Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hopefully, everything's ok with BTB, he's MIA again

For the second day, Laredo blogging colossal BorderTown Blues has been quiet. Upon attempting to access his site, his many followers and readers have been met with a short explanation :"no posts".  We hope Mr. Blues and his family are all doing well.  For all we know, maybe he didn't pay his dues to the seemingly omniscient BOLAS.  Yours truly encountered some trouble posting about a month and there were rumors that BOLAS (Blogs Of Laredo Association Statistics) might have been behind it.

There have even reports that BOLAS has GPS capabilities to find out the whereabouts of all its members. Nonetheless, let's hope that we get to hear from BTB soon enough. There's a slight, slight, chance that he might have gone to San Antonio to help someone one move but that couldn't be confirmed as of press time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

US Dept of Agriculture declares Texas a disaster area due to drought: Fracking continues to use millions of gallons of water

Hey Fracking Industry, could spare 5 million gallons of water??

On Tuesday, the US Dept of Agriculture made it official. The Lone Star state has been declared a disaster area because of the ongoing severe drought. Unbelievably,  oil & gas wells continue to be fracked at a cost of at least 5 million gallons of water each.

Additionally, the Texas Railroad Commission continues to award hundreds of permits for new wells to be fracked.  No word yet on whether the drought is directly related for this apparent insanity. Neither is there any word on whether anyone at the TRRC will be charged with any crime, since by all measures, their complicity in the water-intensive, fracking boom surely appears criminal.

Will fracking render our area unrecognizable?

Just as at the end of the motion picture "Planet of the Apes", it is possible that many of us will not recognize our South Texas brush land after it's been all "fracked out".  Even now, as one travels to Cotulla or Carrizo Springs, there are signs of exploitation everywhere. Of course, it's all in the name of jobs and infusion of much-need economic activity.  So, we're supposed to be OK with it, up to a certain point.  The question becomes up to what point?

If our towns reap the economic benefits of the current fracking boom, will our water and air be safe?  If they can be kept safe or even "made" safe by the oil and gas companies, will it be worth it?  Will it be worth any price, if in order to reap some monetary rewards and retain safe air and water, you give up what drew you to the land in the first place?  Namely, the rugged, windswept beauty of the surrounding area.  Will you be happy to give up watching the sunset beyond the gnarled, yet proud Mesquite and Oak trees at any cost? And what if your safe water now comes from an obtrusive, mechanical contraption instead of from the natural resource that had given you so much for so long ?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Murillo's Tire Shops continue aggressive expansion

Murrillo's: your 'llanta" place for over 30 years

Some well known businesses that had their origins in the Gateway City include the former Laredo National Bank, International Bank of Commerce, Danny's Restaurants and Taco Palenque. All of these have gone on to open branches in other parts of the state. Laredo National Bank was eventually bought by BBVA Bank which continues to expand in it's own right.

Well, don't look now, but there's enterprising juggernaut that might be following in the same footsteps. I am referring to none other than Murrilos' Tire Shops. With a brand new location now open at the corner of Lyon and Springfield, the Murrillo Brothers continue to dominate the local "llanta" scene. The latest addition brings the number of their tire shops to five.

Murillo's has always been known for good customer service ever since they opened their first location way back in the late 70s  along San Dario avenue.  As far as I know, they'll still check all your tires' air pressure and inflate them accordingly for one buck.  They usually sell used tires and now also carry new ones. In addition, they provide roadside assistance and even have an 800 number for their customers. So, from the business desk at LaredoTejas, Congratulations to Murrillo's Tire Shop on their new location.

So far, looks like Beer runs have toned down their "shows"

"Uh,  obviously, our ordinance is working and that's a good thing for Laredo."

About a month after the Laredo city council passed an ordinance meant to crack down on the questionable marketing techniques of local beer runs, it appears that the level of risque has subsided somewhat.  A telling sign that beer runs have decided to behave is the fact that more than one of the female attendants at these establishments have been rumored to be actually wearing pants.

Councilman Esteban Rangel, who spearheaded the anti-beer run ordinance, along with some local parishioners was unavailable for comment on the apparent change. One fact cannot be denied, the thoroughfares surrounding the most popular beer runs are now certainly "more trafficable".

