(Note: Mayor Gilbert Gonzales did not respond to our questionnaire.)
NAME: Vanessa S. Tijerina
YEARS IN COMMUNITY: 41
– Willacy County Democratic Precinct Chair
– Community Organizer, increased voter turn out by raising awareness to important elections and worked actively to unseat corrupt elected officials.
– State level/Federal level, catalyzed change in regards to the denial of Special Education services to Texas schools by giving testimony to the Texas Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.
FAMILY: Four children Lorenzo age 23, Jesse age 15, Senaida age 8 and Audrey age 5.
Question 1: How would you describe the city’s current financial status, including the property tax rate, assessment levels and overall development and direction of the city?
As a citizen, I am not aware of the current financial status. A public records request was made to the municipal court regarding the breakdown of the numbers associated with the revenue brought in from fines, etc. We were told those numbers would not be ready until after the election. This is one reason I am running for mayor. We are kept in the dark, as citizens. For me to appropriately assess our city’s financial status, we need a forensic audit to make certain the money is, currently, going where it needs to be going. The property tax rate and assessment levels are always things that any city can improve upon, at any time, depending on the kind of leadership in place. I see the overall development and direction of the City of Raymondville as stalled and slow to progress, we can do better.
Question 2: What are the city’s short-term and long-term infrastructure needs and how should city officials address these matters, specifically financially?
I see Raymondville’s infrastructure in dire need of attention.
Long term: Roads are taking too long to be repaired, we are missing many sidewalks which forces the most vulnerable of our population (children, elderly, disabled) to utilize the shoulder of the road, we have no appropriate transportation system. Leaders should be actively working to find solutions for these issues from the start of their terms. Raymondville already has a reverse osmosis approach in place to improve the of our water, I would like to see if this was the most efficient option and if we could have done better. Efforts to repair the infrastructure of our water tower, in my opinion, could have been made four years ago, instead of within the last year and a half.
Short term: Many buildings are old & decayed, nothing seems to be done about this even though it may discourage folks from starting businesses or establishing residency in Raymondville. Our water tower, at the very least, could be painted. It is our most iconic symbol, utilized in most every logo and emblem attached to the City of Raymondville, yet in 4 years I have not seen a notable effort to improve its exterior.
Question 3: Other than what has already been mentioned, what other issue faces the city of Raymondville now and into the near future?
Raymondville is in dire need of stronger leadership, the compadrismo system and public corruption are three elements that are stalling our progress. Stronger leadership is needed to increase the rate at which Raymondville will progress, we have a lack of accountability when we fail the citizens in some way, treating legitimate complainants as nuisances or ignoring them all together are all things that decrease morale of our people and workers. I think issues that face the city are the lack of strong leadership, the compadrismo system and public corruption. Strong leadership is needed to increase the rate at which Raymondville will progress, we have a lack of accountability when we fail the citizens in some way, treating legitimate complainants as nuisances or ignoring them all together. Differential and preferential treatment of our citizens, in regards to all municipal functions (court, police department, etc.). It does not help, but rather harms our citizens when we refuse to listen to their complaints and the complaints of our employees. There is a lack of respect demonstrated towards citizens by leaders and those in power and this must end. All employees and citizens should be treated with respect while always maintaining their dignity.
Question 4: Why should voters choose you in this election?
Voters should chose me if they want something different, if they want change, if they want transparency. If voters would like a fighter, someone that refuses to be a puppet of the establishment, someone with a proven track record of catalyzing progress at the state and federal level, then voters should choose me. If voters want a Raymondville that works for all of us, not just the compadres, not just the connected folks, then they should vote for me, as my vision is to have a Raymondville that works for everyone, not just a selected few. If voters would like to make history, by electing Raymondville’s first Hispanic female mayor, they should vote for me. If voters would like a scientist, a nurse, an intellectual to be their mayor, they should vote for me. If they want a fighter to lead them, they should vote for me. If they want increased transparency, someone that is openly against the compadrismo system, someone that is openly against public corruption, someone that has proven they care about Raymondville without having been in an elected seat, someone who has catalyzed change and organized citizens, increasing voter turnout, then they should vote for me.