|McALLEN, December 12 - A prominent local banker believes the wrong outcome in a county commissioner race could “disrupt” the good work currently being performed by Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority.
David Guerra, president of IBC Bank in McAllen, is supporting veteran Hidalgo County Commissioner Hector “Tito” Palacios for re-election. At a campaign fundraiser at the McAllen Country Club on Wednesday evening, Guerra intimated that if Palacios does not win re-election, the balance of power on Hidalgo County RMA could shift.
In his remarks at the fundraiser, Guerra pointed out that county commissioners get to appoint a number of people to independent government boards. One of which is Hidalgo County RMA. The seven member RMA board comprises a chairman appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Hidalgo County Judge, one member appointed by the City of McAllen, and four members appointed by the four Hidalgo County commissioners. Guerra said he was appointed to the RMA board by the mayor of McAllen.
“If he (Tito) loses, he loses that appointment,” Guerra said. “His (Tito’s) appointment was Michael Cano, a bright young attorney, very good at what he does and he is trying to do the right thing too. He (Cano) has the same philosophy as Tito Palacios. These appointees are very important and that's another reason to elect Tito.”
Guerra said the current RMA board is “functioning great.” He said the board has just issued $75 million in bonds. “Twenty six million dollars was spent prior to the current board. I am not going to argue the merits of spending that $26 million but the new board that has been there has not spent hardly any money, other than engineering contracts that were let out. But, we have been able to bring in over $150 million in monies from the state,” Guerra said. “A lot of things are working great and we cannot disrupt that, at least as it relates to the RMA. That is why I am supporting him (Tito). Because he wants to do the right thing, just like the RMA wants to do the right thing.”
Guerra said Palacios is one of the most honest and trustworthy county commissioners he has ever known. He said Palacios is not one of those commissioners whose first priority is the area where he or she gets the most votes.
“Tito Palacios always works for the greater good of the county, the whole county. He takes decisions every day based on facts, based on what is best for the county, what is financially prudent. He has had 16 years of experience, strong experience. He is definitely the best candidate for the position and we need to retain him at the county courthouse,” Guerra said.
Guerra went on to say: “He (Palacios) is ethically strong. He is morally right. He works in a quiet, calm way to get things done. I was very surprised he got an opponent because he has such a wonderful reputation. I have known Tito for 16 years. He loves Hidalgo County, he loves the people and he wants to do the right thing. I have never known him to compromise his principles solely for political gain. That is the kind of county commissioner we need.”
Guerra then introduced former McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez. He said Cortez’s reputation is stellar and his ethical reputation is high. “When Richard Cortez tells you he is for Tito that tells you a lot about Tito,” Guerra said.
In his remarks, Cortez said that while Palacios has always been “a good guy” and a “team player,” he has also been “independent in judgment and thought.” He said the residents of Hidalgo County know what to expect with Palacios. “We are going to continue to have good, clean, government in our county,” Cortez predicted. “Tito represents the best of the best. We need that independent voice. We need a person who is mature enough to say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is the right answer. Sometimes, when you are on a jury, only one juror gets it right and 11 don't. Sometimes, when just one person does not agree it makes the system better. That is worth preserving.”
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said he and Palacios have worked well on projects important to the city, such as improving Charles E. Curtis Park. He said the old police department will be refurbished to make a licensing bureau for Hidalgo County and, after 33 years of trying, utilities will finally be provided across the floodway to allow for development south of McColl Road. Darling said Palacios deserves credit for these projects.
For his part, Palacios said he is working hard to win re-election. “It makes it worthwhile when you see the enthusiasm. I am honored to have a crowd like this endorsing my campaign,” Palacios said. He said he has not only worked well with the City of McAllen but also the McAllen Public Utility Board. “To get things done people need to work together and I think that I have demonstrated my willingness to work with the City of McAllen and the other cities as well. I am proud to represent this area.”
Palacios has two challengers in the Hidalgo County Commissioner Precinct 2 race – former Pharr City Commissioners Eddie Cantu and Ricardo Medina.
Other dignitaries to attend the fundraiser for Palacios included McAllen city commissioners Veronica Vela Whitacre and John Ingram, former McAllen city commissioners Marcus Barrera and Ric Godinez, McAllen ISD board members Sam Saldivar and Daniel Vela, former U.S. Rep. Kika de la Garza and his wife Lucile, McAllen Public Utility Board members Ernest R. Williams, Tony Aguirre, and Charles Amos, and state Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission.