Friday, September 2, 2016

Cameron County Taxpayers Ripped Off by Justices of the Peace and County Judge Pete Sepulveda

Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda
Democracy took a direct hit at last night's grievance committee hearing to discuss raise requests for nine of the ten Cameron County Justices of the Peace. Only Mary Esther Sorola did not ask for more money.

Current County Judge Pete Sepulveda dumped excrement all over democratic principles, also ignoring the precedent followed by his predecessor, Carlos Cascos, by NOT allowing public comment at the grievance hearing. Sepulveda was backed up by court attorney Frank Martinez, who incorrectly claimed that public comment was not a feature of a grievance hearing.

What made the 10% raise request so shameless is the fact that several JPs are currently supplementing their salary by pocketing many thousands of dollars for performing weddings.   According the the chart below, borrowed from Juan Montoya's El Rrun Rrun, ESTIMATES indicate one JP easily DOUBLED her salary by performing weddings.  This was the kind of information Sepulveda did not allow the committee to hear.
JP Jonathan Gracia

With a straight face JP Jonathan Gracia said: "Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but whenever we get a raise, if it does happen, it will be a big deal to us."

The raise shouldn't be a big deal to JP Linda Salazar, who, based on Montoya's chart, may be have made as much as $181,000, when the money made from weddings is added to her salary.

JP Sally Gonzalez, from Harlingen, did not get unanimous approval for her raise and will have to wait for a final decision from the county commissioners.  Gonzalez, a bit of an eccentric, sat behind Nena and I at a similar grievance hearing in 2013.  She could be heard singing to herself the Carly Simon song "Anticipation," although at that meeting her raise was denied.

At that same meeting in 2013, presided over by then County Judge Carlos Cascos, no raises were approved, including a request for an additional $25,000 by Sheriff Omar Lucio.  Public comment, though, was permitted.

(Additional Income)
Texas law allows JPs to keep wedding ceremony fees (Fees average $150-$350), averaged out to $200 X number of weddings. If we add that to salary, we get:          
                                        WEDDINGS      +    SALARY, BENEFITS
JP 2-1 Linda Salazar            644 X $200 = $128,400    +$53,000 = $181,400  

JP 5-1 Sally Gonzalez          228 X $200 = $45,600      +$53,000 = $98,600

JP 2-2 Jonathan Gracia         137 X $200 = $27,400      +$53,000 = $80.400

JP 4-1 Juan Mendoza Jr.       109 X $200 = $21,800      +$53,000 = $74,800

JP 5-2 Eloy Cano                    82 X $200 = $16,400      +$53,000 = $69,400

JP 2-3 Mary Esther Sorola*    75 X $200 = $15,000      +$53,000 = $68,000

JP 1-1 Benny Ochoa                63 X $200 = $12,600      +$53,000 = $65,600

JP 3-1 Guadalupe Ayala           62 X $200 = $12,400      +$53,000 = $65,400

JP 3-2 David Garza                   58 X $200 = $11,500      +$53,000 = $64,000

JP 5-3 Mike Trejo                     24 X $200 = $4,800        +$53,000 $57,800
*JP Sorola did not file salary grievance

JP                                   CASES                           AMOUNT
JP 1-1 Benny Ochoa                 22,596                            $5,633,602
JP 2-1 Linda Salazar                  22,615                            $5,313,064
JP 2-2 Jonathan Gracia              20,904                            $5,512,265
JP 2-3 Mary Esther Sorola         5                                     $1,066
JP 3-1 Guadalupe Ayala            17,578                            $4,651,430
JP 3-2 David Garza                   10,285                            $2,718,286
JP 4-1 Juan Mendoza Jr.            7,922                              $3,780,640
JP 5-1 Sally Gonzalez                10,295                            $2,718,286
JP 5-2 Eloy Cano                      14,077                            $3,780,540
JP 5-3 Mike Trejo                      11,939                            $3,393,216
Total cases and fines:               134,390                        $34,757,302*

*These are the totals of uncollected fines outstanding as of July 2015. These totals may very well have increased as of today and be closer to $40 million.


  1. They do NOT need any raises. We are one of the poorest countries in the country.

  2. That's disgusting crooked teeth sack of shit Sepulveda is NOT our County Judge! What financial dealings are going on that they can't appoint the man we elected as our judge? Step down Pete... Something smells like fish.

    1. If you think we can expect better once Treviño is in, and that it can't get worse than the spineless Pete, think again. We have elected and continue to elect these assholes who suck off the teet and fund it with the poorest county knowing we will continue to elect them.

  3. These people are not here to serve us! They are here to serve themselves, and see what they can gain out of their position. They dam well know they are running for office in the poorest county in the nation, and they still try to take advantage and milk us! If they really cared and wanted to help they would not pull this shit on us!
    Thank you, Mary Esther Sorola, for not joining this Greedy, Selfish, and Stingy Bunch!

  4. What is shameful is they run for the office knowing what the position pays.

  5. Great job Cameron to get county law enforcement pay up to par!!! We can do this!!!