The Recent Appointment Of A Laguna Vista Municipal Judge Causes Political Unrest In The Community

POSTED: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 11:47am

UPDATED: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 6:38pm

The lower Valley community of Laguna Vista. On the surface, the picture of tranquility, but beneath....political turmoil, controversy and resentment.

Roberto Rodriguez was recently appointed from a pool of four applicants as a municipal judge. Problem? Rodriguez is not an attorney...and the city's Home Rule Charter clearly states that each municipal judge should be a duly licensed attorney when possible.

"Our citizens are concerned in how the Home Rule Charter was interpreted, and there after, how the only non-attorney in the pool of applicants who were selected when you had three duly licensed attorneys."

Bill Schnier stresses that he is speaking as a private citizen, and not as a Laguna Vista council member.

"The way T read that...'where possible' is if a duly, qualified licensed attorney applies...he or she would be appointed over any non attorney that applies."

There is a fine-print, catch-all escape clause in the Home Rule Charter, allowing the city council to...quote...waive all formalities. That was the council's apparent justification for appointing the only non-attorney who had sought the job.

The city council voted 5-2 to appoint Rodriguez...the only non-attorney applicant, as the city's new municipal judge. The majority claim they operated within the Home Rule Charter, but some Laguna Vista citizens think they were railroaded by smalltown Valley good 'ol boys.



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Any Judge for Laguna Vista, TX should be a licensed attorney. I had a neighbor harass me. It took 10 years and paying lots of money to deal with this since Judge Bennie Ochoa is not an attorney. I had a renter in Laguna Vista, TX- that did not pay rent for 7 months. Again, the police made this a civil case after 1 month of not paying rent. I went before again, Judge Bennie Ochoa without legal writing told him to move - but with no written teeth. Again, I had to pay civil attorneys!

How arrogant!!

This was a fascinating initial insight to local politics in Cameron County. It would appear that the Home Rule Charter (law) is considered a "Formality" by the mayor and four councilmen.

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