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Volunteer Fire Departments and Rural Politics

I couldn't get behind Sanders because he didn't run under his own party and I felt it was wrong. I felt the same way about the Tea Party.

Politician, campaign manager for Chico Rodriguez and President of the ESD #6 Board; Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn.

Politician, campaign manager for Chico Rodriguez and President of the ESD #6 Board; Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn.

Most definitely something there....

At a Special Board Meeting for ESD#6 that was held by the school district, then newly elected Congressman for that district, Francisco "Quico" Canseco was present and expressed his concerns. Mr. Canseco remained there and took notes until the meeting ended, somewhere around 11 p.m.

This meeting was set by the Southside Independent School District to inform the community of the fact that they (the school) did not have fire or emergency protection during the day time hours. Leaving the children and the staff at risk.

Appointment of unqualified members to the board?

Sometime around 2004, the county brought the idea of an Emergency Service District and taxing the rural communities to help offset the cost for the Volunteer Fire Departments; making it safer in areas that wouldn't have firefighters during the daytime hours because they have to make a living to support their families.

Sounds great? Well, it did and the members of the community voted for it, creating the Emergency Service District #6.

A board was appointed that kept the fire departments funded and maintained fire protection in the district.

Then County Commissioner of that District, Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez (the younger brother of former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez) overnight replaced the members to the board. He appointed his campaign manager, Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn, who became board President and other members of the board, Norbert Chavez, VP; Luisa Vargas, Treasurer; Loren Brewer, Commissioner and John Wood, commissioner.

Loren Brewer, ESD #6 Board Member, only attended one meeting since his appointment.

Loren Brewer, ESD #6 Board Member, only attended one meeting since his appointment.

Luisa Vargas and Chico Rodriguez at fundraiser.

Luisa Vargas and Chico Rodriguez at fundraiser.

Norbert Chavez

Norbert Chavez

Board Appointments

Board appointments are done by the County Commissioner of the designated Precinct, with the approval of all County Commissioners. The appointments are to be staggered as they were prior to June 2009.

2 June 2009, Commissioner's Court Agenda shows the following:

Approval of a request from County Commissioner Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez, Precinct 1 to appoint Mr. Loren G. Brewer to replace the hold-over status of position held by Emmanuel Flutz, Jr. to begin upon appointment and expire December 31, 2009. Ms. Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn to replace the hold over status position held by Marilyn Matthey to begin upon appointment and expire December 31, 2010, and John Nolan Wood to replace the hold-over status held by Andrew Herrera to begin upon appointment and expire December 31, 2009, and the re-appointment of Norberto Chavez and Luisa Vargas to serve on the Bexar County Emergency Services District Number #6,to begin upon appointment and expired December 31, 2010.

In 2005, the board appointed Ms. Luisa Vargas to the board and as such she is the longest sitting member on that board. Nothing was found after her expiration in 2006, that is until June of 2009. Norberto Chavez is listed as being re-appointed, but I did not find an agenda that stated he had ever been appointed, but it is a well know fact throughout the fire departments that he had been a long standing member as well, just not as long as Ms. Vargas.

Board member backgrounds:

Ms. Luisa Vargas (aka. Luisa Ramos Saenz) , according to newspaper articles, she was to be commended for returning to college and getting her degree as a grade school teacher at her age. She was at the time employed by the Southside ISD and has since left the district after allegations surfaced that she was physically abusing children in her class; ran for the school board with the support of Ms. Mendelsohn. Mr. Chavez, Mr. Brewer and Mr. Wood, the latter three having been students at the school she worked. She called them "her boys".

Mr. Loren Brewer, supported for the Southside ISD board by Ms. Mendelsohn as she helped run his campaign. He was elected to the Southside ISD board, was censured and stepped down as board president. His last year on the school board also showed more absences than attendance. Mr. Brewer openly campaigned for Mr. Chavez, when he like Ms. Vargas ran for the school board. Mr. Brewer attempted to run for the school board the next election cycle, but did not make the deadline to submit his paper work, was given an extension, but chose not to run. District Court records show, Mr. Brewer might best be remembered by his community as Mr. Loren Glen Martin who attended Southside ISD and changed his name to Loren Glen Adcock in December of 1990, then once again in January of 2000, Mr. Martin, now Mr. Adcock changed his name to Loren Glen Brewer and goes by several other alias'.

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Mr. Norbert Chavez, was supported by Mr. Brewer, Ms. Vargas and Ms. Mendelsohn when he too ran for the Southside ISD board. Mr. Chavez openly campaigned in the district for the hiring of interim superintendent Dr. Fidel Del Barrio, which is documented, that he was working for him in his cattle business at the time. Mr. Chavez also attended the Southside ISD school board to accept Mr. Brewer's appreciation of service plaque when Mr. Brewer left the Southside ISD school board and was unable to attend the final board meeting.

Mr. John Nolan Wood, not much is known about Mr. Wood, only that he has a lifelong friendship with Mr. Brewer and Mr. Chavez and that at one point in time he owned a fencing company. Also, a little something interesting, when I first looked on the County Commissioners website at Board Appointments, it showed Mr. Wood's seat as expiring in December of 2009, looking at the website a second time; the date had been changed to December 2010, no agenda motion was found to do so. Mr. Wood is not shown as owning property in the district or paying taxes in the district. He has children in the Southside ISD district. He was a hand picked appointment by Mr. Brewer to fill in a vacated seat on the Southside ISD board in 2013, ran in 2015, switching positions and lost the election.

Ms. Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn (aka. Sylvia Mendoza Ruiz, Sylvia Ruiz, Sylvia Mendelsohn) has been a long standing member of the Southside School District community. Her family owned much property and business' in the area located on and off 281 south and 1604 that are now owned by Ms. Mendelsohn. She has been a political activist in her community, as well as a candidate having run against Carlos Uresti, twice and defeated both times. She openly campaigned for Sergio "Chico" and Ciro Rodriguez in her community as well as holding the position of campaign manager for Chico Rodriguez. She has been appointed to the City South Board, The Mental Health Board and the Emergency Services District Board #6 and is working directly for County Commissioner Rodriguez, having appointed another "inner circle" member to her seat on the ESD#6 board.

Ms. Matthey stated at the AtaBexar fire station that she and Mr. Herrera were not given any advance warning of their being removed. The video footage also shows Ms. Matthey saying that the ESD#6 had reserved funds of over $450,000 plus the tax revenue they'd collected and so they had close to $1,000,000 when she and Mr. Herrera were removed from the board. Where did it all go?

If the seats on this board are allowed to over-run and in the case of Mr. Brewer, who's seat was expired over a year (on record, only attended the meeting for his appointment ) and allowing a seat to remain vacant for so long, was and is a disservice to the community that this person represents, in short, the Sandy Oaks VFD area. This showed and shows a lack of due diligence on the part of the County Commissioner's office.

What is the job of the Emergency Service District?

It was the job of this board to distribute the taxpayer funds to three fire departments in the area, South Bexar Fire and Rescue, AtaBexar VFD and the Sandy Oaks VFD.

Funds were to be spent on:

  • Scheduled equipment maintenance costs, not replacements like tires or engines.
  • Apparatus payments and new equipment (trucks, gear, etc)
  • Uniforms for Fire Fighters
  • Payroll for salaried Fire Fighters during the daytime hours.
  • Insurance on vehicles, etc.

Instead, Ms. Mendelsohn opted to try to gain control of the Volunteer Fire Departments and their inventory. When the Volunteer Fire Departments are actually their own entities that are contracted for service by the ESD#6.

Emergency Vehicles at Sandy Oaks VFD

Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department 3306 Hardy Rd., San Antonio, TX 78264 (210) 621-2131

Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department 3306 Hardy Rd., San Antonio, TX 78264 (210) 621-2131

Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department


  • 20 plus volunteer firefighters/EMT's
  • Home Land Security housed their hazmat equipment here
  • They had certified hazmat personnel
  • This was the only station with a ladder truck (that could reach the taller buildings at the school district) It was stated in the local news that the Sandy Oaks VFD stood to lose a ladder truck worth $750,000 due to the ESD #6 cutting their funding. They also stood to lose other trucks making it a total of about $3 million dollars in fire fighting equipment that is needed to protect the lives of the community, many of which are elderly.
  • Average about 658 calls per year and cover approximately 64 square miles

    At the Southside ISD special board meeting on Nov. 10, 2010, It was said that Sandy Oaks VFD covered 2 elementary schools, a middle school and what is called "Hazmat alley", which is the area south of 37 S and North of 1604. There is a water treatment plant, a petroleum research plant, a mulch farm and 3 gas stations among other businesses.