The Laredo Police Department continues to closely monitor the situation. As Rangel said at the time the ordinance was passed, "If they start dancing and humping the ground, then we'll move in". The above picture purportedly shows Mayor Salinas celebrating the initial success of the ordinance.

Even Chiilier & Willier

Chilly Willy clone used to sell dry ice.

On a recent post, I alluded to the similarity between the cartoon character used by "Los Pinguinos" snow cones and Chilly Willy, a Walter Lantz cartoon dating to the 1950s. Well, it so happens that I saw another sign locally that has to be the spitting image of the aforementioned Mr. Willy. I came across this latest copy wright culprit as I waited for the light at the corner of Barlett and Lyon.  On the Northeast corner of that intersection, there's a store (whose name escapes me) that proudly displays a sign advertising none other than "Penguin Brand" dry ice. 

What surprised me is that Penguin Brand is not a local company; it's based in Phoenix, Arizona and shows a Trademark designation on the logo. There's only two logical explanations for this. Either this company has some sort of permission from Walter Lantz's company.....or copy wright infringement is not solely a Laredo thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Got Milk?.....Which kind? Is it even Milk?

Down here, it was usually Metzgers, Falfurrias or Foremost milk

I think HEB might have to expand it's "dairy" section once again. Actually, many of the items in there are not even remotely "dairy" products.  I thought it was pretty good when we could choose between whole, low-fat or skim milk. Then of course, the low fat was divided into 2% and 1 % (fat).

However, the boom has resulted in the "non-milk" milks. These include mostly lactose-free types such as soy, almond and coconut "milks. Don't worry, you can still choose between low-fat lactose free and fat-free, lactose free. The scary part is that some of the newer, cutting edge milks don't even have to be refrigerated and have a pretty long shelf life.  Maybe they'll start charging more for this particular type being that the store has had it for so long that's it's actually "aged".

No wonder many of us long for the simpler days when the milkman would leave a gallon of cold, whole milk  on our "galerias", or front porch. Once in great while, if you were lucky, you might find a tall, icy cold quart of frothy chocolate milk right alongside.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laredo Bi-National Rancher's Conference : Fracking's water use not on agenda!

"Fracking?? What's that there y'all keep talking about??"

From Agri-Life

LAREDO – A Bi-National Ranchers Conference scheduled June 29-30 in Laredo will feature programs on drought management, identifying global forces impacting American beef cattle trade, updates on livestock diseases and other topics, according to organizers.

The conference, which will feature industry representatives and participants from the U.S. and Mexico,
will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 110 Calle Del Norte. Cost is $45, and registration by June 24 is recommended to prepare for meals, seating and refreshments.The conference will feature a trade show as well, and the booth fee is $200.

“Several issues are affecting the beef cattle and wildlife industry and particularly producers in South Texas,” said George L.  Gonzales, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent in Webb County. “From the current impact of the drought to fluctuations in market prices, we have topics that will be of interest to every producer.”

Speakers include Drs. Larry Falconer and Parr Rosson, AgriLife Extension economists; Dr. Joe Paschal, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist; and John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist. Dr. Alfonso Ortega-Santos, research scientist, and Dr. Randy DeYoung, research assistant professor, both with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, will also speak. Additional speakers will include Dr. Megan Dominguez, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Dr. Wayne Hanselka, AgriLife Extension specialist emeritus, rangeland consultant.

Topics include: essential records for ranch operations, grass-fed beef production and management, global forces shaping North American cattle/beef trade, ranch security, rainwater harvesting/water conservation strategies, holistic ranch management, water infiltration methods, cattle, range and forage management, drought management strategies, common misconceptions in whitetailed-deer management practices, foreign animal diseases and veterinarian updates.

Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders will earn two continuing education units on June 29 and two on June 30.

For more information, call Gonzales at at 956-721-2626 or 2627 or Flavio Garza at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service office at 956-723-6643, ext. 3.

Cuellar speaks out on "Metzican" army crossing border

"Give me an M, E, T...."  T???

