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Alton, Peñitas cancelling city council elections

After the only challenger withdrew his application to be on the ballot, the Peñitas city council voted to cancel its May 6 city council elections Wednesday.


Noe Garza Jr., a security officer for the Mission Consolidated Independent School District, had filed to run in Place 3 against incumbent Felipe Quintanilla. However, Garza withdrew Friday citing timing issues with his upcoming police academy training.

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“My police academy training was going to start in July and last 9 months. What would’ve been the point of being appointed to city council in the summer if I would’ve missed most of meetings,” Garza asked. “The people deserve someone who can be there for them full time.”


Quintanilla was appointed to fill in the place 3 city council seat left vacant by his son-in-law, Armin Garza. Garza left the position after being elected to the La Joya ISD school board, which prevented him from serving on the city council.


Another factor that caused Garza to withdraw was the cost of the elections. According to Garza, the city would’ve spent as much as $20,000 on the election, an expense Garza thought was unnecessary to be spent solely for his race.


“The city doesn’t deserve an expense like this on one seat,” Garza said, adding that he’d be willing to wait until the next city council elections in 2019 to run again.


The only other seat up for re-election this year was Place 1 currently held by City Councilman Alex Guajardo but he was also unopposed.


About 15 miles north of Peñitas, the city of Alton announced they would cancel the May election for three seats on the city commission later this month.


Alton City Secretary Baudelia Rojas confirmed Tuesday that no candidates filed paperwork to run against the three incumbents currently on the commission by the filing deadline of 5 p.m., Feb. 17.  That means the sitting incumbents will maintain their positions on the four-member commission for another four years.


As a result, the city council will vote to cancel the city elections at the next city council meeting March 14, Rojas said.


The unopposed incumbents are Ricardo Garza, Place 2; Richard Arevalo, Place 3 and Emilio Cantu Jr. in Place 4.


The only elections still set to occur this May in the Mission area is that of the Sharyland ISD school board where a longtime Sharyland School Board member will face off against a returning opponent for the May 6 school board elections.


Ricky Longoria, a certified public accountant for Burton McCumber & Cortez     who has served on the school board for nine years, will be seeking a fourth term on the school board Place 1 position.


According to School Board Secretary, Selinda Anzaldua, Longoria will be running against Kevin Sparks, a chiropractor and local businessman who graduated from Sharyland High School in 1983.


During the 2015 school board elections, Sparks unsuccessfully ran for the Place 4 seat against current school board trustee Jose “Pepe” Garcia.


“I’m a glutton for punishment,” Sparks joked during a phone interview Tuesday. “I didn’t approve of the tax rate increase the board approved last year and rather than complaining about it, I’m running to do something about it. There should be another voice on the board.”


Board Vice President Julio Cerda is unopposed for the Place 2 spot on the board. This will be his second term on the board.


Early voting is set to begin Monday, April 24 and end Tuesday, May 2.

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