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Cathedral City council votes to hold special election

At their meeting Wednesday night, Cathedral City’s council chambers erupted into cheers as councilmembers voted 3-1 to hold a special election to fill former mayor Greg Pettis’ seat.

“I thought the council heard the voices of the community and this is a result that respects the democratic process,” said Paul Marchand, a former councilmember and an applicant for the seat.

Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez was the lone ‘no’ vote.

The council had originally opted to appoint a new councilmember to replace Pettis, who passed away on Jan. 15.

The possibility of a special election has been discussed, but the idea was shot down due to time and money constraints.

At tonight’s meeting, the council was going to review a questionnaire submitted by applicants for the seat and announce an appointment today, however, the public release of the emails between a current councilmember and one of the 14 candidates for the vacant seat has left some residents with the idea the process had been rigged.

Watch: Emails spark controversy over Cathedral City council appointment process

City officials contended that wasn’t the case, but the emails left some calling for a special election.

District 1 residents call the outcome of today’s meeting a win. If someone from another district had been appointed to the seat, it’s possible District 1, where Pettis lived, would have been left without representation for 2 years.

“This is what democracy looks like,” said Cathedral City District 1 resident Lynne O’Neill.

According to the city attorney, the special election will use only mail-in ballots. It will be run by the county, and will be held on the first Tuesday in August.

Reporter Jake Ingrassia live tweeted through the meeting – follow him @JakeKESQ.

{“url”:”″,”author_name”:”Jake Ingrassia”,”author_url”:””,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;The meeting is underway – councilmember appointment a bit further down in the agenda. Full house though – and heated public comment is expected on the issue. &#lt;a href=””&#gt;;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) &#lt;a href=””&#gt;February 28, 2019&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:””,”version”:”1.0″}

You can reach Jake on Twitter, Facebook or email him at

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