Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Patricia Barrera Critique

Jesus Flores submitted a letter to the LMT's editorial page to set his own story straight and detail the cost of defending County Tax Assessor/Collector Patricia Barrera's legal issues. 
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2:13 AM CDT

To the editor:
In reference to my letter to the editor dated March 7, 2010, in which I was discussing the excess raises of some county employees, I confused the names of County Clerk Margie Ibarra with that of Patricia Barrera.
At no time did I intend to either misrepresent that facts or insult Ms. Barrera, much less the most honorable County Clerk Margie Ibarra.
The fact is that at the time I was researching Patricia Barrera’s legal scandals, and that’s why I probably made this mistake.
In other words, Ms. Barrera was heavy on my mind.

As a taxpayer, I was very interested in the issues relating to her arrest.
It was hard to miss the entire media blitz and her jovial manner during interviews.
I wondered at the time how much her legal troubles ended up costing the taxpayers.
I am sure we all remember the issue of several of Ms. Barrera’s employees suing for being forced to sell raffle tickets for her re-election.
The suit was settled by the County Insurance office in the amount of $186,007.03, and I wonder how much that premium went up to.
But that wasn’t all.

This is what we, the taxpayers, ended up paying:
Goode, Casseb, & Jones - $96,725.00
Hall, Quintanilla, & Alarcon - $33,315.00
Law Office of Albert Lopez - $33,466.35
Law Office of Yohana Saucedo - $37,749.00
Murray E. Malakoff - $145,172.00 (the granddaddy of them all)
With all the other small expenses the total bill for the taxpayers is an exorbitant amount: $356,101.20!
Even better is the fact that in case 2009CR613-DP, a gambling case, Ms. Barrera was referred to pretrial diversion for one year and given a fine of $1,000, a drop in the bucket with her current $105,000 salary.

In other words, she received a slap on the wrist.
So much for “integrity, ability and good morals.”
Better yet, why go through the process and expense of a trial?
Is that what Chilo means by being tough on crime?
Ms. Barrera should have been made an example of, especially being a public servant.
Could this be why the people of Laredo say they are ashamed to live in a city with justice as a game?
Have a nice day!
Jesus Flores

The timing of this letter is strange.  I commend Mr. Flores for correcting his mistake, but instead of stopping there, he goes on to give an accurate account of Ms. Barrera's legal tab.  Excuse me, Webb County's tab.  The fact that she's not running for re-election this year makes it all the more odd. 

I didn't vote for her last time around.  As a matter of fact, I probably didn't vote for her before that either.  I'm no fan of hers but I've moved on since the Commissioners Court decided to settle with Ms. Barrera's former employees.  Mr. Flores' letter does nothing for me, unless he knows something new is coming down the pike.

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