City Council member Isaac Davila doesn’t want to scare the citizens of Rosenberg. Which is why he said he wanted to censure his colleague Jacob Balderas.
However, after 20 minutes of debate and discussion at Tuesday’s city council meeting, council unanimously voted against the censuring of Balderas.
This item was brought to council by Davila after Balderas told The Herald in a front- page story in January that the city and its police department repeatedly asked Lamar CISD to add more officers.
But Supt. Dr. Thomas Randle, Balderas contended, denied the requests without first discussing the issue with the school board.
RPD has provided armed security at campuses since 1998. The school district reimburses RPD for salaries, cost of equipment and patrol vehicles plus a 10% administrative fee.
The city council voted last month to notify the school district it would end its long-running school resource officer contract effective July 2021.
“Jacob has every right to express his opinion,” Davila began Tuesday. “But we’re told when we get up here we should never speak for the city as a spokesperson.
“What he did was (say), ‘We can’t in good conscience say the schools are safe.’ That’s his opinion, but he grouped us as a council.
“What that does is put fear out there when we know what’s in place. We know the (police) chief has been communicating with the school district on the security and new agreements.”
Davila said what drove him to the idea of censuring was Balderas’ characterization of Randle in The Herald.
“Then he resorts to name-calling,” Davila continued. “That’s my issue.
“Where he went wrong was, first off, speaking for council. And then, for some reason, he decided to attack the superintendent of the schools by calling him an ‘unelected bureaucrat.’
“I think it was unnecessary to start calling names, especially to someone who has never done anything to him.”
Davila finished by saying he would be willing to drop the censure if Balderas simply apologized to Randle for name-calling.
Mayor Bill Benton interjected, asking if Davila thought “unelected bureaucrat” was a bad word.
“It’s got to stop,” Davila responded. “I think it was made in a demeaning way toward someone that’s respected in our community.”
Balderas said he thanked Davila for bringing this to council, but would never apologize for what he said.
“I will say your concern about me being disrespectful, speaking on behalf of council, those are your perceptions,” Balderas responded.
“In 1774, when Dr. (Benjamin) Franklin was before the Earl of Rosslyn, in front of Parliament, he was being accused of being a traitor for writing his opinions against the King of England in his private letters.
“Here in this land, we do not have a law that says you cannot criticize people in public positions of power. In your opinion, that was a criticism that was not merited. But my opinion is different.
“That is the beauty of living in this country. We have the ability to have different opinions and still be able to coexist with each other.
“I will not apologize. I stand by what I said. I will always faithfully represent the people that elected me. Even if that is not politically convenient, even if the establishment tries with all its might to make sure that I pay some kind of penance for criticizing somebody that you put it as a well-respected member of the community.”
Balderas then made a motion to throw this item out. The motion was seconded by council member Richard Olson and passed unanimously.