Then the acting Chief Squires said that when they spoke to newly hired District Chief prior to the meeting, they were told they had 10 days to decide and sign their new contract. He also stated that they asked to see the contract and was told to them it was not in written form yet, but that the Sandy Oaks VFD would have to sign over a vehicle if it received funds for fuel and if ESD#6 paid for utilities, they would be required to sign over the property (firehouse) to the ESD#6. Then acting Captain Inmon of the AtaBexar VFD said they were told the same thing. Chief Crowley of South Bexar who had been running his fire station with funds said that his contract had been rescinded and they would also be under negotiations with ESD#6.

Chief Crowley was asked since his fire department was the only active one, if he had filed a contingency plan with the ESD#6 and turned one in to the district to inform them of what they were to do or who to call in case of an emergency at the district schools. His reply was, No. It was up to the ESD#6 board to do that.

The representatives for the fire departments mentioned that they had limited daytime personnel (7 a.m. - 6 p.m.) without funding, until the volunteers come in after they get off their regular jobs, leaving the district at risk. They also stated that they received an average of 65-75 calls combined during the holiday season of Dec. 21- Dec 31, when fireworks season begins.

Making it a heavy burden on one firehouse to cover alone. John Longoria, former chief of Sandy Oaks VFD was asked if they'd had these kind of problems before. Longoria remarked that around 2006-2007, the ESD#6 board wanted to consolidate the area and do away with South Bexar because it's equipment and building were sub-par and required much funding, but after public outcry it was established that it would take all 3 Volunteer Fire Departments to serve the county efficiently. He elaborated that on the fact that Sandy Oaks had the highest amount of hazardous material in the Southeastern part of the county and the equipment to handle it; as well as WMD training and equipment. South Bexar had a tremendous First Responder unit and AtaBexar had great training in water rescue, WMD training and hazmat training as well.

November 1, 2010- the same day that the Sandy Oaks VFD was "fired" by Ms. Mendelsohn for incomplete paperwork. Ms. Mendelsohn received a report from the auditors with praises for the work done by Sandy Oaks and complying with the audit, calling it a "clean" audit.

Issues continued to replay themselves again and again:

December 2012- Ms. Mendelsohn and the ESD#6 Board voted to cut funding from Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department and shut them down on grounds of "nepotism" and for non-payment of funds that were "loaned" to them after the last legal battle, when the judge appointed someone to help them iron out their differences and sign a contract.

Today, the fire department is but a shell of what it use to be. The firefighters gone and the department moth balled; thanks to Ms. Mendelsohn and her personal agenda, she affected the lives of many individuals in the Southeastern Bexar County area.


Emergency Vehicles at AtaBexar Volunteer Fire Department

AtaBexar County Line Volunteer Fire Department 25580 Pleasanton Rd. San Antonio, TX 78264 (210) 626-1324

AtaBexar County Line Volunteer Fire Department 25580 Pleasanton Rd. San Antonio, TX 78264 (210) 626-1324

Ata-Bexar County Line Volunteer Fire Department


  • 20 plus volunteer firefighters/EMT's

  • Specialize in swift water rescue

  • Rope Rescue

  • Jr. Firefighters Training Program (ages 14-17)

  • Also supports some of the area in Atascosa County that borders the firehouse in Bexar County. Hence, the name Ata-Bexar.

November 1, 2010- The auditors notified that they were working with AtaBexar on their audit and awaiting the bingo audit that had been turned in to another reporting entity and were awaiting a copy of the documentation to proceed.

OCT 12, 2010: Ms. Mendelsohn signed for documents that listed the certified fire fighters and certifications, before they were shut down, she knew they had their certification/background check paperwork in order.

The folks at the AtaBexar VFD have continued to work diligently to get their funding and their fire station back on track. They work together like a well oiled machine. While Ms. Mendeloshn tried every thing but the kitchen sink to shut them down, she did not succeed.

The Ata-Bexar fire department was voted in by the community, therefore, it would take the community to shut them down. Since they border two counties, it would require both counties to vote. Ms. Mendelsohn did make it so that the fire department can no longer make calls in their area, but she had no control over Atascosa County.


There has been much on the AtaBexar VFD and the Sandy Oaks VFD in the news, but not much about the one remaining fire department that Ms. Mendelsohn chose to keep open until they became a liability to her. The South Bexar Fire and Rescue, was located from walking distance of businesses owned by Sylvia Mendelsohn and down the road from her personal home. They don't have a web site and not much information was known about them other than they had a very old firehouse, a small staff and older trucks.

South Bexar Fire and Rescue had been put or may have allowed themselves to be put into the position that they are in by decisions they made as a department. It is evident in the information known by Mr. Crowley, that he was very knowledgeable about what was going on in regards to the "community center" and fire house construction. When you have three departments involved in something of this caliber and you have one department that has all the information that the other's don't, then questions of collusion quickly come to mind.

The South Bexar Fire and Rescue had been rewarded handsomely since Ms. Mendelsohn took over the ESD#6. Since Ms. Mendelsohn took over the ESD #6, a payment was made monthly by the ESD#6 for office space for South Bexar Fire and Rescue, instead of having it come out of the South Bexar budget. Funding for South Bexar was also increased to surpass the funding of the two larger fire departments with more personnel, equipment and overhead costs than South Bexar. Ms. Mendelsohn also spent $14,000 + on a loader for South Bexar without prior board approval and funds from the ESD#6 were used to pay for litigation costs for the Chief, David Crowley of South Bexar Fire and Rescue for his actions during an emergency response.

On Aug 31st of 2010, South Bexar Fire and Rescue had not complied with the auditors and sent the requested information (minutes, 941's -quarterly payroll tax, 990's, confirmations and clarification of some bookkeeping entries). Causing the auditors to issue a disclaimer of opinion.

The 990 forms are Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax forms that tell some of the following:

  • Expenses: for the program, management and fundraising.

  • Grant money received

  • Income received and by whom

  • Self dealing transactions (paying yourself)

On November 1, 2010; the first day that South Bexar Fire and Rescue became the only South side VFD, the auditors issued a letter to Ms. Mendelsohn informing her that because of the significance of the missing documentation they were currently in a "withdrawn" position on their audit.

South Bexar Fire and Rescue did sign a new contract on October 1, 2010 and although Mr. Crowley mentioned that it had been rescinded, Ms. Mendelsohn and Mr. Rosenberg both stated at a board meeting in December of that year that South Bexar Fire and Rescue was the only fire station under contract.

Fast forward to January and the contract comes up again. It was stated by Mr. Crowley on January 11, 2011 that on December 31,2010, the evening prior to the ESD#6's appearance in court to appoint a monitor, they were shown their contract and it was "not" the one he had signed in October. Could there be fraud on behalf of the ESD#6, could they have manipulated the contract? Why? South Bexar Fire and Rescue was now also having the financial difficulties that the other fire departments were having due to funding limitations.


The ESD#6 board met Dec. 20, 2012 to voted on shutting down the final station, South Bexar Fire and rescue; as well and taking their building and equipment.

While Ms. Mendelsohn was busy trying to take over properties and equipment from the other departments, she failed to lien the South Bexar Fire and Rescue equipment. Seeing the writing on the wall, the South Bexar Fire and Rescue sold their equipment to another volunteer fire department in Atascosa County. Ms. Mendelsohn then spent thousands of taxpayers dollars in lawsuits, try to regain the assets.

A Sad State of Affairs

It is sad, that one individual could cause such destruction in a community and put financial affairs above those of the people's best interest and safety.

Volunteer Fire Fighters put their lives on the line everyday for their communities and most times never get a Thank You or Great Job. They don't do it because they have to, but because they want to. It's a calling from within to give of themselves.

It's a shame when you see how quickly politics and greed can take advantage of them.

Top Electronics

© 2010 Lady Liberty


Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 21, 2011:

@Diane F, it's my understanding that Mr. Crowley has health issues and has stepped down as fire Chief. Tis the season of open fire burning to keep warm outside etc. and even though there is a burn ban, not everyone listens. Mr. Waterman and Mr. Crowley lost a member of their fire department yesterday. He was just 18 years old. The lack of funding has made it impossible to have people at the fire stations 24/7. These volunteers have to work to support their families. That may be a reason they don't answer their phones. For fire calls-emergencies, they always have their radios on. Not making excuses, just stating facts.

