What happened?

Approximately four months ago, people cut down 10 to 15 small- to medium-sized trees (enough to fill about eight to 10 dump trucks) on Business 83 in the 3700 W. block.

The cut up trees were all piled up on the west side of Paloma Lane near the 1000 block.

I called the City Hall about a month ago, maybe five weeks ago. I talked to two different departments and was given back to the first one who said he would send someone out to look at the problem.

The problem is – either the property owners are at fault and should have been cited a long time ago, or the city is at fault and somebody should be suspended for such an oversight.

Gerald Paschke Harlingen

Where is the openness?

One of the major tenets of a representative democracy is based on open government or transparency. It means citizens have the right to know what is going on with government institutions.

In 1973, the Texas Open Records Act, now known as the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) was enacted due to a major fraud scandal in the state.

The reason for this law was that, “the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.”

I’m a resident and taxpayer of Mercedes. Recently, there was a controversy dealing with the city of Mercedes supporting the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show. I’m glad this private organization got funding from the city to improve the parking situation in order to promote more business. However, the city apparently did not abide by the simple rule of government transparency.

One of the commissioners complained that this item was not put on the regular agenda at the City Commission meeting. Instead, it was dealt with in executive session, in which no member of the public was allowed to listen to the discussion.

I found out about this situation during the city’s candidates forum. I had not heard about this development until this time.

Hopefully, the City Commission will conduct all future meetings with transparency in mind.

“Government is the servant and not the master of the people.”

Silvestre Moreno Jr. Mercedes