Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Political Grudges

I have a business friend who refuses to join a chamber of commerce because she sees them as an adult version of High School. It's all for show and popularity, or so I am told. I was in the Mission Chamber of Commerce for a while, so I know that this is partly true. Overall, though, chambers have useful functions that are difficult to impart on a mindset like that. The opinion carries over to politics as well. Only the popular kids do it; and, they do everything to look good and be more popular. Of course, politicians have uses.

Sometimes, in this rarified air of popularity contests, you will see cliques form and do some of the most vicious things to those out of favor. In today's paper, we are seeing the reinstatement of Irma Elizondo as Place 6 Commissioner in Pharr, Tx. The story is generally that Pharr Mayor Leo "Polo" Palacios did not like Irma Elizondo, so he and former city attorney Michael Pruneda orchestrated her removal. They essentially coached a local contractor to sue the city to have Elizondo removed because of a conflict of interest between her business, a bakery, and the city. Most politicians, in my observation, are successful business people of some sort who can make a crapload of money to support the popularity contest. As long as an elected official does not vote on issues where the conflict of interest is, there should be no problem. Going back to the story, the person bringing the lawsuit has since confessed to being used by the Mayor and his buddies. Now that it is out in the open, commissioners who sided with the Mayor in ousting Elizondo are changing their opinion.

Here is the full story: http://www.themonitor.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=9261&Section=Local

I have no problem with politicians being in business. I don't think that a 9 to 5er can afford to be a politician. You need a lot of money, free time, and connections to get elected. Most working stiffs don't have any of those. On top of that is the fear of public speaking and the possible humiliation of defeat. Politicians are a special breed that manage to be the popular kids and have talents.

What is really disturbing is seeing officials abuse theirpopularity and positions to carry out personal agendas. That is not right. Hopefully, next election will see Palacios ousted. I'm not from Pharr. Simply, the Rio Grande Valley does not need that type of person in office.
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