May 2014 - Issue IX
Who Will be the New Mayor of New Braunfels?
New Braunfels is on the verge of electing a new Mayor. The twin-river town is growing in the blink of an eye. With failed city projects among other
controversial events afflicting the the booming municipality who will take the lead . . .
Jimmy Delgado, born and raised in New Braunfels, TX and editor of Chicano Channel Magazine, sent the following questions to both mayoral candidates, Barron Casteel and Greg Gallagher, both agreed but only the latter replied.
CCM: GOOD AFTERNOON MR. GALLAGHER, WE APPRECIATE A FEW MINUTES OF YOUR TIME TO EXPRESS TO OUR READERS AND FOLLOWERS ONLINE, YOUR REASONS FOR WANTING TO BE MAYOR OF NEW BRAUNFELS. AGAIN THANKS!.
GG: Over the past few years I’ve seen our town face the challenges of population growth and economic development while its leadership makes poor decisions regarding both. What should be a simple street project becomes a nightmare. When faced with an improving economy that leads to an increase of tourism, the city, instead of embracing the revenue, intentionally attempts to push it out. Small businesses are encouraged to open yet the city then over-burdens them with regulations designed to favor one business over another. Like my slogan says, “It’s time to change course!”
CCM: WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM GREG, IF YOU DON'T MIND US USING YOUR FIRST NAME?
GG: Sure, no problem, feel free to call me Greg. I was born in Upstate New York and moved all over the country since my father was in the Air Force. We ended up in Fort Worth where I finished high school, attended college and law school. I moved to New Braunfels in 2007.
CCM: HAVE YOU EVER RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE ANYWHERE? IF SO, WHERE AND WHEN?
GG: I ran for precinct chairperson in my neighborhood up in Euless, TX in the mid-1990. I lost by 1 vote: 4 to 3.
CCM: WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE MAYOR OF NEW BRAUNFELS, IS THERE A STRONG SINGLE ISSUE OR MORE OF A DIRECTION FOR THE CITY THAT INTERESTS YOU?
GG: I’m sick of the old guard politics. I’m sick of the corruption, the favoritism, the backroom deals that favor one group of residents over another group.
CCM: DO YOU AGREE THAT EVENTS, POSSIBLY CRIMINAL ACTS, LIKE THE SCOOTER STORE DEBACLE, THAT HAD TIES TO THE CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELS, ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE ENTIRE CITY?
GG: Yes. It showed lack of vision, lack of leadership, lack of due diligence, and lack of ethics on the part of the city.
CCM: HOW WOULD YOU PREVENT SUCH AN EMBARRASSMENT AND THE LOSS OF TAXPAYER MONEY THAT WENT WITH THE SCOOTER STORE STORY, FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN?
GG: Due more due diligence, research more, ask hard questions. Assume every deal will be a rip off of taxpayer money until shown otherwise rather than jump in with little or no inquire; quick to shake hands and dole out checks.
CCM: DOES NEW BRAUNFELS SUFFER FROM CORRUPTION AT THE HANDS OF A FEW INSIDERS THAT OCCASIONALLY IS EXPOSED LIKE IN THE SCOOTER STORE STORY?
GG: Yes. The “Machine” is real. The Kitchen Cabinet is real. The corruption is real and it takes place under our noses every day.
CCM: DO YOU THINK IT'S GOOD FOR A CITY TO BE RUN BY A HANDFUL OF WEALTHY INSIDERS THAT ARE NOT BEHOLDEN TO THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL?
GG: Never! They only have their best interests in mind.
CCM: HOW WOULD YOUR ADMINISTRATION OPERATE MORE OPENLY AND EVEN AVOID THE PERCEPTION THAT THE VOTERS IMPORTANCE ENDS AFTER ELECTION DAY?
GG: Adhere to state law. No more secret meetings disguised as “just having coffee” in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. I’d require every city employee and elected official take ethics courses put on by the State of Texas and the Texas Municipal League and when completed, each person must sign a binding commitment to ethics. The midnight emails need to stop as well and if emails are being sent between certain elected officials and certain citizens discussing city business, then those emails must be disclosed monthly to the public.
CCM: THIS REPORTER WAS BORN IN NEW BRAUNFELS MANY YEARS AGO, AND BEING HISPANIC WAS SUSPENDED FOR UTTERING SPANISH ON HIGH SCHOOL PROPERTY, BARRED FROM BEING SERVED AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT AND MADE TO SIT IN THE BALCONY ONLY AT THE BRAUNTEX THEATRE, ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH ANY OF THIS HISTORY OF NEW BRAUNFELS?
