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Three of the 10 local candidates in the May 3 general election were
absent from the meeting, which was held at 7 p.m. in a meeting room at
the Best Western Swiss Clock Inn. The annual forum is designed to allow
citizens to get better acquainted with office seekers.
Each candidate took the podium to give a three-minute personal
introduction, beginning with Town of Pecos City Council candidates in
the at-large election.
"I was inspired to seek office by the job Henry Cisneros did as mayor of
San Antonio," said Johnny Terrazas, Deputy Clerk in the U.S. District
Clerk's office in Pecos.
Terrazas went on to explain that he had a wife and four children and he
had come to Pecos in 1972. After attending the University of Texas in
Austin, Terrazas spent 10 years working in the banking industry in
Austin. He has been back in Pecos for six years.
Incumbent councilman Dr. Elvia Reynolds said, "Four or five years ago we
started looking and the city's substructure and found that we only had
about 14 years of water reserves. We made improvements and drilled wells
and now we have a 30-year reserve."
Reynolds, a dentist, claims more than 40 years experience in service to
the Pecos community, 18 years on the Planning and Zoning Board, 12 years
on the school board, 25 years of church leadership and seven years on
the city council.
"I would like to continue as a city councilman another two years,"
Randy Graham, a certified public accountant, said he has lived in Pecos
for 15 years, has a wife and three children and has held a seat on the
city council for five years.
Graham stated that he was one of the council members instrumental in
passing a youth curfew in Pecos.
"I believed in the curfew because there was a need for children to be at
home late at night," he said.
Other projects Graham worked on include putting pressure on the local
cable company to get decent stations (eliminating Playboy, MTV and VH-1
from the local system) and persuading the Texas/New Mexico Power Company
to give a seven percent rate cut to customers over the next three years.
Council incumbent Genaro Luis Tellez, Jr. is a Pecos businessman who has
lived in the city for 43 years. He has a wife and three children.
"My first term on the council has been a learning experience," Tellez
said. "We are now looking to the future of Pecos and are working to
develop the city's infrastructure, which is important because I believe
the city is moving upstream economically."
Council candidate Carlos H. Campos, manager of Uncle's convenience
store, did not attend the forum.
Two of the three Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board candidates were present
at the meeting.
Hugh Box is seeking election to his fifth term on the P-B-T school
board. He has a wife and two children.
"I have seen a lot of growth in the district and I understand the
problems of consolidating the district," Box said.
"Pecos has one of the strongest school districts in the state, not
because of the school board but because of the administration and
"I care for the community of Pecos and we have deep roots here."
Freddy Lujan has lived in Pecos most of his life. He has a wife and
three children and is a gas treating plant mechanic.
Lujan also said he is the president of the local Knights of Columbus,
and coaches little league and T-ball.
"I feel I can work for children on a productive level and am a very
optimistic person," Lujan said.
"I believe good results occur with the right attitude."
School board candidate Steve Armstrong did not attend the meeting.
The two seats in the Reeves County Hospital District election are both
Precinct 2 candidate Marcella Lovett said that even though she was
running unopposed she still hoped people would pay attention to
activities of the hospital board.
Precinct 4 candidate Jeannette Alligood did not attend the forum.
In answer to a question from the audience, council candidates explained
why they are seeking election.
"I've seen areas of Pecos that need improvement," said Terrazas. "I
believe the information and experience I've had will help me lead Pecos
and help us get ahead."
Reynolds said, "I'd like to keep on serving the community as long as I'm
able. I wish there were more older people on the council," while Graham
said his work on the council "gives me an opportunity to give back to
Tellez said, "My family came to Pecos 50 years ago. I feel like this is
a way to give back to Pecos and I want to see the city grow."
Tellez, co-owner of Popular Thriftway, has been on the council for three
years and is completing his first full two-year term.
P-B-T school board candidates were asked what they thought about the
fall state audit of the district.
"I think it shows we are a strong school system," Box said. "We have our
problems but we can overcome them."
Box said the district will have to develop fiscally conservative
policies and may have to face consolidation if enrollment falls in some
of the schools.
"We will not make any cuts in educational fundamentals," Box said.
Box, who has served four terms on the board, added that the school
district ended the 1995-96 school year with a deficit of at least $1
million. He said the district would also finish the 1996-97 in the red.
According to Box, the school district has reserve operating funds that
would support the district for about three months.
Lujan said he was not familiar with the audit and could not commit on
it. "I do agree that academics should come first in the district," he
Early voting for Pecos voters in the city, school and hospital elections
begins April 14 in the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St. Early
voting for all elections ends April 29.
Thomas, 55, of Sierra Blanca, was arrested Thursday night south of Van
Horn on Chispa Road, which leads to the Rio Grande. He is charged with
possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Blankinship sought to detain Thomas without
U.S. Magistrate Katherine Baker found probable cause to hold Thomas for
the grand jury, which next meets in Pecos Thursday, but allowed bail.
