Perez’s support for cannabis now has him at cross purposes with his colleagues

As the Indio City Council approved the city’s first cannabis dispensaries in July, Councilors received support from an unlikely suspect —College of the Desert Area 1 Trustee Rubén Pérez. His support has gotten him into hot water with some of his fellow trustees with one even demanding an apology.

Turns out neither the Board nor the District has taken any official stance on Embarc, the cannabis retail business. So, did Pérez lobby for it so vigorously?

“When individual trustees take a political stance on a particular issue or topic that has not been approved by the Board as a whole, they must do their due diligence in making it very clear to the public that the support is his/her opinion only and not the stance of the institution,” Trustee Joel Kinnamon told Uken Report. “Trustee Rubén Pérez does not have the right to claim that College of the Desert, a government institution, supports one business over many other businesses, especially when they are all competing for a coveted and limited selection to receive a potentially lucrative city license to operate a cannabis retail operation. I hope our legal counsel will review the matter to make sure that Trustee Pérez has not exposed College of the Desert to any legal action and his public comments can be corrected. Regardless, he owes the college, his fellow trustees, and his constituents an apology for the misrepresentation.”

Pérez emailed his comments to the city clerk in advance of the special July 26 City Council meeting and did not speak at the public meeting. His comments are part of the city’s official record. His comments were written on plain, white paper, not College letterhead.

He seems, however, to speak on behalf of the College. Read his entire comments in the link provided.

Pérez did not return two requests for comment.

Trustee Ron Oden told Uken Report that, “First of all, this Embarc situation is new information to me.”

Last week, Oden said he attended a new Trustee orientation in Washington, D.C., where trustees discussed cultural lag in policy development on most College boards. There was a lot of discussion on ethics, but most of it centered on technology advancements.

“At this time all I can say is that the board does not have a policy and that I will bring this issue up in our meeting on Friday,” Oden said.

Chair, Bonnie Stefan did not return two requests for comment.

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