GG: I am very familiar with racism and prejudice all over our state and our nation; in the past and present.
CCM: THE AIR FROM THOSE DAYS HAS NOT BEEN COMPLETELY CLEANED UP AND TO THIS DAY THERE REMAINS A CERTAIN DISTRUST BETWEEN THE CHICANO AND GERMAN COMMUNITY, OF COURSE WITH MANY EXCEPTIONS, HOWEVER, WOULD YOUR ADMINISTRATION BE AMENABLE TO CONDUCT DISCUSSIONS AND TAKE ACTIONS TO ENSURE THAT UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATION THESE TYPES OF ACTIONS WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED?
GG: Absolutely, New Braunfels has a deep and rich Hispanic history. The two major streets are named San Antonio St. and Seguin Ave. Our county is a Spanish word for a stone plate used to warm tortillas. Even our city logo has the Mexican flag, the German flag and our town square gazebo on it. We are all intertwined and we should move forward arm in arm with all citizens no matter the color of their skin. I feel it’s time that NBISD and CISD give students MLK Day off and celebrate Cesar Chavez Day. We should have Cinco de Mayo events and Hispanic culture parades. I think it’s shameful that there is an ordinance banning “hanging” party decorations from trees in our public city parks. Everyone knows what that means: It means no piñatas. It’s just another way of keeping “those kind of people” from enjoying their city amenities and it should stop!
CCM: WOULD YOU AT LEAST CONSIDER A PROPOSAL REQUESTING THAT THE CITY OF NEW BRAUNFELS ISSUE A FORMAL APOLOGY TO ITS CHICANO COMMUNITY FOR SUCH BLATANT RACISM IN THE PAST, ESPECIALLY SINCE A PUBLIC PROPERTY, LANDA PARK, WAS ALSO OFF LIMITS TO THE CHICANO COMMUNITY FOR SOME TIME?
GG: No. The best way to heal old wounds is not to open them back up. It’s best to just move forward with a stated mission to include all races and cultures in our community development.
CCM: GIVE OUR READERS YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CAN BAN ISSUE NOW THAT THE CITY HAS DECIDED TO APPEAL THE REVERSAL OF THE CAN BAN?
GG: The Can Ban will go down in our city’s history as the stupidest thing ever conjured up. It was a waste of time, a huge waste of money, it divided our town and pitted neighbor against neighbor, and pushed tourist dollars away. The Court of Appeals will uphold the lower court’s ruling. We should start now to come together and come up with better solutions to our river crowding and litter issues that will please everyone, that are legal, and will stop wasting taxpayer money.
CCM: GIVE OUR READERS YOUR THOUGHTS ON EXTENDING THE DRINKING HOURS IN NEW BRAUNFELS, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT MANY PEOPLE GET ON THE ROADS AND FREEWAYS AT MIDNIGHT TO TRAVEL TO NEARBY JURISDICTIONS THAT ARE OPEN LATER?
GG: I’m against keeping bars and restaurants open to 2:00am until Chief Wibert gets the 8 officers per year for next 5 years that he has requested but has been denied by the city council. NBPD is 45 officers short, they are over-worked and underpaid and to add additional hours of possible drinking and driving which would require more cops on the streets would be irresponsible and foolish without the means to keep the public safe.
CCM: TELL OUR READERS GENERALLY WHY YOU WANT TO BE MAYOR OF NEW BRAUNFELS AND WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS ON DAY ONE?
GG: I want to change the direction we are heading. My first order of business would be to request the funds to bring in an independent forensic accounting & auditing team and audit our town’s financial records. New Braunfels brings in a lot of money. The citizens deserve to know where it is being spent and who is getting rich off our labor.
CCM: WHAT QUALIFIES YOU OVER YOUR OPPONENT IN THIS RACE, BARRON CASTEEL?
GG: I care for all the people. I own no one any favors and I can’t be bought.
CCM: ANY CLOSING THOUGHTS OR MESSAGE TO THE COMMUNITY THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO END WITH?
GG: If you want the same old same old, if you enjoy the status quo, then vote for my opponent. If you want change and accountability and honesty then vote for me. Early voting begins April 28th – May 7th. Election Day is Saturday, May 10th.