|Rose Gowen, Tony Martinez in 2011|
It's a safe bet that your mailman, cake decorator, the man who weighs out your fajitas at the carnicería, even your neighbor, do not know who serves as mayor in Brownsville, much less the names of any of the city commissioners. More pressing issues, like eking out a living, avoiding deportation, getting the kids on the school bus in the morning, occupy the minds of majority of the city's residents.
The two aloof egomaniacs pictured above, Mayor Tony Martinez and Commissioner Rose Gowen care not that their inept decision-making has raised utility bills 31% for Brownsville residents for a power plant that will not be built, added millions in tax burden for 13 unneeded buildings downtown while ignoring basic infrastructure needs in the city to build a huge bike trail network in a non-bike riding city.
Since his election in 2011, Mayor Martinez has had a city commission of rubber stampers, not mentally equipped to protect Brownsville taxpayer's interests, assets or needs. Martinez has continued to block the broadcast of public comment during City Commission meetings, cementing his image as anti-democratic, anti-taxpayer.
Gowen is a piece of work; a bully, yes, but also one who's crossed legal lines more than once to achieve her objectives.(Add the name "Gowen" to the search feature for this blog to get the details.) Gowen wants a personal legacy of bike trails in a city largely without sidewalks or flood control. Her priorities are skewed toward her personal legacy, ignoring the actual needs of the citizenry.
Gowen wore out her welcome in 2014 with snarky responses to taxpayers questioning her promotion of a project to reduce E. 6th Street, a principal truck artery into the city, by one lane to accommodate a bike lane.(Use "Gowen ugh" in the search feature of this blog for the details.)
Rose has opposition from Erasmo Castro for the City Commissioner At-Large B position. Will Castro listen to the people if elected? We don't know, but we know Rose won't.
John Villarreal, the current City Commissioner in District 4, up for re-election, is not an ax murderer. He's a very nice young man from a great family who's tried his best, but been largely over his head in city government, generally simply "going along to get along." He's opposed by recently retired municipal judge Ben Neece.
What we hope for from Neece is that he will be the adult in the room during city commission meetings, questioning and vetting the ideas pushed by Mayor Martinez. God knows we needed an adult on the city commission when Tony was orchestrating the purchase of La Casa del Nylon for triple its value, along with 12 other unneeded buildings bought with taxpayer dollars or committing over $300,000,000 of increased utility rates to fund a power plant that won't be built.