Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel has a policy of requiring payment of any past due bills before any city action is taken. In addition, the Port Isabel city charter has a policy disqualifying candidates if they have any city debt. There has been some question raised by the former city attorney as to the constitutionality of this particular provision of our city charter. But if we examine former cases of constitutional challenge, we find that the commissioners’ claims were only valid in municipalities that did not have a policy of requiring all citizens to pay their past due bills before city actions were taken. The fundamental of constitutional challenge was because of the commissioners’ claim that there was a different set of rules, that only apply to them, violating the constitutional right of equal application of the law. Port Isabel must apply the law to the citizens, as well as the commissioners and city employees, and enforce the city charter in a manner consistent with the fundamental or constitutional law.
Commissioner Torres was recently found delinquent for more than $26,000. Yet, somehow, Commissioner Torres was able to request city action, giving him a campaign packet, despite his tax and trash service delinquencies. We need to review the process of how commissioners are able to escape application of the law while the citizens are required to conform. Who, or what, it allowing commissioners to request city action despite past due debt? This is unfair and exposes Port Isabel residents and taxpayers needlessly.
I’m asking for a review and investigation of the process by which Commissioner Torres was able to request city action, despite his debt, to ensure that our city charter is being applied constitutionally, and assuring that the city not be placed in continued risk, whereas the taxpayers would possibly be held financially liable for any undue burden as a result of these unfair actions. The process must be enforced and the law applied fairly, and equally, to commissioners, city employees, and citizens alike.
Correction: The print edition of the Press attributed this letter to Duane Rasmussen. It was a comment read in open forum by David Woolverton during a Port Isabel City Commission meeting.
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