Restraining Order Paralyzes Hidalgo City Council

A very interesting, and troubling, story in The Monitor. Councilmember Rudy Franz appears to have a business incentive to prevent approval of a permit for a competing transportation company, so he went to court to get a restraining order against a few fellow councilmembers.

With the one-page document, Rudy Franz paralyzed the City Council and blocked a new bus company, which met all Hidalgo’s permit requirements, from serving the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. Mayor Martin Cepeda called the incident a black eye for Hidalgo.

“As mayor, I’m very disappointed that this is going on,” Cepeda said. “But what can you do? It’s the law.”

The new bus company, S to N Transport, would have competed with Rudy Franz’s businesses — Franz Taxi and STS Transportation, a bus company — that shuttle people from the international bridge to McAllen.

I’ll be interested to pull the documents and see what the judge believed justified a restraining order that prevents elected members of a city council from performing their duties.  This case raises very interesting and important separation-of-powers issues.  We’re used to thinking of separation of powers in terms of federal constitutional law, but structural principles of government are no less important in local affairs.