After hearing from Chief of Police Claudio Treviño, Deputy Chief Miguel Rodriguez, and Webb County District Attorney Chilo Alaniz on the necessity of the moratorium on the issuance of new maquinita permits — an industry rife with money laundering, organized crime, armed robbery, violence, and other illegal activities —the Laredo City Council voted five to three on March 19 to lift the moratorium.
Some of the five who voted to give more maquinitas a green light gave voice to replacing the quality of life plank in their re-election platforms with the wormy wood of quality of vice.
The one voice that had our heads turned rapt trying to grasp what was being said, was that of District II’s Vidal Rodriguez, who said:
“Real quick, as for this Council, Mr. Altgelt, I mean no one takes lightly the lives of the residents in Laredo. We actually do care for them.
“Like I told you, I am not here to be nobody’s parent in the sense of telling them what to do, how to waste their hard-earned money. I heard addiction and wasteful spending. Then if we’re gonna’ consider getting rid of maquinitas, why don’t we consider getting rid of alcoholic beverages, because that’s the same thing. It’s a wasteful spending. It’s an addiction. I mean we’re moving towards that in dictating how the citizens of Laredo should need to act, and I‘m not about that. I’m about everybody is [sic] their own character. As for that, I will oppose the moratorium.
“Everyone has [sic] entitled to their own opinion and their own doing. I would like to add that when they apply for a permit for maquinitas that it goes through a background check through our police chief or the police department, that they check that the person is a legitimate person that has no criminal background, because there are establishments that are actually in compliance, or I don’t know. So that’s something to consider.”