When current U.S. Senate candidate in Texas, Beto, nee Robert, O’ Rourke, was a member of the El Paso city council he represented a historic Mexican-American neighborhood. He proposed a revitalization of the tenements with restaurants, shops, and an arts walk (think San Antonio River Walk). He was married to the daughter of an investor’s daughter.
In addition, his constituents, the residents and many of the owners of the small businesses in the area, were against the changes. Further, a study commissioned by the city referred to the residents of the area as “dirty,” “uneducated,” and “lazy.” Guadalupe Ochoa, a resident of the neighborhood, says that she voted for Mr. O’Rourke and then “he turned things around on them,” once he got close to the power. They filed an ethics complaint with the city, which was rejected. However, Mr. O’Rourke finally took the advice of an attorney to no longer be “tone deaf” to the appearance of a conflict, and recused himself from voting on the proposal. The plan eventually fell apart.
The folks in the neighborhood have not forgotten. It was not the appearance of a conflict. It was a conflict.