SANTA ROSA — A private meeting between concerned residents of three communities and county officials created a hubbub on social media with residents posting videos and commenting on the tone and language used by Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr.
Disagreements and frustration erupted from both ends over the June 24 thunderstorm that caused widespread flooding.
Trevino, at one point, said to attendees, “Do you want help or do you just want to b—-?”
The Valley Morning Star attempted to reach Trevino and County Commissioner Gus Ruiz for comment on what was being said on social media, but there was no response.
“I think the frustration from the people is understandable, especially from what they have been through and hopefully they get the help they need,” Alma Martinez-Botello, a La Feria Chamber of Commerce volunteer, said.
“I do think though that as elected officials they should conduct themselves in public especially if there is a family there or children that have lost everything. No one should be disrespectful from any side. I think it just started on the wrong foot.”
According to Gloria Casas, one of the organizers, the purpose of the Wednesday night meeting in Santa Rosa was to start a conversation on solutions to flooding.
However, the meeting did not go the way organizers had planned.
Connie Quintanilla, Vice President of Quintanilla Event Center, where the meeting was held, said she felt attendees were not given time to express their concerns from the start.
“I wanted to tell them to be quiet and let people talk and ask questions. They did not really offer any information to the people,” Quintanilla said about the county officials in attendance.
“It’s just sad because people are still flooded, and a friend of mine called me to say there were snakes in her house. What can these people do?’” she said.
Martinez-Botello said she attended the meeting to inform the community and find solutions as well.
“I reached out to the (county) judge and I received a response by his secretary that he would be attending the meeting, which made me see it as a public meeting. That is the way I saw it,” she said.
“I have seen people struggling with individuals in need digging through their stuff, and I had never experienced that in my whole life. It tore me apart to see these families devastated, so I understand why they are frustrated,” she said.
Martinez-Botello said she believes Trevino and Ruiz have good intentions and tried to conduct the meeting as best as possible.
Though information was presented by county officials, as well as County Engineer Paulina Vega and Cameron County Emergency Management Marshal Juan Martinez, the crowd wanted to have their questions answered right away.
Because of this the crowd began to raise their voices and so did the county judge. One attendee recorded the meeting with his cell phone and posted it on social media, where it went viral.