Councilmember Greg Pettis Responds to Desert Sun Smear

Cathedral City’s Greg Pettis Target of Desert Sun Witchhunt Revisited

Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis was targeted in the Sunday edition of The Desert Sun newspaper’s Cathedral City Councilman Greg Pettis spent $92,000 using a city-backed credit card
front page opinion piece. The article represents a political hatchet job, a smear, trash or
at best, unsupported opinion. Pettis posted a response on his Facebook page
earlier this evening. A copy of that post appears below.

 


  Greg Pettis

April 29, 2013

In essence, “If not These were just two of the open ended conjectures masquerading as hard news delivered to the doorsteps of Coachella Valley homes yesterday in a breathless front-page story that should have been relegated to the opinion pages of the Desert Sun.

For those of you who live outside the subscription area, Cathedral City’s paper of record published a story in its Sunday edition criticizing my travel on behalf of the city. Good newspapers publish stories like this one all the time, all over the country, and its part of their mission to be a watchdog for the public and our democracy is better for it when the stories are accurate and leave opinion making to the editorial board.

Since this story seemed to be more interested in trying to pose lurid questions about my personal life and the value my travel brings to Cathedral City, Id like to respond to you with some actual facts that were omitted and some that were downplayed in the article.

My work on the Riverside County Transportation Committee (RCTC) was a key factor in the $70 million Date Palm Interchange, $20 million in federal money for the CA-91 freeway (which is being leveraged for another $100 million) and four other new freeway interchanges in the Valley.

As a member of RCTC, I helped secure $221,253 to help reduce air pollution in the Valley by providing shuttle services during the Coachella and Sundance Music and Arts Festivals and $562,000 for local cities to build alternative fuel stations, purchase alternative fuel vehicles and mobile hydrogen refueling stations. Currently, I’m working on another $250,000 in funding to set up bike share programs.

Thanks to my lobbying as Chair of the RCTC and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments Transportation Committee, rail service from the Valley to Los Angeles will be included in the new State Rail Plan with an initial $400,000 in development planning and $4.2 million in the coming fiscal year for the project.

This week, I will become President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SVAG), elected by my peers all throughout Southern California, giving the Valley a powerful voice in the growth, planning and economic development of our region. Since being on its Board, over $1 million has come to the valley for transportation, land use and environmental planning.

And of course this doesn’t even touch on programs brought to Cathedral City like Healing Field, honoring our war dead, prescription drug discount programs, 3rd Grade Literacy efforts or the millions in dollars to offset the high cost of sewer connections in the Cove, Dream Homes and 35th Avenue neighborhoods.

Yes, it is true that my personal fortunes have taken a hit during this recession, and Id like to believe that these hard times make me a better steward of public dollars and more in tune with the difficulties that families across our region have suffered during the worst recession of our lifetimes. I take full responsibility for my own financial shortcomings, but let me be clear: they do NOT include a failure to follow procedure and reimburse the city.

The reporter found no evidence that the city hadn’t properly been reimbursed, so resorted to a sensationalist headline backed up by invective from political opponents with whom I’ve had many policy disagreements with over the years.

The credit card in question has never been used for anything other than city expenses. Cathedral City’s City Manager was quoted as saying, I don’t believe Councilman Pettis has misused his credit card.

As for shamelessly blaming my travel for police and fire department cuts, it should be noted that I’ve been endorsed by the rank and file of both of those organizations repeatedly in my elections to the City Council and the amount of travel taken over the last five years wouldn’t even equal the salary and benefits of one officer during this period of time.

While I applaud good investigative journalism, its a sad truth that sloppy tabloid news like the story some of you read yesterday keeps many good people from running for elected office. While stories like this one won’t keep me away from my duties, I hope it won’t deter any of you who believe public service is an honorable profession.

Greg Pettis


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