District 4 commish to host town hall today

Tania Ramirez talks with a well wisher before the City of McAllen commissioners court on Monday May 13, 2019 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/ dlopez@themonitor.com

McALLEN — Less than two months on the job, Tania Ramirez, who represents southwest McAllen as the District 4 city commissioner, will hold a town hall-style event at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Palm View Community Center.

The event is intended to “keep residents well informed and involved in their community’s growth and development,” according to a media advisory. Staff members from the city manager’s office will be on hand and expected to provide updates on current and future projects in southwest McAllen and citywide initiatives related to safety, street, sidewalks and drainage.

Town halls are often discussed by candidates seeking higher political office, such as Congress, but they are rare locally. District 2 Commissioner Joaquin “J.J.” Zamora and District 3 Commissioner Omar Quintanilla have held town halls most recently. That was in April 2018 and March 2018, respectively.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez held a town hall in September 2016 when he was District 1 city commissioner. There was a contentious back-and-forth between disgruntled audience members and Cortez and City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez over the median on north 10th Street.

While a median issue is unlikely at Ramirez’s town hall, southwest McAllen has plenty of its own issues, several of which were brought up on the campaign trail. Drainage, for one, which is problematic across the city, and something city officials have made a top priority to address. The storms Monday night dumped 4-and-a-half inches on the southwest part of the city, a city official said.

Also, Ramirez and her opponent said on the trail that residents of southwest McAllen need to go to another city in order to buy groceries because a grocery store does not exist in their area.

Ramirez, 30, won the District 4 election over retired city planner Joe Califa in early May and was sworn into office on May 13.