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Fiesta group seeks city info

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By The Staff

Fiesta Council Chairman Mathew Martinez said his group wants information on the city’s investments in the annual Fiestas de Las Vegas.

Martinez said at last Tuesday’s Fiesta Council meeting that the group had asked for a breakdown on expenses that paid for police and fire protection, and sanitation.

Martinez said the council wanted the information in order to be fiscally responsible and transparent. He said the Fiesta Council was putting its best foot forward, but the city didn’t produce any documents. He said that was hard to believe since public officials are making statements to the media claiming the city pours a large amount of money into the fiestas, which happen around the Fourth of July every year.

City Clerk Casandra Fresquez said Wednesday that the city responded to the Fiesta Council’s request by saying it didn’t find documents that indicated the Fiesta expenses. She said such information would have to be researched. The state’s public records law applies to existing documents, not to ones that haven’t been created.

Three years ago, then-City Manager John Avila presented a report to the City Council that stated that the city’s had provided $114,000 in in-kind services that year to the annual event. The city had to conduct research to come up with that number; it did so at the City Council’s request.

Martinez said member Mike Sweeney made numerous calls to the city asking if it needed more time to produce the documents, but his calls were ignored.

“The city clerk was supposed to call me back,” Sweeney said. “She wanted to look at her notes, but she said she would get back to me. Neither the city attorney nor city clerk have contacted me. My explanation to the city clerk was, ‘Maybe it’s $50,000 or $500,000 — maybe it is $100,000,’ but how can you throw out a figure and not have something to back it up?”

Martinez thanked Sweeney for his due diligence and said the council was doing its homework and, in time, everything will work out for the best.    

At the City Council’s meeting Wednesday, Martinez said he would deal with city officials but would no longer provide any comments to the Las Vegas Optic because of the paper’s unfairness and lack of impartiality.

“We have been raked through the coals in the newspaper by actions taken by me and the council. They are beating a dead horse. Our intent is to continue on our journey,” Martinez said.

He also took aim at Councilwoman Diane Moore, who has criticized the Fiesta Council’s decision to halve the former Fiesta queen’s scholarship. He said she provided comments to the Optic but made no attempt to contact the Fiesta Council.

He said he hadn’t seen a City Council member appear at a Fiesta Council meeting. However, last month, Moore showed up, but the Fiesta Council closed its doors, asking Moore and two others to leave.

Martinez said he was glad the city is now sending a representative to Fiesta Council meetings — Lindsey Hill, an employee in the community development department.

“We look forward to a continued partnership,” he said.

City Council members didn’t respond to Martinez’s comments.