Cathedral City's Greg Pettis Target of Desert Sun Witchhunt

Summary:  The Desert Sun
produces yet another Witchhunt birdcage liner to fill space in the
newspaper’s Sunday edition. Cathedral City councilmember Greg Pettis is
their target (again) and the story is long, boring, inaccurate and
filled with innuendo designed to convince the reader actual wrongdoing
has occurred. The paper fails in their objective to convince and all
that’s left are the remains of a dead tree ready for recycling.

 Cathedral City‘s Greg Pettis Target of Desert Sun Witchhunt

 Palm Springs, California. The Witchhunt reporters over at The Desert Sun
newspaper last took serious aim at Cathedral City councilmember Greg
Pettis in 2008. In that year he ran for the open Assembly District seat
in the Democratic Primary against Manuel Perez. The newspaper’s staff
showed themselves supportive of Perez. Their reporter working alongside
the Pettis campaign was caught passing along confidential information to
a source in the Perez campaign. The paper’s political reporter was
caught assisting an individual in the production of a nasty anti-Pettis
website. Nothing complimentary of Pettis appeared in the newspaper’s
reports during that period.

Today (Sunday, April 28th) the paper’s Witchhunt reporters have again turned their sights on councilmember Pettis. In a “Cathedral City councilman spent $92K on city-backed credit card
story the reporter throws in a huge package of unrelated bits of
information that fail to connect and only serve to give the appearance
of a credible article – it’s not! It claims to be about credit card
travel and lodging costs related to his unpaid service as an
intra-governmental associations representative of the community. The
newspaper reporter appears to believe Pettis should bear all expenses related to his unpaid public services,
in addition to those as a councilmember, representing his city and the
valley. Definitely another creative “public servant” definition.

Councilman Greg Pettis belongs to the Southern California Association
of Governments (SCAG), League of California Cities (LOCC), National
League of Cities (NLC), and the Riverside County Transportation
Commission. His memberships require his unpaid attendance at monthly or
annual meetings to which he incurs travel-related expenses on behalf of
the public. Pettis is a Transportation Nut – one who seeks to improve
all forms of transportation and travel modes for the benefit of valley
residents! Whether it be Sunline Transit, passenger train access, bus
routes, bicycle trails, pedestrian walkways or vehicle
roads-streets-highways, Pettis seeks to ensure a valley voice is present
in all official governmental groups working with these issues. One of
his greatest joys in serving as a Cathedral City councilmember is the
platform and opportunity it provides him to speak, lobby, smooze and
wheedle transportation funds and support on behalf of Coachella Valley.
His unpaid services participating in numerous monthly or annual meetings
of SCAG, LOCC, NLC and Riverside County Transportation Commission
require travel related expenses to locations outside the Coachella
Valley. It is these expenses, allegedly totaling over $92,000 over a
five year period that The Desert Sun uses as justification for their current Witchhunt article aimed at Pettis.

producing the story the reporter relied on a number of issues that are
clearly unrelated to five years of expenses (paid by official credit
card) starting in 2008. The reporter mentions his 2008 Assembly race and
how many votes his opponent won by; his 2010 personal bankruptcy filing
(complete with photocopies of filing documents); his 2013 Facebook and
Twitter accounts; a bounced company check for a small amount that was
repaid; his upper cove residency, mortgage and home value; and map of
hotel stay locations. None of these gossip-like tidbits have relevancy
to Pettis’ governmental-related travel expenses. They were clearly included for the purpose of defaming Pettis while making the story appear to be credible.
While the reporter may have succeeded in obscuring anything of factual
value it also fails to definitively state that Councilmember Pettis has
done anything wrong. And, since the vast amount of personal time he has
and continues to devote to transportation-related issues on behalf of
the valley remains uncompensated, Pettis should be congratulated and thanks offered for his generosity and dedication to community service.

The Desert Sun is not a big city operation. It’s true they recently won
a number of small newspaper awards, but the realty is they were
competing in a forum similar to primary school grade level. The best and
brightest of their reporters leave for better opportunities at the
first chance and many of the leftovers lack talent. This latest attempt
to smear councilmember Pettis comes as no great surprise. It’s been
written by a relative newcomer with little personal knowledge of the
valley, its communities and the many sins of her employer. She may not
have known that obtaining quotes from former councilmember England and
mayor DeRosa lack value for both are political opponents of Pettis who
assail him at every opportunity.

According to a careful reading of the article, the reporter admits that “Cathedral City is reimbursed for the bulk of the councilman’s travel” and City Manager Andy Hall is quoted as saying “I don’t believe Councilman Pettis has misused his credit card.
These two factual statements should have guided the reporter and served
as warning. It’s hard to write a convincing Witchhunt story when the
truth calls into question the entire premise on which so much is based.

In summary, The Desert Sun newspaper’s “Cathedral City councilman spent $92K on city-backed credit card
story is a poorly researched, inaccurate, mean-spirited, almost hateful
space filler. The newspaper, its editors and the reporter should all be
ashamed – for this offering is more than objectionable – it’s actually

Bond Shands

Desert Political Opinion at

April 28, 2013

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