CATHEDRAL CITY – One of four residents who have filed a Candidate Intention Form seeking a City Council seat in District 4 told Uken Report that one of his goals is to implement term limits on City Council members.

“I believe that being a councilman is an honor to represent our residents, but we should give others the opportunity to run,” Ernesto Gutierrez said. “Our city cannot have lifetime politicians as council members.”

Gutierrez, 50, is a real estate broker and investor, a developer and contractor, and the owner of Tortillas Restaurant.

He has lived in Cathedral City since 1981 when his family relocated from Mexico. He was 13 at the time.

“I never left the city,” Gutierrez said. “The valley keeps growing in me as I get older.”

An acknowledged conservative, Gutierrez hastened to add that he does not need a party to tell him how to vote.

“I have an independent mind. This is a nonpartisan seat,” Gutierrez said. “The representation of our residents is what matters and not whether there is a D, R, G or I, as our political representation or views.  A political party will not do for our residents what I can do for them.”

The November election will be the first time Cathedral City residents will vote for their representatives in Districts. The move is aimed at getting more Latinos to seek public office. Each person elected in Districts 3, 4, and 5 will serve a four-year term. The move to districts had no bearing on his decision to seek election to the City Council, Guiterrez said.

“I feel that it has given areas more of a feel of representation,” Guiterrez said. “I’m not a politician, nor do I like to be a lifetime politician. I believe that, if I had decided to run prior to the districts being formed, my chances would of been just as good.  But now that districts are in, it will help encourage many others to run and have a chance in winning.”

Deciding to run was easy, Gutierrez said, adding that he wants to make a difference in the community. His agenda is full and aggressive. He sees numerous areas that are in dire need of attention in addition to imposing term limits.

“Our City Council need to focus on local issues and pay more attention to what our residents needs are,” Gutierrez said. “I feel many of our residents and neighborhoods have been neglected. I want to bring pride of living in Cathedral City back. Our residents need to keep up and improve on safety. A strong and well-trained police force makes a much safer city.”

The fire department does a wonderful job, Gutierrez said, adding that the city needs to maintain the newly added firefighters once the government grants run out.

“Many of our streets are in poor shape and need to be resurfaced,” Gutierrez said. “Some neighborhood in our city are still on septic tanks, no curbs or gutters and no sidewalks, we need to work on those areas and focus to serve those neighborhoods. Our residents need more local shops. Most of our shops have been taken over by cannabis.  We need to replace all those shops so our residents have a place to shop.”

There was a time when many of the community’s neighborhoods were desirable. But during the economic downturn, neighborhoods changed and code enforcement has not been able to keep up with thousands of violations, he said.

“We need to enforce our local municipal codes,” Gutierrez said. “Cleaning up Cathedral City and beautifying our city will be one of my top priorities, so we as residents can be proud to say we live in city of Cathedral City. Our city is on the rise and I think all of my experience can help me keep the city moving forward.”

To date, the others who have filed a Candidate Intention Form in District 4 are:

As of Monday, residents in District 4 who say they intend to run are:

  • Enrique “Rick” Saldivar, associate pastor at Destiny Church
  • John A. Rivera, who served on the Planning Commission for six years. Due to term limits, he had to leave the seat on June 20. He was serving as chairman of the Commission at the time. Rivera has served 10 years on the Architectural Review Committee and is a licensed architect.
  • Sergio Espericueta, automotive service manager at Walmart

District 4 includes Desert Princess Country Club, Outpost and the Dream Homes.

None of the above residents are qualified candidates at this time.  The official Nomination Period begins July 16, 2018 and ends on Aug. 10, 2018.  During the Nomination Period individuals will have the opportunity to pull papers and collect signatures on their Nomination Paper.  Once all of the signatures have been verified and the proper documents filed, then they would be considered a qualified candidate.

The three seats up for election this year are currently held by Mayor Stan Henry, Mark Carnevale and Shelley Kaplan. The two remaining seats now held by Greg Pettis and John Aguilar will be open in 2020.