Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 31, No. 4, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 25, 1973 Page: 1 of 24
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Serving over 5000 readers for over 50 years TPA Award Winning Newspaper
Thursday, January 25, 1973
Rio Grande City, Texas
Commissioners give themselves a raise
OA ITT TUVTA
By RAUL TREJO
Rio Grande Heraid
The Starr County Commis-
sioners Court meeting in a spe-
cial session argued about a pay
hike for all county employees,
discussed redl striding, and
allowed newly-elected Com-
missioner Hector Lozano to
hire his own worker s.
The Monday morning meeting
opened at 9:30 and lasted until
12:15 p.m. before commission-
ers ltnished with the twelve
The meeting opened with Com-
missioner Amando Pena asking
If the local paper's taping of
the meetings was legal.
"I see nothing illegal about It,
Commissioner Pena," County
Judge Mario Ramirez told Pena.
"Do you see anything wrong with
it, Mr. Pope?" Ramirez asked
former County Attorney John
"No, it's perfectly legal",
Sllvestre Gonzalez of the Soil
Conservation Department then
gave the Commissioners Court
an extensive report on all the
different projects that are cur-
Editorial... Third of a series...
Three wise men...?
What makes a pauper order a Cadillac?
He should know damned well he can't afford It!
By the same token, what made three of our honorable
county commissioners vote a general pay raise, including
one to themselves, of course, in our nearly bankrupt
In olden times we know that there were three wise men
who came from the east to witness the coming of our Lord,
Jesus Christ. They brought gifts and heralded the beginning
of a bright, new world. Their names were Gaspar, Balthaz-
ar and Melchior.
This week in a special meeting the commissioners court
there were three men who came from Roma, Santa Elena
and Rio Grande City to witness the slaughtering of a county
budget. Among other things, they came to TAKE gifts,
namely an increase of their own salaries and through this
Irresponsive action heralded a worse future for an already
down-throdden county. Their names Amando Pena,
Reynaldo (Moreno) Alaniz and Roque Guerra.
They mentioned the plight of the county employees who
were underpaid. We admire their philantrophic feelings
. . . but we also noted they were also philantrophic to them-
selves. Who says charity doesn't begin at home?
We commend our County Judge, Dr. Mario Ramirez, and
our young and progressive commissioner from Grulla,
Hector Lozano for not trying to feather their own nests at
the expense of the already harrassed taxpayers of Starr
There is no doubt that the salaries for county employees
are too low. We all know that. But we also know that there
arecountlessneedless jobs In the county that are being per-
petuated for political reasons. How about the 'Secretary
to Water Rights?'. ..at $400.00 a month ... or the 'Special
Clerks to the Commissioners Court?'. ..at $300.00 a month
. . . or the county superintendent of schools? We know that
there are many high-salaried positions that could be eli-
minated and that money distributed among those employees
that are underpaid.
We think that the many purely political employees should
be taken off the payroll and that there should be fewer peo-
ple with better salaries administering the needs of our
county. We severely condemn our county officials for rais-
ing their own salaries . . . with no justification and parti-
cularly at this time when the county is deep in debt. In the
first place, nobody forced them to run for public office and
we don't think anybody held a gun at their heads to Induce
them to seek the office. And If they don't like the salary,
why don't they just resign and let some other, perhaps
more civic-minded person, take over. Or do they think
they are indespensable?
There seems to be a belief among certain pollticans In
this county that governmental agencies are devised merely
to create jobs for people. They also mistakenly believe
that all governmental agencies should be welfare agencies.
The truth of the matter Is that the role of the commis-
sioners court is to run the county In a business-like manner
always striving for efficiency and economy, and never, nev-
er, never for their own monetary gains. The cardinal rule
should be that the taxpayers money should never be squan-
dered In any form or fashion.
It stands to reason that when there is barely enough money
with which to eat . . .youdon't buy expensive furniture, go
on a Carribean cruise or buy a Cadillac!
Or do you . . . Pena, Alaniz and Guerra?
rently underway. Gonzalez
stressed that the Los Olmos
project would be approximately
two years beyond the 18 month
Gonzalez has replaced Ellas
Guerrero who has been pro-
moted to another job.
Commissioners then heard
County Attorney Alex Gabert
Introduce Mrs. E. Cisneros of
Willacy County. Mrs. Cisneros
is the county district attorney
for Willacy and handled the re-
districting suit for that county.
Gabert told the court that Mrs.
Cisneros had experience in the
case and should be hired to re-
present the county commis-
sioners in Federal Court in
The court hired Mrs. Cis-
neros for a fee not to exceed
$20. an hour.
The court also head John Yeag-
er of the Texas Rural Legal
Aid. Yeager's TRLA has en-
tered the case in a class action
to insure that the redisricting
does indeed follow all federal
The commissioners court was
told by Yeager that his TRLA
would insist that the deadline
of February 15 set by U.S. Fed-
eral District Judge Reynaldo
Garza be met. The deadline
order from Judge Garza states
that the Commissioners Court
Mr. and Mrs. Pete Diaz
Jr. and family will be host-
ing a memorial mass at the
Catholic Church Monday
January 29 in memory of
Mrs. Nattie Guerra.
