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Jim Brunson: Beto has my support

20140307 Beto-SalinasI am doing something I rarely do – endorsing a candidate. I do so now because I have serious concerns about the candidate who is attempting to unseat Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas.

I urge all our readers to support Beto Salinas in the run-off election because he has proven time and time again to be a valuable advocate and leader for the City of Mission. His accomplishments as mayor over the past 16 years are many and varied.

The pattern he has established is one of setting specific goals, then using his leadership skills, business and finance acumen and determination to achieve those goals. He has served as an elected official for many, many years — first as Hidalgo County Pct. 3 Commissioner, from 1981-1992, then as mayor of Mission since 1998.

During that time he has forged highly important relationships with leaders and officials at all levels of government, from the local city and county level to state and national. His strong relationship with the governor and other top state officials has paid off time and time again for the citizens of Mission. I am constantly amazed at the ability this man has to secure millions of dollars in state funding for highway and infrastructure projects in Mission. This uncanny ability has saved the local taxpayers (you and me) great expense, while building roads and bridges, creating parks, improving drainage systems, and making other improvements that have been essential to a fast-growing city.

Here is a list of just a few of the many projects completed during Beto’s administration as mayor.

Road and Highway Projects: Shary Road widening, Trinity Drive, FM 1016 from South Conway to Taylor Rd., Anzalduas Highway, Military Highway improvements, Mile 2 Road widening, and Bryan Road and Trinity Drive overpass construction. Major road projects currently underway include a $3.4 million street overlay program, Expansion of Inspiration Rd. overpass at Expressway 83, Inspiration Rd. widening from Expressway to Mile 3 Road, and Shary Rd. traffic flow enhancement project.

Anzalduas Bridge: While many different mayors of Mission tried to get us a bridge – going back to Arnaldo Ramirez in the 1970s – Beto Salinas is the one who finally got it done. This project will have a tremendous impact on the economy of Mission and the surrounding region for years to come. This was a major feat requiring much coordination and consensus building to achieve.

Public Facilities: Projects completed include the Northside Water Plant expansion ($12 million), Central Fire Station ($3.5 million), Wastewater treatment plant with sewer lines and facilities ($34 million), Mission City Hall ($3 million), Public Safety Building ($3.9 million), Fire Station #3 ($249,000), Mission Chamber of Commerce building, Upper Valley Art League building renovation and expansion, Speer Memorial Library expansion.

And the list goes on. You get the idea. No mayor of Mission has ever accomplished so much.

Take a look at Mayor Salinas’ opponent, Jaime Gutierrez.

My first up-close look at Jaime was during the Mayoral Candidate Forum hosted by the Progress Times in April. I was unimpressed. He could provide no credentials that would qualify him for running the city. His responses to our questions were “philosophical” and unspecific–meaning, he had no plan.

His response to every question was the same: “We need to do what the people want.” No specifics. No leadership. No vision. Just nice sounding words.

That’s the kind of politician that worries me. The kind that doesn’t tell you what they stand for or what they will do if elected.

Jaime has no experience that we can identify. He has never served on any of the many city boards or on any of the other key boards that are most important to this community, including Mission Chamber of Commerce, MEDC, or even boards like the Mission Boys & Girls Club.

Jaime is not from Mission and has only lived here 10 years, according to his candidate filing application. He doesn’t know our community and apparently has not cared enough to even attend a single city council meeting before becoming a candidate. A search of city records reveals that there is no record that he has ever attended a city council meeting or P&Z meeting.

This tells me that this candidate is not involved in our community, and he doesn’t care.

There are so many different organizations in which a person can serve the community, yet he lists no service in his campaign ads. Why?

Even more disturbing is this: Jaime never voted in Hidalgo County before 2012. Is this another indication of his civic involvement? So, why is he suddenly interested in politics? I am concerned that his motives may not healthy for Mission or her citizens. I see him as divisive – pitting certain areas of the city against the other. This has become evident in his campaign.

His campaign slogan is a “change” for Mission. His kind of change will not be in Mission’s best interest. Vote for the man we know will do a good job – an excellent job – in leading this city. Vote for Beto. Early voting begins Monday, June 9.

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