Perez abuses his power as MPO Chair and as City Councilman to get road repairs for his own neighborhood

Read about Perez’ abuse of his influence here. Richard Perez is not only Councilman for District 4, but also Chair of the MPO. He’s been the poster boy for the toll lobby at public meetings and everywhere he can get in front of a camera. Guess this is one of his “perks” for selling out his southside district who will be priced off our freeways due to tolls.

South Side trip uncovers proof of wasteful City Hall priorities
By Roddy Stinson
San Antonio Express-News
07/13/2006

Tuesday afternoon, I drove to the South Side to verify information left on my telephone recorder by a couple of angry residents of District 4.

Their beef:

In the neighborhood where District 4 Councilman Richard Perez lives, five streets were recently repaved and curbs were repaired even though other streets in the area are in worse shape and many have neither curbs nor sidewalks.

“I guess you have to live next door to a councilman to get your street fixed,” one of the callers grumbled. “Those streets weren’t as bad as mine!”

I decided to go see for myself.

What I found strengthened my conviction that the priorities of San Antonio City Hallers are totally screwed up.

Before I explain in ranting detail, let me dispose of the complaint that sent me to District 4:

The streets/curbs in Councilman Perez’s neighborhood have, indeed, been recently paved/repaired. (As a matter of professional courtesy and personal concern for the safety of the councilman and his family, I am not providing the specific location of the Perez home.)

In an e-mailed response to an inquiry about the street-improvement project, the councilman said:

“I struggled greatly with leaving the streets in this year’s street-paving program because I was afraid … someone would complain that my street was getting preferential treatment by virtue of my City Council status.

“I made the decision that it would not be fair for all of the individuals in my neighborhood to suffer with the deplorable condition of the streets. …

“The streets in question had not been repaved or received maintenance for over 20 years.”

Because one of the complaints mentioned the lack of sidewalks in the area, the councilman added:

“… there is a need for sidewalks throughout the district. Annually, the city allocates a small number of dollars for sidewalks per City Council district. While I would love to install sidewalks throughout the entire district, economically speaking it is not feasible.”

Baloney.

Anyone who has followed this column’s repeated bashing of wasteful mayoral/council spending knows that “economically speaking,” providing sidewalks for the entire community is ENTIRELY FEASIBLE.

All that’s lacking is political will and compassionate concern.

Which brings me to the four children I saw Tuesday afternoon walking toward Gillette Elementary School on the shoulder of Gillette Boulevard, a foot or two from traffic, because the street has no sidewalk.

(The entire two-mile “boulevard” is dangerous for pedestrians except for about 100 yards of sidewalk in front of the school.)

Nearby, Mally Boulevard and Villaret Boulevard are virtually without curbs and sidewalks — including two blocks of Villaret alongside Palo Alto College!

As the mention of Palo Alto implies … this is not a slummy area. There are dozens upon dozens of working-class and middle-class homes.

If you don’t believe me, take a few minutes to drive to the area and look around.

(Go south on I-35, take the Zarzamora Street exit, turn left on Zarzamora and drive about a mile and a half to the first of three east/west arteries — Gillette, Mally and Villaret.)

You will leave the area shaking your head with disbelief that city officials could in good conscience spend tens of millions of dollars on stray animals, homeless vagrants, Alamodome luxury suites and Main Plaza prettying up while a myriad of San Antonio children risk their lives daily to walk from their homes to … anywhere.

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