News Party Lines

Clearing the Flores hurdle

Express-News reporter Greg Jefferson didn't apologize to community activist Graciela Sanchez over his unfortunate labeling of her and others who recently protested the latest PGA taxing district scam as "communist activists."

Instead, Jefferson reportedly told her it was an error caused by "spell check." It's puzzling how this could be a spell-check error, since he correctly spelled the word "communist" in the report he filed a few weeks ago.

Sanchez said she never saw an official apology in San Antonio's daily newspaper; apparently it has been too busy patting itself on the back for interfering in the mayoral election to get its candidate, Phil Hardberger, elected.

District 7 Councilman Julián Castro, who campaigned unsuccessfully against the Express-News and Hardberger in the mayor's race, reported last week that he had received an e-mail informing him that H.B. Zachry executive Ken Wolf had resigned. Wolf was credited with calling the East Side neighborhood near the SBC Center a "ghetto," in an e-mail he had sent out to residents, urging them to vote for Hardberger. `See "The world is a ghetto," June 2-8, 2005 and "Greetings from the ghetto!" June 16-22, 2005.`

Sometimes there is justice in the world. East Side residents do not believe they live in a ghetto and they were offended by the reference.

Another case of interference was settled on June 9 when City Council voted 9-2 to appoint Eigenio Rodriguez to the City Zoning Commission. Last month, in an unprecedented move District 1 Councilman Roger Flores Jr. blocked District 5 Councilwoman Patti Radle's choice of Rodriguez as a commission appointee. `See "Objections Over Objectivity," May 19-25, 2005.`

Flores said Rodriguez could not be "objective" in light of his opposition to PGA Village and his frequent lectures to the City Council concerning the dangers of unchecked residential and commercial development over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

It's not the first time Flores has criticized Radle. He snapped at her during a council meeting while discussing how to spend Empowerment Zone bonds to finance the Convention Center Hotel debacle. All Radle did was ask how much of that $230 million could be set aside for projects on the West and East sides.

A whole squad of alleged "communist activists" descended on Council last week to support Radle's choice. She resubmitted his name to Council since there were some new faces on the dais. District 4 Councilman Richard Perez voted with Flores against Radle's choice. But since all 11 Councilmembers were present, the measure passed after several citizens spoke on Rodriguez' behalf.

St. Mary's University law professor Amy Kastely said she was honored to know Rodriguez and cited his integrity. She pointed out that he had supported VIA's Advanced Transportation District proposal even though some of the new roads would be built over the Recharge Zone.

Former District 1 Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal, who for decades has championed preserving land over the city's sole source of drinking water, pointed out that Rodriguez "is an excellent researcher ... and a great asset to the community."

Meanwhile, Rodriguez sat quietly in a seat at the rear of the Council chamber.

Several citizens, and Planning Director Emil Moncivais, lined up to shake his hand after Council voted him onto the Zoning Commission.

But before she used up her time at the podium, Graciela Sanchez suggested that Flores' has aligned himself with people who can fill his campaign pocketbook. "Eigenio was singled out by developers who support you and who want the City Council controlled by an aggressive development agenda," she said.

District 5 residents also supported Rodriguez and told Flores to mind his own business, preferably in his own district.

By Michael Cary


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