New commissioner Tania Ramirez hosts lively town hall

McALLEN — A lively town hall on Wednesday aimed at informing residents of southwest McAllen and answering questions about that part of the city featured dozens of curious and passionate residents covering issues such as drainage, policing, parks and trash collection.

The event, hosted by new District 4 City Commissioner Tania Ramirez, a 30-year-old attorney who won election in May, was held for more than two hours at the Palm View Community Center, just south of Expressway 83 off Ware Road.

Tania Ramirez McAllen City Commissioner District 4 greets some of her constituents before the start of the Town Hall Meeting at Palm View Community Center on Wednesday June,26,2019 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor

“ You’re in for a treat the next four years with Commissioner Ramirez,” said City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez to begin the proceedings. Residents appeared to feel that way, as some snacked on cupcakes in the back of the room, which were placed on a table to spell “TRD4,” or Tania Ramirez District 4.

After openings from Rodriguez and Ramirez, several department directors presented about their respective departments. Chief of Police Victor Rodriguez discussed the low crime rates in McAllen, Public Works Director Elvira Alonso detailed trash and brush collection, Engineering Director Yvette Barrera explained the various ongoing and future drainage projects, and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hernandez described different parks projects.

Many questions on the subjects followed. Multiple people asked about brush collection schedules, one asked about police response times, others asked about drainage issues, which have plagued southwest McAllen.

Last summer, after storms swept through South Texas, a large group of residents from southwest McAllen showed up at a city commission meeting pleading to city leaders for help. One member of the concerned citizens said he lost his 2008 Chevrolet Impala in the rains, and he, and others, were worried that the city’s some $50 million drainage plan did not include much improvement for the southwest part of the city.

“ We ask, what is the city going to do to fix this problem?” the man said at the August 2018 meeting.

At Wednesday’s town hall, after various drainage-related questions, Rodriguez, the city manager, took the microphone. The question was about the city placing a priority on drainage in southwest McAllen.

“ I agree with you,” Rodriguez said, pledging to focus more on the area.

Constituents in Tania Ramirez district attended the Town Hall Meeting at Palm View Community Center on Wednesday June,26,2019 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor

But not all the questions were focused on the subjects. One man stood up multiple times for part questions, part monologues and part stand-up comedy, which elicited laughs from the dozens in attendance, including city staff.

Another man wasn’t as cheerful.

“ Some advice to department directors,” another man began, before looking at the department directors and outlining how they should listen to the people of McAllen.

“ We will hold you accountable, we will hold her accountable,” the man said.

“ That’s why I’m here,” Rodriguez said. “I’m right here.”