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‘Rude’ ex-councilman banned from City Hall; recall petition qualifies

By   /   February 10, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

A former Floresville councilman has been banned from City Hall amid a recall drive against three elected officials.

Watchdog.org photo

GET OUT: Criminal trespass warrant issued to former Floresville Councilman Eric Rodriguez.

Eric Rodriguez was served with a criminal trespass warrant barring him from entering City Hall after he spoke out at a Feb. 4 council meeting.

“He was rude to the city attorney and the council,” Mayor Sherry Castillo told the Wilson County News. “I asked him not to be disturbing the meetings any more.”

Castillo and council members Daniel Tejada and Juan Ortiz are targets of a recall petition campaign spearheaded by Rodriguez.

Rodriguez charged the council trio with “suppressing debate” and “applying rules as they go.”

“They kicked me out because I am getting too close to the truth,” he told Watchdog.org.

Last month, City Attorney Chris Hugg advised council members not to respond to Watchdog’s inquiry into their vote to oust Councilman Jim Miller.

Miller’s seat and the seat of resigned councilwoman Diana Garza will be filled in a special election set for May 3. Garza did not explain her reasons for quitting last fall.

Pressing the city to schedule the recall election for the same date, Rodriguez accused the council of stalling. The city, 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, has a Feb. 19 deadline for finalizing the May 3 ballot. The terms for Castillo, Tejada and Ortiz expire in November.

City secretary Monica Cordova qualified the recall petition on Tuesday, certifying 522 valid signatures. The recall issue is on Thursday’s council agenda.

The petition alleges that the three council members made unbudgeted expenditures, including more than $17,000 in attorney fees related to removing Miller from office.

Photo courtesy of Eric Rodriguez

HAPPIER DAYS: Eric Rodriguez as a member of the Floresville City Council.

Echoing Miller’s complaints, Rodriguez accused the council majority of open-meeting violations and unspecified “corruption.”

Rodriguez said the criminal trespass order at City Hall precludes him from voting at Floresville’s central polling place. He was informed that any other business he needs to conduct on the premises could be done at the drive-through window.

Miller is organizing a community rally outside City Hall on Thursday to protest the council’s actions. He asserts that the three recall targets should recuse themselves from voting on an election date.

Speaking of the council, Miller said, “On some issues they want to go by the city charter, on others they don’t.”

Neither Hugg nor Louis Rosenberg, also retained as a city attorney, responded to Watchdog’s requests for comment.

Kenric Ward is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org’s Texas Bureau. Contact him at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.