PANDEMONIUM: Two commissioners voted out of office in raucous meeting


But I pay my taxes.

-Former Commissioner Juan Jose “J.J.” Zamora



The seats of Commissioners Juan Jose “J.J.” Zamora and Martin C. Cantu remain empty after they were voted out of office by the Port Isabel City Commission. (Staff Photo by Estevan Medrano).

April 16, 2015


To listen to audio excerpts from the meeting, click here.

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The political fate of three Port Isabel commissioners was decided Monday evening at a special meeting of the City Commission. On the agenda were separate items to remove Commissioners Juan Jose “JJ” Zamora, Martin C. Cantu and Guillermo “Memo” Torres.


Port Isabel City Commissioner Guillermo “Memo” Torres weathered an attempt to unseat him from office during a special meeting of the Port Isabel City Commission. (Staff photo by Estevan Medrano).

The room was filled beyond capacity with concerned citizens, public officials and the Cameron County district attorney. “I’m not going to entertain questions from the audience once we go into the agenda,” said Mayor Joe E. Vega to the more than 100 attendees. “I’m not going to turn this meeting into a three-ring circus like we have done with past commissioners. … We ask that you be respectful and if you cannot abide by that I’m going to kindly ask one of the officers to please escort you out. We need to have respect in this commission and I ask that you respect that,” he said.

The introductory open forum included the opinion of Martin Cantu, Jr. of the Laguna Madre Water District Board, who asked why a background check wasn’t conducted by the city staff. He addressed Commissioner Torres directly about the sale of a piece of property to the City for an inflated price, as well as his debt of approximately $25,000 in unpaid property taxes. “Mr. Torres, is this really how you want to be remembered — as someone who didn’t resign because he had too much pride? You’re supposed to look out for the people of this city, not for the best interests for yourself,” Cantu, Jr. said.

Below are two excerpts from Monday night’s special meeting.

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1 comment

    • thisolddog on April 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm
    • Reply

    My two cents please, this recent drama at city hall is a total embarrassment to the Laguna Madre area. Shame on all of you at city hall who had the wherewithal to prevent this. Mayor Vega is suppose to be the one who unites this community, but his actions are quite the contrary. His white elephant convention center has put the city in lots of debt, his purchase of the old Yacht Club put the city in even more debt and his waterfront park on North Shore is an accident waiting to happen. While Joe Vega the man might be a nice guy, as a mayor he is not an effective leader.
    Meanwhile, Mr. Memo Torres professes to be a good Catholic but took $95,000 from the city/EDC on a lot that was probably only worth half and then did not pay his back taxes. Mr. Torres, the community put their faith in you and you severely let them down. And Mrs. Torres, only Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was “crucified” so that our sins would be forgiven. Your husband is far from being him.
    Mrs. Garza, if you don’t know how to swim, then you should stay out of the water. You are a very nice lady, but you have not demonstrated to the community to know up from down.
    I have been on many boards and have been elected to positions by the entire Laguna Madre area and in all my time serving the public have seen our legal counsel do whatever they could to keep us from causing an embarrassment or subjecting ourselves to potential lawsuits. Mr. Collins, the Port Isabel city attorney, must not care about the community. Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t live in the Valley or spend his money in Port Isabel.
    Finally, to the majority of voters in Port Isabel. You all embarrassed yourselves by electing nice people, who are incapable of being conservative leaders. You all got what you deserve.

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