By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Long after the sound of school children had faded for the day, the parking lot of the Esperanza B. Garza Head Start building in Laguna Heights was filled with people Tuesday. Inside the large classroom space — decorated with images of traditional Mexican folklorico dancers, Olaf the Snowman from Frozen, and other colorful scenes — several dozen Laguna Heights residents sat on brown metal folding chairs which had been neatly arranged in the center of the room. Before them sat Port Isabel Mayor Juan Jose “J.J.” Zamora, Commissioners Carmen Rios and Martin Cantu, Jr., and Fire Marshal John Sandoval. And, addressing the crowd in Spanish, stood Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema.
It was a meeting of neighbors become family — a blended family, of sorts — as Port Isabel city leaders introduced themselves to the City’s newest residents — those folks in the eastern half of Laguna Heights who are now Port Isabel residents thanks to the City’s recent annexation of their neighborhoods.
The meeting was at once a “getting to know you” session and a preliminary laying of groundwork to envelope the western half of the Heights into the City’s way of doing things. Most of the topics of discussion had to do with Port Isabel’s ordinances regarding garbage collection, animal control, yard and property maintenance, and public safety.
“This was just an information meeting. We’re trying to get the word out to the public as much as possible about the services the City has,” Hockema said after the meeting.
“We really wanted to touch on the most pressing issues, which are the code enforcement, the garbage, things of that nature,” he said.
The City made a concerted effort to get the word out by distributing flyers and getting local churches and the staff at the Head Start to help spread the word about Tuesday night’s meeting.
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