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‘Corrupt' defined in wake of accusation

May 01, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — "Corrupt": Characterized by improper conduct — Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

At the Calexico Housing Authority special meeting Monday, Commissioner Gloria Rodriguez stood up in the middle of a discussion and passed out a definition of the adjective "corrupt" to the five other sitting members.

At issue was an advertisement placed by representatives of the Housing Authority Resident Council and two members of the authority board that accused the board of "corruption and negligence."

When Rodriguez stood up, a motion was being considered calling for the resident council to be reimbursed the money spent on the ad.

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In addition to deciding whether to reimburse the cost of the ad, the authority board heard an update on the 5H homeownership plan for Casas del Sol residents and worked to finalize plans for new senior citizen housing projects.

During unfinished business, the resident council members lobbied for the fourth consecutive meeting to have the cost of the advertisement reimbursed.

The ad, placed in late March, was run in response to an ad taken out by four of six Housing Authority commissioners. One of the commissioners who signed the first ad was Rodriguez. That ad refuted accusations leveled against housing commissioners by disgruntled Housing Authority residents.

Maria Teresa Gasca, president of the resident council, stood at the right podium in City Hall and listened as Rodriguez explained why she was not voting to reimburse the $508 it cost to run the ad.

"I'm not voting for it because I take the charge of corruption personally," Rodriguez said. "I feel tainted."

Gasca said the ad wasn't addressed to any commissioner in particular but was meant to call attention to the disorder and improper conduct of the entire board.

She addressed the board's legal counsel, Steve Walker.

"Do we, as a resident council, have the right to run advertisements?" Gasca asked.

Walker said the council did have the right to speak its mind but the board could not subsidize paid advertisements that could be construed as "political."

After an hour and a half of discussion, Housing Authority Chairman John Romo asked for a vote on the question.

Three members of the authority board, Romo, Rodriguez and Jose Quiroz, voted not to reimburse the board. Three members voted to reimburse: commissioners Jesus "Chuy" Solano, Manuel Ayala and newly appointed commissioner Irene Hueso-Mora.

Because there was no majority, the motion failed.

"I would like to put it on the agenda for next meeting," Solano said immediately after the vote.

Romo said he also is in favor of revisiting the issue because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told him more information on the role of the authority board was supposed to be sent in the coming week.

Regarding the 5H homeownership plan, Solano said everything is on target and talks are being finalized with local lending institutions.

Later in the meeting the board discussed future housing opportunities.

In a unanimous vote the authority board authorized the execution of two property leases that will provide more housing opportunities for Calexico residents, including seniors.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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