School Board curbs public comments

Rosalinda Garcia is seen addressing the Board of Trustees after being told she could not comment on items outside the meeting’s agenda.
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Special to the NEWS

Despite a new state law that allows public criticism of a governmental body, San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees President Michael Vargas denied the only two persons who signed up for public comments from speaking during Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

“To the FBI, if you are listening, we need your help,” said Jesus “Chuy” Aguilera, a resident of San Benito who frequently attends board meetings, during his public comment.

Vargas interrupted Aguilera, who wanted to continue with his three-minute public comment. Vargas then asked for the opinion of school lawyer David Flores, a substitute for Tony Torres.

Vargas said Aguilera could not continue if it was not related to an agenda item.

“It’s strictly to agenda items,” said Flores, agreeing with Vargas.

Before Rosalinda Garcia, the next public speaker, went to the podium, Vargas said he wanted to remind her that if it was not an agenda topic, she could not address the board.

“I’m not going to be intimidated,” said Garcia. “As a board policy, it’s anything that concerns the community.”

Lawyer Flores again said that it was only strictly concerning agenda items.

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