(This is 100% my opinion and mine alone. This is entirely editorial.)
These days it takes a lot to surprise me when it comes to local politics. I have met nearly every elected official and candidate who's run for just about everything in this town for the past few years.
But I have to admit that I was completely shocked today. I was shocked by a few things.
First things first. I don't wish bad on many people. (There are a few I assure you)
I feel bad for Willie Gandara Jr's children for having to miss their father for the next 6 1/2 years. My heart goes out to them.
But I don't feel bad for Gandara himself one bit. In fact, I'm probably finally gonna break my New Years' resolution and end up cussing in this piece.
The fact that Willie Gandara Jr received less than half the maximum sentence is and insult to this community and we should rightfully all be mad about this situation. In my opinion, just wasn't served. I don't care that he hasn't had any priors.
I think its a damn shame that he got a similar sentence in prison as Gilbert Sanchez. Not that I think Sanchez doesn't deserve what he got, but I don't know how you can call it justice when one vato gets similar time to someone who admitted to selling the equivalent of a small woman's weight in weed.
Willie Gandara, Jr was an elected official at the time of his crimes. He had the trust of the community. I think the judicial branch had a duty to ensure that the community can have their trust in the government restored by ensuring justice was dispensed properly.
And you know what, it bothers me more that this happened to people in the Valley. Yes, it bothers me even more because it happened to the poorest and brownest part of the County. The people who live at the edges of our economy. How dare he do something like that to his own people!
No one should feel sorry for him for that. These are good, hard-working people who do their level best day in and day out to try to scratch out a living. They deserve better than to have the people who they entrust with leadership betray them. And thats exactly what Gandara did, no matter how you try to dress it up.
This guy told everyone he was going to give 90% of his salary back to the people. To my knowledge he never gave a penny back.
I think he should resign his position with LULAC immediately. I think it is an embarrassment to our people to have someone in a position of leadership among Latinos stand up for someone who betrayed the trust of his constituents. I think it calls in to question the character of Mr. Dominguez that he stands up for the admitted drug trafficker and not raza.
How dare you Mr. Dominguez. I believe you bring shame upon our people and upon the organizations to which you are affiliated. Your actions stand in direct opposition to the goals of LULAC.
Mr. Dominguez has chosen to stand with Willie Gandara, Jr. He is up for re-election to the El Paso Community College Board.
The election is next May. If anyone chooses to run against him, I will help them. Dominguez made a choice and I think its up to responsible members of the community to remind his constituents who he stands by and what is personal judgment is like. Pictures of Dominguez and Gandara should be on a mailer, along with Dominguez's quotes in support of Gandara.
Then let the people decide if Mr. Dominguez deserves his seat at the EPCC Community College Board.
Mr. Dominguez, as an elected official and particularly as a Latino elected official that represents a largely Latino constituency, in my belief, has no business supporting someone like Gandara.
You sir, have an obligation to the people. I believe you've been derelict in that obligation to the people. An elected official should be defending the people he represents, not people who have dishonored their office and this community.