Bexar County Commissioner Rodriguez: Elected Officials Under a Microscope
What Creates a Conspiracy...
When someone hides or continues to distort facts, people become more and more suspicious and quickly you have a conspiracy of sorts.
What makes a great conspiracy?
A lot of twists and turns makes a great conspiracy and usually there is someone doing something they shouldn't be doing and they get caught. Taking all the facts from documentation, audio and video that has been made available, I began to think of the possibilities for the mess that Ms. Mendelsohn has created for the Volunteer Fire Departments; greed, power and corruption quickly came to mind as a good conspiracy usually has them all. Then I sat back and looked at the bigger picture. Does it change the facts? No it doesn't it just kind of puts into perspective what may have been the motivation behind the act.
What happens when you count on politicians to do the right thing?
They show the voters that they don't care about their concerns, they just care about their own political agendas.
JANUARY 25, 2011- COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AGENDA.
Approval of a request by Commissioner Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez, to reappoint the individuals listed below to the Emergency Services District No. 6 Board of Commissioners, for a term to begin upon appointment and expire on the following dates:
- Sylvia Mendelson------------January 25, 2010----------------December 31, 2012
- Norberto Chavez-------------January 25, 2010----------------December 31, 2012
- Luisa Vargas-----------------January 25, 2010-----------------December 31, 2012
- John Wood-------------------January 25, 2010------------------December 31, 2011
No, it's not a typo on my part. It's what was written on the agenda.
CONFIRMED! APPROVAL WAS GRANTED BY THE COUNTY COMMISSIONER"S". While Mr. Rodriguez asked for the appointments, it was up to the entire board to vote on it's approval. The county commissioners failed as a whole to support the needs of the South Bexar County Community.
Commissioner Rodriguez's Office..
Veronica Gonzalez, Chief of Staff for Chico Rodriguez responded (see comments) to a member of a volunteer fire department. The disturbing reply mentioned that the District Attorney's office, the Commissioner's Court and the Fire Marshall's office are aware what's going on. How much credibility do they have now, knowing that nothing is being done except allowing Ms. Mendelsohn and the board to continue as if they didn't create such a mess of the ESD#6, that they had to appoint a "monitor"? Basically, Ms. Gonzalez makes it seem from her reply that the three government entities that are to oversee and prevent things from getting to this point, have known and done nothing, but condone it.
Do you support the actions of Ms. Mendelsohn & ESD6?
How it all began....
Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez appointed all the members, close friends and politicallyconnected to each other on the same day in June 2009 with 3 seats expiring in 2010 and 2 expiring in 2009. However, the expired seats were allowed to hold over, there by creating a solid board of friends and political allies, who granted all the board power to Ms. Mendelsohn and allowed her to make decisions without the board approval or usually getting it after the fact.
- It is well documented that Ms. Mendelsohn and the board were after the creation of the "community center"; which she had been promised in 2003, under then County Commissioner Robert Tejeda. Then it fell through. And what did she stand to gain from it? Ms. Mendelsohn and Mr. Jimmy Lopez were co-founders of the Thelma Area Neighborhood Association. The same group that would be managing the community center.Thereby, using her relationship with County Commissioner Chico Rodriguez to help her get a grant for the purchase of the property that had already been allocated for a community center in 2003 and already purchased from Mr. Antonio Rodriguez and now owned by the county for said purpose. 1) They, by all documentation were after the community center being built; starting as early as the July 2009 agenda. 2) They applied for funding for the center only or at least that is what was shown in documentation. It wasn't until later that they said they had applied for two separate loans. 3) They couldn't get a grant without calling it an "evacuation center", purely semantics on the federal governments part according to Ms. Mendelsohn at an ESD#6 board meeting.
The money for the Volunteer Fire Departments was used by the ESD#6 to further their project and thereby jeopardizing the funding for the Volunteer Fire Departments. When it was clear that the funding had run out to pay the VFD's, Ms. Mendelsohn created a red-herring. 1st. It was that the fire departments had quit making calls (that was disproven). 2nd. It became about not being in compliance with the audits. (that was also disproven). 3rd. It became about missing "paperwork", but when the VFD's tried over and over again to give her the documentation, she then said she needed- background checks and certifications. Ms. Mendelsohn refused to meet them. It was made clear in December by the ESD#6 attorney that the background checks and certifications were done. Yet days later, County Commissioner Rodriguez held a public meeting in the Southside community to inform them about the use of a CDBG grant for the purpose of purchasing the land for the community center and continued with the same line of reasoning "no- background checks or certifications" for not funding the fire departments.
The ESD#6 has all but bankrupted itself because they are using funds for this new budget year to pay debt from the last budget year, thereby creating another financial mess for the remainder of this budget year unless new people are appointed to this board and can get a handle on the spending. This was not a part of the plan, I'm sure, but Ms. Mendelsohn's history of financial dealings in her neighborhood have long been known and documented as such, that Ms. Mendelsohn has created many businesses that have failed. Doesn't pay vendors, people who do work for her personally, they usually have to lien her property to get payment and had not paid property taxes in the ESD6 district in years until she became a board member and it came to light.
