Most Viewed Stories
New mayor of San Luis R.C. sees better times for city, region
SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — Newly elected Mayor Leonardo Guillen Medina says he will lead this city into “times of hope” and harmony.
His counterparts in Yuma and San Luis, Ariz., meanwhile, see Guillen's term as the opportunity for closer ties among cities on both sides of the border and renewed cooperation to resolve issues of common interest.
Guillen, a former Mexican congressman and grandson of a former mayor of San Luis Rio Colorado, took office on Mexico's independence day Sunday in a ceremony attended by Al Krieger and Gerardo, mayors of Yuma and San Luis, respectively.
Having taken the formal “toma de protesta” or oath of office, Guillen's first order of business Sunday was to meet briefly with a group of “pepenadores,” salvagers who making their livings collecting recyclable materials from the city's landfill for resale.
Then in his first meeting with the new city council that took office with him, the council ratified Guillen's choice of people who serve in his cabinet, several of whom served previously in municipal posts.
But while he had called for greater harmony in politics and government in a speech Sunday, Guillen found himself at odds with opposition party council members who said they had not been given ample opportunity to vet one of his picks.
Guillen, an attorney by profession and member of Mexico's conservative National Action Party, most recently represented San Luis Rio Colorado in Mexico's congress, the Chamber of Deputies. Mexico's constitution barred him from serving consecutive terms in that office, so Guillen ran for mayor in July, beating Marco Antonio Ramirez Wakamatzu, candidate of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Delivering his first speech as mayor Sunday in the city's Benito Juarez Plaza, Guillen stood near a bust of Eulogio Medina Hoyos, his grandfather who served as mayor from 1955 to 1958.
Guillen said San Luis Rio Colorado was entering “times of hope.” He called on residents, new council members, city officials and competing political parties to act in a spirit of harmony and “to show love for San Luis” and retain the “strength of will.”
His speech was attended by a group of salvagers who fear a proposal to privatize the city-operated landfill could cost them their livelihoods. Guillen granted them a short meeting to present their concerns.
Then in a meeting with the new council, council members ratified Guillen's choice of Martin Ortega Velez as secretary of City Hall, the second-most powerful post in city government after that of mayor. Ortega previously had served as city tourism director during the administration of Mayor Enrique Reina Lizarraga, 2000-03.
The council then ratified his choice as city treasurer, Adriana Lozano, who held the same post under Reina.
By majority vote, the council approved his nomination of Francisco Vasquez Bustamante as police chief, although PRI members of the council challenged the process, saying they had been given no chance to review the background of various candidates. Vasquez had served in same post under Reina.
Guillen didn't address the topic in his speech, but Krieger and Sanchez said they hope for improve ties between Yuma County and San Luis Rio Colorado with Guillen as mayor.
“I hope to meet soon with the new mayor and be able to work together on issues that are important for both cities,” Krieger said, citing tourism and border security as issues of mutual importance.
Sanchez said he hopes to work with Guillen on behalf of efforts to shorten the wait times at the border for motorists traveling between the two cities.
“We are going to talks as two communities that have much in common, above all our culture and our people. He knows that there is a lot to do, but the key is that there is unity.”