Zavaletta claims Place 1 City Commission victory Victory: Cortinas loses to semi-retired surgeion. - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Zavaletta claims Place 1 City Commission victory Victory: Cortinas loses to semi-retired surgeion.

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Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2001 12:00 am

By J. Noel Espinoza

The Brownsville Herald

Dr. Joseph Zavaletta claimed victory Saturday over real estate agent Marlys

Cortinas in the Place 1 Brownsville City Commission race.

Zavaletta won the early vote, 1,874 votes to Cortinas 1,476 and stayed

ahead through the night.

Its all over, Zavaletta said after unofficial results gave him 4,977

votes, or 60.7 percent of the total. Cortinas had 3,210 votes for 39.21

percent.

Im not only happy for myself, but also for Henry (Gonzalez) and Alice

(Wilson). Three of us won. I think there is a mandate from the people.

Although Wilson was the leader in the race for City Commissioner Place 6, she

was headed for a runoff with Luigi Cristiano.

Zavaletta said Brownsville is going to change because the people want the city

to change.

We are going to change the whole structure, Zavaletta said. Its a new era

for Brownsville. Its good for the whole community and not only for a few

(people).

Cortinas couldnt be reached for comment.

The contest between Zavaletta and Cortinas began with a bang on April 5 at the

first candidates forum. Zavaletta, a 69-year-old semi-retired surgeon,

spouted some of the harshest words of the election in criticism against Place

1 incumbent Bud Richards, who decided not to run.

Then, Zavaletta told Cortinas he had heard she was Richards handpicked

successor. The 50-year-old realtor shot back that she wasnt handpicked by

anybody.

At later appearances, Zavaletta didnt mention Richards as he had in the first

event.

But besides continuing verbal jabs, the two candidates also had widely

different stands.

Zavaletta ran a high-profile campaign vigorously criticizing the present

commission for what he saw as costly unwise projects pyramids. He also

pushed a code of ethics for elected officials.

Cortinas refused to criticize city projects saying she didnt want to dwell on

the past and pledged to support quality of life improvements. She touted her

20-year involvement in numerous organizations.

Zavaletta had a campaign war chest double the size of Cortinas. The doctor

raised $13,965 not counting at least $19,000 he loaned himself, records

stated. Cortinas had contributions totaling $8,435.

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