GOODBYE JOHNNY! What a difference a year makes. We wrote last year that Johnny Hernandez kept his seat and now that has changed.
Members of the Santa Ysabel Band of Mission Indians elected a new tribal leader earlier this month, but Chairman Johnny Hernandez has refused to relinquish his power, tribal members say.
Hernandez's refusal is the latest in a series of internal feuds for the North County tribe, whose reservation is located near Lake Henshaw. Tribal members elected Virgil Perez as their new chairman on Nov. 7, two tribal members said.
The tribe also re-elected Vice Chairwoman Brandie Taylor, whom Hernandez tried to fire last year. Perez and Taylor will be sworn in on Dec. 5.
Following the election, Hernandez refused to give the keys to the tribal hall to the new chairman or allow him access to tribal records. Perez and Taylor asked the Intertribal Court of Southern California on Monday to force Hernandez to turn over the keys and abide by the election results.
Hernandez declined to be interviewed. Taylor also declined to comment.
On Wednesday, the tribal court's judge agreed with Perez and Taylor. Judge Anthony Brandenburg authorized them to change the locks on the tribal hall.
"He (Hernandez) is acting like a spoiled child and doesn't want to give up what he has," said June Sortore, one of the tribe's estimated 700 members.