DEA Agent Mike O'Brien testified that a sensor report drew a Border
Patrol roving unit to the Chispa road, a notorious narcotics smuggling
route which crosses the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. about
halfway between Presidio and El Paso, at about 9 p.m. Thursday.
Agent O'Brien testified that the agent responding to the sensor report
first stopped and released a vehicle with two U.S. citizens, then saw
two more vehicles coming north on the Chispa road in tandem.
When the drivers of the vehicles saw the patrol unit, they both turned
back toward the river. O'Brien testified the agent pursued with siren
and red lights.
One of the trucks, a blue stake bed, stopped and two individuals fled
into the brush. They were never located.
The agent went to the stopped vehicle and then saw at a further distance
that the white 1984 Ford flatbed pickup had "spun out." He heard "get
him" shouted twice in Spanish and then gunfire, which the agent
returned, said O'Brien.
The agent approached the white flatbed truck and Sol Thomas came out of
the brush. The agent identified himself as a Border Patrol officer, and
Thomas laid down a pistol on the road, according to O'Brien's testimony.
Later, the Border Patrol ran their K-9 dog on the apparently empty blue
stakebed truck and found 500 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment
behind a wall, O'Brien said. That truck has no U.S. registration and was
apparently a Mexican vehicle.
Thomas acknowledged the white truck belongs to his business, said
O'Brien. He could not say whether either truck had actually crossed the
Thomas was represented by two Lubbock attorneys, Dan Hurley and Ed
Price. Hurley challenged O'Brien that the agent who made the stop was
not in the courtroom.
Thomas' son, Pierce, is a Desert Storm veteran and a student at
University of Texas El Paso. He testified that the family started
ranching horses and cattle in the area in 1991. The ranch is located
near the better-known 96 Ranch and the Coal Mine Ranch, about 15 miles
from U.S. Highway 90, a rugged one-hour trip.
Pierce Thomas testified that his father was very concerned about the
drug traffic in the area.
"He stops everyone on the road" and inquires about them, the son
Pierce Thomas said he saw his father in El Paso Thursday, where they run
a contract mail route from Paisano Avenue to Fabens. Pierce Thomas said
his father told him of several chores needed at the Chispa crossing site
and that his father has sought "observers" from the federal government
to be posted there.
Pierce Thomas testified his father was never violent and had a heart
attack in June, 1995. Sol Thomas has had a quadruple bypass and
diabetes, he said.
"Most ranchers carry a gun," he added.
Sol Thomas graduated from Texas Tech Law School in 1982, practiced in
Lubbock and moved to Sierra Blanca in early 1992. He was appointed
county attorney by County Judge Bill Love at about the time the MERCO
sludge hauling enterprise got underway.
Scott Johnson, a Pecos attorney, testified he would be "universally
shocked" to hear of violence from Thomas. Defense Attorney Hurley
introduced 14 letters from attorneys and prominent citizens for Thomas.
"There's been a big mistake," Hurley said.
Judge Baker said that possession with intent to distribute marijuana
carries a five-year minimum sentence.
The council recently rejected the planning and zoning board's
recommendation that the properties be designated C-2, which would allow
a wide variety of businesses, including amusements.
Bingo is not defined in either the C-1 or C-2 ordinance, said City
Secretary Geneva Martinez. And the C-1 ordinance is not clear regarding
the other proposed enterprises.
That item follows a discussion of grant procurement services and
adopting tax abatement guidelines on Thursday's City Council agenda.
Carlos Colina-Vargas & Associates have agreed to provide grant
services, and the council is to approve a contract. The council will
also consider submitting an application to the Texas Community
Development Program for water system improvement.
The last agenda item is to consider advertising for a vehicle for the
Pecos Ambulance Service.
An executive session to consider applicants for the position of city
manager is moot, since the council hired Kenneth L. Neal Friday after
the agenda was posted.
Neal was in Pecos on Tuesday looking for an apartment and getting
acquainted with his new job.
The gym has been closed for six years, since being deemed unsafe to use
in December, 1990. It formerly housed the Pecos Community Recreation
Department, along with a weight room, basketball court and racquetball
Both the gym and warehouse are located in the 300 block of South Park
Pecos High School parents seeking changes to the recently-revised school
dress code are expected to address the board during the Audiences
portion on the agenda at the outset of the meeting. Along with the dress
code issue, presentation of candidates and announcement of the
district's Teacher of the Year will also take place.
