Published: April 17, 2013
Gabriel Velasquez clearly hopes to be the spoiler in this race. A South Side activist, who co-organizes the city’s annual César Chávez march, Velasquez is known for his somewhat contentious relationships with others in the activist community. And there’s no love lost for Ozuna, who booted Velasquez from the City’s Cultural Arts Board less than two months after she joined council. He’s been gunning for her ever since.
This seat went up for grabs when Councilman Reed Williams announced last year he’d retire from Council. Ron Nirenberg, associate general manager of Trinity’s KRTU radio station, has gained some solid endorsements, including former mayor Howard Peak, former D8 member Bonnie Conner and former State Board of Education member Michael Soto. The vocal Mike Kueber, who ran for Congress in 2010, is also running for the seat.
The real comedy has come from watching E-N columnist Brian Chasnoff relentlessly hound Rolando Briones, a former member of the city’s Planning and Zoning commissions who runs his own civil engineering firm and is also a D8 hopeful.
Thanks to Chasnoff, here’s what we know about Briones, whose campaign is being run by local consultant Christian Anderson: After SAWS fired Briones, determining he’d violated company policy by accepting gifts from SAWS contractors, Briones turned around and sued the utility in federal court, arguing SAWS had no such rules or limits on gifts from contractors. Then, it looks like Briones lied in an interview with San Antonio Man magazine (which subsequently ran a fawning profile on the candidate), claiming SAWS fired him because he refused to eat a raw egg during a team-building exercise.
Briones’ firm got slapped for operating without a license in Louisiana and, (here’s the kicker), he skimped on overtime pay at his firm. A U.S. Department of Labor investigation of Briones’ firm turned up eight employees due $4,270.50 in unpaid overtime between 2005 and 2007.
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