Sheriff Chad Bianco rescinds endorsement of Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez

CATHEDRAL CITY — In light of the ongoing drama surrounding Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez’s reelection campaign, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco has confirmed he rescinded his endorsement of the embattled mayor.

Sheriff Bianco Rescinds Endorsement for Gutierrez

Sheriff Chad Bianco

“In light of the information I am learning concerning Mayor Gutierrez and Chief (George) Crum, I can no longer endorse him for his Council run,” Bianco told Uken Report. “I have immense respect for Chief Crum and the men and women of the Cathedral City Police Department. Mayor Gutierrez and I had a very cordial and productive discussion concerning my decision.”

The revocation comes on the heels of the Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association waging an all-out First Amendment assault on Gutierrez. The Association, which consists of 36 sworn officers, below the rank of Sergeant, has erected a billboard in Gutierrez’s District 4 that states: “Support Your Local Police Department. Vote ‘No’ on Ernesto Gutierrez for City Council.”

Sheriff Bianco Rescinds Endorsement for Gutierrez

Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association sign

The Association is also sending a mailer with a similar message, knocking on doors and staking nearly 30, 4-by-8-foot signs into the ground in District 4. It has also gotten businesses to post signs against Gutierrez in their storefronts.

The union alleges that Gutierrez has called them lazy and says that they are overpaid. Jesse Borrego, president of the union, said the mayor meddles in the day-to-day operations of the department, which is not the role of a council member.

It further alleges that the mayor tells them to write more tickets for code violations.

“By him having us give a local gardener a ticket for parking his work truck on the street or having it towed is sad,” Borrego has said. “He isn’t the one out there giving these tickets, it’s us, and that impacts our city residents and their views on us.”

Sheriff Bianco Rescinds Endorsement for Gutierrez

Gutierrez sign

Meanwhile, Gutierrez is fighting back by erecting his own billboard.

Despite the sheriff withdrawing his support, Gutierrez has the support of former Police Chief and Mayor Stan Henry; two of his City Council colleagues, Mark Carnevale and Mayor Pro Tem Rita Lamb; and former Mayor Kathy DeRosa.

“He has a good head on his shoulders, is easy to work with and has experience,” Carnevale told Uken Report. “He is pro development. We have a lot going on. We need strong leadership.”

Lamb could not immediately be reached for comment.

Councilmember Nancy Ross told Uken Report, “I don’t endorse any Council candidates while I am on the dais. I will work with anyone elected and that is up to his or her constituents.”

Councilmember Raymond Gregory said both Gutierrez and one of his challengers, Rick Saldivar, sought his endorsement. He declined both.

Image Sources

  • Sheriff Chad Bianco: Courtesy photo
  • Broken Handshake: Shutterstock