Tuesday, January 10, 2017


(Following the indictment of former Cameron County Judge (and current executive officer of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority) Pete Sepulveda for working on Freddie Gomez Road, a private drive, some readers sent us stories dealing with similar situations in surrounding cities. This one concerns Roberts Drive, a "temporary" easement along a Resaca. Now a debate has erupted on whether San Benito can legally spend money fixing the road.)

By Fernando del Valle
Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO — For about 30 years, San Benito residents dodged deep potholes along a dirt track running along a resaca.
Like other property owners there, Tony Rodriguez drove his pickup truck “real slow” along Roberts Drive, a dirt strip in land owned by the San Benito irrigation district.

But that stretch is their sole access to Sam Houston Boulevard and the outside world.
“The big, old potholes seemed about four feet deep,” Rodriguez said. “When it rained, it was worse. But it’s the only way in and out.”

Then last month, about eight homeowners asked the city to help fix the road, raising money for part of the job. This week, road conditions finally changed after city crews graded and poured caliche along the 1,000-foot stretch that is about 14 feet wide.

City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said he agreed to the work because the city failed to provide the Roberts Drive area with an access road decades earlier.
But City Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez questions “the legality” of the project. De La Rosa used taxpayer money to fix a road that doesn’t belong to the city, the commissioner said.
A long history surrounds the Roberts Drive area. The land on which Roberts Drive is located really belongs to the San Benito irrigation district, said Sonia Lambert, the district’s general manager.
But Roberts Drive “is not a road,” Lambert said. Instead, it’s a “temporary easement.”

About 30 years ago, Lambert said, the district granted a property owner’s request for the easement that ran along the resaca.
As years went by, more homes were built in the area. And as more homeowners drove across Roberts Drive, the potholes grew deeper, Tony Rodriguez said. Soon, he said, ambulances couldn’t adequately respond to medical emergencies.
If the city helped fix the road, the neighbors would buy the materials for the job, Rodriguez told De La Rosa.

“Driving in and out on Roberts Drive is very much like driving through an obstacle course,” wrote Tony Rodriguez, a realtor, in a Dec. 7 letter to De La Rosa. “It’s not only hard on our vehicles but it’s also a safety hazard because emergency vehicles will have a very difficult time getting to their destination on time.”
De La Rosa agreed to do the work.

“The city created a problem decades ago,” De La Rosa said.
Decades ago, he said, the city approved a subdivision plan, providing no public access to the area.
“The people are landlocked. They are taxpayers located in the city limits,” De La Rosa said. “The city did not take adequate measures to make sure they had access.”

To help fund the project, Rodriguez and about seven area homeowners raised $3,579 to buy caliche and hot mix.
From Tuesday to Thursday, city crews worked to grade Roberts Road and then poured caliche. When the job was done, the city had spent $1,315 on manpower and $3,579 on equipment, De La Rosa said.

But Esteban Rodriguez believes De La Rosa misused city workers and machinery to fix the road.
“We have no business doing that road,” Esteban Rodriguez said. “Why should we do a street that doesn’t belong to the city? We cannot use city material, personnel and machines.”

To read the rest of the article, click on link:


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The commissioner is right, I think the San Benito city manager is on borrowed time, he, like Sepulveda, should have consulted with commission for approval. When will these people learn, procedures are in place for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Time to chop some heads in San Benito!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The City Manager had the blessing of the Mayor. The road is an easement and does not belong to the City period. He only lasts one year on the previous five jobs. Twenty-five years in PA and doesn't have a Masters. Really

Anonymous said...

or go for Michael Galvan from the SAn Benito Police Department for committing perjury and being dishonest while employed for the city of san benito. city policy states that any dishonesty from personnel should be terminated!! not given chances!! That's a NO-Integrity CHief if you ask me AL!!


POINT #1: The key words on this newspaper article are “temporary easement”, owned by the Irrigation District and granted to the homeowners as an entry/exit to a landlocked area as pointed out by Ms. Sonia Lambert, the district’s general manager. This is not a city street or road on the street/road repair plan because it is not a “street or road”.

POINT #2: These residents have been paying property taxes for 30 years. A portion of those property taxes go into the “special fund for street repairs”. They are entitled to benefit from that street fund.