A little bit late, but US Congressman Henry Cuellar appeared on Pro8News speaking out about the "accidental" crossing of 3 Mexican army trucks into US territory via bridge No. 2.  Naturally, Cuellar tried to ease any worries and said that the Mexican troops simply were not familiar with the area.  I couldn't help but notice the Congressman's pronunciation.  As many of you might have noticed, the congressman has the tendency to say "Met-zi-co" instead of  "Mex-i-co".  Perhaps not as surprising, the same pronunciation is shared by Henry's brother, Webb County Martin Cuellar.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Without any help from the City, local duo take decisive action on Plaza Theater

After 12 years of no action by the City of Laredo, local duo moving fast on their plans!

It was to be expected. The city spent nearly $400,000 on a PowerPoint about how to "revitalize" downtown and nothing has happened. Meanwhile, two local men have sprung into action all on their own. The only thing the city has done is essentially give the men permission to show all those at the city how its done. Attorney Victor Trevino and Danny Lopez, son of the found of Danny's Restaurants have ambitious plans not only for the old Plaza theater but for finally jump-starting the resurgence of downtown Laredo.

What was also probably expected was that the city, or in this case, Laredo Main Street organization tried to steal the limelight from Trevino and Lopez and their decisiveness. As is evident in the following excerpt from today's Laredo Morning Time's, Laredo Main Street is obviously jealous.

From the Laredo Morning Times

The City of Laredo purchased the building from United Artists in 1999. City Council approved funds in November 2001 to pay for a feasibility study led by Killis Almond & Associates Inc. on converting the facility into a live performing arts venue.

The study concluded that the theater should be converted to a multipurpose venue, in line with Treviño and Lopez’s plans. But rehabilitation plans for the theater went nowhere because the improvements would have cost $6 million, said Ronnie Acosta, director of community development at the city.“In the absence of funding to carry it through, it didn’t happen,” she said.

Acosta said a 2008 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development paid for façade improvements. The city also improved tiles, doors and lighting. Treviño and Lopez believe they can improve the theater for less money. They will have until the end of August to complete the feasibility study and, once costs are identified, work out a five-year lease plan with the city.

Sandra Rocha Taylor, executive director of Laredo Main Street, said the group was part of a coalition of nonprofits preparing to make its own pitch for downtown development before Treviño and Lopez made their presentation to the council.  (As the saying goes - Yeah Right!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's expensive being poor: Poverty Business continues to expand

The Poverty Business has been steadily expanding for years

The Gateway city certainly has its fair share of what has come to be known as "poverty businesses". These  usually dot the poorer neighborhoods in towns across America and for the most part, target the working poor. Such businessess include pawnshops, payday loan companies, check-cashing offices and even rapid tax refund businesses.

Following is part of a story that appeared in the Washington Post last year. Since then, poverty businesses have continued to increase in number and expand their reach.

From the Washington Post

The rich have direct deposit for their paychecks. The poor have check-cashing and payday loan joints, which cost time and money. Payday advance companies say they are providing an essential service to people who most need them.

Their critics say they are preying on people who are the most "economically vulnerable."  "As you've seen with the financial services industry, if people can cut a profit, they do it," Blumenauer says. "The poor pay more for financial services. A lot of people who are 'unbanked' pay $3 for a money order to pay their electric bill. They pay a 2 percent check-cashing fee because they don't have bank services. The reasons? Part of it is lack of education. But part of it is because people target them. There is evidence that credit-card mills have recently started trolling for the poor. They are targeting the recently bankrupt."

Outside the ACE check-cashing office on Georgia Avenue in Petworth, Harrison Blakeney, 67, explains a hard financial lesson of poverty. He uses the check-cashing store to pay his telephone bill. The store charges 10 percent to take Blakeney's money and send the payment to the phone company. That 10 percent becomes what it costs him to get his payment to the telephone company on time. Ten percent is more than the cost of a stamp. But, Blakeney says: "I don't have time to mail it. You come here and get it done. Then you don't get charged with the late fee."

Blakeney, a retired auto mechanic who now lives on a fixed income, says: "We could send the payment ahead of time but sometimes you don't have money ahead of time. That's why you pay extra money to get them to send it."

Perry pushes anti-TSA, anti-immigrant bills in his "non-compaign" for US Prez

"Sanctuary!  Sanctuary! : I'm pretty sure Quasimodo is anti-Perry!

