July 21, 2021 200 PM
A few weeks ago I was slightly overcharged for a few items purchased at the 5th Street Alpine Porter’s grocery store due to a misleading disconnect between the flyer ad and the shelf sale signs. The amount was insignificant, but I pursued it, in the best spirit of Lovie Whitaker, with the store personnel and the Porters’ headquarters office in Andrews, providing detail –– the ad, receipt, etc. I did not contact the local store manager, which I should have done. I was very pleased to receive a very nice letter from Ky Ellison, Porters’ PR/marketing manager, explaining and apologizing for what had happened. I recognized that the error was inadvertent and not intentional. Having experience dealing with very large data sets, I am well aware that the weekly tasks of adjusting hundreds, if not thousands, of prices for sale items and the alignment with marked shelf prices can lead to occasional slip-ups. I appreciate the Porters organization’s efforts to reduce them –– as well as all of the support they provide to the communities with which they provide excellent prices and services. They are very generous in voluntarily contributing in many ways to local causes and needs and deserve our gratitude for their essential service in our communities –– something to keep in mind as we see increased food costs in the future stemming from many causes!
Now that the unethical and possible criminal behavior of Presidio County officials has resulted in a $2 million jury verdict against the county, it’s time that those involved in this corrupt enterprise resign before they do any more damage to the residents and the tarnished reputation of the county.
A Pecos federal jury recently found that the county and County Treasurer Frances Garcia violated the civil rights of former county Office of Management and Budget Director Katie Sanchez when they abolished the office and her job. All Sanchez did was exercise her civil right to run against Garcia for the office of treasurer, and for that, Garcia and the county retaliated against her, the jury ruled. Sanchez lost her election bid.
In last week’s meeting of the commissioners court, County Attorney Rod Ponton noted that while the county’s liability insurance policy would cover the judgment, it might not cover Mrs. Sanchez’s attorney’s fees, which possibly could come from the general fund, that is, taxpayer’s hard-earned money to the tune of $500,000, Mr. Ponton said. He also called for the resignation of Mrs. Garcia.
It wasn’t just Mrs. Garcia who conspired to retaliate against Mrs. Sanchez. Mrs. Garcia’s amiga and amigo co-conspirators on commissioners court were also part of this effort to violate Mrs. Sanchez’s civil rights.
Commissioners Brenda Silva Bentley, Eloy Aranda, and Jose Cabezuela should also tender their resignations. They took the vote to abolish OMB and Mrs. Sanchez’s employment. Former Commissioner Loretto Vasquez also took the vote, but he is no longer an elected public servant. County Judge Cinderela Guevara voted against abolishing OMB, and current Commissioner Buddy Knight wasn’t on the panel at that time.
I say possible criminal behavior, because according to federal court testimony, there were in-person meetings and email exchanges among county employees and elected officials to conspire to dump Mrs. Sanchez.
That’s a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, a criminal offense.
The act is in place to keep something like this from happening. All discussions and decisions made by elected public officials must be conducted during an official meeting open to the public and not behind the public’s back.
This matter should now be reviewed by Mr. Ponton and 83rd State Judicial District Attorney Ori White for possible prosecution.
So far, the good people of Presidio County have endured a corrupt former sheriff, former tax assessor-collector, former tax office employee, and former county commissioner, all within the past 30 years. And now this.
If these elected public servants don’t resign and instead seek re-election, let’s make sure these individuals never hold public office again.
Recently some misinformation has been circulating regarding the Marfa Police Department taking on the federal duties of immigration enforcement. After meeting with Governor Abbott and other chiefs of police and county sheriffs, it is my understanding that the MPD will continue to assist federal agencies as we have done in the past, rather than enforcing federal immigration laws and policies ourselves. As always, the primary objective of the Marfa Police Department will be to protect and to assist the residents of Marfa, Texas through community policing.
A recent increase in human smuggling on the border has revealed that the MPD, like other local law enforcement agencies, is underprepared to handle this influx. Knowing this, Governor Abbott asked all Texas cities and counties to prepare a “wish list” for what personnel and equipment would be necessary to adequately respond to this threat. Like our sister cities and counties, the City of Marfa submitted this wish list, which included personnel, overtime, equipment, vehicles and a new ambulance. The City of Marfa’s list was submitted with Presidio County’s list since the county issued the disaster declaration.
Border security is in the governor’s special session. Should any funds be allocated to the City of Marfa and/or the Marfa PD by the Texas Legislature, it would be up to the Marfa City Council to determine whether or not to accept those funds, and under what circumstances.
If anyone has questions, feel free to call me at 432-295-2613.
Chief Estevan Marquez
Marfa Chief of Police