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Voice: Alatorre standing up to the heat of Housing Authority mess

March 31, 2001

I was shocked again to read the letter published on March 21 headlined, "Alatorre still can't be unbiased on Housing Authority matters." I felt obligated to respond after reading letters in your newspaper attacking Mayor Javier Alatorre for his role regarding problems related to the Calexico Housing Authority.

During the time Mr. Alatorre has been representing us, he has shown great respect for the public and an open mind to listen to the problems or complaints of people who have approached him personally or approached the council. This includes residents complaining about the Housing Authority.

Mayor Alatorre has shown great sensibility when during meetings he allowed people to express their concerns in regard to Housing Authority issues, which sometimes went to the extreme of having people insult him and call him names, ranging from unprofessional to unethical, because he does not share their opinion.

What has caused the fury of the few people who have accused Mayor Alatorre of different wrongdoing is the mayor has expressed his disagreement with replacing the Housing Authority board without grounds and with the only purpose, as clearly expressed by Mr. Ramirez and others, to fire authority Executive Director Lupita Rios.


Mayor Alatorre appointed Isabel "Chavela" Aguilar and Gloria Rodriguez to the Housing Authority commission. Both are lifelong Calexico residents who are well-respected with a great reputation in our community. Mrs. Rodriguez is a school board member and Mrs. Aguilar just retired from San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus, where she was a counselor.

Mayor Alatorre has expressed his disagreement with the replacement of these members because this would represent his acceptance of the unfounded allegations of corruption, negligence, etc.

During the March 20 meeting the City Council, with Mayor Alatorre's dissent, decided to have a public hearing where the people would have the opportunity again to air their accusations and those commissioners accused of wrongdoing would be heard to defend their position, a matter which I consider unfair for commissioners not given a written statement of charges.

In accordance with the state law that governs public housing entities, a commissioner may be removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office but not before the commissioner is given a list of charges 10 days prior to the hearing where he/she has had the opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel.

It is my perception the sole purpose of this hearing is to have people making noise and false accusations, perhaps providing justification to the majority of the council to replace the housing board without giving them the opportunity to respond to the accusations in a formal written form to provide evidence that prove all allegations are false and unfounded.

It is clear the main objective of those making accusations is to have board members with a personal agenda of terminating the authority's executive director.

This leads me to believe that regardless of who is appointed, if this person does not have the clear intention of firing the executive director, this commissioner will become another target.

Finally, I want to thank Mayor Alatorre for all his time and efforts while a council member, but especially during this last year as mayor.



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