Monday, July 31, 2017


By Juan Montoya
The move of the Brownsville county justice of the peace offices to their new  offices in the refurbished Wells Fargo Bank at 835 W. Levee is officially on.

The move, announced for well over a year and scheduled for today, was made by at least one JP – JP Precinct 2, Place 3 Mary Esther Sorola. The move by the other two JP's – JP 2-1 Linda Salazar and JP 2-2 Jonathan Gracia, has been delayed and will take place over the next two weeks.

At the last moment and during a meeting last Wednesday, Salazar insisted that filing cabinets exactly like the ones in her old office be constructed by the county's contractor and county maintenance workers. Until then, she said, she it would take an eviction notice to get her to move.

Gracia, on the other hand, pleaded with County Facilities Management Director Danny Villarreal for another week because – despite the months of emails announcing the move – he had scheduled 24 hearings for his court this week. He would have to have his staff call all the defendants in the cases, causing the parties and his staff great inconvenience.

Nineteen of those cases were administrative hearings scheduled by the Department of Public Safety and only five were scheduled by his staff. During the meeting he expressed surprise that he was being asked to prepare to move in today. Is it true then, as his critics contend, that he is rarely in his office and doesn't read his emails?

It appears that only one JP – JP 2-3 Sorola – could organize her office in two days to complete the move.
She and her staff were in her new office at 8 a.m., the time the county had scheduled for the move and the opening of the new facility. The county printing office had already printed and issued them the JPs new business cards.

Workers were also seen working on the drive through that will allow the Cameron County Tax Assessor's Office to do business.

Next door to the JP offices, court bailiffs with Pct. 2 Constable Abel Gomez were moving in to their new office to provide security to the judges.

Some critics have said that Sorola was able to make the move because she has very little business in her court and passes the time doing nothing.
Yet, a review of the Cameron County Justice Courts statistics and collection reports as of June indicate that all three courts handle roughly the same amount of business.
Year-to-Date totals for cases filed in the three Brownsville JP courts from most to least were:

JP 2-3 (Sorola) 5,380
P 2-2 (Gracia) 5,326
JP 2-1 (Salazar) 4,960

In fact, Sorola is leading all 10 Cameron County JPs in cases filed for the year.

An even more interesting statistic is the number of calls under "probate," which includes inquests to declare someone dead (as a floater in the river, etc). Many law enforcement personnel often complain that some JPs do not answer their phones over the weekend when they come across a fatality and need a JP to witness the death and order an autopsy to ascertain the cause of death.

The statistics for May and June indicate that the following JPs answered calls for probate (inquests) in these numbers:

JP 2-3 (Sorola)                  May: 33                   June: 25
JP 2-1 (Salazar)                 May: 7                     June:15
JP 2-2 (Gracia)                  May: 5                     June: 2

Salazar does have a few files that have languished in her office. The Cameron County Auditor has in the past estimated that millions in uncollected fines have accumulated in both Gracia and Salazar's courts. Some in Gracia's office predate his tenure and date back the former tenants – Erin Garcia and the late Tony Torres.

Some county wags have said that Salazar's office will require her secretaries to go to Sams Super Store and buy several industrial-grade shredders to diminish the paperwork, and destroy unwanted cases.

"That's one easy way to get a fresh start." said a county worker. "Why she needs two weeks to get the workers to build new file cabinets to move the files is anybody's guess."


Anonymous said...

Salazar is only concern about doing marriages numbers don't lie ! Now make a report on who does more marriages and you will see how Salazar is dominating the marriage preforming using county personnel on county time pocketing all the cash not reporting to the IRS oh yea and let's not forget the kickback to her pal la county Jerk sylvia Perra GACHA

Anonymous said...

Wow very interesting I will be voting for this beauty and brain. Great job mary Esther

Anonymous said...

Pinche Vieja no mas en Las Vegas la Vieja corriente de Salazar cobrando carro por Los matrmonios no tiene verguenza

Anonymous said...

Damn, Jonathan really doesn't do shit does he?

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Mary Esther!!! Once again, you've got my vote!!!

Anonymous said...

Numbers don't lie.