Monday, June 19, 2017


Image result for mayor tony martinez speech

Public Hearing and ACTION on FIRST READING on Ordinance Number 2017-1090-G, amending portions of Section 2-26 of the City Code relating to public comment.

By Juan Montoya
It took six years and a lot of protesting, but the movers and shakers at City Hall have been finally convinced – albeit kicking and screaming – to return the city's airwaves to the people and broadcast the public comment section at city meetings.

At Tuesday's City of Brownsville Commission meeting, city attorney Mark Sossi has placed an item on the agenda amending portions of the city code relating to public comment.

You remember Sossi. He was the city contract attorney who justified not broadcasting the public comment section because it would expose the city to liability if anyone was to slander or libel someone. He made that justification after local gadfly Letty Garzoria questioned his farming out of city legal work to a firm with whom he had reached a settlement to pay $167,000 which belonged to the firm and which he had pocketed instead.

Yes. it's the same Sossi who was instructed by incoming Mayor Tony Martinez to draft a code of ethics six years ago which hasn't appeared yet. We're halfway into Martinez's second term and there have been no sightings of the code.

Along the way we have seen Da Mayor discuss in executive session and vote in open meeting the sale of a property that he purchased at a delinquent tax resale and which resulted in him signing it over to himself and which earned him a nice profit when he sold his old office and used it to provide extra parking.

We have also seen a city administration which has turned a blind eye to Fire Chief Carlos Elizondo sitting as a trustee on the board of the Brownsville Independent School District even as the city personnel manual specifically prohibits any "city employee" from holding office in other jurisdictions upon pain of termination.

We have also seen Sossi made a city employee with all the rights and benefits after he was sued for custody and child support by a strip dancer he met at a local gentlemen's club and he got in trouble in a "family" way. At the time he asked to be made a full-time city employee (in January 2017) Sossi promised city commissioners he would work exclusively for the city. About one month later to the day, Sossi inked a  $2,500 a month retainer with the City of Mission.

We'll see if anyone will use the public comment section to remind city-channel viewers of those actions.

The amendment to the ordinance Sossi will introduce for first reading states that:
"An item titled "public comment" shall be included as a numbered item on the regular or special agenda, in such place as may be determined by city commission resolution. The purpose of public comment shall be to provide a limited public forum to allow members of the public to publicly communicate with their elected officials regarding any matter involving the function of city government, city business or city policies but which are not included on the agenda for that meeting."
(Well, it's heartening to see that Sossi has rediscovered that he is a public servant, too.)

In the event the meeting of the City is televised, the public comment section shall be televised in the same manner as the rest of the meeting. This section does not require a public comment section when the meeting is ceremonial or conducted entirely as an executive session. In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, the commission cannot take action on or discuss any subject brought up during "public comment.”

"However, the mayor, or any member of the city commission, may add the issue to a future commission agenda or refer it to the proper city department for action.

Well, it took six years to return the peoples airwaves to the public. Let's see how much longer it takes to come up with a code of ethics or to enforce its personnel policy manual.


Anonymous said...

They always had the opportunity to speak. They were just cut off TV. Our pendejos wanted to be TV stars, juanito. Escrapes!

Anonymous said...

tell ben to fix the streets, juanito!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, idiots!

Anonymous said...

Just like a lawyer to use words to screw up the action or to overwhelm the public. "Public comment" is just that, a public comment. There should be a public comment element to each agenda item presented at that meeting. It should not be a grief session for any government function; or the meeting will never end. Keep public comment to items on that meeting's agenda. Since the members of the commission have an agenda, the public comment should be a part of each agenda item. If a member of the public has an item of concern, the public should be able to go to the City Secretary and add themselves to the agenda....."for consideration of the commission".

Anonymous said...

Ethics, we don't need no stinkin' ethics. We have never had any, so why do we need them now. This it the opinion of Da Mayor, Tony Martinez, and his flunkies in the city government...especially Sossi.

Anonymous said...

Ethics get in the way.