Diane F on December 20, 2011:

Geez....You can't evn get these ppl, chief or assistant chief to call you back if your life depended on it. Tell me Mr. Waterman or Mr. Crowley....why exactly do sit on the board?

Mad as Hell on March 22, 2011:

I'd love see how they're gonna pull this bunny out of their butts! They don't have enough money to pay the volunteer fire depts the necessary funds to operate, but they want to build another? Plus they're already 100 grand over budget! This would be hilarious except for the risk at which they're putting this community. Dear God! Please stop them now somehow, some way! Someone needs to save them and us from their own stupidity!

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on March 21, 2011:

WOW! Just got word the ESD #6 is moving forward with starting their every own fire dept now.


If you want the latest go to the ESD meeting this Thursday night at 6pm at the ESD office at 2220 south 1604 east . Stay tuned!

Mad as Hell on March 15, 2011:

Are y'all familiar with the term "lmao"? Well, most of what goes on at these meetings qualifies for lots of "lmao" except for when you remember that all that incompetence that makes us laugh is having such a dire effect on the lives in this community. And Mendelsohn for treasurer? That means nothing changes except the title from President to Treasurer. She's already BEEN the one writing the checks. I know that one for sure. I've seen the checkbook! Yep, you heard right. I wouldn't joke about this one. With my own eyes, I have seen the checkbook and the copies of cancelled checks that come in the bank statements. Sylvia's been writing the checks all along, including checks for payment of services that she claims in the meetings are still unpaid. It's easy to table payment to someone month after month when in fact that person was paid way back before the 1st of the year! And let's not forget the reimbursement checks the ESD has been receiving from the insurance company for the cost of their attorney. Hey, what's good for the goose....! How about the fire dept.s file a claim with the insurance company to get their attorney fees reimbursed!!

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on March 10, 2011:

I'm with you about Joe Hearn, and they will put Ms. Mendelsohn as Treasurer. I'll make sure I take my popcorn and soda to the meeting ready to laugh.

I will make sure I'll keep everyone posted.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on March 10, 2011:

Should prove to be interesting. It seems that all the board members are to be present for this meeting. Would be interesting to see if they have an election of officers. My guess, the "inner circle" Joe Hearn will probably take over as board president to take some of the heat off Ms. Mendelsohn. Too little too late.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on March 03, 2011:

Thank you Abecedarian for all your hard work on this, it means the world to a lot of us.

Also just to FYI everyone ESD's meeting are always on the 1st Wednesday of the month, well this month the meeting will be March 24th at their office off of 1604.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on March 02, 2011:

Thank you for your kind words. I was raised to always help those in need. And theae selfless and dedicated individuals are being unjustly punished due to the actions of a handful of immoral and greedy individuals. The fire fighters deserve more than that.

Mad as Hell on March 01, 2011:

I think with everything going on, some of us may have begun to take these hub pages for granted. So let me take this opportunity to say a great big huge THANK YOU!! to Abecedarian for all your hard work and dedication in digging deep for the facts of this whole thing. I know you must have put countless hours into this thing and doubtlessly put parts of your life on hold in an effort to get the facts out there. You've had to have done a ton of research and talked to more people than you can probably count. I, for one, GREATLY APPRECIATE everything you have done for this community and the fire departments. I pray God blesses you in a very special way for all your hard work. Surely I am not the only one that looks forward to checking in as often as possible to catch up on whatever info you have dug up. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Keep up the good, (no excellent!) work, and forgive us all if you feel that we have come to take all this hard work for granted. On the contrary, where would we all be and what would have done without you?

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on February 26, 2011:

No meetings yet. Maybe this week or next. They go to court on the 1st. Probably why comm rodriguez appointed these people to the board. A sure way to side step the judge. I will be sure to post if a meeting comes up. Read my other hub on the commissioners court for details on the new appointment.

Long Rider on February 26, 2011:

Just checking back in again. Has the ESD had any more meetings? And what happened if they did? When is the next meeting supposed to be? And where? How many people usually show up to their meetings? Well, I guess that doesn't really matter though if in fact they don't let anybody discuss any of their feelings, right? I have heard that Chico Rodriguez appointed a fifth guy to the ESD and he's supposed to be "one of the guys" so to speak, another of the ESD people's friends. That's not help for us, I would think. So now what?

Mad as Hell on February 20, 2011:

THANK YOU MANY TIMES OVER, to April Molina of KSAT 12 for excellent coverage of this issue. Finally, someone willing to come forward to cover the facts and try to look past the well worn innuendos that have been fed to the media by the ESD 6. Thank God! Now maybe we can finally start getting some justice out of all this mess. Now maybe someone in the law enforcement arena or the DA's office will realize that this not just a spat or some little quarrel. There have been some serious wrongs perpetrated against the residents of this area and our fire depts. We deserve better, and we demand better. We will not cow down, we will not roll over and we will never stop fighting for what is rightfully ours -fire protection that we pay for with our tax dollars.

Again, April and KSAT 12, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And don't forget, the end of story has yet to be told!

Mad as Hell on February 17, 2011:

Still can't believe the media won't take this story and run with it. Jose is right - when the media comes calling for information, we have to make sure we have our ducks in a row. We have to have our facts and let them speak for themselves. ESD #6 President keeps harping on the fact that the fire fighters are not properly certified when yes, indeed, they are certified and/or working on certification. She claims the depts were not in compliance with the paperwork. All the paperwork was properly submitted by AtaBexar and Sandy Oaks prior to the first of the year, in fact, practically all of it prior to the shutdown of the these two departments. It's my understanding now that Ms. Mendelsohn has claimed that the Southside School Board had filed suit against the fire departments. This is grossly untrue! When these kinds of lies start flying around to the media, the VFDs and their supporters must be even more vigilent with the facts.

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to comment on the Express News' comment section for the article written about the Commissioner's Court's decision to reappoint the same people to the ESD 6 board. This is another avenue available to us to let the facts be known and our opinions heard by one of the news medias in this town. Last time I checked that site, there was only a handful of people that had commented on the commissioners' actions. The commissioners and the media need to know that this is not a problem that affects only a few of us, but the community out here as a whole. If no one else wants to take this story, maybe the newspaper will come to realize its importance and write an in-depth article about the problems this board has caused for us.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on February 16, 2011:

Mr Bouldin glad you had support during your interview. I'm sure it went well. Any idea when it will air?

jose on February 16, 2011:

Just my two cents. Whenever we are talking to media we need to make sure that we have all the information needed prior to and as accurate as possible. And to clarify , Ata-Bexar firefighters are certified. Most paid staff is TCFP and a few SFFMA.

Long Rider on February 15, 2011:

Came back home and saw all that I had missed. Wish I could have been at the commissioner meeting. But judging from what I hear it didn't do any good since the same lumps of clay are still sitting on the ESD. So now what? It's starting to feel like no matter what justice will never be done. It's not what we would expect, is it? We would've expected Chico to have stood up on behalf of the people who helped to put in office in the first place.

As for the media, they have been on again, off again since the beginning when the 2 fire departments first got shut down but they have never really tried to get to bottom of anything, have they? You'd think someone with the TV news or the paper would have really tried to dig in and get the big story. But no. Am I the only one that's getting really discouraged?

By the way, when is the next ESD meeting. I'm hoping I can attend one of them and get the opportunity to ask them why they insist on treating us this way and why they can't just do their job like they are supposed to. Aren't they suppose to take an oath or swear in when they get appointed that says they will promise to spend the tax money they get for the citizens to be protected against fire or something like that? If not, then they should.