Ms. Vargas (ESD#6-board secretary/treasurer) mentioned that they had checked into the ownership of the Sandy Oaks VFD and that they didn't own it, it seems to have been donated to them with the stipulation that the property would revert to the heirs of the original owners should the fire department seize to exist. She also alluded to the fact that she didn't like the Metzger's at Sandy Oaks VFD and she had nothing but disdain for the Farinacci's at AtaBexar and that "contracts were not going to be". At this point, I believe, it was when greed and power and arrogance took over. Such as the power and arrogance displayed by Ms. Vargas at board meetings; knowing they could do what they wanted and being protected from reprisal; the greed out of necessity. They ran out of money and needed more to keep the "community center" project moving forward. Sadly, the county had already given them $750,000 dollars and the land to build a nice community center, but it was their visions of grandeur that put them in the predicament that they are in. If they had used the funding and land they had in hand, it could have easily created a very nice "community center" for the Thelma Area Neighborhood Association.Of course one of this caliber could not create the $155,000, yearly revenue that Ms. Mendelsohn was hoping to make from the elaborate community center.
WHY SOUTH BEXAR FIRE AND RESCUE?
So I asked myself, why would someone go to the lengths that they have gone to for a "community center" and keep South Bexar Fire and Rescue as their fire department of choice. Why the community center? Possibly, payment for a bigger accomplishment. If I get my center, I'll see that you get your fire department? Why, South Bexar Fire and Rescue? They were small and ill equipped compared to the other fire departments. I was baffled.
Then I looked at South Bexar Fire and Rescue and found that the land they sit on is adjoining to more land owned by Mr. Antonio Rodriguez, who sold the land for the "community center." Only this land has no access because it sits behind and enclosed by South Bexar Fire and Rescue and other businesses. Might explain why the fire department was not included in the funding, as of yet. Could be that project #2 is going to be a "new" fire department on land they could purchase from Mr. Rodriguez and gain access through land owned by the South Bexar Fire and Rescue. Giving the community a brand new - centrally located fire department.
It's a win-win situation for ESD#6, they can have their own fire district- ESD#6 Fire & Rescue (which they already voted on in October of 2010), Mr. Rodriguez could finally sell the landlocked property and South Bexar Fire & Rescue would gain a new fire station and inherit equipment from Sandy Oaks VFD and AtaBexar Fire Department. (Catch 22:They didn't think that the two VFD's would fight them with legal counsel and thereby, get new contracts with a "monitor" put in place by a judge. Ms. Mendelsohn found a way eventually to strip Sandy Oaks VFD from fighting fires and medical calls in the area. Ata-Bexar VFD will no longer service the area after October 2013, when she canceled their contract. She got what she wanted out of South Bexar and threw them to the dogs, shut them down. The only department left that she can take from? Not so quickly, Ms. Mendelsohn underestimated Mr. Crowley and the South Bexar Fire Department, they sold off all their equipment, as Ms. Mendelsohn was to busy trying to lie and cheat her way into equipment, she overlooked getting liens on South Bexar equipment and therefore, lost valuable equipment for her ESD6 Fire & Rescue.)
Another theory washed up. This one mainly because in more recent meetings, Ms. Mendelsohn would not commit when asked by the fire departments if the building of a new fire station could be given to South Bexar Fire & Rescue because of their need for a new facility and the fact that they are proposing and planning on building a facility on land across from J. L.Matthey Middle School. In the last month or so, construction has begun all up and down the 37S access roads due to Eagle Ford Shale. Huge companies like Halliburton, Baker and Hughes, Weatherford Petroleum as well as smaller companies like Oil Patch Petroleum and Dillon Petroleum are establishing business in the area and would require more advanced fire protection. After looking into Commissioner Rodriguez's finance records, he has been shown to have received campaign funding from PAC's and companies from out of state as well as from the Houston area. This leads one to believe that there is more to this than a small town politics.
So, taking a look back at all the information. Who stands to gain from this.
Ms. Mendelsohn and the Thelma Area Neighborhood Association, because they will finally get their center and they will also be running it.
The City of San Antonio, possibly. It has been discussed among the ESD#6 and the Fire Departments that there remains a possibility of annexation by the city. Ms. Mendelsohn knows this very well, being that she own property within the San Antonio City limits since they annexed a larger portion of Southern Bexar County and is privy to insider information, through her relationship with Commissioner Chico Rodriguez. And while making people believe that she was a member of the community with business ventures, Ms. Mendelsohn lived in the city in an elaborate estate, where she could hob nob with her political friends and gain influence and information.
Worst-case scenario, Ms. Mendelsohn and the ESD6 board have taken the fire security that the community has had for over thirty years and destroyed it. Those living in the rural area of south Bexar County are left with under qualified fire protection .
Only time will tell if there is a conspiracy to deceive the community or just old fashioned power grabbing and greed. Either way, it's the community that has already lost, because people in Southeast Bexar County couldn't be bothered to get involved.