Mayor Glenda Hood made amends with the Hispanic community last week by appointing a real Hispanic to the city's council redistricting committee.
Many were offended when they discovered that Hood, after announcing with some flourish that she was expanding the committee to nine members to boost its Hispanic representation, appointed longtime Republican loyalist Jeanne Rodriguez, who isn't Hispanic at all.
At the time of that appointment, Commissioner Patty Sheehan asked three times for verification that Rodriguez and another Hood appointee were, indeed, Hispanic. After offering up assurances, city officials were bombarded with calls from people who knew that Rodriguez -- nee D'Agastino -- had acquired her last name only through marriage. Her husband has since died.
Hood subsequently replaced Rodriguez with Raiza Tamayo, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Hispanic leaders quickly endorsed the appointment.
"She's not a political person," says James R. Auffant, an attorney and president of the Hispanic Voters League. "She's more of a business person. But she's very well-versed in the issues."
Commissioner Sheehan, meanwhile, is getting tired of administration officials claiming each of their mistakes is unintentional. "If these honest mistakes keep coming up, maybe we should look for people who don't make so many honest mistakes," says the District 4 commissioner.