The appointment of convicted ballot harvester, Gloria Torres, as the new Vice Mayor of San Luis, came as a surprise to many residents of the small community and has raised questions for others.
However, city insiders say no one should be surprised in light of the fact that the Torres family holds powerful positions in both the City and Yuma County governments and breaking the law has not stood in the way of advancement for Torres family members in the past.
Torres was appointed to the San Luis City Council in 2011, after her son Rafael was forced to resign from his seat when he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations, after he had been accused of theft of public funds.
Soon after he served probation, Rafael’s record was scrubbed, and he successfully ran for the Yuma County Constable Precinct #2 seat in 2014 because his mother had successfully run for reelection to his former City Council seat in 2012.
Rafael continues to hold the Constable position, but like his mother, his time in office has been shrouded in controversy.
In August 2023, in what many believe was a political favor of the prosecutorial discretion-kind, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat who ran on a criminal justice reform platform, declined to prosecute Rafael after a young Latina driver filed a complaint against him for threatening her with his loaded gun after two vehicle collisions in a span of ten minutes involving the two.
According to the police report, the young female driver had initially hit the government owned SUV Rafael was driving after allegedly running a stop sign. The young driver claimed she left the scene of the accident because she believed Rafael was trying to intentionally hit her vehicle after the initial collision and prior to a second collision.
According to the police report, Rafael had his daughter in the government-owned vehicle with him at the time of the accident. He only disclosed this breach of policy after he was confronted by an investigator days later.
The gun-toting Rafael is seen in a video, taken at the time of the accident in August 2022, screaming at the young girl to “shut up,” and “sit down” while waving his service revolver around in a menacing manner.
In its letter to the young driver, the Attorney General’s Office claimed that it would not pursue charges against Rafael because despite the video evidence, there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial.”
No Reasonable Likelihood Of Conviction
The fact that the elder Torres’ daughter, Jenny, is the Acting City Manager for San Luis, doesn’t hurt the family’s chances of surviving even the most egregious ethical and possibly legal lapses.
In February 2023, Torres’ daughter, Jenny Torres was named Assistant City Manager and rose quickly in the ranks, becoming Acting City Manager for San Luis by August 2023, earning more than $170,000 base salary.
The younger Torres was named Acting City Manage through an order passed by a majority of the City Council on June 28, 2023. Her mother abstained from voting on the Order No. 2023-7:
AN ORDER OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN LUIS, ARIZONA, TO APPOINT AN ACTING CITY MANAGER.
WHEREAS, City Code§ 2.15.00(A)(1) provides, in part, in creating the Office of City Manager that the City Manager shall be appointed by the Council and shall serve at the pleasure of the Council;
WHEREAS, City Code § 2.15.00(A)(3) provides, in part, that the City Manager shall receive compensation as the Council shall fix from time to time;
WHEREAS, the contract for the services of Ralph Velez as Acting City Manager will expire on July 1, 2023; and
WHEREAS, the Council wishes to provide for the performance of the duties of the City Manager;
NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the Mayor and City Council of the City of San Luis, Arizona:
Section 1: Jenny Torres, Assistant City Manager is hereby appointed as Acting City Manager until such time as Council may make further decisions regarding appointments to the position and duties of the City Manager.
Section 2: Jenny Torres is to remain in the classified service of the City of San Luis as Assistant City Manager while performing the duties of City Manager as the Acting City Manager. That at such time as her appointment as Acting City Manager shall terminate, she is to remain in her position as Assistant City Manager.
Section 3: Jenny Torres shall receive a pay increase for the period of time that she is serving as Acting City Manager in accordance with the current City of San Luis Salary Administration policy.
Arizona Statute 38-481 prohibits “an executive, legislative, ministerial or judicial officer to appoint or vote for appointment of any person related to him by affinity or consanguinity within the third degree to any clerkship, office, position, employment or duty in any department of the state, district, county, city or municipal government … when the salary, wages or compensation of such appointee is to be paid from public funds or fees of such office, or to appoint, vote for or agree to appoint, or to work for, suggest, arrange or be a party to the appointment of any person in consideration of the appointment of a person related to him within the degree provided by this section.”
Violation of the law is a class 2 misdemeanor.
The law is rarely enforced and according to experts, even be dodged through careful maneuvering such as abstaining from the vote on the matter.
One legal expert told the Arizona Daily Independent that whether the Torres duo avoided violating Arizona’s law prohibiting nepotism, they certainly violated the spirit of it.
The Spirit Of The Law
“Our laws matter and the spirit of them is adhered to by those with integrity. Without integrity, you have no ability to be equitable to all your constituents,” David Lara told the Arizona Daily Independent. “Elected officials must have credibility, respect, and the ability to acknowledge mistakes and rectify them. Our voice is too important to accept any less.”
“I applaud David Lara for being the lone man for over 20 years willing to expose San Luis Arizona corruption and the corrupt Democratic Party machine. The efforts of people like David and myself have resulted in indictments, convictions, and shedding sunlight on their illegal ways,” said Gary Garcia Snyder. “We Hispanic are done with these bad actors. Hispanics are tired of being exploited by those who line their own pockets with our hard-earned tax dollars. Vamos Por Todo Que Nos Quitaste. Vive la Communidad SanLuisina.”
Torres, who was appointed vice mayor during the regular city council meeting on December 13, pleaded guilty to ballot abuse in June 2023.
Torres and Nadia Guadalupe Lizarraga-Mayorquin a/k/a Nadia Buchanan were indicted in October 2022, on two Class 6 felonies of conspiracy and ballot abuse stemming from a two-year long investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office with assistance from the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office.
The ballot harvesting activities were exposed by two Yuma County men, David Lara, and Gary Garcia Snyder, through hidden video surveillance outside a San Luis polling station in July 2020. Former San Luis mayor Guillermina Fuentes and local resident Alma Yadira Juarez were convicted in 2022 in part based on the video evidence.
Impact Of Systemic Voter Fraud Will Be Felt In San Luis For Long Time
Jose Borrajero arizonadailyindependent.com News,acting city manager,ballot harvester,David Lara,gary garcia snyder,gloria torres,jenny torres,Kris Mayes,rafael torres,San Luis
2024-01-08 03:15:37 , San Luis – Arizona Daily Independent