POINT #3: There is a reason why Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez is the only public vocal opponent to this benefit owed to the taxpayers. An “ulterior motive” exists. Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez and another City Commissioner have been opposed to the hiring of City Manager Manuel De La Rosa from the very beginning. They voted against hiring Mr. De La Rosa. Their preference for filling the open City Manager position was the promotion of the acting City Manager to City Manager

Mr. De La Rosa was hired and offered a “one year contract”, which I considered an insult to an applicant with 28 years of municipal experience. At the 6th month evaluation, the majority were again impressed with Mr. De La Rosa’s management experience and rewarded him with a $5,000 raise and a “three year contract extension”. Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez reason for voting against the motion was his belief that a six-month evaluation period was not enough time for him

At the December 20 City Commission Regular Meeting, EXECUTIVE SESSION Agenda Item 17-E, Mr. Manuel De La Rosa was again rated and evaluated by the City Commission. ABSENT to the “REGULARLY SCHEDULED in advance” were City Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez and the other City Commissioner opposed to Mr. De La Rosa’s hiring

City Manager Mr. De La Rosa was given a three-year contract extension and a second $5,000 salary increase.

POINT #4: I find it ironic that Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez is concerned about a ONE-TIME $5,000 expense in helping taxpayers with access to their homes.

In the fall of 2015, the acting City Manager decided without City Commission approval or knowledge to award promotions to three city employees and salary increases to three other employees. Those three employees promoted were given salary PERCENTAGE increases of 27.53%, 25.08%, and 22.19%. The other three city employees received salary increases of 25.95%, 25.64%, and 10.56%. Also, these were not low-level employees. Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez and the other Commissioner were opposed to the acting City Manager being reprimnanded for the unapproved move.

Low-level employees received City Commission approval for a 2% increase two months later.

The totality of these salary expense moves by the acting City Manager added to a whole lot more than the one-time $5,000 expense Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez is now concerned about.

El Freddy Fender said...

pave that road folks!!!

Anonymous said...

REDACA CITY BOMBER u bring up a very good point. But u forgot to mention the city Mayor was the deciding vote and voted no reprimand Also along with commissioner T. Gonzalez. It looks like San bene needs a complete overhaul.

chief cool arrow said...

there were many more applicants last time for the city managers job with masters degrees and experience etc., some local applicants with the experience and education but no-city opt for this de la rosa guy from Austin, where he lives on the weekends, so who minds the store on the weekends? no one ah yes there is the asst city manager who also applied but was not hired, hmm sounds like a dog n pony show or nothing more than smoke and mirros-you see my point? Guess that's what the city commissioners and mayor wanted, like they say you get what you pay for. cca


To: anonymous who commented on January 12, 2017 at 2:12 PM

Respectfully, you are incorrect. Looking through the city web site (Agendas/Minutes) and a phone call to City Hall, there has never been an agenda item or motion to reprimand the Acting City Manager

The tie-breaker vote by the Mayor that you are referring to was NOT a motion to REPRIMAND. The motions were to ratify the salary increases given by the Acting City Manager and to award the other employees a 2.5% increase. This was done to make them legal since they were done without the Commission approval. Mayor Sanchez had no choice but to vote yes to ratify the salary actions. It was a legal maneuver.

BTW, Commissioner Tony Gonzalez voted FOR ratification. He has always been a big supporter of the Acting City Manager. Check out Agenda Items #24 and 25 on the Agenda minutes of City Commission Regular Meeting of February 2, 2016

Per my source, Commissioners Esteban Rodriguez and Tony Gonzalez were against an agenda item for reprimanding the Acting City Manager.

Anonymous said...

And galvan has recordings on everyone, that's how he is the chief of police right now. And that's why the city manager doesn't touch him. Looks like a lowdown-Scumbag chief to me!
But galvan did learn about recordings since and officer that recorded him caught him being dishonest on police reports. Lol!! Remember Michael when the attorneys caught you lying under oath at that arbitration involving Escobedo? Liar! Liar! Liar!

Anonymous said...

So if chief GALVAN lied under oath and it was proven why did he not get arrested ? He broke the cardinal rule honesty,how can he be trusted he is no longer fit to be a police officer much less a police chief. No wonder many OFFICER'S are leaving. What a shame.