When the street signs went up in a new subdivision in a Texas town, some residents were shocked by what they saw.
War veterans from Socorro, a city of roughly 30,000 about 20 minutes from the heart of El Paso, claim that they were promised their names would on the signs. Instead, city politicians were honored in the new subdivision of Las Margaritas – including one being tried on corruption charges in California, KFOX14 News reported
David Garcia, Socorro public information officer, said there were no concrete plans to name the streets after veterans. He added that the city does have plans to build a park in honor of the city’s veterans, and streets named after the veterans would make more sense in that area.
"Of course the veteran is going to have its place. We have a veterans park being named and we have a monument being designated. So, the veteran has a place in Socorro but this one just happens to belong to the leadership," Garcia said.
One of the street signs especially drew criticism. Jesus Gandara, a member of a prominent political family in Socorro, has a street named after him in the subdivision. He is currently under investigation for corruption while serving as a school superintendent in San Diego in the “largest public corruption case the DA's office has ever prosecuted,” NBC San Diego reported.
Gandara is being tried in court on Monday, according to the San Diego Reader. Four other school officials are being investigated, but with seven felony counts and three misdemeanor counts, Gandara has the most.
A local veteran and son of a former Socorro councilman, Ulysses Gutierrez said that city council members spoke with the families of injured and killed veterans for their permission to use their names on the street signs. He also told KFOX14 News that he has the approved blueprints for the plans.
Estella Garcia, the mother of a Socorro war veteran, said she didn't know that her son's name wasn't being used only after the news station told her over the weekend.
"The veterans are the heroes. Because they went to fight for our nation," Garcia told KFOX14 News. "They don't want to put the ones that are here, they can at least put the ones that didn't make it back."
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