La Quinta council member, Steve Sanchez, is speaking out after being released from the Energy Consumer Advisory Committee for the Imperial Irrigation District or IID. He claims they did this to silence him.
“If you’re watching this, if you’re listening to this, you should be afraid that a government entity is legitimately trying to silence your voice,” he told NBC Palm Springs.
Sanchez says he is disappointed that the IID board let him go, even though the city of La Quinta nominated him.
“A rate increase can happen and we have no say. Infrastructure cannot be funded, and we have no say. There are policies that can happen, bids that go out, and we have no say.”
He says that while he was in EVAC, he advised board members on what was best for the community and acted as the voice of the east valley community.
“We’re the advocates for our residents and the east valley because there is no voting representation. We provide feedback and we if we don’t like something, we’re going to let them know. And that’s the point of a committee. To be a check and balance.”
That’s exactly what he was doing, that is, before he was let go.
“The IID decided to not re-ratify my appointment, which is unprecedented because each city designates who their appointee is.”
Now the question becomes, did the IID give him a reason for not being reinstated?
“A lot of it has to do with my vocalness about having voter representation. They feel that I am a threat to the institution of the IID, which is preposterous.”
60 percent of IID’s electricity customers come directly from the Coachella Valley, and yet, representatives from the area do not have voting power.
“The community should be concerned. They better be concerned. We have absolutely no official voting representation. That is an official taxation without representation and east valley residents should be afraid.”
NBC Palm Springs asked Sanchez whether he wanted to be reinstated and he said that his reinstatement would be a step in the right direction.
“I want to be reinstated. I want my appointment to be ratified. I want them to do the right thing and not silence the voices of east valley residents and the voices of La Quinta residents.”
We reached out to IID and it says that there are no limits to terms and that you have to live within the electric service area to be a part of ECAC. IID also says that councilman Steven Sanchez can be reinstated, he just needs to be appointed by the city of La Quinta and be approved during the IID board meeting.