Ken Bouldin on February 11, 2011:

Well the interview was done today, Brian didn't do it, Sherry did te interview, and it unfortunately appeared to be reluctantly done. Ms Knapp and Ms Stacy came and stood close by and helped out, especilly with providing lots of documentation and audio transcripts that Sherry claimed to already have. she did take the documentation with her. She finished the interview, and after asking a few final questions, stated "this is really too much info, its only a short story!". Well shows how much she knows. She told us she would turn over everything we gave her to April (my guess is Molina), who will be doing the story, couldn't say when. she was primarily interested in the actions of the Board,asked questions regarding the current status of the Departments being paid, and was really questioning alot about certifications of the Departments. She didn't appear to like when I told her that Certification of the Firefighters is a long process, and spelled out the difference between TCFP and SFFMA. I made sure to tell her that Ata-Bexar and Sandy Oaks had continued responding even after their contracts had been terminated, by using Departmental Funds. I made it known that as taxpayers in the area, we expected to be able . to dial 911, and have a FD to respond, not having them stripped by our ESD. I also addressed the failure of Chico to let any of the applicants for the ESD Board what the status of their applications is. I spoke with Veronica at Chicos office yesterday,and was told my application is being considered for the open position on the board, so all of you out there who also submited applications, that is probably your status too. I don'tknow if it will do any good, but if we keep after the media, maybe the current situation with 2 City Councilpersons under investigation for etics violations, maybe the will look into our County Government too. And before I forget, we did let them know that the ESD is $101,000.00 over budget!! I'm going to keep on their case, an thanks to all the others who are actively involved!! I wonder if any of Board Members have read any of Code 775? Not that we can do much, but we can sure keep trying!!

Melissa Hammond on February 11, 2011:

You can go to:

Repulbican Party of Bexar County Management

Joe Farias

Carlos Uresit:

Here are the links, people start emailing and calling till someone looks into this problem. Let Chico and the rest of the Commissioner Court know we will not take this anymore. We care about our community, we will do something about this.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on February 11, 2011:

That is GREAT Kenneth, please keep us posted. I know you will! I wish I was home sick today, I would have been able to stop by. You have been to the meetings and seen first-hand how these people don't care. I pray Channel 12 and Bryan Mylar coverage to this story. I know I have emailed all the news channels almost weekly with links to the Hub stories. Because everything here is true. Something has to give, we are sitting a one hell of a story. Good Luck Kenneth!!

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on February 10, 2011:

Awesome. Best of luck. Don't forget to mention the 101,000 over budget for this year

Kenneth E Bouldin Jr on February 10, 2011:

Well I found out today that according to Chico Rodriguez's office, my application for the vacant position on the ESD#6 Board is being considered. I also received a call from the "Defenders" from Channel 12, who I had called and asked if they were aware of what our current Board was doing. They are aware, and are preparing to do coverage on it. Also Bryan Mylar will be at my house @ 1000 tomorrow, so if anyone is interested, my address is 24171 Trumbo Road (right at Trumbo and Duke, 782A3). I'll let you know how it goes after we're done!! We just need to get more community members involved

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on February 07, 2011:

I have been asked to try to get as many people to Commissioners Court tomorrow at 11am. Some of you may not know but there is an item on the agenda. (You can go to the county website and see the agenda)

"7. Rescission of Commissioners Court order of Jan. 25,2011 item 10, due to clerical error; and approval of request by Chico, to reappoint the individuals listed back to ESD 6."

We don't know for sure if us being there and telling the commissioners how upset we are will help. Who knows if it's a real clerical error, or maybe the commissioners found out that the ESD is already over their budget by $100,000 for this year alone. Yes I said a 100K, they stated that at the last ESD meeting Feb. 2. But if we don't take this option we will never know. What would it hate?

At least the Commissioners will know that community is looking at this problem and we are not happy. We will not give up anytime soon, till something is done about this board! Not till the media starts to air this, till the whole county and state knows what Chico has let happen on his watch. How our Commissioner for Precinct 1 cares for his community? Because no way you put it a liar is a liar, and a thief is a thief. I have seen Open Meetings Act broken, I have seen people act not in the best interest of the community but themselves. It’s a truly sad thing to see, how people can miss-use power to get what they want, how they don’t answer to anyone. There are still doors we need to knock on at other levels, if the county wouldn’t help. Then we will keep moving forward till someone will take the time to see what they are doing is wrong. It make me sick to think about other ESDs and Fire depts. in the county and state feel about our problem here. They think this is a joke, how these people can get away with this community center over FIRE&EMS service. It just so sad, when friends say “we are praying for your community and your dept.” Because the community is REALLY losing out here. The fire depts. are running on less funds. We can’t get that though Ms. Mendelsohn and Ms. Vargas they make their points every clear, they don’t care about the depts.. Mr. Wood goes to all the meetings but doesn’t say hardly anything other then what is written down for him. Mr. Chavez who has only came to a hand full of meeting in the last 4 to 5 months. And when he is there he was no clue of what is going on with the board. Why does he even stay on the board? Also I like how they are only “reappointing” 4 of the 5 people that have sat on the board for how long? They when ahead and removed Mr. Brewer from the board, so that leaves an opening. If that’s the case why can Chico appoint someone new to the board. I know he was LOTS and LOTS applications from people that have the understanding of business to sit on a board like this. And most likely NOT run it into the ground like this board has.

And if you don’t believe me when I say they breaks Open Meeting Acts, and they read what is written down for them and how they act. See Rosenberg run the meetings because he does. Mr. Perez has seen two meeting for himself how this board works. Also some of the community has too, they feel this board is a laughing stock of the Southside. Don’t believe me please come to a meeting, I love to see more faces at the meetings. So everyone can see it for themselves, what I’m writing here is the true. And there is a lot more than this. If you don’t believe me go get the files from ESD under Open Records Act. It’s all there in black and white. And also we have a lot on voice recordings too...

I hope some of you will be able to go to Commissioners Court tomorrow, please report back what you find out. I’m unable to go because of work, I have a family to support. Fire fighting is what I do in my free time when I’m not working to put food on the table.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on February 01, 2011:

Amen to that.

VFD Friend on February 01, 2011:

May God bless you firefighters, one and all. It's bad enough to have to fight fires and risk your lives and health, but then to have to fight this kind of fight as well and have to risk your sanity, too! I can't imagine how you must feel or what you must be going through. I will pray for you all that after the trials you are going through with Ms. Mendelsohn are over, that the blessings will be twice as sweet.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on January 25, 2011:

Long rider, the answer to one of your questions: The board members have to live within the district. The answer to your other question: I know it's hard to wait for things to happen when so much is at stake, but it's my understanding that things are getting looked at and like anything that involves the government, it takes time, unfortunately in the case of this communities safety, time is of the essense.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on January 25, 2011:

Well Thanks Long Rider! I would love to work with the next borad. But I can't, I have been a firefighter with Ata-Bexar for 5 years. I'm fighting for my community as I do when my pager goes off. I love what I do! And I'll keep fighting as long as I have to. Because it's not right!

I don't have the paperwork in front of me right now, but off the top of my head. They are still paying a guy almost $7,000 to clean the land for the community center. Land they don't own, I have a lot more examples at home. They are still paying people money from 2011 buget for this community center. But as they keep telling the community if we get the grant we'll get the money back. They put in for the grant in Ang. Sept. and were to know something by December at late. What month are we in, hell a other week and we will be in February. And they still don't know if they are getting the grant. That tells me forget about the grant, its a wate of time and money. It sounds like, to me anyways. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the next meeting. I would like to meet you Long Ride, have a good one!!

Long Rider on January 25, 2011:

Do I understand Melissa Hammond correctly? That even if all the people on this board are taken off and all new ones are put on the board, there will still not be any money to pay the fire departments to operate? Doesn't that constitute theft or something? After all this is tax payers money paid with their property taxes specifically for the ESD, and the ESD is specifically there to fund the Fire Departments, so how can so much money keep getting spent on a community center, which by the way has nothing to do with a fire department, and no one get accused of theft of funds or something. And back when I first found this site the question I had was why hasn't somebody investigated this mess and gotten the DA or the AG involved. I'm still wondering. Yes, I understand that the Sheriff's Dept. has to be called to file a report and all that, but surely someone, like maybe whoever started this blog, has enough information/ documentation to file the report and get the ball rolling on getting these morons sent to prison. I cannot get over how they keep on flaunting all this into everyone's face and keep on getting away with it. Can you imagine how floored I was to find out from reading the comments here that when these people came on board there was almost a half of million dollars sitting in a reserve fund, and not that's all spent along with all that money they received in taxes! And there is nothing to show for it! There's no community center, no evacuation center, no nothing. Not even stakes in the ground with ribbon tied to the tops of them to mark out where the building was supposed to be. What morons!