They invite those that
wish to attend the memor-
ial mass to attend the 6:30
Mrs. Guerra was well
known here in Rio Grande
City and throughout Starr
County. She was active in
civic affairs until the time
of her death.
will have a plan submitted to
the different plaintiffs by
February 15 th so that they can
prepare their arguments and
file their briefs in the case.
Principle plaintiff in the case
is Rafael Carrera who has in-
troduced a plan on redisrict-
ing. Should the court fall al-
together to prepare and in-
troduce a plan, Judge Garza has
said that he would institute Car-
rera's plan or institute one of
The court then reappointed
the present members of the
Texas State Historical Commit-
tee. The committee is pre-
sently headed by George Boyle
of Rio Grande City.
The next item on the agenda
was the discussion of the need
for the office of Starr County
Right of Ways officer.
Alex Gabert told the cour that
as the former RWO of the coun-
ty he saw where there was lit-
tle work to be done at the pre-
sent time but had done much
work in acquiring right-of-ways
for many of the county projects
as well as the projects Involving
the Soil Conservation Service.
Gabert said that he would do
his fair share as the county at-
torney and that he could handle
"Well, if Mr. Gabert has a-
greed to do both jobs from his
present office at no extra sal-
ary I don't see where we need
the office to remain open", Lo-
"I agree that since there has
been all this work already com-
pleted I too don't see the need
for the office", Alaniz added.
Lozano then made a motion
which gained a second from A-
laniz to abolish the office.
"We're going to need a right-
of-ways officer real bad", Pena
said. "On this El Sauz road
someone is going to have to do
all that work," he added.
"I'm not worried about the El
Sauz Road, I think Los Olmos
is going to require a lot of leg
work, but if you're going to have
to hire an attorney to do the work
I see no reason to hire any-
one else," Ramirez said.
"We do need a county right-
of-ways officer," Pena said.
"Well you are supposed to do
all the leg work for right-of-
ways in your precinct Mr. Pe-
Pena", Alaniz added.
"We need the office there, it's
been there a long time", Pena
"Well, I have a motion and a
second to abolish the office",
Ramirez said as he took a vote.
Alaniz and Lozano voted to
abolish the office. Pena voted
to keep the office open and
Commissioner Guerra ab-
Earlier in the meeting Com-
missioner Guerra had asked
that the qualifications of Arturo
Clarke and Joel Guerrero Jr.
be read off. Clarke and Guer-
rero had applied for the job of
"I am of the opinion that the
office should be closed", Ram-
irez said for the record.
The next item on the agenda
was a report on revenue shar-
Commissioner Alaniz told the
court that there were a few
restrictions on the funds being
provided through revenue shar-
ing. Among those restrictions
was that you cannot pay old
debts with the money but that you
can deposit the money into your
normal operation and with your
own operation money pay your
"I feel that our top priority
should be to try and pay as
many of our old debts as pos-
sible," Ramirez said.
Ramirez asked the court to
make a list of priorities in their
own precinct and turn them in
so that the judge's office could
make out a budget of how the
money will be spent.
Ramirez cautioned Commis-
sioner Guerra about paving of
Rio Grande City streets mainly
See Court Page 8
'Grand Old Man'
Edwin Carl Carter, 86, long
time pioneer of the railroad to
Rio Grande City died atliishome
here in Rio Grande City last
week, January 11.
"The grand old man" as he
was referred to by a personal
friend was the second agent for
the Missouri Pacific Railroad
Company here in Rio Grande
City in the early 192 O's until his
retirement in 1961,
Carter lived in Rio Grande
City for 50 years until his death
in his home at 102 West Hidalgo.
He is survived by two daugh-
ters Geraldine Carter, and Ruth
Fore and by two sons George
Carter and Carter Fore and by
five great grand children.
Memorial services were held
at the Ceballos Funeral Chapel
and his body was buried in Rich-
ardson near Dallas.
POUNDS Of MASS U.S. Border Patrolman Gilbert Lee of
Rio Grande City office arrested two Mexican Nationals with
4000 pounds of marijuana near Escobares, a community between
Rio Grande City and Roma. The weed was being transported in
a two ton truck and was hidden under hay bales. Arrested by
Lee were Jose De Valencia Ortiz and David Molina Jaramllla
both of Mexico. The arrests were made last week and both were
placed under $150,000 bond and jailed in Brownsville. Market
values for the weed range from two to three million dollars in
New York or Chicago markets. (Herald photo)
The national day of mourning
declared for today (Thursday)
has closed down all local
President Nixon declared to-
day the national day of mourn-
ing for former President Lyn-
don B. Johnson and School Su-
perintendent S.P. Cowan or-
dered all the Rio Grande City
school district close in obser-
vance of the late president.
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Trejo, Raul. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 31, No. 4, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 25, 1973, newspaper, January 25, 1973; Rio Grande City, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth194391/m1/1/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.