EDITORIAL: DWI history in elected officials not acceptable in the RGV

The fourth arrest of anyone on charges of driving while intoxicated, a third-degree felony, is a serious issue. It’s one that threatens the safety of our community, because if proven guilty, that person has put every family on the road in danger by driving under the influence.

And while the early morning arrest on Thursday of Miguel Angel Garza, 47, by Edinburg police on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, has yet to be proven in court, we are astounded that a city commissioner would stand up for Garza — who has been arrested three times prior for this very charge and convicted twice of DWI since 1988 — and ultimately helped to secure his release from jail.

The Monitor on Saturday reported that shortly after Garza’s arrest, Edinburg City Councilman David Torres called Edinburg Police Chief David White to ask if Garza could be released on a surety bond. A few hours later, Garza, who is a local Democratic precinct chair, was freed on a $10,000 cash surety bond. If convicted, he faces two to 10 years in jail.

Whether Garza’s affiliation as an elected politico, who ran unopposed last term and begins his next term in June, had anything to do with Torres crossing the line and helping with his release has yet to be seen. But it certainly makes one wonder why a sitting city commissioner would do such a thing for someone who has such a court history.

Furthermore, we remind voters that in his role as precinct chair, Garza will have a say in nominating a candidate to run in November for the vacant seat left by former state District Judge Rudy Delgado, who recently stepped down and is facing federal bribery charges.

Too often, the Rio Grande Valley is known as a place where corruption thrives. This latest incident certainly could play into that perception. Therefore filling this judicial seat with someone whose character is beyond question, and chosen by those whose character also is beyond question, is tantamount. We don’t believe Garza displays the qualities to choose the next judge.

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