Rick Perry's unofficial campaign for the President of the United States continues under a very thin veil. Two bills Perry is pushing during the Texas legislature's special session are the anti-groping bill in which TSA agents could face arrest if they check passengers a little bit to closely.  Fallout from Perry's push on that has included threats from the Feds about eliminating all flights originating in Texas if the safety of people can't be ensured due to Perry's meddling.  Another contentious issue has been that of "Sanctuary Cities" as reported below.

From the SA Express News

Gov. Rick Perry touted Texas’ economic successes and the role Hispanics have played in them, but didn’t mention the immigration legislation he’s championed in a speech Thursday before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Perry, who has pushed for bills banning “sanctuary cities,” expanding immigration checks at jails and drivers license restrictions for immigrants, got a lukewarm reception from the more than 500 people at the NALEO conference kickoff luncheon at the Grand Hyatt.

He was preceded by Mayor Julián Castro, who had some harsh words for the Perry-backed immigration legislation, calling it “easily the most anti-Latino agenda in more than a generation.”

Are you listening UISD? Laredo ISD to save $Millions by cutting on administrators

Laredo Independent School District continued to "set the example", a phrase that's for the most part over-used by school districts near and far. In this case, it actually is a real example being set.  LISD Superintendent informed the Laredo Morning Times recently that, all through out the district, everyone will have to do "more with less".  One thing there will be less of is the number of highly-paid administrators.  Nelson told the Laredo Morning Times:

“Like it or not, we’re going to have to do things differently,” LISD Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson told the district’s school board Thursday.

A portion of the plan entails eliminating around 90 of at least 250 positions that will soon be vacated by those leaving the district. Meanwhile, some occupied positions will be eliminated through attrition. That means the district reassigns an employee to a vacancy and cuts the position he or she had. For example, the assistant special education director position will be eliminated after that employee assumes the vacant director slot.

Among the positions under review are 40-plus slots, including several high-ranking ones, within the curriculum and instruction department.They include department directors for bilingual and English as a Second Language, guidance and counseling, fine arts and health services.The 40-plus positions are paid more than $2 million

Guaa-catelas!!  OK UISD, Your Turn!

Unbeknownst to almost anyone, the days of Puente Libre seem to be back

Ol' Tim Gutierrez had this unusual story on his "coverage you can count on " tonight.  As it turns out, it might be the US Customs who are the ones we "might not be able to count on" at the time being. For a while there, it appeared that the US & Mexico were resuming the tradition of the "Puente Libre" or Open Bridge. This was once upon a time when the two countries used to allow their people free movement to and from both countries for a few days each year.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Laredo's version of "C. S. I."

As fellow blogger Bordertown Blues has long pointed out, copywright infringement seems to abound in the "no man's land" that is Laredo's local businesses.  A reader of Laredo's Most Imposing Blog, La Sanbe recently posted "Laredo is too far south for anyone important to notice all the copywright infringements down here".  That brings us to the Laredo CSI label : Laredo- Copywrights Stolen Immediately.

In this town, where even those who struggle to make ends meet, always try to buy the best for their kids' parties, copywright infringement means big bucks.  How many kids have whacked a pinata figure of "Woody" or "Sponge-Bob" (also known as Bob Esponja), or even the sneaky Swiper of Dora, the Explorer fame?  How many "puestecitos" display a Warner Brothers or Disney character in order to lure kids in to buy their array of snacks and frozen confections?  Just yesterday, I saw a man pushing a paletas cart sporting a reasonable fascimilie of the Tazmanian Devil, aka "El Taz".

One booming Laredo business that has clearly parlayed Laredo's copywright free-for-all reality into it's own well-recognized logo is "Los Pinguinos" Raspas and Snack house. In just a couple of years, the fledgling chain has gone from one small "puesto" to 4 locations scattered throughout a substantial portion of town.  Not surprisingly, Los Pinguinos' cartoon icon bears an uncanny resemblance to the character "Chilly Willy" who had his theater debut way back in 1953. Chilly Willy cartoons  were produced by the same studio that gave us Woody Woodpecker, Walter Lantz.  Judge for yourselves!

Chilly Willy aka "El Pinguino" is a well-known Laredo marketing figure

Language: Nada Que Ver?

Quien quiere teacher muncho Tex Mex ?

