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3 Vinton councilwomen won't run for re-election this year after lawsuit settlement

By Staff Report
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:55:49 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 27 2013 07:28:09 PM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

In Vinton, three councilwomen won't be running for re-election this November.

Martha Garcia, Maria Medina, and Mayor Pro-Tem Juvencia Rios Ontiveros have continuously blocked any attempts by the village to improve its water supply.

In the past, they've rejected any attempts by the village to improve its water supply, rejected grant money, and federal applications for water studies.

But the days of their majority will soon be over.

A group of Vinton citizens filed a lawsuit to get the women removed from office. The move led to Garcia, Medina, and Ontiveros to make a settlement with a district attorney to not run for re-election for the next two years.

The women will remain in office until Nov. 5 when new council members are sworn in.

Mayor Madeleine Praino released the following statement:

The situation in Vinton and this case was unique. It had all the makings of becoming a historic landmark case in the State of Texas. The facts were clear and resounding and I am disappointed that the District Attorney’s Office was not able to handle the case expeditiously because of its uniqueness. There were many times that we felt the injustice being done to the Village of Vinton was ignored in favor of political correctness. While they enjoyed the comforts of a safe home with all the services that the people of Vinton lack, the residents of Vinton continued to suffer with inadequate water supplies, contamination and potential health risks with no relief.
Statement from Mayor Praino regarding the Removal of Councilmembers
The District Attorney’s statement gave the impression these councilmembers have been removed from office. The fact is they remain in office until November and have continued with their agenda of disruption and destruction. In any case, I believe Divine justice is greater.

There were a number of officials during this time who attempted to mediate, assist and support Vinton and I am grateful for their compassion and desire to help, such as our county judge, the late commissioner Haggerty and many others.
I would like to thank specifically former State Representative Dee Margo and the current State Representative Joe Moody for their constant support and efforts to provide alternative legal recourses for the residents of Vinton. It is because of their efforts, and Senator Rodriguez, that there are now two legal remedies for Vinton and other small towns in Texas.

I would also like to thank the members of the press who covered the council meetings throughout the last two years. Without their coverage our plight in Vinton would not have gained the support we needed to weather through.

May this be a hard and valuable lesson for the citizens of Vinton and other voters in the area; their mistake in choosing the wrong people to represent them can have a devastating impact on their lives.
As for Vinton, we will close this difficult chapter in November and look forward to a better future.

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