Sunday, September 6, 2015

Update: What ever happened the $Millions from the sale of the Laredo Civic Center ?

Update on the post below: The Civic center was actually sold by the city of Laredo for $16 million. This as reported by the Laredo Morning Times on September 11, 2013.

Update : Also, I just wanted to point out the Texas law that states that any proceeds from the sale of public property must be used for similar purpose. As a matter of fact, City of Laredo assistant attorney Ms. Hale read the following law aloud to the city council, verbatim during their September 11, 2013 special-called meeting. Texas local government code Chapter 253.D states as follows: The proceeds of the sale may be used only to acquire and improve property for the purposes for which the sold property was used.

A couple of years ago, the City of Laredo sold the Laredo Civic center to the Laredo Independent School District. The sale was for a figure of approximately $15 million. By state law, those funds had to be used for for a specific purpose. The proceeds had to go for essentially replacing the sold facilities. Anything the city did with the money had to be for the purpose of "community". That could be for building a place where the community could congregate and hold a wide range of activities.

The immediate promise coming from the city council was that the money was going to be used to build a convention center near the new outlet mall. Another idea was to build a sports complex which the entire community could use.

Fast forward a couple of years: The proposed TAMIU sports complex is being funded by a bond which the taxpayers voted to approve (this includes the natatorium). The idea of building a convention center near downtown was apparently completely dropped.

So, I ask once again: What ever happened to the millions of dollars that the City of Laredo received from the sale of the Civic Center?

City of Laredo officials get rich on back of poor

Recently appointed city manager Jesus Olivares heads the pack of City of Laredo "officials" who are making exorbitant salaries on the backs of Laredo taxpayers. Keep in mind that nearly 35 per cent of Laredo's population is impoverished.  Another way of looking at that is that 1/3 of the salaries for these Fat Cats come from people who live in poverty. Not bad. I was going to pose the rhetorical queston: Do they have no shame? But we all know the answer to that- NO.

Many Laredoans had a big problem with then-city manager Carlos Villarreal making $242,000 a year. After eight years on the job, he was able to get the city council to award him that kind of a very generous salary. That was nothing compared to the current city manager Jesus Olivares who came into office and immediately got what Carlos Villarreal took eight long years to reach- $242,000 a year.

Now, if that doesn't make you Laredo Proud, I don''t know what will.  Incidentally, the city manager has already started dropping hints that our property taxes might need to raised again next year in order to continue paying for this type of reckless spending.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

City Council Shenanigans

The only thing that was done right in regards to Wednesday's specially-called City of Laredo council meeting was that Mayor Pete Saenz said that the council should have waited to vote on the selection of the "new" city manager.  Everything else was "pretty much" business as usual. At the present time, "business as usual" in Laredo politics means it was done the wrong way.

A couple of months ago, councilman Rangel lead the move to oust then city manager Carlos Villarreal.  They could not get him out of there fast enough. Ultimately, Rangel's move cost the city over $600,000.  Co-incidentally, it was Rangel who led the move to install Chuy Olivares as the new city manager, even though for all practical purposes, Olivares serves as Carlos Villarreals right hand man for the last 8 years?

The council got the pay wrong as well. It took Carlos Villarreal 8 years to get to the obviously extravagant salary of $242,000 a year. Olivares starts at that same salary on the very first day on the job. It does not appear that our city council knows the meaning of fiduciary responsibility.