Growing up in Laredo, I  remember hearing and  using the term "No tiene nada que haber" or "No tiene que haber nada".  At leat that's what I thought I was hearing and saying. In effect, most people used it to me something like "It doesn't matter", or more accurately "It don't matter". For Example:

En Espanol : Person A-"Yo lo hiciera, pero no se como". Person B-"No tiene que haber nada, tratale como quiera" 
In English: Person A-"I'd do it, but I don't know how". Person B-"It don't matter, try it anyhow".

Well, in the last few years, I've noticed that the saying "Nada que ver" has been gaining popularity. Although it sounds similar, I really don't know if it retains the same meaning.  For one thing, "Nada que ver" literally translates verbatim into "Nothing to see". Yet, I've heard people using the phrase in the same types of situations where the older "No tiene nada que haber" would have been used.

Any linguist out there, correct me if I'm wrong. I take pride in our hybrid "Tex-Mex" language and want to make sure I keep up with such a dynamic regional dialect.  I would defer to the on-staff linguists here at LaredoTejas, but they are currently in Madrid for a conference on "Castillian Spanish in Age of the Internet"

For now, the best Laredo can do is....not be the worst!

It's getting to where auto thieves can't make a dishonest living in Laredo anymore.
Celebrations almost broke out yesterday at city hall when news spread that Laredo was not, I repeat, NOT the number city in the nation for stolen autos.  Not only was Laredo not the worst, it wasn't even in the top 10 of the worst cities for having your car or truck stolen. OK, admittedly, Our beloved Gateway City barely escaped making the top 10 in the dubious category or better said, the bottom 10.

Nonetheless, the city will take that, or any other marginal achievement as it struggles to re-brand itself, to use a trite expression.  In other slightly favorable news, Laredo is also no longer the number one city in "dissing it's sister city" but it's still almost synonymous with corrupt local government.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City contemplates blogger-inspired logo

Unsubstantiated reports are indicating that, as part of it's effort to redefine itself, the city of Laredo is considering changing it's official logo.  Reportedly, the logo was inspired by local blogger "Border Town Blues". BTB, as the blog is commonly referred to, often depicts everyday life in Laredo, especially in his native "West Side. 

Frequently gracing the pages of the colossal blog are such things as : stray dogs, discarded tires, jerry-rigged basketball courts on the street, unorthodox mail boxes, old mattresses left outside to be picked up by the trash man as well as the "home on wheels" of the Gateway City's unfortunate homeless population, none other than, "carretones" aka shopping carts.

City "leaders" believe that the controversial logo will serve to distract people's attention from Laredo's Mexican sister city of Nuevo Laredo.  It appears that the Mayor is willing to trigger any controversy that will keep the focus on the American side.

The "new" logo, if approved will depict at least four "scenes" traditionally associated with Laredo

"Laredo: We're like nowhere else!" logo inspired by BTB

Laredo Politics: El Partido Viejo reinvents itself

El Portal: just one of may ways our current government is mirroring the ways of the Old Party

It took an outsider named Lawrence Berry to put into motion the wheels that would eventually lead to the demise of Laredo's old political machine. "El Partido Viejo" (The Old Party) had governed Laredo since who knows when until Berry and another non-Laredoan, Aldo Tatangelo finally brought some sort of accountability to the Gateway City.

It was Tatangelo's subsequent efforts that would result in major changes such as a comprehensive street-paving program that pulled Laredo out of the 19th century as well as our current system of government. The latter does not seem to signal as much an improvement over the old system as it once did. The current Mayor and his council, as well as the previous Mayorette and her council have systematically given back just about every inch of progress that took so long to achieve.

Mayors Flores and Salinas have reestablished  the reality of entitled public officials. They are, in reality, accountable to no one as they run around the country spending the city's money and working up a bevy of connections that are intended to serve a few privileged interests  back at home.

Consider this:  Mayors Flores and Salinas practically spent enough time in Washington DC to be able to become qualified voters there.  Also, first Flores,and now Salinas, along with the city manager and his army of assistant city mangers and a very willing council have pushed for - and passed one multi-million dollar project after another.  El Portal, the Arena, The $400,000 downtown revitalization joke and most recently the $18 Million not-really-needed baseball park.  In the meantime, look at you water bill.  For years and years, we could rely on our water bills as consistently being between $20 and $30 a month. The only lower bill Laredoans usually had was their gas (Entex) bill which was back then about $15 a month.  Now, water bills of $80, $90 or even over $100 are not anything unusual.

