Monday, September 24, 2012

A Little Help From My Friends

The members of VIDA (Voices in Democratic Action) have been consistently appearing at city council meetings to make it known that conflicts of interest exist at city hall, and that they won't be tolerated.  If one is so inclined to keep up with VIDA, there are the city council proceedings on public access, the group's regularly-scheduled meetings, or its new website. 

A reader tipped me off to VIDA's take on the hiring of Gilberto Garza, nephew of Eduardo Garza, by Webb County.
According to Gilberto Garza's prior employment application with the City of Laredo, he worked 40 hours per week at DB Forwarding from 06/2004 though the date of the application on 08/12/2009. Before that, he worked for his uncle's company at Uni-Trade Forwarding for 40 hours per week from 5/2003 through 5/2005. Nowhere on his application did he list any jobs or responsibilities that would have qualified him for the Webb County facilities director position. No mention of Laredo Accurate Inspections Inc. and no mention of Junior Design and Construction LLC.
Gilberto Garza supposedly used different employment information when he applied for a city position, and recently for a county job.  And then, when interviewed by the Laredo Times as to his qualifications, in typical Charlie San Miguel fashion he dismisses any influence from his uncle Eduardo Garza in securing the position of facilities director with Webb County.

It must be nice to have connections when seeking employment locally.  Not only is Gilberto Garza related to Eduardo Garza, a faithful contributor to political campaigns, but he gets letters of recommendation from the likes of Charlie San Miguel, and Sheriff Martin Cuellar.  Que mas quieres?  I'm not sure a letter of recommendation from Cuellar would be relevant since Garza was applying for facilites director, but hell, you take what you can get.

What I find hilarious is that Councilman Charlie San Miguel has tried time and again to claim that his relationship with Eduardo Garza does not pose a conflict of interest, and that the times that his vote on city council agendas favored Garza were simply mistakes, as he didn't know that Eduardo Garza was involved with the business at hand.  Then the punchline comes:  he submits a letter of recommendation for Eduardo Garza's nephew.  For somebody who is trying to distance himself from Eduardo Garza, he's doing a pretty crappy job of it.

Check out the VIDA website (link above).  And also pick up a copy of the new issue of LareDOS, where Eduardo Garza's reach into local politics is examined.  If we'll learn one thing from all of this it's how to get ahead in Laredo.

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