Other items on the agenda include:
Discuss/approve administrators' job descriptions;
Restructuring study report;
Discuss approve enhanced curriculum;
Discuss/approve new teacher appraisal system;
Discuss/approve granting 10 percent local option homestead exemption;
Discuss/approve roofing bid for PHS building B;
Discuss drug dog;
Discuss/approve district inventory;
Discuss bus fleet;
Discuss/approve 1996-97 budget amendments;
Discuss/approve summer school;
Discuss/approve revisions to Policy FDD (Local) pertaining to attendance;
Discuss/approve 1997-98 school calendar;
Discuss/approve cheerleading/mascot constitution;
Discuss/approve request to use Pecos High School auditorium for Golden
There will be a closed session for discussing personnel or hear
complaints against personnel.
After the closed session, the meeting will resume to:
Hear complaint from Interpreter/Tutor for the Deaf;
Discuss/approve EAP Manager;
Discuss/approve non-renewal of probationary contracts;
Discuss/approve professional personnel assignments, resignations,
List of commodities received;
Depository securities report;
Payment of current bills and approval;
Other miscellaneous items.
PECOS, April 9, 1997 - Membership dues were $940 over budgeted
projections for the first quarter, but Pecos Chamber of Commerce
President Paul Hinojos believes they can be much better.
Hinojos told directors at the monthly meeting Tuesday he hopes to have a
one-day membership drive. He envisions a
telethon, with merchants donating prizes for new members recruited that
day. No date was set because of conflicting activities prior to the July 4 rodeo.
Monahans' chamber grew from 164 members last year to 250 this year,
Hinojos said. Other chambers in the area report large percentages of
membership in relation to their population.
Pecos can have a better chamber, and in turn a more prosperous
community, he said.
Reading from a newspaper article about the small town of Hico in Central
Texas, Hinojos described their revitalized business area, which
capitalizes on the Western theme. Each new business encourages others to
move in, he said. One of those is a dude ranch.
A weekly music fest in a new cafe draws a large crowd, and events
throughout have been added to attract out-of-towners.
Part of any revitalization is a town cleanup, and Hinojos proposed an
"adopt-a-block" plan similar to the Texas Highway Department's
The board approved a kickoff cleanup with lunch on May 3, with the hope
that individuals and organizations will get involved and adopt specific
areas of the town to keep clean.
Executive Director Tom Rivera displayed a "Pecos, Texas" fact book that
the chamber sends out to prospective businesses and another fact book
given to new people in town.
He said the chamber is linked to the Tour Texas 2000 program's Austin
database and address exchange.
Rivera said the Reeves County Civic center task force met Monday to
discuss what needs to be done at the deteriorating center. He invited
anyone who would like to meet with the task force at 3 p.m. today to do
"It needs time, effort and money to be put into it," he said. "One of
the things we don't have is rules of operation for the rodeo arena. Jim
Bob McNeil and I will work them up."
Women's Division president Brandy Owen said the Golden Girl Pageant and
Little Miss Cantaloupe have been combined this year, since the
cantaloupe festival has been merged with Night in Old Pecos.
Girls in kindergarten through Grade 2 are invited to participate in
Little Miss Cantaloupe.
The Golden Girl style show is set for May 17, and the usual Golden Girl
activities are scheduled.
Pauline Moore reported the economic development committee has submitted
a proposed tax incentive plan to all taxing entities, and they are
considering the guidelines.
Co-chairman Bob Curry said that committee has been disbanded.
Hinojos said the Reeves County Health Fair was "great - tons of people.
Everyone was real nice; a real neat time to be at the hospital."
Since the health fair draws so many people (1,000 this year), the
chamber should be involved and perhaps have a booth, he said.
Linda Gholson, who co-chairs the health fair, said they would appreciate
the chamber getting involved.
"If we don't help each other, we can't appreciate what we could do
together," she said.
L.G. Crawford, director of nursing for RCH, was accepted as a new
member, along with Louis Roos, First Christian Church pastor.
Agents from the state comptroller's office, along with Abilene police
and the Texas Department of Public Safety special crimes unit, executed
a search warrant of the Lone Star Inn and Fast Cash Services around 1:15
p.m. Tuesday after a month-long investigation into tax evasion
The businesses are under the corporate umbrella of Alcoholism-Central
Texas Services Corp., which the DPS said is owned by Billie Sol Estes
and Mei Y. Kwong.
``The comptroller's office is in the lead of this investigation,''
comptroller's spokesman Kelly Fero said. ``They're executing a search
warrant of various properties in an ongoing investigation of possible
violations of state tax laws.''
The DPS said in a news release that the seized materials will be
analyzed by the comptroller's office and the DPS.
"(Comptroller John) Sharp's audit team is going to be poring over the
books taken from this search warrant and charges will arise from that,
both civil and criminal,'' Fero said. He didn't name the potential
Any charges would be turned over to Brown County District Attorney Lee
Haney, for his consideration for submission to a grand jury.
Estes, now in his 70s, is a one-time associate of the late President
Lyndon B. Johnson who served prison time for mortgaging phony fertilizer
tanks in the Pecos area during the early 1960s and for tax evasion in
the 70's. The once-flashy Pecos farmer became a millionaire by age 30.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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