A politician in a blue suit named Tim Vasquez crushed a small businessman named Alex Suarez this week in San Angelo, Texas.
Vasquez (above) is the San Angelo Chief of Police. He went to work for the department as a dispatcher when he was 19. He was elected Chief in 2004 and he obviously enjoys his job. He is now running for his third term and he has assembled a resume that reads like a parody of resumes.
The Good Guy
The official San Angelo Police Department website brags that Vasquez “received a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Mountain State University.” He holds something called “a Master Peace Officers license and has over 2700 TCLEOSE hours and holds several TCLEOSE certifications.” That self important acronym means Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education. The greater part of modern policing is the proficient use of stupid acronyms. You aren’t supposed to understand them. You are supposed to be intimidated by them.
“Chief Vasquez graduated from the FBI’s L.E.E.D.S. (Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar) in June 2008,” his department explains. “Vasquez currently serves as Region 6 Director for the Texas Police Chiefs Association and will take the elected position of Sgt. at Arms for the TPCA in October 2010. Chief Vasquez was awarded the ‘Outside The Box’ award by the TPCA in 2006 for the implementation of the ‘See Its Me’ program, a program designed to fight Forgeries and Identity Theft. This SAPD was awarded the ‘Innovation Award’ in 2006 by the San Angelo Chamber Commerce.”
There are many more sentences like this but you probably already get the idea.
San Angelo, in the great West Texas void between Midland and San Antonio, is a broken city for all the same reasons that many American cities are now broken. The Chamber of Commerce describes San Angelo’s problems like this: “Over the past 10 years, San Angelo has seen a transition in its economy from manufacturing into more business and personal services.” By “personal services” the chamber means San Angelo is eager to pour you a drink. Urban redevelopment in downtown San Angelo means replacing “empty store fronts” with bars and pubs. “Business services” means “happy hour.”
Last year San Angelo had a population of 93,200. Three hundred eighteen residents were bartenders. The city had 47 establishments that sell beer, wine and distilled spirits by the glass. Together these bars generated approximately $1.6 million in income for San Angelo.
The Bad Guy
Alex Suarez is, by most objective standards, as good a citizen as Vasquez although his resume may be less inflated and more plain spoken. He hasn’t been accused of criminality or immorality. And, he has been trying for months to open a bar called the Throttle Down Saloon. It would be a biker bar. It wouldn’t be the first biker bar in town. It would be the first biker bar in San Angelo that permits patch holding patrons to wear their cuts.
Chief Vasquez does not approve of the idea — presumibly because police need enemies as frogs need flies. Last January, Vasquez asked the San Angelo City Council to help him just say no to Alex Suarez. It was the first time San Angelo has ever turned down a new bar. “This is the first time that I can remember the city and the City Council having an articulable reason to take a stance,” Vasquez, who seems incapable of speaking like an actual human being for even a moment, explained.
Vasquez objected because Suarez is affiliated with the “nationally known outlaw motorcycle gang Bandidos.” Affiliated mean Saurez holds a patch.
Suarez appealed the rejection with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. A commission agent noted that he had “Spoken with applicant who stated he would have club meetings of the ‘Bandidos’ at the location applied for.” Suarez, who was unavailable for comment, apparently tried to explain that he is not necessarily a criminal simply because some Bandidos have been convicted of crimes.
Vasquez, the Magna Cum Laude cop, may have cheated in his logic class. “The whole basis for his (Suarez’) argument was just because his brothers in the club are involved in criminal activity, it doesn’t mean he will be,” Chief Vasquez told Matthew Waller of the San Angelo Standard-Times. “We don’t try to get in the way of businesses and new businesses, but we’re definitely going to try to get in the way of criminal activity.”
Waller elaborated that “the Bandidos have ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, has contact with incarcerated members and has military-trained members.” Waller also explained that the Bandidos MC is a “gang” and that “Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others.”
Last Tuesday a county judge named Mike Brown denied Suarez a liquor license again.