LETTERS: On Hidalgo County Drainage District and MLK parade

Drainage District probe

Congratulations to The Monitor for re-printing the Texas Tribune’s investigative article on the activities of former Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 Director Godfrey Garza Jr. I hope The Monitor will take the lead and provide follow-ups as the investigations continue. Of first priority should be exposing the involvement, if any, of those, past and present, on the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court who hired Mr. Garza and then supported him for all those years. It is apparent that at least one county judge, J.D. Salinas, did not understand the responsibilities of his position or possibly benefited from it in ways still not known. Unfortunately, the Texas Tribune’s revelation casts all of the judges and commissioners who served during Mr. Garza’s employment under a cloud of uncertainty; especially those who without question supported his activities. I hope that The Monitor will keep digging and unearth all of those who benefited from the millions of dollars the county and federal government poured into those levees and the Garza family businesses.

Finally, if I were county judge, having nothing to fear, I would ask the State of Texas for a forensic audit of all HCDD#1 finances during Mr. Garza’s tenure.

Thanks to The Monitor for printing another substantiation of the ugly politics in the RGV. It is a true giant step in forcing government transparency on the Rio Grande Valley!

Ned Sheats, Mission

Opposed to Abbott at MLK Day parade in North Texas

It is shameful that the Toyota North Texas MLK Parade would choose to honor an antagonist of civil rights as this year’s honorary grand marshal of the MLK parade.

If Dr. King were alive today, I believe he would be fighting against the actions of Gov. Greg Abbott to restrict African-American voter participation with Texas’ voter ID law. A pair of researchers found that African-American Texans are less likely to have a photo identification than other Texans. Dr. King would have understood that voter ID laws are another form of poll tax, meant to discriminate against and disenfranchise minority and lowincome voters. Dr. King recognized the importance of economic human rights as essential to the protection of civil rights. He implored wealthy nations to mobilize their wealth to meet the basic needs of the poor: “The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed,” he said in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize address. “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’” Dr. King was assassinated while in Memphis, Tennessee, in support of striking black sanitation workers and their right to unionize.

Gov. Abbott opposes a raise in the minimum wage and is anti-union. This legislative session, Gov. Abbott promoted legislation that would have undermined union organizing and collective bargaining by restricting dues collection for state employee unions.

Were Dr. King alive today, he and Gov. Abbott would no doubt be on opposite sides of the fight for civil rights. The Toyota North Texas MLK Parade should rescind Gov. Abbott’s invitation as honorary grand marshal to the parade.

John-Michael Torres, Mission

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