By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition April 2017.
The city of McAllen has had great mayors. They have been public servants who have dedicated part of their lives to make McAllen better.
Today, McAllen has Jim Darling, a knowledgeable professional who has lead and defended the citizens of McAllen for more than three decades. First, as McAllen City Attorney, then as City Commissioner, and now as the Mayor.
He has always been a giving person, and just so you have an idea of the generosity of Mayor Darling, below is my conversation with Bobby Calvillo, the Executive Director for Affordable Homes of South Texas that celebrated its 40th Anniversary last year.
How did Mayor Darling impact this organization?
Calvillo says, “I think the mayor’s impact is not even measurable. When I started almost 20 years ago, he was already doing so many things for us that I can’t even describe it, but primarily his official role was as our legal counsel.” At the time, Mayor Darling was a city attorney, so he asked for permission to be able to do home closings for Affordable Homes.
At that point, Darling stated that he would prefer for Affordable Homes’ clients to use their money to pay their mortgages. “Since at least 20 years ago, Mayor Darling was doing all the legal work for us, free of charge,” Calvillo stated.
He said, “Darling became the largest donor to this organization, because when an attorney closes a mortgage, and they get title insurance, the title company pays the closing attorney a fee. Darling at the time would get that fee from the title company payable to him, and what he would do is endorse the check back to the organization.”
“He was contributing with his professional skills, and providing us financial support. Nobody else would have done that,” Calvillo told Texas Border Business.
As of last year, Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc. had served close to 4,000 clients in its 40 years of service. Mayor Darling volunteered for them for 20 years, you do the math!
In this issue, you’ll get to know more about him, particularly about his Leadership, about his knowledge on business plans and budgets, economic incentives, taxes, the importance of transparency, his vast experience on water issues, city traffic, and border security and humanitarian crisis.
On another matter, it was sad to learn that our Beloved Congressman Eligio “Kika” De La Garza had passed away.
My relationship with Congressman De la Garza dates to 1975 when I first interviewed him. At the time, I was Spanish News Director for KQXX-FM 98.5 in McAllen, Texas, located at 608 South 10th Street.
Aside from broadcasting news, De la Garza was my first interview on radio. We talked about agriculture, a topic close to his heart. After the radio interview, we went outside the broadcasting studio and we took our picture together in late 1975.
That meeting was the first time I saw him in person, but I dealt on a weekly basis with his liaisons in Washington in charge of sending his weekly reel-to-reel audio tape report to be broadcasted. For all of you, millennials, a reel-to-reel-tape is the equivalent of a CD or now just a digital audio file. Those were different times.
It took only one meeting to know that Congressman De la Garza was a unique human being. We became friends, and later I met his wife, Lucille, whom I respect and admire.
He was our Congressman for 32 years. Since the first time I met him, he never changed. He was the same “Kika” as all friends used to call him.
I can say openly, that he was my friend as Congressman and when he was not in public office as well. I had the opportunity to cover many of the events that took place in the Valley when he was representing us in Washington.
The Editorial team of Texas Border Business and Mega Doctor News will miss our Congressman “Kika”. TBB