If our city can afford to spend the combined millions of dollars for all the un-necessary and wasteful projects mentioned above, why can't they come up with a funding mechanism (a phrase they love to use) that would make our life-sustaining water supply something that everyone can afford.  This very simple example speaks volumes about the absurdity with which our city and county governments are run, day in and day out.

Nearly 40 years after the liberation of the Gateway City from the grips of the greed and corruption of "El Partido Viejo", we're closer than ever to be right back where we started from.

Mayor attends conference in Baltimore, but couldn't make local fracking meeting

Obviously, Those Safe Fracking people are trouble-makers!

Leave it to Mayor Salinas to defy logic.  Never one to pass up an opportunity for being in the spotlight, Salinas last week made a rare move. He eleceted to pass up a chance to appear in front of the cameras. As LaredoTejas has reported before, Salinas, The Laredo City Council and Commissioner Jaime Canales were all absent from the Safe Fracking Coalition meeting which was held at the UTHSC campus on Bustamante street.

Fast forward a week, Salinas is all smiles, hamming it up at the Mayors' Conference wayyyy up in Baltimore, Maryland and Canales is attending an Eagle Ford Consortium meeting this morning 80 miles away in Carrizo Springs, Texas. 

I guess when the oil companies are being asked to simple be accountable, Salinas and Canales don't want to be anywhere nearby. We all know who the Mayor, Canales and the city council really answer to, and it's not as the Mayor loves to say, "the people".

Monday, June 20, 2011

Low blow: Fracking industry brainwashing kids with coloring book!

Hello Kids, meet TalismanTerry, the friendly Fracosaurus

From the Pittsburg Post Gazette
By Eric Schwartzel
When the energy industry publishes a coloring book, there is no crayon needed to see the shades of gray.

Exhibit A: "Talisman Terry's Energy Adventure," a handout for children published by Talisman Energy that explains the natural gas industry with the help of a "friendly Fracosaurus" dinosaur named Terry.

Everyone smiles in Terry's world. Mom smiles, Dad smiles, the worker smiles, the dog smiles, the cat smiles, the deer smiles, the fish smiles, the sun smiles, the moon smiles, the flower smiles, the rock smiles. Even the helium balloon -- used to demonstrate how "natural gas is lighter than air" -- smiles.

The coloring book's overt message -- drilling is smart, safe and American -- is delivered in kid-friendly fashion, glossing over the environmental and economic controversies that have surrounded drillers tapping the Marcellus Shale rock formation for lucrative pockets of gas.

Read more:

They once were blind.......and they're STILL blind: GOP wants fracking in Ohio's state parks

Ohio's First Fracker: Gov John Kasich (R)

The Columbus Ohio Dispatch

The Ohio Senate tackled a pair of controversial measures yesterday, one allowing oil and gas drilling in state parks and the other permitting Ohioans to opt out of a new federal requirement that they purchase health insurance.

Looking to cut into almost $500 million in backlogged maintenance projects at its state parks, the Senate voted to open parks and some other public land to drilling, giving Ohio lease payments and one-eighth of the royalties of what some say are expansive resources, particularly under parks in southeastern Ohio.
Some warned that the hydraulic fracturing technique - chemical-laced water is used to force gas from shale deposits deep in the ground - is unproven and could have significant environmental consequences. But supporters insist the technique is safe and far below groundwater deposits.
Energy production in our state is more important now than it has ever been before," Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell said, adding that in 2010, Pennsylvania got $128 million from leased state lands for drilling, and more recently, Michigan received $178 million.
By Lufkin Mayor Jack Gorden 
The Lufkin Daily News

Since the beginning of the Interstate 69 project, more than 230 miles of the route in Texas are already at freeway standard and about 100 more miles are near freeway standard.

US 59, US 77 and US 281 are being incrementally transformed into Interstate 69. Construction projects are under way or soon will be near Falfurrias, Ben Bolt, George West, Lyford, Robstown and Sinton in South Texas. Two projects near Shepherd are extending the Eastex Freeway deeper into East Texas. In recent years upgrade projects have been completed on US 59 near Jefferson, Lufkin, Splendora, Sugar Land, Beasley, Kendlelon and Victoria. (2008 to present)

In some locations right-of-way needed for the interstate was acquired decades ago. And for years the Texas Department of Transportation has been designing and constructing upgrade projects to meet interstate design standards.

