We can’t recall a “message from the mayor” causing one city council so much trouble.
In the case of the city of Calexico, the mayor’s message from Luis Castro, and the open discussions and (alleged) closed-session discussion that occurred Tuesday night, aroused the passion of not only two diverging opinions on the council, but from members of the public.
Here’s the background: Luis Castro wrote a message to the residents of Calexico in which he opens by telling of the “severe financial and fiscal crisis” the city is in. It was posted to the city’s Web site and was to be included in the city’s final budget document — not so any more, on either account.
The majority of the council believes the message was misleading and inaccurate, and it seems like it is. The city made more than $1 million in cuts to the budget to the point where the ending June 30, 2011, balance shows the city to be $800,000 in the black.
Where Castro got his information and why he veered off in this direction apart from his council is news to us. He’s been out of town, so he hasn’t answered that question to the public yet.
But for now, we think the balance of the council is right to be so angered over Castro’s message and its posting to the city’s Web site. Councilman Bill Hodge tried to make this an issue of free speech, but free speech doesn’t excuse irresponsible speech.
There are no strong mayors in the Imperial County. Each of the Valley’s seven incorporated cities has one, and every one of them is ceremonial in nature, with each councilmember getting his or her turn. But in the end, the mayor is just one of five councilmembers whose actions and official messages should be reflective of the balance of the council as a whole.
Castro did not do this and went out on his own with bad information. Calexico has had some trying times here in the last couple of years, and the bad PR has come fast and furious. It’s understandable that the city would be so upset when there was good news to share, and it wasn’t.
Calexico residents and members of the City Council get pretty sick and tired of being the butt of “only in Calexico” jokes and talk, and we can’t say we blame them. In fact, in the past, we’ve helped to make sure that was heard loud and clear.
Castro, for whatever reasons, is helping to keep that message alive and clear in spite of the good-faith efforts of a council and city on the mend.
The mayor’s message.
City has the right to be mad over Castro’s inaccurate message.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
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