Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Haigler defends local LULAC officers

Abilene, Feb. 22 -- Abilene mediator Dave Haigler came to the defense of elected local LULAC leaders this morning in response to the front-page Abilene Reporter News article claiming there was chaos in LULAC at its meeting last night.

Haigler said he had no beef with Blanca Cantu, ARN's capable writer of the story "Chaos in LULAC" appearing in the Feb. 22 edition.  However, he provided a little additional perspective, because the media can only provide "both sides" of issues they have sources for.


There was no chaos at the Abilene Council of LULAC meeting Tuesday, Haigler said.  The elected leaders were able to get through a meeting with an agenda established by elected leaders, cordially allowing questions and points of order, and even rude interruptions, by expelled and suspended former members, but without allowing a takeover by such ousted persons, Haigler claimed.


Any chaos in LULAC emanates from District 5, where a couple of leaders from Ballinger and Odessa have aligned with three former members of the Abilene Council to entertain five attacks on officers of the Abilene Council dating back to Dec. 3, Haigler said. 


First they suspended Erasmo Martinez for threatening to fight three colleagues, and ordered him to attend anger management courses, but they failed to consider the lies that provoked the threat, Haigler said.


After the local Council met in December and unanimously affirmed vice president Ben Gonzalez as the acting president, three local complainers who had been outvoted locally went to the District in January and misled the District into thinking Ben was not a member, Haigler said.  The clerical error in Ben's membership was cleared up as soon as local officers learned about it.


At the next local meeting in January, the three complainers tried to take over again, but failed again after they disrupted the meeting.  This January disruption explains the February security, Haigler said.  These three were directed by elected local leaders twice to come to mediation over their issues, but they failed to appear, and were ultimately ousted on Feb. 11.


Local elected leaders met with the State LULAC Board on Jan. 21 and were told to sit tight, that the state would deal with the district's interference, that the district could not require an officer to attend anger management, but not to disclose to the media that the state had reversed the district, Haigler said.  Erasmo finished his anger-management training anyway. 


LULAC president Ben Gonzalez, left, with Mayor Archibald

LULAC Council President Ben Gonzalez is shown at left with Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald at the City Council's proclamation of LULAC Week at the Feb. 9 City Council meeting.


Meanwhile, the three outvoted and ousted local complainers retaliated for their ouster by running to the district again on Feb. 18 with trumped-up charges that Anna Vedro and Haigler had "denied a qualified candidate" for membership and should be "impeached."  No one has told Haigler & Vedro what candidate they allegedly denied.  The district does not have the authority to make up facts as they go, Haigler claimed.  And the hostility there to elected leaders locally has been palpable -- there is no rational reason why, he said.  "We have not denied any qualified candidate.  I personally have had no vote on any such matter.  I have had an advisory role only with the local Board," Haigler said.


"How three ousted people could claim they would come to the latest local meeting and have an agenda to preside over, is beyond me," Haigler said.  "These three have not currently been elected to anything locally, and have been overruled at three local meetings in a row now.  To give this 'side' of things media coverage is the outer limits of 'fair and balanced'," Haigler continued.


The State Board has indicated they will hear our local complaints about the district's interference at a meeting sometime in March, Haigler said.

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