Thursday, September 8, 2011

Battleground: Webb County

Court awards tax contract as judge, lawyer spar

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011 1:19 PM CDT
The relationship between Webb County Judge Danny Valdez and County Attorney Anna Cavazos Ramirez appeared to reach a new low Wednesday.
The latter asked Commissioners Court members to fill out a conflicts statement before awarding a delinquent tax collection contract, sparking a sharp exchange with the judge.
Cavazos Ramirez explicitly mentioned Valdez’s friendship with Judge Raul Vasquez and Commissioner Jaime Canales’ employment with United Independent School District as matters of concern.
After the county CAA program was found to have been operating, oh, how should I put this, INCOMPETENTLY! and with conflicts of interest, you would think that the powers that be would take the issue of nepotism seriously, but instead they act like children. 
When Ms. Anna Cavazos Ramirez brought up possible conflicts of interest to commissioners court, everybody sniped at her.  The only one who didn't get defensive was Frank Sciaraffa.  But he's another story for another time.  The only argument made by the court that could pass as legitimate is that Ms. A.C.R. could do the tax collection in-house and then gain politically come election time.  She could use that as a talking point to win votes.  But I think she made a good point when trying to explain the reason for not outsourcing delinquent tax collection.
...the money that is paid out to the delinquent tax attorneys is money that could've gone into your coffers; it is money that is limited for our taxpayers.
Instead of reaching out to taxpayers, commissioners court wants to tack on an additional 15% to people's taxes by having private attorneys collect on past due accounts.
Now, it's kind of ironic that Ms. A.C.R. wants to take on the task while in office when she benefitted from the tax collection contract in the past.  But I find disturbing the behavior of Danny Valdez, Jaime Canales, Jerry Garza, and Rosaura Tijerina.  Here they have their attorney offering some advice after all that has happened, and they get snooty.  However biased Ms A.C.R. may be in this situation, she deserves to be heard without having to be put through the wringer.
Check out the exchange below, courtesy of the LMT

Emphasis mine. 

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