The people of Socorro have voiced their concerns about their Mayor and along with members of the Council had asked him to step down. Gandara refused to step down but ultimately welcomed the recall election and said that the people should decide. Gandara seemed to be confidant that those who actually voted would out number those who complained about him. He better be right because there are a whole bunch of people who have been complaining about him.
In an interview with News Channel 9 Gandara tried to make a point but I think it back fired. He told the reporter:
"I've been here all my life, practically, you know I'm sixty years old, take 37 years from that,"What is that supposed to mean? Where the tears supposed to make the people of Socorro forget all they have been put through? All that tells the people of Socorro is that he is a sixty year old man who has being doing the same thing for a very long time and right now he is facing corruption charges. Has he been doing that for a long time? Socorro is a small tight nit community where every one knows everyone. So if Gandara has been their for such a long time then he probably knew Luis Varela for a long time. You remember Varela. He is the Council man that was arrested in a drug sting back in November and resigned from the Council. The same Varela who has since pleaded guilty to drug charges. This election will also fill the seat that was vacated by his resignation.
I'll take it a step further. A conspiracy theory if you will according to my friend and former blogger Jaime Abeytia.(We'll see how long that
lasts, I meant the blogger part) The Gandara family has been involved in the political arena for a few years now. But their service hasn't exactly been without controversy. As we know Willie Gandara Sr. is facing federal corruption charges stemming from when he was a school board member. Two Gandara's were also in a small election controversy when Gandara Sr. could have potentially faced one of his many nephews, Anthony Gandara, in the election. Gandara Sr made sure the younger Gandara was not even on the ballot by pointing out clerical errors in Anthony's application.
Then you have Willie Gandara Jr. He recently named his chief of staff Dora Oaxaca to the UMC hospital board that caused the El Paso delagation in Austin to pass a bill that would restrict those who were elected to the board.
Willie Gandara Jr was also on the news a few months ago when his company Socorro Iron and Metals landed a contract to remove all the scrap metal from the destruction of the old FARAH building. Gandara Jr. held off on voting to approve the project but somehow his company was there to benefit from the vote once he voted to approve the project. Their website has an interesting quote. "We stratigically positioned ourselves and ensured this in order to work with the largest global corporations by fulfilling our client's demands and expectations." I guess sitting on Commissioner's Court is good strategic positioning.
To make this long story short. The Gandara family has been in the Lower Valley for a long time. They are very well known by everyone. You can just talk to just about anyone in Socorro and you will find someone who either went to school with one of the many Gandara nephews or have done business with Gandara Recycling or Socorro Iron & Metals. They will all give you one of those "off the record" stories. For many years the people of Socorro have been muttering that the Gandara's two businesses are a front for something bigger. I really can't say for sure what it is but I'm pretty confident that the FBI will tell us what the Gandara family is really up to. The Gandaras are not doing themselves any favors by bringing so much attention to themselves. Don't be surprised to see the Gandara empire go down in shambles.
Not really a far stretch, but I think the people of Socorro will choose to get rid of Mayor Willie Gandara Sr and name a new City Councilman but not without controversy. I see voter fraud accusations, a new You Tube Video, more tears by Willie Gandara Sr, Willie Gandara Jr coming to daddy's rescue as wads of dirty money fall out of his pockets. The apple doesn't fall to far from the tree. So in other words, it will be another typical day in Soco-Loco.