Updated 8:50am August 18, 2022, to correct Delgado’s age.
Felony conviction in 2007 bars Bertha Delgado from running for a city council seat, but she says she is seeking restoration of her rights
Bertha Marie Rendon Delgado, 42, has been notified by the City of Austin that her application for a place on the ballot has been rejected because of a felony conviction.
Delgado is one of the five people seeking what will be a vacant seat to represent District 3 on the Austin City Council. Incumbent Sabino “Pio” Renteria is term limited and did not petition for a place on the 2022 ballot.
Records obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal History database published online indicate she was arrested March 9, 2007, by a DPS San Marcos officer for possession of a controlled substance of less than one gram.
Section 481.115 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states that conviction of the offense is a state jail felony. Records show she pled guilty, was sentenced to three year’s probation, fined $1,500 and was charged $248 for court costs. She paid $140 in restitution and was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.
In an interview this morning, Delgado told The Austin Bulldog she was submitting an application for restoration of her rights under Article 48.05 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
She said she never went to prison for the drug offense but served 355 days in the Caldwell County Jail.
Delgado was born in 1979 and was 27 years of age on the date of her arrest. She told the Bulldog at that time she had two small children, was going through a divorce, and depressed.
She said that she got a DWI while driving a vehicle that was not hers, and got charged with possession. There is no indication in the DPS records of a DWI on the date she was arrested for drug possession. The DPS records do contain information about two later charges of Driving While Intoxicated.
She was arrested by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office October 18, 2007, for the first DWI offense, a Class B misdemeanor, the DPS records show. She pled no contest and was convicted September 1, 2009, sentenced to serve 15 months probation, and fined $419.
Delgado was arrested by the Austin Police Department on a DWI second offense August 13, 2010, and charged with a Class A misdemeanor, the DPS records show. She pled no contest, was convicted April 8, 2011, and sentenced to nine days in jail. She said she was actually held for 205 days after the second DWI, “because I didn’t have the money to pay probation fees.”
Records from Travis County Court at Law No. 5 indicate that on August 31, 2009, Delgado forfeited a bond of $1,000 for failure to appear on a charge of Driving While License Suspended/Invalid. That forfeiture was dismissed August 26, 2015, because she had been “re-incarcerated before the…bond forfeiture suit was filed.”
She was granted an occupational driver’s license May 14, 2012, after she had applied so she could drive to work and school.
Paid debt and working for community
“I was spiraling down,” she said of these criminal offenses. “I got better with counseling and education and being under supervision. That was the best thing that helped me.”
“I spent 355 days in county jail,” she said. “Imagine what I’ve seen and went though. I paid my debt to society and I’ve been doing tremendously good work for the last decade. Anybody can turn their life around.”
Today, Delgado is a proud grandmother, mother of a 24-year-old daughter and has a 20-year-old son in college, she said.
She is the granddaughter of Edward Rendon Sr., a well known East Austin activist for whom the city named a Metropolitan Park at Festival Beach, also known as “Chicano Park.” He died at the age of 91 in 2018. Delgado is president of the East Town Lake Neighborhood Association and a member of the city’s Community Development Commission.
“The future of Austin is my mission,” Delgado said. “There are so many things we need here that are lacking. I can be a voice for that population that is underserved.”
Bulldog reporter Daniel Van Oudenaren contributed to this report.
Trust indicators: Ken Martin has been doing investigative reporting in the three-county Austin metro area since 1981. His aggressive reporting twice garnered first-place national awards for investigative reporting. Both of those projects resulted in successful criminal prosecutions. His 2011 investigation of the Austin City Council’s open meetings violations triggered a 20-month investigation by the Travis County attorney that resulted in the mayor and council members signing deferred prosecution agreements to avoid being charged, tried, and if convicted serving one to six months in jail and forfeiting their elective offices. See more on Ken on the About page. Email [email protected].