Cathedral City Mayor Gregory Pettis Dead at 63

Cathedral City Mayor Gregory Pettis passed away Tuesday at the age of 63. He was the city’s longest-serving city council member and a beloved member of the Coachella Valley community.

Pettis died as a result of complications stemming from an August 2018 gastric bypass surgery, his family said. As the council’s most senior member, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Carnevale will now assume the mayor’s post.

A city news release praised Pettis for a lifetime of progressive ideas, support for civil rights, and bringing economic development to the city. He had served on the city council since 1994 after a 15-year career in hospitality. He ran unsuccessfully for the 80th assembly district in 2008.

Pettis was openly gay and the first openly LGBT president of the Southern California Association of Governments. He had spent the past two years vehemently opposing the policies of President Donald Trump. Pettis could often be found at rallies protesting the administration’s immigration and family separation policies.

"It’s going to be a tremendous loss," City Manager Charlie McClendon told the Desert Sun. "Our hearts go out to his friends and family and those of us who are left behind will do our best to carry on in moving this city forward. "He was so dedicated to this city and to the people who live here.”

A number of other state and local leaders have reacted to news of Pettis’ death, including State Sen. Jeff Stone; La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans; Christine Pelosi; Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia; Indian Wells Councilmember Dana Reed; and former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono.

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