Greg Pettis, Cathedral City Mayor, dead at 63

Cathedral City Mayor Greg Pettis has died at the age of 63.

The City announced the news on Facebook Tuesday (full statement below). Pettis was the longest serving member of the City Council in Cathedral City, having first been elected in 1994, and also the first openly gay public servant in the history of the city.

Full statement from the city of Cathedral City:

It is with devastating sadness that the City of Cathedral City has learned of the passing of the Honorable Mayor Gregory Pettis, age 63. Elected in 1994, Mayor Pettis was the longest serving member of the City Council and the first openly gay public servant in the City’s history.

Mayor Pettis will be remembered for his progressive legislative ideas, supporting civil rights and social justice for all people, and at the same time, working hard to bring economic development to the city he loved to call home since 1979.

A fierce advocate for his constituents, Mayor Pettis has a long record of legislative accomplishments including creating a first-time homebuyer program, building Safe Routes to Schools, collaborating with the police department and social services for helping those addicted to drugs, and fostering some of the best jewels found throughout the city including the public library, City Hall, Fountain of Life, Senior Center, CV Link, Dennis Keat Soccer Fields, and Big League Dreams Sports Park.

Mayor Pettis celebrated and honored our diverse city by founding the Healing Field Program at Patriot Park that honors our fallen soldiers, advocated for the LGBT Veterans Memorial at Desert Memorial Park, raised the first Rainbow Flag at City Hall during Cathedral City LGBT Days, and promoted and voted for Cathedral City’s “sanctuary city” status. Mayor Pettis also founded Cathedral City’s Sister City Program with the Mexican city of Tequila, Jalisco and helped launched the annual Taste of Jalisco Festival. He also worked to establish the Cathedral City Gay Business Association to foster and support gay-owned and gay-friendly companies.

When it came to economic development, Mayor Pettis played a major role in turning the City’s downtown corridor into an Arts and Entertainment District, helping to secure more than $100 million in public improvement projects for roads and bridges, advocating for passenger rail transportation in the Coachella Valley, and generating revenue through the development of the emerging cannabis industry, which has allowed Cathedral City to increase its public safety by hiring more police officers and firefighter/paramedics.

Professionally, Mayor Pettis was a dedicated commercial realtor. Within the community he has served as the executive director of the Palm Springs Youth Center, President of Cathedral City’s Evening Rotary Club and Desert Business Association, as well as served as a board member for United Cerebral Palsy of the Desert and the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy.

Greg received a Bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Phoenix, and certification in the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.