Outnumbered: Alice mayor questions timing, motive behind new ordinance

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

The Alice mayor found herself at odds with fellow council members over a new ordinance that regulates how items can be placed on the agenda.

The new ordinance, which passed by all council members on Tuesday, Aug. 17, will now require city council members and Mayor Cynthia Carrasco to have a "sponsor" from another member. That means  two or more must agree on an issue  before it can be open for discussion. An ordinance Carrasco was against. 

Some city council members argued that the new ordinance would provide "unity," which the mayor questioned.

"The problem with this ordinance is it can regulate what council member or (me) mayor can bring to the table for open discussion. It creates an unfair environment if the council has sides and it definitely opens the doors to dishonor the walking quorum rule," Carrasco said. 

"There are so many other areas of city business to focus on why would the council choose to place this on the agenda for a new ordinance all of a sudden? Everyone now has a voice for themselves and their constitutes and now we need a sponsor?," she asked. "I have always respected everyone on this council." 

Councilmember Robert Molina disagreed.

"No, you went to the media," he told her.

Councilmember Sandra Bowen agreed with Molina's comment during the meeting and said the mayor's Facebook Lives show otherwise. 

Carrasco disagreed with Molina's and Bowen's claim before the vote was taken.

Molina's claim could be a reference to a published article last month  that highlighted the  council's plans for federal funding from the American Rescue Plan. Carrasco placed an item on the agenda to discuss setting aside $200,000 from the $4 million to help residents with a utility bill relief program and for small business incentives. That item was shut down by  each of the other council members with no discussion.  

The only agenda item Molina has asked to place for open discussion other than swearing him in office for city business since the new election term is this ordinance. 

Here's a tally of the number of city council meeting agenda items placed per council member since the new election in May. 

  • Mayor Cynthia Carasco: eight items
  • Ron Burke: one item
  • Sandra Bowen: two items 
  • Robert Molina: two item 
  • Pete Crisp: one item