Melissa, thanks for letting me know when the next meeting will be. I want to try to go to one so that I can see these clowns in action with my own eyes. Sometimes it's hard to believe what I am hearing and reading on this page. By the way, Melissa, have you or Abecedarian considered trying to get on the board. You two have a lot of knowledge and understanding of this situation and would probably do a good job. Think about it.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on January 24, 2011:

Hello Long Rider, I will make sure I post when the next meeting is on this site, and Thank you Kenneth. We have a few great people helping us on this. I pray the DA or someone starts looking into this story because it's not right what the ESD is doing to this community. It's truly sad to see people misuse power. And at somepoint if ever they will be replaced, man I feel sorry for the next people in list to be on this board. The way they have been blowing money on this community center. They will NOT have money for the depts to run at the end of this year. The fire depts are losing all the way around.. And in turn so is the community. But any ways, I will keep you all posted on the next meeting. Have a great week!

Kenneth Bouldin on January 23, 2011:

just to add some more info for thought. We all know that the ESD Board member terms are expired, and as of 12/31/2010 we have no Board. Why is the County Judge and Commissioners' Court even allowing them to take any kind of action at all?? And all the applications that have been submitted for Board Positions have been forwarded to Chico Rodriguez's office, and no action has been taken. The drama continues...Melissa keep up the good work, I'm coming out of the shadows and will be a thorn that the ESD Board will get tired of!! and yes, Ido live in the Ata-Bexar district, served on the dept some years ago, as well as having been a member of Sandy Oaks too!!

long rider on January 08, 2011:

Just now checking on and boy I missed out on a lot, didn't I. I hear through the grapevine esd had a meeting the other night and stood everyone up. Just didn't bother to show up. Class act there, huh. Melissa harmony seems to be pretty much informed on the meetings. I think I would like to go to one of these meetings. When do they hold them.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on December 22, 2010:

In their “SPECIAL, EMERGENCY MEETING” last night

They had to vote on “a proposed order appointing a Court Monitor”. Court appointed monitor, they had to vote on it. I would love to hear what the Judge says about that, it been a week that he made the order and they haven’t let the monitor in….

They also tried to pay over $90,000 in bills for December with only about $35000 in the bank.

Bills like:

O’Connell Robertson $55,000 (architect for the community center, that they don’t have the grant for. They sure do have a lot of tax monies riding on it….)

A guy to clean land (For the community center, again still don’t have the grant for.) $6850 The Computer Guy (he is paid monthly $114, to keep their computers updated and set up a website for over a year. There is no website for over a year…. And to work on the stations computers too. Not Ata-Bexars)

BBGR Investment (South Bexar loan)$495.93 Please help me here, I thought South Bexar is under contract with them? IF so this would it be a part of the budget in the contract out of their $109605.42. Right?

Holtman, Wagner & Company $480 I have no clue what that is, it’s not like they will tell me in a meeting because they don’t take questions and they wouldn’t answer.

Do any of these bills have anything to do with the public safety? The only payments that needed to be paid or would result in potential harm to the health of the safety of the public is the VFIS insurance for the fire and emergency equipment. That was due on Dec 1, and yesterday was Dec. 21…

And I like how for January they have it already “Employee reimbursements for $130” already! What day is this again, we are still in December right? Their next meeting is Jan 5, or that is what is talked about last night. Lord knows if it will really happen.

And just to let the public know we still have not seen any of the “Texas Rangers” as they voted on? It’s just a other lie, I find it hard to sit in the meeting and keep my mouth closed. And looking at the NEW budget they are giving South Bexar $109605.42 when Sandy Oaks and Ata-Bexar get $80,000 each for the year. South Bexar has the smallest area… Lord I can’t wait for the Monitor get up to speed with everything. Because anyone looking-in on this mess knows within ten minutes there is something truly wrong with this group of people. ESD was set up to fund FIRE PROTECTION not to build a Community Center and not to pay a lawyer $114,008.56 in 10 months from the beginning of the year to Oct.3. Please keep in mind this is before the lawsuits started.

And if anyone was questions on the numbers I have stated above please let me know. I have copies of the docs. So no one can say I’m picking on anyone and I have not done my research. I have my facts.

Merry Christmas!!

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 18, 2010:

Wow, this hub has had much response. I would like to thank you all for visiting and I just received word that there will be a meeting on Tuesday of the ESD #6 at 7pm. at their offices. Hope you all can make it and keep me and others informed of the latest in the saga of the Volunteer Fire Departments fight to serve their community. What a sad state of affairs when those that give so freely of their time and service have to fight to do so.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 18, 2010:

Well I hope you enjoy your movie. And remember to play nice.

JOSE FARINACCI on December 18, 2010:



Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on December 17, 2010:

Gil you have no idea how many people in this community have put their own lives on hold to do the research on this topic. You have no idea how many documents I have seen in the last month and a half because of the open records act. But I will say I have heard of people trying to get a copies of South Bexar’s records, but still nothing. After seeing the letter from the auditors dated Nov. 1, I have a copy of this letter. It's stating South Bexar refused to work with the auditors. Why is that??? But that’s nothing new from what I have always heard!! One of my top questions is: If this letter I have is true from the auditor why did ESD give South Bexar a contract? When Ata-Bexar and Sandy Oaks were told we didn’t get contract because of missing paperwork. (please keep in mind this is only one of the many reasons we were told) Am I the only one that see something wrong with this???

As a part of Ata-Bexar we are so THANKFUL to have the community willing to get the records and ask the questions that need to be asked. The sad part is if the ESD or Sylvia even cared about this community they would do the right thing and let this monitor in. But they don’t as Concerned Citizen put it “ESD is digging their heels”. Why would they if they didn’t have something to hide? The more time that goes now and the longer this gets drew out, it point to the fact they do have something to hide. And it looks better big at this point... The fact is that Sylvia did not think Ata-Bexar and Sandy Oaks would fight her plans this way. And she really didn’t think this community would cared about two little fire depts. Thank you community for showing her!!! This fight is long from over, the true will come out. I know I will do everything in my power to help this community. Because community is being lied to, we all are!! Where’s the money? Why does Sylvia favor South Bexar? That’s a fact! There are way too many questions, because after every page you read you have a new question to ask. But it all goes back to the money, the community center, and Sylvia. That is the FACTS…

Again Thank you community for showing your support on this, it means the world to us!

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 17, 2010:

Gil, the so-called research is just that. It is all FACT backed up by documentation. And yes, I have looked at the Commisssioner's Court agendas and it was Mr. Tejeda that set this up, and if you read the article, I said it ran great from it's inception, it wasn't until Ms. Mendelsohn was put on this board that monies started disappearing. I've seen the treasurer's report, so why don't you ask Ms. Mendelsohn why she removed $215,000 out of it's "reserve" fund one month and then it disappeared the next or better yet, why she continued to push and pay for items without board approval. If you are a member of "the" community, I would think you would be more concerned with the FACTS than trying to distort them, unless you don't pay taxes in that community or you are a member of South Bexar Fire and Rescue. I also understand how boards work, I learned it in government many years ago, we even had to read Roberts Rules of Order. It's easy to be appointed President to a board, when you place all the members to it that will vote for you and let you do what you want, that is why they should have a board that is elected and not appointed when it comes to a board that is soley in charge of large amounts of money. And you have an interesting point. When the board was established, those members were staggered as required. When this board was established, according to the County Commissioner's Agenda/Minutes it shows that "all" the members of this board were placed there at the same time and therefore, expire at the same time, on December 31, 2009. With the exception Mr. Brewer who expired on December of 2009 and was not replaced. (I'll put that information in the body of this hub, just for you). And FYI many people have asked for information and many have been told that they don't exist, are missing, or flat out refuse to give them up. As per this particular ESD, they set percedence over the "10" day mark, because they told people that they had 10 days within which to get them documentation. As far as transparency, you might want to talk to the folks at South Bexar Fire and Rescue, because it is my understanding that they have not complied with open records with the auditors nor with members of the community (all documented). Well, Gil, I agree with you on the public safety being at risk and it will continue as long as Ms. Mendhelsoh and her attorney keep obstructing the process to move forward. Period. It is nieve of you to believe that all these people that have shared their views and their information haven't tried to get to the bottom of this issue and get back to work. These are all dedicated people that want to serve their communities. I have been fortunate to have met some of them through my research and they have quite a bit of documentation. It would be prudent for you to request those documents that you speak of so that you can make an educated comment on the subject, as these people have.