The existing highways that will comprise I-69 connect Texans and Texas businesses in Texarkana, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Houston, Wharton, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo and dozens of smaller communities. The colorful interstate highway shields are not up yet but large sections of highway are now safer to drive on because they are at interstate highway standard with fully controlled access.

With each overpass and every additional mile of I-69 upgrades, new doors open for economic development, new jobs and more efficient freight movements. Reduced travel times create new opportunities for families, giving them improved access to better jobs, university campuses, regional medical centers, shopping and greater recreational choices.

First permanent housing for chronically homeless in Webb County

Laredo, TX - June 20, 2011 - (RealEstateRama)

Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced today that the South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (STCADA) received federal funding from a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rant in the amount of $893,614. In addition to the HUD grant, Webb County D.A. Chilo Alaniz and Sheriff Martin Cuellar both contributed $48,667 each and Mr. Javier Santos, on behalf of the Fernando A. Salinas Trust, contributed $50,691 bringing the total amount of funding for the project to $1,041,639.

The funds will support the “Next Step Project” which aims to provide permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless as they transition into self-sufficiency.

“Twenty housing units will be built through the Next Step Project to support the homeless in the Laredo and Webb County area, many of whom are struggling with issues such as mentall illness, substance abuse and domestic violence,” Congressman Cuellar said. “The awarded funds help STCADA further their mission of helping individuals rebuild their lives by allowing this important organization to offer robust around the clock care to those suffering with chronic homelessness.”

STCADA will develop screening criteria to identify appropriate persons who qualify for supportive housing services. Recruitment efforts will place special emphasis on those persons living in locations not meant for human habitation, persons from emergency shelters and persons in temporary supported housing. Once in the facility, individuals will receive continuous care for their basic needs. Therapy will also be provided by caseworkers and counselors along with life and job skills to help individuals transform their lives from homeless to self sufficient.

STCADA is working with other organizations in the city including Bethany House, the Food Bank and the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation to name a few in efforts to ensure that the facility is able to supply adequate food and other essential services.

“I would like to thank Mr. Javier Santos, Sheriff Martin Cuellar and Webb County District Attorney Chilo Alaniz for contributing necessary funds to make this project possible,” Congressman Cuellar said. “I also thank Mr. Romeo Rodriguez, Executive Director of STCADA in Laredo, for never faltering in making this facility a reality.”

This is the first permanent housing facility for the homeless in Webb County.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Lunch-eating" McAllen Monitor reports Henry wants more UAVs

Henry Cuellar wants a few more drones for Texas

Just a few hours ago, the "lunch-eating" McAllen Monitor had the following story. It has to with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) otherwise known as drones. The congressman doesn't think it right that Arizona, which accounts for one fifth of the Mexican border has more drones than Texas, and its two-thirds portion of the border with Mexico. No word yet if they will be used in Laredo's war on the beer runs.

From the McAllen Monitor

McALLEN — Legislation that would build the infrastructure needed to house a second drone along the Texas-Mexico border was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, included an amendment in the 2012 Military Construction and Veterans Appropriations Act that calls for the construction of a hangar along the Texas border, according to a news release from the congressman’s office.

“This legislation directs the Army National Guard and Air National Guard to look at additional locations on the Southwest border where we can strategically locate an additional hangar and house UAVs in the near future,” said Cuellar, referring to the drones as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Texas lawmakers are hopeful that an additional drone will be placed along the Texas border, which stretches more than 1,200 miles, by the end of the year. At least two UAVs are being manufactured as part of the 2010 Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which put aside $600 million to secure the border and fight drug trafficking. The drones are expected to be distributed at the end of the year and Texas congressmen want at least one for the state.

Of the four UAVs currently patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, three are stationed in Arizona, which occupies one-fifth of the border. Texas occupies two-thirds of it.The state’s first drone is housed in Corpus Christi but is unable to operate in poor weather. Cuellar said constructing an additional hangar elsewhere on the border would eliminate disruptions in service and allow the UAVs to patrol more area.

