Perez stages a coup at the MPO
Gets himself re-appointed AFTER he’s OUT OF OFFICE!
In a raw abuse of power, using a blatant power grab accompanied by his lame duck term limited out councilmembers voted to turn law and order upside down on their way out of office, when soon-to-be ex-Councilman Richard Perez, who is chief toller and foot soldier of BIG MONEY and toll interests, made “sleazy politician” an honorable term compared with his smarmy tactics today. The vote was 11-2 in favor of BREAKING THE LAW with Perez presiding over a vote for which he stands to benefit in yet another colossal conflict of interest. We quoted FEDERAL LAW in our public comments to demonstrate this power grab violates the law that created MPOs, but Perez scarcely blinked before plowing it through.
However, not before Councilman Art Hall, Mayor of Windcrest Jack Leonhardt, and Councilman Chip Haass pontificated on how it was necessary to BREAK THE LAW to appoint “alternate members” to replace the new councilmembers who will serve on the Board, and called their lawless deed “flexibility.” One hundred percent of the public testimony was AGAINST replacing ELECTED city councilmembers with APPOINTED “alternates” (ie – Richard Perez), the law prohibits such an action, and yet this renegade MPO Board already facing one lawsuit by the PEOPLE voted to continue to thwart the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
Haass insulted the incoming councilmembers stating they can’t possibly be up to speed fast enough to be relevant on the MPO Board. He vowed the four councilmembers currently serving (all on their way out of office) would do far better than anyone coming into office. That so, Mr. Haass? No one can match the current councilmembers’ knowledge, eh? Not sure what knowledge they’d be matching since YOU NEVER SHOWED UP unless it was to vote AGAINST THE PEOPLE and FOR TOLL interests. Same with Art Hall, same with many former legislators who served on the MPO. The composition of the Board changes more often than the weather does, but they opined that they need to break the LAW so the current councilmembers get a chance to serve on this vital Board even after their terms in office are up.
The City Council has smooth transitions of power every two years and the MPO has survived, yet suddenly these lame duck politicians (under the guise of the Mayor’s concern he can’t fill the vacancies with the new councilmembers for 2 months) feel there’s an urgent need to re-write the rules. We know why, and it’s NOT about term limits or anything other than the tollers fearing the worst…Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, the PEOPLE’S commissioner, becoming Chairman. So crooked politicians dispense with the rule of law when the law no longer suits their agenda of making us pay homage to use (to the vast road lobby present today) freeways we’ve already built and paid for.
Commissioner Adkisson was the ONLY one present to put up a fight, even past allies, like Melissa Castro Killen of Via and Councilwoman Elena Guajardo (who we endorsed) voted against us. New members like the new Via Board member Ruby Perez (who replaced Syd Ordway that Transportation Commissioner Hope Andrade kicked off the Board in retribution for voting with us ) voted against the PEOPLE. (Read more here).
Getting the feeling that NOTHING SHORT OF LEGAL ACTION and a VOTER REVOLT will change the MPO? This self-appointed oligarchy will be cleansed and set straight one way or the other. Adkisson stood firm, called it what it was, took offense to this rush to adopt new bylaws without a month to study it (they tabled his motion to put off such a decision for one month even though no one could answer any questions about the procedure of how they ought to vote to adopt new bylaws, and Perez rejected the Robert Rules of Order that require a month’s notice before adopting new bylaws).
Adkisson reminded them of the MASSIVE public opposition to tolls in this region, the 900 people at the Trans Texas Corridor hearings, and 500-600 at any given hearing on other toll projects, and how more appointees aren’t needed on the Board, rather only elected officials face the voters and they alone are the ones who ought to be voting on decisions of such magnitude. YOU BETCHA! The San Antonio MPO is the ONLY one in Texas where appointees (who don’t answer to the people) outnumber elected officials and the elected officials who are on the Board don’t show up 70% of the time.
We can’t leave the PEOPLE’S Chairman without help as his own County Commissioners did today (Lyle Larson was tending to his ill mother, but Chico Rodriguez left for the vote). Senator Carlos Uresti, who sits on the Board, sent a letter requesting the ability to vote by proxy, and asked the MPO to consider passing a rule to allow it (I suppose Perez would want to insert himself as a proxy when he’s not moonlighting as an “alternate”) in Perez’ effort to pressure the Board into a rule-changing mode on behalf of absent members. A legislator in session in Austin is a far cry from a local councilperson missing a meeting (for what excuse???).
Stay tuned for lots more action on this front…the tollers will whip their puppets known as politicians into place (with an even easier “sell” for appointees) to try and STOP us from insisting on non-toll solutions on 281/1604 and elsewhere.