Gil on December 17, 2010:

Please put to rest scaring the community with so-called research..County Commissioner Tejeda was responsible for installing the first members to ESD No. 6.

ESD's in Texas are governed by the Texas Health & Public Safety Code 775. Google that and one will have a better understanding of what an ESD is and what it can and cannot do. Members to an ESD Board are appointed by County Commissioners to a two year term unless it is a newly formed Board. ESD members in Harris County are elected and in a few counties where an ESD may overlap between counties as well. Election of Officers of an ESD Board are voted upon by the 5 Board members at a meeting. Many different sections of Texas law applies to an ESD. Open meetings, Open records, Purchasing and Bidding laws all apply. One misconception is that an entity, under the Open Records Act, has 10 days in which to comply with a request of records. The Act only says that an entity has to comply "within a reasonable amount of time."

If taxpayers are truly concerned about this ESD and for their public safety, then I recommend the following; 1. Make a written request of the ESD's budget to actual records for the past 3 years. Request a copy of the ESD's annual audit report, which by law, has to be turned into the County Auditor's office every year. You may be charged up to $ 0.10 per page or you can take your home printer/copier and made copies yourself at their office. You cannot be asked as to what purpose you have in mind to do with those records. Ask for a copy/summary of the paperwork that each fire department turns in on a monthly basis that shows a request for payment and the backup to document their expenses. 3. Ask for a run report from the ESD that it has received from each of the fire departments that it has worked with. Both of these records have to go back for at least a year. Let's get those first. Then we go to each fire department that has received ESD funds. These fire departments should be 501C3's. Whether they like it or not, under IRS policies, their financials are open records and anyone walking off of the street can ask to see their records. They are obligated to provide those records for inspections or make copies. Since every department seems interested to show how well they work with the public, this shouldn't be a problem in being transparent. 1. Ask for a copy of their budget to actual for the past three years to include all sources of revenue. (thrift shops, bingo operations, bar-b-ques, all sources) 2. Ask for a copy of their run reports for the past year to include mutual aid calls to other departments. 3. Ask for a copy of the backup that was submitted to the ESD for funds. 4. Ask for an inventory of all their equipment including vehicles. 5. Ask for a summary of their manpower, both paid and volunteers. Since it is your tax dollars funding most of these operations, none of this information should be withheld by the departments. Post this information here and then everyone can look at it and see if the ESD is misappropriating any funds..if the fire departments are misappropriating any funds...the financials should match..that the ESD is actually paying out what the departments are submitting, not a penny more or a penny less. The run reports are important because they will show everyone the number of calls and where the most are concentrated within the ESD. This would no longer be hearsay...the facts speak for themselves. Until this information is provided from all 4 entities, we will continue to make false assumptions. This would be a first big step of moving forward. We can't tackle all of the problems, about an evacuation center or whatever in one day...public safety is more important at this time..and until we get a grip on just what is going on between the departments and the ESD..our public safety will be put at risk.

Just me on December 16, 2010:

This is all sad!! the way the esd 6 is taking money that belongs to these hard working fire departments and paying legal fees for some wacked out freak that goes around threatening people. and buying property for a center that we do not need!!WOW. This blows my mind, oh a word for ATX whoever that is, South Bexar fire and rescue needs to be talked about and even replaced. you see that so called fire chief COWARDLY oh im sorry i meant crowley does not need to be a fire chief. I have personally seen him curse at women and threaten to pepper spray someone. and i was there when he said that south bexar could take care of the entire area!! what a joke only an idiot would think that one fire department could handle that kind of load. and as for Milissa Hammond and the rest of the crew at Ata-Bexar I have talked with these people and i will tell you they have more brains in there big toe than david crowley has in his whole body!!! and as far as how to run a fire department well just look at the progress of the two and that will tell the story mr ATX. also for those of you who really want to do something legally, because the esd has broken alot of laws and they are governed by the state as a non-profit org you might want to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General and you can do this by going to this web site. also you can contact the Secretary of state at this will get them in more trouble than any law around here and ms sylvia will not have any of those people in her pocket and you can bet on that. you just need to let them know in the complaint that they have put out funds where the law does not allow them to, they have not complied with the open acts meeting laws, and they will not provide complete reports on monies that came in and has gone out through the esd #6.

Watcher on December 16, 2010:

I have a feeling it's #3.... All of the above!!

She was a LOT riding on the "community center" because that is why Chico put her on the board in the first place.... As you have stated within a month of her being placed on the board she had meetings talking about it.... I feel she was a lot more to hide that people have not found yet. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 16, 2010:

Maybe she's afraid of the "monitor" I hear he's tops in his field. A bet-the-company litigation attorney. There can only be 2 reasons for holding on. 1) She's determined and wants to see that "community center" built. 2) She's got a lot hiding in her closed and doesn't want anyone looking there.

How many guess it's number 2?

Concerned Citizen on December 16, 2010:

Lola, Yes i have emailed them, as of right now i haven't heard back from them. If we crowd there mailboxes they might take a closer look.... i am going to send them another one today.

Update: ESD is digging there heels in, and having a meeting on Monday 12-20-10 to discuss whether they are going to comply with with having a Monitor. I don't understand, this I thought this was a Judge ordered Monitor. If the ESD doesn't comply with having a monitor, it sounds like the Fire Depts are taking them to court on Tuesday 12-21-10

I am so PROUD of Sandy Oaks and Ata-Bexar Fire Depts...... Thank you for all that you do and standing with integrity for what is Right. And protecting our community from this Tyranny of an ESD.

Lola on December 16, 2010:

Heard about this from a neighbor and WOW she was right. Someone really got into digging for the info on this one. I guess anyone who need to catch themselves up to speed on this big mess needs to study the info here, Bcuz it's all that plus the bag of chips. How bout what Concerned Citizen is saying about getting the big news guys involved. He's right - the worst thing they can do is say no. And if they say yes, well, there you go. Plus if by chance someone in the national media ever got hold of this ape, it might shake up some of the local media into digging a little deeper and get the investigators to working a little harder. What do you think, Concerned Citizen. Have you contacted any of them yet. Personally, I'm all for taking the ESD people out behind a barn somewhere and taking a switch to the whole lot of them. Then they can go off to jail or where ever it is they need to go. I'm of a thought that the more media attention this stuff gets the more heat will get turned up on the Texas Rangers or whoever to find out what's happening.

Concerned Citizen on December 15, 2010:

Congressman Quico Canseco calls this Taxation Without Representation..... In TEXAS of all Places. Lets Knock on Glenn Becks, Bill O'reilly, and Sean Hannity's door and see, all they can say is no.,, . This is also a lot of Federal Tax dollars with this Community Center grant they are trying to get.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 15, 2010:

I just heard, called the station at AtaBexar to see if they'd heard anything new and I was informed about the "monitor". I guess Ms. Mendelsohn's connections are pretty strong. It was my understanding from another concerned citizen that she had requested a county employee that was working with her on this "center" project to be her receiver and when that didn't pan out, she requested another person that's been working with her from the Fire Marshall's office and when that didn't pan out, she requested the guy that worked under that guy. It seems that Ms. Mendelsohn does not want to give up control of this board or this mess she has created.

Sadly enough, I was told by locals that the media doesn't get involved much with anything past 410 S. and by the sound of it, they are right. But you know, there are a lot of Democrats on that board, Glen Beck might want to come to Texas and cry a little. Just Kidding. The national news doesn't care about local politics.

Concerned Citizen on December 15, 2010:

Sounds like today there was a meeting between the Lawyers and the Judge. In which the Judge ordered a monitor, Steven P. Allison.This guy is a friend of the judge whom the judge respects and trusts to serve in this capacity, not someone suggested by the ESD.

Abecedarian you should throw some lines out there at FOX news, and try to get some national coverage on this. Oriley, Hanity, or Beck would tear this open and and get some public pressure our representatives to do there job, and stir up the community

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 14, 2010:

I understand your frustration. As I mentioned, I attended one of the meetings and expected to see many community memebers there ready to express their concerns and to my amazement, there were a handful of community members and more VFD staff and 1/2 dozen representatives from the Fire Marshalls office. It will take people like you in your community to get the word out. Just like the guy that needs a new roof, he won't do anything about it until it rains and it leaks. People generally don't want to get invovled until its too late. A leak can be repaired, but a death can't.

