The El Paso Times just published a guest column I submitted in reply to a recent column penned by Rep. Claudia Lizette Rodriguez of City District 6, also for the El Paso Times.
I do not believe that ad hominem attacks against taxpaying El Pasoans are appropriate from an elected City leader and I feel confident that the voting public understands that.
The El Paso Times kindly permitted me to respond to Rep. Rodriguez, so I took the opportunity to focus on Rodriguez’ voting record and campaign contributions, documenting my claims with primary evidence.
Rep. Claudia Rodriguez’ record should be examined: Max Grossman
Max Grossman replies to City Rep. Claudia Lizette Rodriguez of District 6
Claudia Lizette Rodriguez, city representative of District 6, recently published a guest column in these pages impugning my character and questioning my advocacy in our community. She takes aim at the emails I often send to the public on a wide array of topics, such as taxation, deficit spending, corporate incentives, and the political agendas of elected officials.
What she does not do in her column is refute any of the facts about her record that I have presented in my emails —facts that I research and document meticulously and that apparently upset her.
Rather than respond to her personal attacks, which would serve no purpose, I will instead take this opportunity to discuss her voting record and campaign contributions.
When Rodriguez first ran for her seat, in 2019, her campaign signs displayed the phrase “STOP TAX INCREASES” in capital letters, but after assuming office she was inexplicably absent during the critical vote on Aug. 18, 2020 increasing our property tax.
The following year, on Aug. 24, 2021, she voted to “ratify the property tax rate increase reflected in the annual budget for FY 2021 – FY 2022,” yet she just sent out a mailer in support of her reelection campaign claiming “Claudia has never voted to raise your taxes!”
This past Aug. 23 she voted against increasing our property tax, surprising her colleagues after expressing no reservations about the proposed tax rate during budgetary talks, when her input might have made a difference.
City Manager’s contract, mayoral veto
On May 23 Rodriguez voted to extend the contract of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, who earns about $431,000 per year plus benefits, until June 22, 2029 without imposing a salary cap.
The mayoral veto has been a fixture of constitutional governments since ancient Roman times, but on July 18 Rodriguez made a motion to place an item on the ballot this November eliminating the veto and tie-breaking powers of our mayor, who is elected city-wide to represent the interests of all El Pasoans.
The great ‘arena’ flip-flop
From the time she first ran for office, Rodriguez was opposed to building the arena in Duranguito. In a 2019 interview with Aaron Montes she stated “it’s not where it’s supposed to be.” One of her mailers rhetorically asked “Do you want an arena downtown or in one of the many other locations available?”
However this past April 26 she voted to spend $798,661 to study the feasibility of erecting the structure in Duranguito without considering alternative locations. In her recent interview at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce she expressed faith that the city’s consultants will fit the project within the arena footprint, declaring “We need to execute. Whatever it is needs to happen already.” As for the ongoing litigation, she wrote “We cannot let this suit drag on forever because one person wants to beat the city instead of focusing on what is right.”
Accepted donations from the Margos, Hunts and Foster
When I first met Rodriguez, she promised to never accept campaign contributions from individuals who publicly support demolishing Duranguito for an arena, yet the Oct. 11 City Council agenda cites major contributions from the Margos, Hunts and Foster. In fact, she has raised most of her funds from residents of the Upper Valley and Coronado, far from District 6.
Rodriguez is an elected official and her voting record and donations should be scrutinized to the maximum extent possible, not only by the media but also by the public at large. I will continue to exercise my constitutional rights and tell the truth about our politicians and their policies.
Max Grossman holds a doctorate in architectural history from Columbia University and serves on the boards of Preservation Texas, The Trost Society, and Restore Sacred Heart Church.