Saturday, August 20, 2005

Voter Fraud and Corruption Coming to an End

At first glance, it seems that all the recent cases of political corruption in the Rio Grande Valley are a sign of the overall culture being corrupt to some extent. A friend of mine who worked in Brazil for a few years tells me that officials will ask you for their "gratificazion" openly, their bribe. He learned that that is their way of doing business. The way he puts it is, "it's in their mother's milk". That is, they are born to it and is a part of life. After reading about the politiqueras and voter fraud (San Juan elections and McAllen elections), bribes for contracts (PSJA school district and City of Alton), gross mismanagement of a public utility (La Joya Water Supply Corporation), and police protection for drug traffickers (Conrado Cantu), you would think it's in the milk of Rio Grande Valley mothers' milk.

I see all these cases as a sign of the good changes coming to the Rio Grande Valley. What is happening is that our cities and officials are becoming more and more professional in their jobs. We can't get rid of the politics, people will still be unfairly fired or have their contracts expire for being too professional. So, the more stories that come out about this official or that official being caught doing something improper or illegal, the better I feel about our region. The reason for this is that other people are doing their jobs. Auditors are putting in better money controls, agencies are doing a better job of overseeing public services, and prosecutors are increasingly pressured to nail the big guys too.

The end result is that we are getting better people into our elected high offices and unelected posts. At the national level, after a joker like Bill Clinton, the nation felt like electing somebody with set standards who stand by and do what he says. In the RGV, we are electing better officials to replace corrupt ones. This is a good thing. So, rather than look at the news about a new scandal as a bad thing for the Rio Grande Valley, take pride in the fact that we got them and they will no longer bring shame to us or make us feel we don't have a chance.

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