Community Activist Takes On City Council, Fire Officials - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Community Activist Takes On City Council, Fire Officials

Posted: Updated:
CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

Verbal fireworks erupted in the City Council Chambers Tuesday after a community activist questioned the relationship between council members and the Firefighter's Association.

The City and the fire union are negotiating a new contract, but Tuesday, local activist Abel Alonzo questioned whether council members who receive campaign contributions from the union should be voting on firefighter pay and benefits.

Alonzo went ahead and made his comments despite the fact that council members read a resolution which seemed to back fully its city staff in tough contract negotiations with the fire union.

"I'm not going after the police or firefighter association. I want to correct something that's wrong," Alonzo said. "I know that my name will be mud and I know if I ever need help that there will be delay in getting help, but I'm willing to pay that price."

Alonzo believes there's a violation of ethics laws when council members take money from organizations like the firefighter's political action committee. The fire union chief says that eight of the nine council members have received PAC money from their group.

Alonzo feels that because of that fact, council members should not be voting on the new firefighter contract because there's a conflict of interest. He asked the city manager and city attorney to look into the matter.

Council did not respond to the ethics charge, but the union president for firefighters and police had plenty to say afterward.

"What council members do is not unlike any other form of government, whether it be a county or state," fire union President Carlos Torres said. "All elected officials, for the most part, are allowed to legally to take money through PAC funds or any other method."

"My first take is it is irresponsible, given the fact that the individual doing the calling out quite frankly receives his own form of payments for various things in our own community," police union President Michael Staff said. "I think it's hypocritical by that individual to make that kind of statement. I think it's irresponsible. Are we going to change the way Corpus Christi does business singularly amongst all other cities in the state?"

City legal staff said that PAC money can be accepted, and there's no violation of the law.

The union presidents said they believe this isn't an issue, and wondered why Alonzo brought up the subject. Alonzo said that he simply thinks it's wrong, and at least one council member seemed to agree, because Priscilla Leal was going to abstain from the contract vote since she has received an endorsement from the fire PAC.

  • Padre Island National Seashore, South Beach Temporarily Closed to Vehicle Traffic

    Padre Island National Seashore, South Beach Temporarily Closed to Vehicle Traffic

    The Padre Island National Seashore will be closing off the area known as South Beach to vehicle traffic beginning at 6:00 PM Tuesday.Early Tuesday the National Weather Service issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Nueces and Kleberg counties from 10:00 PM Tuesday until Wednesday at 12 Noon. Representatives with the Padre Island National Seashore say they are closing off South Beach to traffic during the advisory.Park officials say vehicles will be allowed back on the beach as soon as conditions...More >>
    The Padre Island National Seashore will be closing off the area known as South Beach to vehicle traffic beginning at 6:00 PM Tuesday.Early Tuesday the National Weather Service issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Nueces and Kleberg counties from 10:00 PM Tuesday until Wednesday at 12 Noon. Representatives with the Padre Island National Seashore say they are closing off South Beach to traffic during the advisory.Park officials say vehicles will be allowed back on the beach as soon as conditions...More >>
  • Hours After Arrest Warrant Is Issued, Suspect is Caught

    Hours After Arrest Warrant Is Issued, Suspect is Caught

    Daniel Martinez, 32, has been arrested on Theft and Burglary charges on Tuesday. It was back on August 21 when Corpus Christi police raided a home along the 1700 block of Nile Dr.Early Tuesday morning, police got arrest warrants for Martinez stemming from a raid of a home along the 1700 block of Nile. Hours later, Martinez was pulled over along the 6400 block of Vincent Drive. Police officers recognized Martinez as a wanted person and arrested him. The truck he was driving was taken to the Co...More >>
    Daniel Martinez, 32, has been arrested on Theft and Burglary charges on Tuesday. It was back on August 21 when Corpus Christi police raided a home along the 1700 block of Nile Dr.Early Tuesday morning, police got arrest warrants for Martinez stemming from a raid of a home along the 1700 block of Nile. Hours later, Martinez was pulled over along the 6400 block of Vincent Drive. Police officers recognized Martinez as a wanted person and arrested him. The truck he was driving was taken to the Co...More >>
  • Terror Group Posts "A Second Message to America"

    Terror Group Posts "A Second Message to America"

    (CNN) -- The ISIS terror group has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.The video also threatens the life of British captive, David Haines.Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is "paying the price" for U.S. intervention.The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike...More >>
    (CNN) -- The ISIS terror group has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.The video also threatens the life of British captive, David Haines.Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is "paying the price" for U.S. intervention.The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike...More >>