Let Joe go

This letter is in response to an article in the VMS on 2-18-17 about Tejano star, Joe Lopez’s release from prison.

After serving 12 years in prison, obviously, with good conduct or the State Parole Board would not have granted him parole.

But again, obviously, someone on an opposing committee wasn’t too impressed with the Grammy Award winning Tejano or his musical history or for his future either.

So, the opposing committee applied pressure and the state board started adding extra time by ordering him to complete an extra five months to go through a sex offender treatment program. What kind of sex offender program is it that takes months? They have had him in prison 12 years for the crime. They could have put him through a dozen sex abuse training programs.

Now, low and behold, they suddenly realized that they had forgotten to include the person that the perpetrator had offended in their final decision.

So, the committee rushes back to the young lady the offense was against and said, “Sorry, we made the decision without consulting you.” So, the state (because of their screw up) added to the sexual treatment program that was longer and will take nine months to complete.

This appears mainly to just keep him in jail longer. So, she (Krystal Lopez) said “I don’t feel good about it … that he’s going to be out.”

Being the strong young lady that she is, now she has gone on with her life for 12 years. She finished high school, then went to college and became a bio technician and has a good job in Houston. Now at 26 years old, she seems to be living a pretty successful life.

It’s time to put the past behind and let “Uncle Joe” get on with whatever is left of his career as an entertainer, song writer or any other professional he seeks.

The extended time added on, sounds like a kangaroo court decision to me, where a mock court is set up spontaneously for the purpose of delivering a judgment arrived at in advance in which a fate is pre-decided in order to appease or pacify a particular person or group.

The parole has also ordered Lopez “not to reside with, contact or cause to be contacted by any person 17 years of age or younger in person, by telephone, correspondence, video or audio device, third person, media or any electronic means, unless approved by the supervising parole officer.” (Which will haunt and harass him for years to come.) I am not a Latino or a Tejano. I am a white American born and bred, a gringo that happens to live in South Texas among many fine Latino American Mexicans.

Joe Lopez is 66 year old. Young enough to get his life back together and get on with his career as an entertainer. Old enough that time is not on his side.

Joe Lopez needs to be freed from prison with his parole conditions so he can get back to work to start trying to get readjusted and on with his life. He is a great entertainer, not only for the Tejano or Latinos, but many of the American music lovers enjoy and follow his career.

Curtis Hatcher Harlingen

Setting the record straight

To the Editor:

I decided to respond to any concerns that citizens may be having about the issues surrounding Roberts Drive – a road that was recently repaired in San Benito, I am Esteban Rodriguez, a city commissioner, and I was quoted in a story that broke in the paper on Jan. 7.

I commented to the paper because I believe in being transparent to our citizens.

But it seems that we have people on both sides of this issue that are either upset about the road being fixed, or upset with me for what I said in the paper. I would like to set the record straight.

About a month prior to Roberts Drive being fixed, I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Tony Rodriguez (a resident of Roberts Drive) right before the city meeting.

Mr. Rodriguez shared his concerns and explained the issues with the huge potholes on the road. I empathized with him and truly wanted to help him with his problem.

I assured him I would bring his concern to the city manager’s attention.

After speaking to the city manager, I was told the city could not do anything for the citizens on Roberts Drive because it was a private road.

As much as I wanted to help, I felt that as far as the city was concerned, our hands were tied.

The day repairs began on Roberts Drive, I started to receive phone calls from a few citizens, whose road was on our street priority list, wanting to know why Roberts Drive was being worked on.

Imagine my surprise because I was not aware the city workers had been given the OK to work there.

As far as I knew, this was still a private road. I feel that a lack of communication stirred this issue into a big misunderstanding that came to be.

This confusion could have been avoided if certain channels of communication were followed.

For the record, I was never against helping the residents on Roberts Drive.

I would have been in favor of coming to some kind of solution for these citizens if the commission had been informed.

Once I had the opportunity to sit down with the city manager, I shared with him my concerns regarding legalities and how a judge had been recently indicted for a similar situation. I didn’t want to see this happen in San Benito.

I did, however, express my disappointment that he did not inform the commission o this decision and I can assure the citizens of San Benito that this will no longer be an issue moving forward.

The city manager explained the reasons why he decided to go ahead and work on the road and one reason that stood out to me was the fact that emergency vehicles were not able to enter in and out safely in case of an emergency.

It is my hope that everyone will understand that the safety and wellbeing of our citizens is something that I world never jeopardize.

With that being said, I would like to also stress how important it is to maintain the integrity of our ongoing street repair and priority list.

I don’t want our citizens to lose faith in our city government.

It is matters such as these that always makes decision-making difficult, but I think that as long as I stick to be beliefs of truth, fairness and accountability, we can always find common ground.

I will end by saying that I will continue to do the job that the citizens elected me to do to the best of my ability and know that I will always look out for the best interest of the citizens of San Benito.

Most respectfully, Esteban Rodriguez City Commission San Benito