San Antonio, TX – After a 10-minute harangue by activist Ralph Velasquez on the “embarrassment” and “travesty” of the Mirasol Homes project, San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) commissioners decided Wednesday to hold a public hearing on the matter at their September meeting.
SAHA Schedules Hearing
“Somewhere, this board fell asleep,” Velasquez said. “There is no leadership here (at the authority).” “You must find the courage to lead,” he told commissioners. “You must find the ganas (desire).” Commissioner Charlie Peya said the board wants to find out what happened, adding that many commissioners are new and weren’t in office when Mirasol was planned and approved.
Board Chairman Larry Freeman asked that the Mirasol issue be put on the next agenda “so there can be a full public discussion,” which brought loud applause from the small crowd of Velasquez supporters. Problems at the $50 million single-family-homes development were detailed Aug. 12 in a San Antonio Express-News story that told of houses without back doors or windows, falling cabinets, broken doors and listing porch beams and a contaminated landfill that apparently escaped the notice of planners.
Housing authority President Melvin Braziel said staff members, along with representatives of KB Homes, which built Mirasol, will inspect each unit and report on conditions. The authority has received assurances from KB Homes that it will fix the problems. “They’re on the record with that,” Braziel said. Before adjourning, Freeman told authority staff that commissioners “don’t take lightly” the concerns of Mirasol residents, and asked Braziel what the next steps should be.
The first step is to assess current conditions, which already has begun, Braziel said. The next step is “make sure KB keeps its word,” he added. Freeman retorted, “I’m talking about accountability. … Will there be accountability?” Braziel said staff will prepare a chronology of “who, what, when and where” and include that in the commissioners report. Staff also will make a timeline for inspections, Braziel said, so residents would know the “beginning and end” of the process.