Mayoral Candidate Adam Sanchez has been Ordered to Cease Referring to Himself as Mayor
DESERT HOT SPRINGS — Adam Sanchez Sr. has been ordered to “cease and desist all actions allowing persons to believe that (he is) the current mayor of the City.” He says it’s all dirty politics and “corruption” because he is challenging the incumbent – Mayor Scott Matas in the Nov. 3 election.
“City Hall and Matas created this scenario to hurt my campaign and then shared it with their friends to spread a false lie,” Sanchez told Uken Report. “It’s evident City Hall and the Matas campaign conspired to shame my campaign while allowing one of their own slate members (Jessica) Gilbert to get away without receiving a letter from the City Attorney to cease and desist. It was done to me for political purposes to hurt me. It was leaked out from City Hall by one of the five Council members and sent to the local Neighborhoods Groups page to shame me online.”
The mayor said he was not notified that such a letter was being drafted or delivered.
You may read the attorney’s letter here.
“He has the right to his opinions,” Matas told Uken Report. “I have not witnessed any corruption at City Hall. Political seasons are tough for city administrations as they are usually (a target) of uneducated or empty-promise candidates. Mr. Sanchez speaks boldly of corruption at City Hall but fails to remember while he was in office, he voted for (a) cannabis policy and awarded the first three dispensary licenses. Weeks later he was employed by one of those cannabis dispensaries and continues to state that he is employed by this dispensary when in fact they have lost all of their state licenses and have been shut down for months. His campaign promise is to lower the cannabis tax to $3 a square foot, losing millions in revenue collected by the cannabis industry, but fails to state that if he was elected, he would not be able to vote on cannabis-related issues due to his employment in the cannabis industry. The state has tightened its laws and regulations and he would not get away with it this time. “
Sanchez alleges he is being treated differently from another candidate running for City Council – Jessica Gilbert – because Gilbert is part of a Matas “slate.”
Sanchez said he received an order from the city attorney while Gilbert received an email from the assistant city manager for allegedly doing something similar,
You may read the correspondence to Gilbert here.
According to city officials, the fracas started on Aug. 27, 2020 when the City Manager’s Office was verbally notified by lifeguard staff at the John Furbee Aquatic Center that candidate Adam Sanchez and his associate approached the front window of the Aquatic Center. The associate stated that he was there with the Mayor and requested access for “the Mayor” to take photos.
The Lifeguard could only physically see the associate of Adam Sanchez at the time due to the line of sight and allowed access. Once in the Aquatic Center the lifeguards noticed that it was Adam Sanchez that was in the Aquatic Center taking photos and filming, not the current Mayor, Scott Matas. The lifeguard approached Sanchez and his associate and asked them what they were filming. The assistant again stated that he was with the Mayor. The Lifeguard then indicated that while Sanchez was running for Mayor in the current election, he was in fact not the current Mayor and would need to halt filming.
The exchange prompted the Cease and Desist letter being sent to Candidate Adam Sanchez. Per Election Code 18350, it is illegal/unlawful for anyone to assume, pretend, or imply by statements, conduct, or campaign material, of being and incumbent or acting as a public officer when that is not the case.
In the case of Candidate Jessica Gilbert, the city received a complaint that a campaign video was filmed at the Senior Center, which is a city-owned building. The complainant also referenced the fact that the city logo, which is displayed on the wall and rug at the Senior Center, was also shown in the film. While this video was a violation of city policy, it was not illegal or unlawful. It is for that reason that Candidate Gilbert was notified via phone and email that the video would need to be taken down immediately, according to city officials. Also, for further clarification, Candidate Gilbert did not interview a City Staff person in her video, she interviewed an employee of Mizel Senior Center.
“The City of Desert Hot Springs takes great strides to ensure all candidates in the local election are treated fairly,” Doria Wilms, assistant City Manager told Uken Report. “When an issue and or concern is brought to our attention notifications and correspondences are sent to candidates based on the specific circumstances and severity, not based on who the candidate is. The situations involving Candidate Adam Sanchez and Candidate Jessica Gilbert were very different situations. One violated the Elections Code, which is illegal/unlawful and was sent a Cease and Desist letter. The other violated a city policy and was notified via phone and email of the violation and was asked to remove their video. We will continue to ensure fairness to all candidates, just as we’ve always done.”
Matas said, “The difference in these situations is that Mr. Sanchez has run for some sort of office over 10 times (only been elected twice) and knows the rules. I believe that the city staff probably feel intimidated by Mr. Sanchez due to his continued bad-mouthing of the staff and city in general. So only speculating, but maybe the City Manager felt this was the only way of communicating with Mr. Sanchez. First-time council candidates make mistakes all the time and contacting them by phone or email usually fixes the issue.”
Sanchez said his friends frequently refer to him as “the mayor.”
- Adam Sanchez Sr.: Adam Sanchez Sr.
- Scott Matas: Scott Matas
- Desert Hot Springs: Shutterstock