Long Rider on December 14, 2010:

Their office is hard to find, huh. Big surprise! No sign, you say. Did they run out of money before they could have a sign made up? Truly, I am in shock. I had no idea until I saw the postings today of the enormous amounts of money being "lost". You were right. They went after city council for less. This is all astounding.

At this point, I'm all for filing charges against these mega egomaniacs. I wonder how many others out there following this blog are willing to do the same? Does a complaint get louder when more than one voice is used? Why don't we all coordinate and get complaints filed from each VFD service area. Anyone with me on this?

So far everyone seems extremely concerned and obviously there has been a lot of good research going into this site. If a call to the Sheriff's Dpt. is what it takes to start the ball rolling on an investigation from Reed's office then what's stopping everybody? Has anyone out there already used this Open Record Act to prove criminal activities? And can that information be shared with someone else for the purpose of making a police report? Some of these folks, like SOFDCitizen and Concerned Citizen and Melissa Hammond seem to be pretty well informed. Do they have documents to back up facts that the residents can see and use?

Also I'm curious as to the apathy that seems to be prevelant amongst a large percentage of residents in this area. There seems to be a lack of information to the general public about the seriousness of this situation, as well. For those residents out there that know something about this situation and don't care, shame on you! Whether you pay property taxes or not, doesn't matter. Anyone, taxpayer or not, can be in a position of needing a fireman or EMS in an emergency. I wish there was some way of getting all this information into every single home in the ESD #6 service area.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 14, 2010:

Awe the Starr. Because that ESD6 is run on tax dollars they have to comply with what is called the Open Records Act. You can request a copy of documents from them and they have 10 working days to get them to you. You can ask for Agendas/Mintues from their meetings, their expense reports, the contracts for the new facility they are planning on buidling and all the money they've spent on it so far, etc. See if they spent any money before they approved the expense as a board, it's a violation. If they use tax dollars to make donations, it's a violation. If I'm not mistaken, as long as you tell the officer facts, not gossip, but stuff that they can actually look into, like the items that I've stated, they can take that report to the District Attorney's office and start an investigaton. There is usually a charge of 10 cents per copy (page). You have to request it in writing. Their offices are hard to find, they don't have a sign out front, but if you are heading east on 1604 off 281S, it's on the right hand side, next to a church. The place is fenced with a white- wood fence.

lONG rIDER on December 14, 2010:

Just catching up a little. As for my favorite? The James' or the Youngers? Are you kidding? I'm all about Miss Belle Starr!

I'm with Concerned Citizen on this - someone needs to sit in prison over this. I had no idea there had been a "reserve" fund of several 100,000 grand that has now disappeared. Where is this money going? Toward a pet project? or someone's pet POCKET! Either way, it has to be criminal. How can these people sleep at night knowing what they are doing to people in this community? Without proper funding, which is provided by the property owners in the first place, going to these fire department, how are they going to keep responding to calls? At what point does the madness end? I don't know what kind of mileage a fire truck gets, but I suspect it's not much and fuel costs are not cheap! I am afraid it's going to take someone having to die before someone at the D.A. or whoever sits up to take notice. How tragic and wasteful.

Also, I was under the impression the ESD #6 was in receivership as of about the 1st of this month. How can they not have a receiver yet to oversee their affairs? How can a judge allow them to refuse a receiver? It certainly does make you wonder what all are they hiding! When the truth comes to light it may very well be too ugly to even look at. And as for the budget numbers/expense reports you speak of - if they are that confusing, is there some way of demanding (as tax paying citizens) an audit of ESD #6? I notice your comments on the audits of South Bexar Fire, too. Can a court force them to comply with the auditors? After all, they are using our tax dollars, too. They should be held accountable for the money they receive, as well.

The more I read about this fiasco on this site, and talk to my neighbors and family about all this, the more frustrating it becomes. You say just call the police or sheriff's to file a complaint, and I would be glad to do so, but what would I tell them? Hey, the ESD just stole our money? That seems like a convoluted way to go about getting an investigation into these people's finances and conniving ways. Help me out here. I'm willing to stick my neck out a little, but I have to know how to do it.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 13, 2010:

It's my understanding that it varies depending on the taxpayer. In a perfect world, all the taxes would be paid on time, but since it isn't, they don't. So, they get a lump sum of what comes in, they then get "delinquent" taxes coming in all year long, plus whatever is carried over from the year before. It is my understanding from the data that I have seen that the previous board left them with substantial funds in a "reserve" account for emergency funding. Ms. Mendelsohn and her board withdrew the money to put it into a TexPool investment account, but in reality it never made it there or atleast they "forgot" to list it in their budget/expense reports after January of this year, their total monies in the bank dropped by over $200,000 in May of 2010. Just at the time when they had to turn in the grant/loan information. Coincidence? I'm an amature researchist, so I will continue to search, but it will take a pro to make heads or tails out of their budget numbers/ expense reports. They are a joke, inept on purpose or because they don't know what they are doing? Who knows?

Concerned Citizen on December 13, 2010:

Correct me if I am wrong I understand that the district has an Approx $450,000 budget to be dispersed between three fire depts. A year ago there was approx $450,000 in savings. So a total of $900,000. How is it, that the ESD #6 is broke, they cant even afford the equipment payments or even 1/3 of the payroll, according to the funds that the Atabexar department received last week. $900,000 south side tax payer dollars are gone. Where did it go?

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 13, 2010:

Bravo! Especially since this project has over-run and is now well into the $6 million dollar cost range to the community. It has also come to my attention that there is not enough money to cover the entire cost with a "grant", so that LOAN money will have to be paid by tax payer money. As it is now, they didn't have enough money to fund these fire departments throughout the entire budget year and they want to add on more debt. How smart is that? NOT VERY.

Concerned Citizen on December 13, 2010:

With the condition that our country is in financially, why is anyone attempting to get federal tax dollars allocated for an Evacuation Center, to put in a community center. Better yet why hasn't the Texas Rangers or another authority come in and investigated this. To most it may seem like a little affair, to my community it is criminal what is going on, and everyone involved needs to go to federal prison. Because you are putting my family and friends and my community at huge life safety risk.

rickyrt44 from LOGAN, WEST VIRGINIA on December 10, 2010:

I think it is a very good article. You write so well and this site tells you what you need to know.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 09, 2010:

Excellent point you have there. I agree. I see this as a challenge to the community to get involved.

SOFD Citizen on December 09, 2010:

I for one would like to see the BCFMO work on behalf of the VFDs. He has had involvement between ESD #2 and GVFD. I think that with the insigt in to the VFD world that his investigators have, would benefit any investigation. I would also welcome a forensic audit of the financials of not only the ESD but the VFD that the ESD supports as well. I feel that the community needs to see this issue aired publicly. After all it is their money that the ESD and VFDs utilize. It would also aide in bringing to life facts and dismissing any gossip. I think that complaints should be files with the DAs office. Then if that fails then request the assistance of the Texas Rangers. It is my humble opinion that this matters should not be allowed to go quit. I think that the community and the community leaders should keep raising their voices until the issue is resolved. By allowing the situation to settle down and become removed from media attention will allow for our county leaders and the DAs office to sweep this away.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 09, 2010:

I think by now, most of the community figures that Ms. Mendelsohn is hiding something. To answer your question about Ms. Reed. It's a simple process, that anyone who is concerned can do. Pick up the phone and call your local police or sheriff, tell them you would like to file a complaint. File a complaint against Ms. Mendelsohn and the ESD6 Board, sight only the facts, no rhetoric or rumor because it cannot and will not be substantiated. Back up those facts if you have them. Once her office receives the complaint...she has to assign the case. It's sad that she can continue to disrupt the lives of all those involved with her petty behavior, keep up the fight and never give up doing what is right.

Watcher on December 09, 2010:

As of yesterday there is still no receiver, thanks to Ms. Mendelsohn who would not accept any receiver other than one that is biased towards her board... The longer this goes on the more it looks like Mendelsohn as something to hide… What is she afraid of?? That is my question. What is it going to take for someone like Ms. Reed to step in!!!! Are we the only ones that can see these people are up to no good!!!

So now the community and the two fire depts. have to wait a other week to see if they will get a receiver in place to handle this problem that the ESD as started. Who as blown all the money and have nothing to see for it, well for what we can see…. God bless those man and woman that not only put themselves on the line day in and day out running calls, but they are fight to stay open to service the community. Just makes me sick thinking about it…

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 07, 2010:

Long Rider, who was your favorite, the James' or the Youngers. Long Rider has got to be my most favorite western and I've seen them all, I think.

