ONLY IN SOCORRO!
If you miss a city council meeting, its like missing an episode of Game of Thrones. You have to binge watch their YouTube channel to catch up to all the drama!
City Representative Yvonne Colon-Villalobos was the subject of two complaint letters sent to the City of Socorro due to alleged behavior and legal infractions during the early voting period of the last round of elections in Socorro. In an email I obtained, Rep Colon-Villalobos blames the Elections Department.
The complaint was centered around the behavior of Colon-Villalobos and her tag-team partner City Rep Maria Reyes, and covered a range of things from their behavior of yelling and fighting with other campaigns, to being told repeatedly by County and Election staff to not enter the polling place.
The duo are supporting Colon-Villalobos' work subordinate Ivy Avalos for mayor.
I'll get to why she blames the Elections staff shortly but first, walk with me.
There was some discussion at a recent Socorro City Council meeting over whether or not there needed to be a run-off election. Colon-Villalobos and Reyes were against a run-off election, obviously because they both supported Avalos and she had the most votes of the plurality of candidates.
But there are a couple more interesting, and ironic, reasons they didn't want a run-off election. One of the arguments they tried to float was that the City of Socorro's charter says you just need a plurality to win. Which would be fine if it weren't for a basic legal tenant that Texas law over-rules local charters. If murder is against the law in the Texas Constitution, allowing murder in a city charter doesn't magically make it legal. State law has precedence.
The other, and much more hilariously
THEY ARE THE REASON AN ELECTION WAS EVEN HELD IN THE FIRST PLACE! They railroaded former Mayor Gloria Rodriguez out of office without even having the respect for the community to state why. The vacancy they created triggered the special election that they are talking about in the first place!
NOW THEY CARE ABOUT TAXPAYERS?
Even by Socorro standards, thats a bunch of hypocritical bullshit.
Reps Reyes and Colon-Villalobos were advised by the city attorney that state law takes precedence, but the two ignored state law and voted to circumvent state law in favor of their political candidate. They'll spin it differently but if you know the back story of who they are supporting there is no way you can spin out of the fact that they were willing to take a vote on the record that would violate state law just to get their candidate elected.
There's a reason for that, which I'll get to later but it makes you wonder what in the blue hell City Rep At Large Rene was thinking when he recognized Reyes for ethics of all things.
In this email sent to the entire council, the city manager, and the city attorney, Colon-Villalobos indicates that the complaints leveled against her by the Elections Department were actually their fault and cites an ambiguous (and unsubstantiated) "power issue" with the judges.
The email doesn't make mention of the other allegations of "fighting" and "yelling" and behavior that was characterized by the Elections Department staff as "an absolute embarrassment to the community".
So why all the intrigue and heightened emotions about a city council race in Socorro?
You know the answer, its Socorro and therefore there is some sort of movida happening.
Reps Reyes and Colon-Villalobos are part of a faction that is led behind the scenes by ousted former City Manager Lorenza Fraire who was such an issue that even the Gandara clan didn't want her to be city manager and they got rid of her. Fraire has been focused on getting back into her old job ever since. She's so intent on doing so that she has been running candidates for years in an attempt to get a majority that are beholden to her so that she can get her old job back.
Multiple city employees have come forward talking about how Fraire spends a lot of time in the offices and has introduced Avalos as their new boss before the election was over.
The faction wants to remove the current city manager and city attorney, which is surprising given the fact that they are the first city manager and city attorney in my memory that haven't been a controversy magnet.
There are 4 district reps, one at-large rep and a mayor in Socorro. You have an uneven number of voting members of council and the mayor only votes in cases of ties. That almost never happens because 5 is an uneven number. Currently the Fraire Faction consists of two, and three if Ivy Avalos is elected, which doesn't really help Fraire because its just the mayoral position.
But the district 2 seat will now also go to a run-off election, but their candidate, which was actually the key to the coup, didn't come in the top two, so to the Fraire Faction, it doesn't matter who wins that race.
And now, to add another interesting wrinkly to the novela that is the City of Socorro, City Rep Maria Reyes is up for reelection in November...