Diane Moca Welcome to Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca with today's top headlines in our city. A board organizing a major festival in Aurora may be facing a shake-up. The Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board is planning Fiestas Patrias for September 17th and 18th in River Edge Park. City staff says it's a major undertaking for the 13 board members. Laura Ayala was one of three board members facing reappointment recently by the city's Rules, Administration, and Procedure Committee.
During the meeting, alderman did not discuss a message sent to them from a constituent urging them to reject Ayala because she was arrested in May 2021. Police reports say she was kicking a security officer who asked her to leave a cannabis dispensary after she became very upset about money she did not get because the ATM did not work. Police records say she told the manager her boyfriend was the mayor of Aurora and he would close down the business. We're just wondering if you have any thoughts about the complaints that were sent that she should be removed from the committee?
Speaker 2 I'll tell you. Personally, I take everything in consideration that's said to me, and I weigh that. I also weigh that there are people in this country who maybe have made a mistake, and you don't shut them down forever. Somebody... A positive person is a positive person. So have we all made mistakes? Yeah. Is this mistake so egregious to what they're looking to do that it should condemn them from being part of it? We weigh that, too. So we take it all into consideration.
Diane Moca I think part of the concern is the appearance, whether it's true or not, that this person has a relationship with the mayor. And because of that, they're untouchable. And so no matter what they do, they get special access or appointments or whatever. And you could understand why people might think that.
Speaker 2 Yes. And I would say it's the other ways, too. Because if it wasn't about the mayor, then maybe it wouldn't even come up. So you could play that game all day long. This shoe's on both feet. So yes, because you can have that perception that because they know somebody that you get away with them, or because they know somebody, they're more of a focal, more of a target. So where do you want to go with that? I can make the case either way. So I don't think that that's a deciding factor. You got to look at all that stuff in there.
Diane Moca During the public session, alderman did talk about Ayala's lack of attendance at regular board meetings.
Speaker 3 The attendance matter has been addressed, and certainly attendance has improved. The thing that's unusual about this situation is the secretary notifying the city council of an individual's attendance. That, I have not encountered before.
Speaker 4 Can you elaborate? So how is it improved? We just received factual information, so we received minutes from meetings and absent or present.
Speaker 3 So attendance has improved for the special meetings. And in terms of performance throughout the planning process, engagement has been what the board would ask.
Diane Moca Alderman voted for no recommendation on Ayala at this time and said they planned to look into the matter further. The Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board is listed as the contact for the festival, which hosts musical acts, carnival rides, arts and crafts, and food booths. More than 20,000 people attended the festival in 2019, but it was canceled for the past two years because of the pandemic. Tickets for Fiestas Patrias are $10 each, with sponsorships costing anywhere from $100 to $20,000. And those are today's trending topics for Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca.
Aldermen Discuss Concerns About Hispanic Board Member Who Said She Was Mayor’s Girlfriend
While planning this weekend’s Fiestas Patrias, the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board is facing a possible shake up. Laura Ayala is up for re-appointment. Last year police said she kicked a security guard and claimed her boyfriend was the mayor and would shut down a local business that tried to remove her when she caused a disturbance.
You can see the police report describing Laura Ayala’s alleged battery and comments about the mayor being her boyfriend in our Talking Cities story here:
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