As for your comment, thank you. I've been looking at lots of stuff and talking to lots of people. It's my understanding that Ms. Mendelsohn herself and her board voted to call in the Texas Rangers to look into the VFD's activities. Smoke screen, possibly. Either way, no one has seen hide nor hair of anyone having to do with the law, except the paid attorney's that is. As for South Bexar Fire and Rescue's activities, who knows? Ms. Mendelsohn's late husband was an attorney with many connections. Enough so, that his son was Chief of Staff for Ciro Rodriguez.

Long Rider on December 07, 2010:

Great site!! Lots of good research and good points/opinions being expressed. There seems to be alot of comments about Susan Reed and others that should be looking into this mess. I'm just as curious to know why someone, anyone, in field of law and justice isn't looking into all this. Especially now that the ESD#6 is apparently in a receivership! It seems like someone would be in charge of being watchdog over Boards or Commissions that handle our tax money. I don't know how much money is collected in this approx. 145 square mile area but it's surely enough to be several 100 thousands dollars, at least. Who should be notified if there is suspision of fraud/waste/abuse of property tax monies? D.A.? A.G.? Texas Rangers? Bexar County Sheriff? I don't know, but maybe someone could figure that one out and get that ball rolling.

As for South Bexar, don't much about them, but it does appear they have received preferential treatment. As I hear it told, they never had any of their funding cut. They don't worry too much about handing in their paperwork since somehow it just gets "taken care of" so to speak. But the one thing I have heard that does disturb me tremendously is that citizens in the ESD#6 area have been repreated threatened by either a gun, a taser or pepper spray (depending on the person and the situation South Bexar was called out on). These stories have come down to me from the people directly involved and getting threatened. I cannot understand why any volunteer fire dept. would allow anyone associated with them to behave in such a manner while representing the dept. And I cannot understand why this individual has not been arrested and convicted of these crimes. Does anyone have any idea how this keeps happening and no one goes to jail over it?

Finally, to all 3 VFDs - God Bless you guys (and gals) out there that are willing to lose sleep, wear yourselves out, and put your lives on the line every time that call goes out. It takes a very special person to do this kind of job.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 04, 2010:

all very good points.

Concerned on December 04, 2010:

I believe the whole ESD Board and Commissioner Rodriguez should be replaced because they have proven that the loyalty to "friends" is greater than having public safety of the community in mind.

I would also like to pose a couple of questions as far "Good Business Practices" goes:

1. For this new Community Center/Evacuation Center who is going to bear the costs of this Center in the future? Why is the ESD using tax payer monies for Fire and Medical related services to fund a community center?

2. Why would the ESD Board contract with a FD that has proven itself to mis manage their money and constantly refuse or delay handing over paperwork (or the ESD had to help them do their paperwork)to the ESD Board every year when requested?

3. Over the past 10 years 2 of the 3 FD's has doubled if not triped their equipment and aparatuses with little help from the ESD thru "Grand Programs" (that each FD wrote and submitted themselves and were approved) but yet the ESD payed a "LAWYER" to write and submit a "Grant" on their behalf. Wonder how much that costed "taxpayers"?

4. The ESD also contracted with a FD that has not been able to in the past 10 years expand their fleet of equipment and apparatues on their own either paying for it themselves or thru grant programs? The ESD has purchased 2 of their trucks and I believed they only have 3 or 4 of them as compared to Sandy Oaks and Ata-Bexar. The ESD also pays South Bexars FD lease? Why dont they pay for Sandy Oaks or Ata-Bexar.

5. How much debt has the ESD incurred since it creation and how much is allowed for them to incurr?

In closing the ESD may be a non-profit organization but it still needs to be ran in a business sence and not a "money cow" for individuals who obviously are not intelligent enough to do what is best for the community they themselves live in. I believe the personal businesses and expenses of the current board members should be looked at and see how they have personally profitted from the "Tax Payers" money.

snacci on December 03, 2010:

Sorry... And I believe there is so much more that will be discovered. For example, the ESD has been telling the media that ABFD and SOFD have refused to comply with the auditors and that SBFD has opened all their books to the auditors...we have in our pocesssion a letter from the auditors dated Nov. 1st, 2010 that states that both ABFD and SOFD have complied and worked well with them and that SBFD has refused to work with them and submit ANY paperwork and now the auditors are completely dropping SBFD from any contact.

ATX... you can't be serious if you think SBFD had stepped up to the plate and has covered this entire area effectively! And the mummbling has been out of SBFD's mouth!! They throw temper tantrums every chance they get! Like throwing down an attic ladder and breakiing it when ABFD's firefighter was 5 feet away reaching out thinking they were going to hand it to them...and I am talking about SBFD's Asst. Chief David Crowley Jr.

Anybody reading this article knows who I am...I dare ATX to show your id!

We all love our jobs as firefighters, so much that some of us don't do it to put food on the table!! We volunteer!


snacci on December 03, 2010:

I love this writer!! You have covered and investigated this story very well! And y

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on December 03, 2010:

I’m not “going after South Bexar”, sorry if that is what you think. I’m just stating facts, facts that are shown in documents that have received from the ESD, a part of open meeting act. And in interviews with the news channels and the newspaper. Trust me I would love to get all of this over with ASAP. I am a volunteer and works a full time job to put food on my table for my family too. But I was not raised to let people lie and get away with it. Like I said I’m a volunteer firefighter (SFFMA firefighter) I fight for my community with my pager goes off, and in my option this is the same. As I have stated before, all we want is the true to be known and to service our community.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on December 03, 2010:

I don't think anyone is "going after" anyone. It is just information that is surfacing from this investigation that sheds not to good a light on South Bexar. It seems that Ms. Mendelsohn favored South Bexar and whether directly or indirectly, South Bexar was receiving special favors from Ms. Mendelsohn and her board. So it's a good thing you have thick skin because sadly enough the remarks and cold shoulders I don't think will be going away anytime soon. As more information is discovered, it sadly makes others very angry because it seems like they have been deceived.

atx on December 03, 2010:

Why are people going after South Bexar? The esd asked if they could step up to the plate and they did just that. Melissa Hammond and others need to stop picking fights and start worrying about their departments performance. Most firefighters don't care about the drama. They work to put food on the table, and perform at a job they love. No need to play high school drama queen at every sight of SB. Because most ff could care less about your cold shoulder or your mumbled remarks. grow up.

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on November 28, 2010:

Thank you, I will try to make it there. It was also brought to my attention recently that Sandy Oaks VFD stands to lose their trucks on Dec. 1 if they do not receive the funding for their payment. Will research this further and make more updates.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on November 27, 2010:

Just to let you know Ata-Bexar and Sandy Oaks are going to court this Tuesday morning... I believe it's the 225th court, this is besides the Southside ISD suit. Like I said just to let you know... Thank you again for writing about our story, we all appreciate you showing some light on this. We all know this will be a long road, but all we want is the true to be known. And to do the right thing and service our community.

SOFDCitizen on November 19, 2010:

As with all investigations I would suggest that the money trail be followed. While I understand that the ESD "President" made these decisions, I couldn't imagine her doing so with out first speaking to the ESD's attorney. Humm I wonder how much of a profit he has made from all of these actions. Mayby the state bar should look into that. Sounds like another Ken Campbell to me

Lady Liberty (author) from These United States, Texas on November 17, 2010:

Thanks Melissa, I will look into it and I did read that article. You know, when you lie as much as they have been, I guess it's gotten harder to keep track of what they say. I also believe that Mr. Crowley, the Chief at South Bexar Fire and Rescue knows quite a bit more than what he's saying or he was well coached for the school board meeting. He seemed to be quick on the draw with answers pertaining to ESD6 activity, when the other two departments were still asking questions and not getting any answers. Mr. Crowley may make a heck of a witness to go after if the D.A.'s office goes after this.

Melissa Hammond from San Antonio on November 17, 2010:

First off Thank you Abecedarian for writing about this. Like Mr. X said this is only the beginning, please keep looking. Also just to let you know Southside ISD did file a suit against the ESD yesterday. I do believe the case number is 2010CI19119, just in case you want to take a look at it too. Also you may want to look at an article from Nov 1 called "two volunteer fire departments temporarily closed", in the 4th paragraph Chief Crowley t