8:15 a.m. KTSA Morning Edge Commentary 9/25/2002

KB Homes at Mirasol

Some of the people who live in the new Mirasol subdivision are complaining that the houses are of shoddy design and funky construction, already on a steep and slippery slope toward becoming a slum.

Mirasol is a project of the San Antonio Housing Authority. SAHA farmed the development out to Magi Real Estate and KB Homes.

Mysteriously enough, Magi and KB were the only "qualified" bidders on the $50-million West Side project. KB built 247 single-family houses. I have no idea what Magi did for its money. Magi's consultant was Tinker Garza, the politically-connected former maintenance man who's being investigated by the Texas Rangers, in connection with activities while he was president of the Alamo Community College District board.

One Mirasol resident complained of buckling walls, loose toilet, leaky sink, gaps between the tub and shower wall, a bad door. Mirasol residents call the SAHA Maintenance Hotline and are never called back. SAHA's own top architect wrote on the original house plans: "Crap! Weak! Trash! Hate it! Start over!" But no one started over and the houses were built.

KB says it built to the specs on the plans. But the original plans had patios, and windows and doors on back walls. KB says it used the plans it was given and assumed they had been approved.

There will be a fact-finding report and a public hearing on all this tonight, starting a 6 p.m. at SAHA headquarters.

Has tax money been squandered by incompetents? Oh, yeah. There is no question about it. Who's to blame? Looks to me like there are plenty of excellent candidates.

I'm Brad Messer with commentary at 8:15 on KTSA's Morning Edge.


Mirasol Homes issue to be heard today Express-News 9/25/02
MAGI real estate website (scroll down for Mirasol project)
Homeowners for Better Building website links to Mirasol stories, KB Homes stories
"Opening doors to missing patios" Express-News editorial 9/7/02


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