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De Anda / The Martin Machine, Part Two

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When Aldo Tatangelo was elected, he wanted to change stuff. He wanted to pave the streets and he did it. He went out and bought street paving equipment which we didn’t have and brought in a street department head who knew how to do that. That stuff.. paving. And he planned it and he had projects and he went piece by piece by piece until the whole city was paved. Mayor Martin never took that kind of initiative. He was more of a ‘help my friend out’ Not necessarily for his personal benefit… for his political benefit for sure but not like what you have now where you use your connection with the office. You use your connections so that you can snag a contract and suddenly you got a multimillion dollar contract for your architectural firm because you knew the mayor and the mayor did you this favor of giving you this big fat old contract which is what is happening in our government today where people don’t look at it for their own personal benefit instead of for the benefit of the community. Mayor Martin looked at it for the benefit of his political organization as opposed to for the benefit of the community but he didn’t look at it for his own personal benefit. He was rich in his own right and I’m sure he made money while he was and I’m sure he took advantage when he could but that wasn’t the reason he was into it. He was into it because he loved the game. He loved the politics. He loved to win elections. He loved to cut deals. He loved that he had connections to LBJ and that people like John F. Kennedy would call him because he needed the Democrats in Webb County and he was the leader of the Democrats. And the reason he was the leader was cause he had this patronage so he did it for his political organization so that he could get status from his political organization not so that he could enrich himself. Now that doesn’t make it good governance but it’s not as bad as he’s in it for himself so that he could enrich himself and make millions and millions of dollars. So that when he leaves office, he can work as a lobbyist on K street and make millions and millions of dollars which is why most of these guys were doing it. My political hero is Henry B. Gonzalez and there’s one thing about him that makes him stand out. When he was elected to Congress, he had one asset, his homestead. When he died, still in congress 45-50 years later, he had one asset, his house… his homestead that’s all he had. That tells me he was in public service because he wanted to do something not for himself.

Interview Interview with Ricardo De Anda
Subjects Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics › Politicians
Class and Status
Class and Status › Upward Mobility
People › Kennedy, John F.
Electoral Politics › Local Elections
Tags Tatangelo, Aldo
Rosales, Henry B.
Martin, J. C. (Pepe)
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Interview date 2015-07-10
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees De Anda , Ricardo
Locations Laredo, TX
Duration 00:03:58
Citation "The Martin Machine, Part Two," from Ricardo De Anda  oral history interview with ,  July 10, 2015, Laredo, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed June 24, 2024