meetings.

The work is timeconsuming and, at times, exhausting.

I dug it the most. Just let me say, I am honored and thrilled to have had this position and to serve you all as mayor.

In closing, I know there are some who did not agree with some of my decision-making. However, I made those decisions with the complete 100% belief they were for the good of Cathedral City.

I commit to my next three years of Councilman to continue to do my very best for Cathedral City.


Mayor Mark Carnevale






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  • Mark Carnevale: city of Cathedral City