Desert Hot Springs mayor wants ‘to be queen,’ city councilman says during debate

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks (left) and Councilman Adam Sanchez

Desert Hot Springs City Council named its new mayor pro tem Tuesday — but not before one scorned city council member repeatedly vowed that he would no longer sit on any committees the mayor appoints him to because of the decision.

Mayor Yvonne Parks asked the council to approve Councilman Scott Matas as mayor pro tem, a selection that is made at the first meeting of every December at the mayor’s recommendation.

Councilman Adam Sanchez, the newest member of the council and the only one who has not served as mayor pro tem, kicked off a feisty 31-minute debate.

He accused Parks of unnecessarily “driving a wedge” between council members by nominating Matas.

“It’s almost like you just want to be the queen,” he snapped.

Sanchez — who sits on the policy and procedures ad hoc committee, which will present to the council in January — said he would prefer a rotating mayor pro tem position.

He warned that the mayor should never again ask him or any other council member why they couldn’t all get along.

“If that’s the way you’re going to continue to lead this council, you’re leading us down the wrong path, and for us to sit here and have to support this is the wrong thing to do,” Sanchez said. “… I will no longer serve on any committee you appoint me to.”

Parks, who said she followed council policy in choosing Matas, contended Sanchez was only upset because she didn’t select him.

“Why didn’t you bring this up earlier? Why didn’t you say something to me earlier? Why now?” Parks asked Sanchez.

After the heated debate, Matas was approved as mayor pro tem, 3-2. Parks, Matas and Mayor Pro Tem Jan Pye voted for the selection. Sanchez and Councilman Russell Betts dissented.

Meanwhile, later in the nearly five-hour council meeting, the council decided without any discussion to abandon the Wellness and World Music Festival after the city paid $265,000 in taxpayer funds.