City councilman apparently violated city ethics rules involving developers

Corpus Christi City Councilman Gil Hernandez commits what we believe is a serious city ethics violation testifying at the Planning and Zoning Commission in favor of greedy developers that took millions of dollars from the Community Enrichment Fund (Park’s Development Fund) away from the West Side Pony League, ABC Streets, Calallen, North Beach, Greenwood, Molina, Downtown, Hill Crest, and large parts of the older, historically Hispanic areas of Corpus Christi. The Park’s fund was created by the City from fees that developers must pay in order to develop and in a decades only city policy pushed by greedy developers, the majority of the city money can only be used within five miles of new developments, leaving most of Corpus Christi without millions of dollars for park’s improvements.

The fund now has almost three million dollars and the City of Corpus Christi, not developers should determine how it’s used. Greedy local developers want the money to be used in the far South Side of town almost exclusively. 

Councilman Gil Hernandez apparently supports the greedy developers who scream and yell any time the Park’s Fund is used for anything other than their development areas. While they claim to be “community leaders”, local developers are leading the charge to influence City Council to keep the old boy system in place and Councilman Gil Hernandez is their mouthpiece. 

Today, it appears to us that Councilman Gil Hernandez committed the serious ethical offense outlined in The Ethics Provision 2-311 (19).l of the City code. This provision reads, “In order to preserve and promote independent advice and decision from city boards and the integrity of the independent board process as a council member, you shall not speak before any city board, commission or committee…”

Many years ago, greedy developers who had great influence at City Hall, wanted to control the millions of dollars that went into the Park’s fund and created the current scheme to use the money within five miles of their developments. They were effectively keeping the city’s money for improvements in their development projects so they won’t have to foot the bill for building their own green space. Councilman Gil Hernandez is now the resident pawn of greedy developers rushing to speak on their behalf at every turn. Why? We believe it is to stop them from supporting his well funded opponent in the November election.

Councilman Gil Hernandez actually testified that he believes millions of dollars should only be used in the very far South Side, because that’s what the developers were told would happen. He failed to acknowledge this is the central problem. There is no equal funding, no environmental equity, no justice in the way the Park’s Fund monies are currently being used. It’s plain wrong. Once the fees are paid to the city, they are the entire city’s money. The Park’s Fund is no longer the greedy developer’s money and the City Council should decide where our money is spent.

The Crónica believes there are parks all over the city that could use some of the three million dollars sitting in the Park’s fund today. Why are City Councilman Roland Barrera and Ben Molina allowing this? Our park’s money should go to improving baseball fields, installing WiFi, adding playground equipment, building a trail system, and maintenance. Do you believe the Park’s Fund should be used city-wide or have any words of advice for City Councilman Gil Hernandez?