Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Race for Hidalgo County Judge from Rumbo

I have linked to the Rumbo article about the race for Hidalgo County Judge between Judge Ramon Garcia and J.D. Salinas. Some readers may not be able to read Spanish very well, so I'll roughly translate the article.

The article starts off with an introduction of Judge Ramon Garcia. The Judge states that his success is evident by Hidalgo County's financial state. According to Garcia, the county has had the best budget in 153 years. He goes on to cite the 2003 budget, which was $87 million with a $5.3 million emergency fund. Compare that with this year's budget of $122 million with a $13 million emergency fund.

J. D. Salinas, who quit his post as Hidalgo County Clerk in order to run for Hidalgo County Judge, claims that the county is losing state and federal funds. The article mentions a $6 million loss, but fails to specify what the loss was. In continuation, J.D. has seen the county lose millions of dollars by not spending the state and federal funds.

Garcia counters that he has used available funds and has cut spending to help keep County taxes down.

Salinas wants to increase funding for Hidalgo County's 7 health clinics. The funding would go towards longer hours of operation of the clinics to improve indigent care. The reasoning is that the County's indigent population gets out of work at 5 pm, which is the time the clinic closes. Garcia, on the other hand, states that the county health services have improved over the last three years and that indigent care has doubled.

A thorny issue is J.D. Salinas's creation, the Combined Government Task Force, which combined forces between the county and municipalities to help reduce crime. The program was shut down in December 2005 due to lack of funding. Salinas wants to reinstitute this program.

Judge Garcia states that under his administration, the county has increased its police force by 40% and has a $16 million Juvenile Detention Center to show.

Both candidates agree that the County needs to improve drainage, improve service to colonias, and help prevent possible flooding by restoring our levee system.

Salinas says that he will be a good pick because he would be a full-time County Judge as opposed to Ramon Garcia who is a full-time attorney.

Judge Ramon Garcia brushes that off by stating that he is delivering the results of a full-time County Judge.

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