Romero understandably hasn't wanted to talk much about the series of controversies he's been facing lately so the two basically had to wait him out and catch him before he went into the agenda review meeting the other day.
Just a tip for you electeds out there, don't avoid the media even if its uncomfortable. You look shady and you will inevitably get stuck with a camera in your face at a time that is not of your choosing. Make yourself available and if you're smart, do it on your turf at a time of your choosing so that you can at least be prepared for it.
Obviously Romero is hostile to the reporters because he doesn't want to answer any questions. None of the questions asked were out-of-bounds, unreasonable, inappropriate, etc. There were all on-point and frankly they could've even been sharper.
And before some of you start whining that the reporting is biased, get over yourself. Having reporters be adversarial to elected officials is common and goes back to the days of the American Revolution. Electeds have had it too easy all to often in this town. They get let off the hook and won't answer questions so its high time the media started asking the tough questions. Media bias is usually the first thing an elected cries when they are asked a question they don't want to answer.
So let me navigate you through this interview and zero in on a few things Romero says that are noteworthy. First, he makes the argument that he only worked for the firm for a few months several years ago and therefore it isn't a big deal. Well Maria Garcia puts that to rest by asking him something along the lines of disclosure being a basic tenant of transparent government.
Next Romero goes into a narrative that people are acting like he's the most powerful member of city government and proceeds to essentially through City Manager Tommy Gonzalez under the bus. I'll say this, he's partially right in that the City Manager needs to get a lot better at telling City Reps "no". But Romero must think we are all stupid if he thinks for one minute the public doesn't know that as a city rep he has a lot of influence over staff and if he says something to staff, its not unheard of for them to take it as a directive.
Nice try Representative Romero.
Then Romero tries to underscore his point by saying "you all are blaming me for the city manager raise" and makes the point that he is only one member that voted for it. Yeah thats all well and good, but you're the vato that proposed the raise in the first place! You advocated for it. Now you want to pawn it off on everyone else that voted for it? That's called accountability Representative. It was your agenda item. Interestingly the media hadn't actually asked him about the raise. He brought that up himself.
Romero makes that same point when it comes to the topic of changing financial advisors. He says he wasn't the only member of council that was unhappy with the performance of First Southwest. One problem, there's not actually a record of anyone OTHER than Rep Romero voicing any concerns about First Southwest.
None at all.
Romero attempts to deflect and talk about the $20+ million that was lost by the city because of a delay in a vote because of the election. Thats a solid point except that he's full of it. Garcia rightfully calls him on that and said she has done multiple stories on that point.
I also find it funny not NOW you people care about losing $20 million? I think you only care about losing $20 million when you can pin it on people you don't like because many of you reading this didn't give a shit when the city lost almost $60 million due to fuck ups at the MPO.
Any who, back to the interview. Why doesn't Romero himself say who the other members of council were that were upset with First Southwest?
Eventually Romero goes to the default settings electeds have when its a topic they don't want to talk about and starts claiming biased reporting. Specifically he said to Elida Perez that he talks to her for 5 or 10 minutes and only a small quote is inserted into the story. Well, thats true of just about every interview ever done in the history of interviews.
But Perez also calls him out on his rhetoric and reminds the representative that she's only spoke to him once before for two minutes. She's new to the city hall beat for those of you at home.
My favorite part of the interview is where Romero says that the El Paso Times is lying because twice in the same article they say that he still lives at an address on Polk Street and then has a shit attack because they gave the address. This was likely in a story about how he had that street paved and the alley adjacent to his property as I recall.
So maybe Romero moved. Okay.
But does it change the basic point of the story that property that he lived at at some point while he was city rep had its street paved? I'm pretty sure he still owns that property, which would really make his point irrelevant. The underlying issue is that its adding a benefit to his property at public expense. In fact, if I recall correctly I think he even made some comments about how his neighbors there didn't even know who he was and defended it saying that just because they live on the same street doesn't mean that they should be disqualified from street improvements.
That completely negates his point.
Incredibly Romero demonstrates that he's either completely disconnected with reality or he's lying to himself when Garcia asked him about what he would say to constituents who have lost faith in him. Romero, with a straight face no less, says that they haven't. Uh...there are people shouting recall all through his district and if one guy hadn't allegedly been pressured by some business big wig, there might be a signature collection effort already taking place. Given all the negative information that has come out its not like that would've been hard to collect all those signatures either.
Then he contradicts himself and says that so many people are blaming him for the street stuff when other city reps allegedly did the same thing. Well which is it? They are congratulating you or they are complaining about you? You might want to keep your story straight representative.
This leads to the final discussion - Cathedral speed bumps. Why in the blue hell is he even involved in that effort if it isn't even his district in the first place? So he thew Niland under the bus.
Someone outta do something about all those flying buses at city hall that Romero keeps throwing people under.