Socorro has been synonymous with corruption for decades, mostly because of the Gandara Clan and people like Dora Oaxaca that put them and kept them in office. Long after the Willies went to jail and Little Jessie Gandara was booted out, that shadow of corruption still haunts that city.
The latest controversy at the City of Socorro involves a new crop of names, but the story is still the same. Its about power and envy.
So here is the latest episode of the telenovela that is Socorro.
The City Manager position in Socorro has always been a lightening rod for some reason. The most controversial figure has been Lorenza Fraire, who apparently was so problematic that even the Gandara's thought she was bad for the city's image and they got rid of her.
I've written about her exploits many times, so use the search feature on the right if you want to go back and get more details but the short of it is that she has been wanting her job back as city manager now for the better part of a DECADE. So she lurks in parking lots and tries to drop information to anyone she can that she thinks will listen to her. Every election cycle she attaches herself to a candidate like a barnacle in an effort to get a majority on council so that she can get back on as the city manager.
Thats her quest.
So awhile back the son of the current city manger was pulled over in a Socorro traffic stop. Fraire saw her opportunity to pounce and so she is the one who leaked the story to the media that the city manager's son was in a traffic stop and implied that the city manager abused her authority to help her son in an effort to smear the city manager right around the time of her contract renewal.
But how did Fraire get tipped off about the stop and get a hold of the video and other info she dropped to the media?
Someone on the inside helped her out with that.
Someone with either a vendetta against the city manager or a compelling reason to get rid of the city manager.
Enter the "investigation" that was recently completed. Socorro Mayor Elia Garcia held a press event yesterday to discuss the findings of the report, though it wasn't released to the public. First, you have to be really concerned in Socorro if there is an "investigation" but the findings aren't made public.
The Mayor was asked about the report and if specific names of current members of council appeared in the report. A city employee acting in the capacity as a spokesman for the city intervened before the mayor could dodge the question herself and indicated that they couldn't release that information because it was a personnel matter.
That ladies and gentlemen is absolute horse shit.
If it involves elected officials, its not a personnel matter. The public has rights to ensure transparency and arguing that its a personnel matter when it involves an elected official is just another way to hide the truth from the public.
The mayor has instituted a new policy that all media is supposed to go through her office now. That should send up major red flags in Socorro anytime someone wants to control the flow of public information in Socorro.
Aside from that, I don't know where she thinks she even has the authority to do so. The members of council serve at the pleasure of the electorate and are NOT subordinate to the mayor's office. Hell, the mayor can't even vote unless there is a tie and there are an odd number of voting reps, so she's essentially powerless.
Stay tuned because there is MUCH more on this issue...