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Voice: Romo must listen to residents or resign

June 30, 2001

Mr. John Romo: In reference to your letter dated June 18: serving as a public housing commissioner carries a lot of responsibility and even some risk. Devoting time to help improve the well-being of citizens in need can be rewarding and gratifying. Despite the problems and concerns, the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners must adhere to provisions mandated by HUD.

Your request for a joint meeting with the City Council was, according to your statement at our board meeting, to discuss problems and concerns. You were questioned by all commissioners including myself as to the purpose of your meeting and your reasons were vague.

If the purpose was to have me removed as a commissioner, you should have stated it. Let me make something clear: if any fellow commissioner has felt attacked or insulted, I have only stated my perception. At no time have I had any problems being criticized or judged by any fellow commissioner or the public.

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If I have according to your perception, I am sorry, but I regret to inform you I am only following your steps and your approach. I am using your approach when I address an issue as you used to with Mr. Quiroz, Mr. Rashid and Mrs. Aguilar. It is interesting to recall they also tried to remove you from the board, so I am sure I am doing something correct, which is advocating for the residents, as you once did a long time ago. Unfortunately, you have become what you so much despised.

Your appeal to the council to reduce the animosity at board meetings is ridiculous. As long as you and the rest of the commissioners favor the administration and refuse to acknowledge the rights of the residents, a problem or concern will always arise, and every time this is brought to your attention you will consider it a personal attack.

I can't help but compare your own personal behavior at meetings with your description of my behavior. Perhaps you should analyze your own behavior before accusing others. I remind you it is not I who gets into arguments with the public and ends up telling them off. As I recall I was not the one told by a city leader not too long ago whether I knew the definition and correct spelling of the word "teamwork."

I suggest you review your parliamentary procedure handbook and refresh your memory with the proper procedure to conduct a meeting. Everyone knows in your primary responsibility as "chair" you must remain impartial and not try to influence or intimidate the public, as you normally do. Specifically when it comes to public comments, your duty is to allow the public to state their concerns and not to hinder their opinions, much less impose your opinions on them.

If only you and the rest of the commissioners were to have an open mind and give the residents what they are entitled to, I could assure you that you would not face the present opposition.

Let us assure you as long as the residents don't get fair and equal treatment and the respect they deserve, they will continue to advocate for their rights as citizens of this authority.

Your effectiveness on the board will depend in large part on the respect you have earned with the residents, staff, administration and fellow commissioners.

Regrettably if you do not take the initiative to assume your responsibility and put your personal feelings aside and do what is best for the residents who made your appointment a reality, we must ask for your resignation as the appointed representative of the people.

JESUS SOLANO

Vice chair

Calexico Housing Authority

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