Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Laredo Politics: El Partido Viejo reinvents itself

El Portal: just one of may ways our current government is mirroring the ways of the Old Party

It took an outsider named Lawrence Berry to put into motion the wheels that would eventually lead to the demise of Laredo's old political machine. "El Partido Viejo" (The Old Party) had governed Laredo since who knows when until Berry and another non-Laredoan, Aldo Tatangelo finally brought some sort of accountability to the Gateway City.

It was Tatangelo's subsequent efforts that would result in major changes such as a comprehensive street-paving program that pulled Laredo out of the 19th century as well as our current system of government. The latter does not seem to signal as much an improvement over the old system as it once did. The current Mayor and his council, as well as the previous Mayorette and her council have systematically given back just about every inch of progress that took so long to achieve.

Mayors Flores and Salinas have reestablished  the reality of entitled public officials. They are, in reality, accountable to no one as they run around the country spending the city's money and working up a bevy of connections that are intended to serve a few privileged interests  back at home.

Consider this:  Mayors Flores and Salinas practically spent enough time in Washington DC to be able to become qualified voters there.  Also, first Flores,and now Salinas, along with the city manager and his army of assistant city mangers and a very willing council have pushed for - and passed one multi-million dollar project after another.  El Portal, the Arena, The $400,000 downtown revitalization joke and most recently the $18 Million not-really-needed baseball park.  In the meantime, look at you water bill.  For years and years, we could rely on our water bills as consistently being between $20 and $30 a month. The only lower bill Laredoans usually had was their gas (Entex) bill which was back then about $15 a month.  Now, water bills of $80, $90 or even over $100 are not anything unusual.

If our city can afford to spend the combined millions of dollars for all the un-necessary and wasteful projects mentioned above, why can't they come up with a funding mechanism (a phrase they love to use) that would make our life-sustaining water supply something that everyone can afford.  This very simple example speaks volumes about the absurdity with which our city and county governments are run, day in and day out.

Nearly 40 years after the liberation of the Gateway City from the grips of the greed and corruption of "El Partido Viejo", we're closer than ever to be right back where we started from.

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