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Richards announces he won't seek re-election

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Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 12:00 am

By Daniel Borunda

The Brownsville Herald

Bud Richards announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election, ending his

often-tumultuous tenure as Place 1 city commissioner.

Relaxing on a plush chair in the Historic Market Square Information Center in

City Hall, Richards said he thinks Brownsville is better off now than when he

took office in 1997. Today is the deadline to file to run in the May 5


We went two decades without really doing anything to make the city more

pleasant. The quality of life issues, he said pointing out projects such as

the $5 million-plus renovation of the Brownsville Golf Center the golf

aficionado led. He also mentioned the new events center, city equipment and

water pumps that help alleviate street flooding.

Its a better place to live, said the 63-year-old retired telephone company


Though some saw Richards as good-natured, others viewed him as vindictive with

a string of questionable comments.

Two months into his tenure, Richards riled local taxi drivers when he called

cabs taco wagons. He later allegedly called then-City Manager Carlos

Rubinstein, who is Jewish, a jewboy and allegedly urged him to treat police

as Hitler would.

A pair of unsuccessful recall efforts targeted Richards, including one in 1998

by the Brownsville Police Officers Association. A recall complete with a

billboard ad campaign last year stemmed from Rubinsteins January 2000 firing

by the City Commission. Some residents saw Richards as the source of the


Those are in the past. I dont live in the past. I live in the future, said

Richards, who quietly shook his head and refused to discuss the Rubinstein

matter because of possible litigation. I think the (recall) attacks were a

personal vendetta by a small group of people that were misled, misguided.

The recall publicity was difficult not as much for me as for my family, said

the grandfather, who listed exercising a Dalmatian dog named Cookie as one

of his hobbies in 1997.

The East Texas native said he feels the city is headed in the right direction.

We arent a little sleepy border town anymore, said Richards, who came to

Brownsville in 1973.

Since that time, I havent seen an election that isnt heated. I guess its

because its South Texas politics, he laughed, especially since he will be

sitting this round out.

I think my time in office was well spent, Richards said. There is life

after city elections.

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