Rodriguez, who is a bit of a controversy magnet but goes by the motto "Mandito can", apparently really wants this seat on the Texas Association of School Boards pretty badly. He's facing EPISD Trustee Al Velarde and Tornillo ISD Trustee Marlene Bullard for the position. Rodriguez has been calling trustees all across the county kissing ass to get their votes.
Mandito can what, is beyond me. I can't honestly tell you anything of note that he has accomplished for his community while a trustee in Canutillo.
But Rodriguez did something that was pretty petty, which I guess underscores his character issues, that either shows just how badly he wants (needs?) the seat, or it shows just how terrible his judgement is. Either way, it demonstrates why I don't think he's a good choice to represent the area on that board.
Check out this screenshot:
Rodriguez had apparently been set up to be a regular donor to State Board of Education Representative Georgina Perez, who is a bit of a rock star in education circles. She's accomplished more in a couple of years in the post than her predecessors have in a couple of decades - whether its reforming policy to ensure thousands of Texans can get the high school diploma their entitled to, single-handedly stocking the soon-to-be library in Socorro, speaking out against separation of families, helping a mom get permission to cross the border to see her daughter graduate, getting Dolores Huerta back into Texas text books, or bringing Mexican American studies to Texas high schools, Perez walks the walk.
And when she was elected, she didn't lose a single precinct in El Paso County. Don't believe me? Go look it up.
And trust me, thats just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what she's done. She's one of the few elected officials I saw this about, but its absolutely a compliment - she's chingona.
Rodriguez also knows that she's a good friend of mine. I first met her more than a decade ago when I was doing some union work in EPISD and she was a loud hell-raising teacher in YISD. She spoke at an event I was at and we started chatting during some down time and we've been friends ever since. She mentioned the idea of running for SBOE once and I helped her out with her campaign.
Armando Rodriguez made the mistake a lot of people have made in the past. He knew I was writing a piece that was going to discuss his potential conflict of interest and he tried to apply pressure to either stop me from writing it or influencing how I was going to write it.
During one of our conversations the day before I posted my piece on the topic, he'd mentioned that he'd called Perez. Seriously, you people don't learn. No one tells me what to write. No one can tell me what not to write. Not Vince, not Georgina, not Susie, Vero, Eddie, Claudia, Beto or anyone else you people have thought over the years influence me.
Not even Kathryn.
Ask Norma Chavez how trying to tell me what to write works out...
Long story short, that never works out well for someone when they try to tell me what to write about. I'm my own vato. I stand on my own beliefs and by my words.
The fact that he cut off a monthly donation to Perez because he's pissed about what I wrote is childish and immature. Its not about the money, it was only a few bucks a month. She's not going to miss it. Its about the idea that he was trying to "punish" her for what I wrote.
Honestly, knowing Perez she probably just laughed it off. But I called her anyway just to get comment from her on this and this was her response. She took the high road but still had a pretty strong message:
"I think its an unfortunate reaction from Trustee Rodriguez. I think its important for Mr. Rodriguez to learn that representing El Paso is largely about cultivating relationships. Criticism comes with the job and there was a more mature way for Mr. Rodriguez to react to a policy-based critique. I don’t know if it will impact other trustees making their decision on who to support for the Texas Association of School Boards, but I look forward to working with whomever is elected to the position by their colleagues."
But frankly, I think its a stupid move. Mando has enough stuff hanging over his head. He's constantly in the news for something bad and I am not the first person to question his ethics, conduct, or perceived conflict of interest. At this point he should be more concerned that Gina doesn't start picking up the phone on her own and calling trustees and giving them her two cents about Rodriguez.
The last thing his little effort to get on TASB needs is to have the SBOE calling Trustees and weighing-in on his conduct. Hell, the fact that he even tried to play hard ball with her in the first place should make trustees thing twice about voting for him. You really think he's going to be effective on that board while having an adversarial relationship with the most popular and accomplished State Board of Education Rep this county has ever seen?
You know she accomplished everything she's done all while being in the SUPER MINORITY on her Board? You really think she won't eat you for breakfast Mando?
Hell, Perez went to a board meeting in Canutillo once to stop a bad policy that was going to hurt poor brown kids in the area. For a guy who says "Mandito can", he sure couldn't stop that policy.
So Georgina went over there and went to bat for those kids.
But hey, I figured out the answer to my question early about what exactly "Mandito can" do.
Looking for a trustee that knows how to blow a critical relationship for his constituency?
Dude, Where's My Pants?
In other adventures of Armando Rodriguez, this is a picture of him at last nights special meeting at Canutillo ISD where Rodriguez is a trustee. The agenda including some pretty important stuff like sale of properties, elections, and audit items. Mandito apparently didn't think it was important enough to wear pants. This is the guy that wants to represent El Paso on the Texas Association of School Boards.