By Dr. Max Grossman

City Reps. Isabel Salcido of District 5 and Claudia Lizette Rodriguez of District 6 just sent out campaign mailers claiming they fought for lower taxes and are advocates for fiscal discipline. Let’s examine their text.

Rodriguez Mailer

Rodriguez’ first talking point is “Claudia has never voted to raise your taxes!”

Courtesy of Max Grossman

That is absolutely false, as I just indicated in a guest column published by the El Paso Times today.

On August 24, 2021, Rodriguez voted to “ratify the property tax rate increase reflected in the annual budget for FY 2021 – FY 2022.” That is, she voted to maintain the tax rate at $0.907301 in spite of the rise in property valuations, resulting in a tax increase.

Her mailer also claims “Claudia has never voted for debt without voter approval.”

It is true that Rodriguez never voted to issue a certificate of obligation, and she deserves credit for that, however once her colleagues voted to issue COs, she voted 19 times to spend CO funds on non-emergency projects such as streets, bus facilities, bicycle paths, and public art.

Her mailer also states “Claudia put a salary cap on the city manager’s pay.”

The fact is she voted on May 23 to extend Tommy’s contract without a salary cap and voted only later, on August 23, to impose a cap of $450,000. That is, she had initially voted to extend his contract without any limit to salary increases. Moreover, his so-called “salary cap” can be increased to either the average base salaries of the three highest-paid city managers in comparable cities or his base salary with the merit or other increases – whichever is lower. In short, there is no salary cap.

Salcido Mailer

Salcido brags that she “fought to lower the city tax rate” but she voted for tax property tax increases 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Courtesy of Max Grossman

She is trying to fashion herself as a tax hawk because of her surprise August 23 vote against the latest tax increase, after failing to advocate for a lower tax rate during the many months of budget discussions.

She also claims she has “advocated for a fiscally responsible budget” even though she has voted to issue $389,000,000 in certificates of obligation and voted 31 times to expend CO funds for non-emergency projects. She has also voted for just about every boondoggle project that has come before her, including TIRZ 13.

Like Rodriguez, she brags that she “placed a cap on the city manager’s salary” when in fact there is no cap.

Failure To Sign “Code of Fair Campaign Practices”

Salcido and Rodriguez are among the few candidates who have failed to sign the “Code of Fair Campaign Practices.” Item 4 of the code states “I will not use campaign material of any sort that misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts.”

In the case of Salcido, she deceives her constituents by omission, but in the case of Rodriguez, she outright lies to her constituents about not voting to raise our property tax.

No wonder they did not sign.

Code of Fair Campaign Practices – screenshot
Campaign Forms Filed By City Council Candidates, October 18, 2022

About the Author:

Dr. Max Grossman is an architectural historian.

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