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South East Bexar County Awareness: Mendelsohn no longer on ESd6 board
What is really happening to Ms. Mendelsohn?
Ms. Mendelsohn had full control of every vote at every meeting. Anyone who attended her meetings knew that they had been rehearsed and how they were going to vote. Ms. Vargas, the secretary/treasurer once said that Mr. Wood and Mr. Chavez didn't know what was going on because they didn't answer their phones. And continued to elude to the fact that "Sylvia" pretty much told them how it was going to happen and they voted as they were told.
So, from having all this control, she missed the June meetings due to illness and then at her resignation meeting, she had car problems and didn't attend. Community members wondered why she just didn't get into one of her other cars and drive to the meeting.
Many are wondering, did she finally have enough or is there something else going on?
Do you see the ESD6 doing better without Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn?
Too little Too Late
Many community members feel that things have gotten so bad in the ESD6, that it might be too late to fix it. With the City of Sandy Oaks being established, funding will be cut by a very large portion, close to 40 percent because the largest tax base now a part of the City of Sandy Oaks.
With less money for the ESD6 to operate, this changes all the plans for Ms. Mendelsohn and ESD6.
The current members of the board are appointed by Commissioner Rodriguez and all are tied to Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn, so will there be any change? Many think not.
How it all began
In 2010, Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn was appointed to the ESD6 board, her goal was to build a community center in the Thelma area in South East Bexar County. Ms. Mendelsohn had co-founded the Thelma Area Neighborhood Association.
This community center was to have a facility for catering weddings and other functions. The Thelma Area Neighborhood Association was to over see the facility. According to the application, she stood to make quite a bit of money.
Ms. Mendelsohn quickly began using Emergency Service District funds to bring this to fruition. Taking money for fire safety in the area, she was steam rolling this project. What Ms. Mendelsohn didn't count on was that the community would come together to fight for the three neighborhood volunteer fire departments and their funding. Putting a halt to the expenditures by suing the ESD6. Lawsuits and lack of funds quickly put a halt to the project. In a 10 month period, she and her board had squandered all the money in the ESD6 coffers.
Ms. Mendelsohn with the support of County Commissioner Chico Rodriguez would work to get a USDA loan of $3.1 million dollars and $35,000 grant to build this facility. According to correspondence from Commissioner Rodriguez' office, Ms. Mendelsohn's friend and attorney Louis T. Rosenberg was told to have her change the wording in the loan application to Emergency Evacuation Center because it would not qualify for a loan otherwise.
At a board meeting held at South Side ISD board room, Ms. Mendelsohn was asked about the community center and she said it was just "semantics". And they were going to call it an Emergency Evacuation Center and that they were not taking any money from the fire departments to do this. This meeting was video recorded and Ms. Vargas in a private meeting reiterated what Ms. Mendelsohn had said.
Since, 2010, Ms. Mendelsohn worked to dismantle the fire protection in the community and when she succeeded, she brought in another ESD crew to fight fires in the community.
On June 2011, Judge Nelson Wolff had a special meeting to praise Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn in securing over $4 million dollars in loans and grants for the Thelma Area Emergency Evacuation Center. A loan that would take 40 years to pay back. She would also receive $750,00 from a bond past in 2003 to cover the construction of this center. The county had secured the property for $70,000 with a federal grant. ESD6 would then buy that land from the county and use some of the loan money to pay that back. Judge Nelson Wolff even credited Commissioner Rodriguez for lining up the support. Ms. Mendelsohn then mentioned again she expected to rent the facility. She also said she would save money by refinancing several of the fire trucks. The project was expected to be completed by 2012.
All this media coverage over a facility; a year after the ESD6 was broke and couldn't afford to pay the fire departments or cover the cost of service to the existing equipment. Ms. Mendelsohn had already used hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing for the facility, from hiring companies to clear property they still didn't own, the architects for the plans, the auditors so that they could apply for the grants, etc.
The ESD6 offices are located next to Southside Baptist Church in an unmarked building.