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Editorial: Elected officials serve us; hold them accountable
San Antonio Tea PartyMarch 28, 2012 | 1,276 views | 2 comments
Citizens in America are supposed to hold elected officials accountable. Unfortunately, some elected officials truly believe they are above the law or not accountable to anyone. So what happens when elected officials just don’t hear the citizens?
In Guadalupe County, citizens want County Judge Mike Wiggins to resign. Judge Wiggins was arrested in February on a charge of possession of marijuana. Despite his drug arrest, Guadalupe County Attorney Elizabeth Murray-Kolb says Wiggins’ job is protected by statute. “You have to be removed for specific reasons and this behavior does not meet that criterion,” added Murray-Kolb. In other words, Wiggins is innocent until proven guilty.
However, the spectacle of a county judge presiding while under investigation for drug possession is not a good image for Guadalupe County. Signs have been displayed around Seguin asking for Wiggins to step down. Even the county GOP leader is being pressured to ask Wiggins to step down. But as of this date, Judge Wiggins remains defiant and refuses to resign.
In Wilson County, there was an effort to recall Floresville Mayor Daniel Tejada and councilmen Jesse Christopher Flores, Mario Morones, Sherry Martinez Castillo, John W. Guerrero, and Johnnie R. Gomez, which started in December 2011. The petition was organized by citizens who alleged “specific acts and omissions while in office,” specifically, the approval of the 2012 fiscal year budget.
The recall failed because the citizens did not acquire the necessary 500 signatures to prompt a special election. However, a lawsuit found that city budget documents were “riddled with errors,” some of them in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and demanded they be corrected. The lawsuit was dropped when the city made the changes. The mayor blamed “outsiders” for causing “an embarrassment,” but never disciplined the city manager, whose duty it was, and is, to manage the budget and city’s books.
In both cases, in Guadalupe County and in Floresville, elected officials have been deaf and slow to respond to the citizens. It appears they forget they are “public servants” and they should listen and act on the public’s desires. Many elected officials in today’s world assume they know what is best for their constituents and therefore they act according to their own dictates, and not those of the people. This arrogance is seen in Washington, D.C., like when Obamacare was passed, and at the local level as in these cases.
Judge Wiggins is truly innocent until proven guilty, but why put the entire county through his personal and private ordeal? He should resign or take a leave of absence until the court lifts the cloud of suspicion from him ... for the sake of his constituents.
The mayor and city council of Floresville should be more transparent in their work and public service to acquire the people’s trust. Rather than taking on a bunker mentality and become defensive toward any and all questions asked by the public or media, they should embrace the criticism.
Elected officials must accept the fact that they are public servants. They must be prepared to be examples to the community; otherwise, as the saying goes, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
George Rodriguez is president of the San Antonio Tea Party.
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