“As UAVs prove to be effective in our daily efforts to combat border violence, it is necessary to work on securing more hangars, especially as we prepare to receive additional UAVs in Texas,” he said.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro re-elected with 82 per cent of the vote

Mayor Julián Castro answers questions from the media at his campaign headquarters on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Photo: Edward A. Ornelas/Express-News / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS (NFS)
Photo: From the San Antonio Express News

Mayor Julian Castro easily won his re-election campaign. Two strong points of his first term were his vocal support for SA's downtown as well as his continued support of education. Both are things which our local  politicians need to work on but have elected to neglect. Laredo downtown continues to wither and our children's education performance, although improving, hardly gets mentioned by our so-called leaders.

The SA Express News reports:

Castro said he will work during his second term to make the coming years the “decade of downtown,” as well as continue his efforts to improve the local education system.

In January, he publicly breached a long-perceived wall between municipal government and independent school districts when he said he'd involve himself in forming stronger school boards.

He actively supported former Councilwoman Patti Raddle in her bid for the San Antonio Independent School District's board of trustees. She'd planned to challenge Tom Lopez, the longest-serving member of the board, but after entering the race, Lopez announced he wouldn't seek re-election. “There's no question that after this election there will be a significantly different leadership dynamic at SAISD,” he said. “Patti won a great race.”

The mayor said he also looks forward to working with board President James Howard, who held onto his position in the face of Castro's support for Howard's opponent, Joy McGehee. Castro's reach into the school districts will continue as his Brainpower Initiative task force searches across the country for a program to implement here. He'll seek a 1/8-cent sales tax, the last bit of San Antonio's capacity, to fund the yet-to-be-determined program.

With the majority of the council allied with him, Castro should have no problem getting the proposed tax onto the November 2012 ballot. But he's expected to face some resistance, likely from the council's North Side contingent.

Despite a council with four new members, Castro said he's confident the next two years will be much like the last two — collegial and even-keeled, without “too much of a showboat” from anyone.

What? Without too much of a showboat from aynone?? Why, that's downright un-American. Well, downright un-Salinas-like anyway. 

Read the whole article at :

Perry vetoes statewide ban on texting

"A point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between!".

The San Antonio Express and news is reporting that Governor Rick Perry has vetoed a bill that would have made texting illegal throughout the Lone Star State.  However, Laredo's  texting ban should continue in  place. No word on whether Rick Perry texted in his veto while simultaneously jogging, shooting a coyote, and comtemplating a run for US President.

From the San Antonio Express News, Perry says:

Texting while driving is reckless and irresponsible. I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults. Current law already prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from texting or using a cell phone while driving. I believe there is a distinction between the overreach of House Bill 242 and the government’s legitimate role in establishing laws for teenage drivers who are more easily distracted and laws providing further protection to children in school zones.

Happy Days are here again! says LMT article on Eagle Ford Shale

 Money-hungry OILigarchy strengthens its rule over the people of South Texas

I thought the days of concerted propaganda campaigns were a thing of the past. You wouldn't get that feeling upon reading the "Eagle Ford Boom" article by Andrew Kreighbaum in today's Laredo Morning Times. I think there was 1 paragraph, out of a total of about 20 that even mentioned any environmental, health or water-usage concerns. Everything else was absolutely rosy; I thought Valentine's day was in Februrary.

Laredo hotel-motel association head Bob Zachariah was quoted often, praising the Eagle Ford activity for raising revenue at his La Quinta Inn by about $700,000 in 2010 when compared to 2009 figures.  Mr. Zachariah is of the opinion the current fracking boom is a win-win situation for Laredo. It seemed strange then, to read that Zachariah's new hotel will open, not in Laredo, but in Cotulla! Take that Gateway City. I guess when money talks, opportunists listen. I have to wonder if his new title will be as the leader of the Laredo & Cotulla hotel/motel association.

It's times like these during which we learn what people's priorities in life really are. 

What Perry might be like as President

Excerpted from the Daily Tribune
By Bob Palmer

I don’t know how really conservative Perry is. Perry is a cunning political animal and is determined to always appear conservative. He will not be a friend to the poor and workers. He scoffs at environmental issues.
His policies will favor big business, oil industry and financial barons. He will certainly try to live up to his campaign pledge to be a pro-business, job-creation-through-private-sector President.

As with George W. Bush, expect Perry’s vice president, Condoleeza Rice in this case, to be the senior partner at least in the first two years.

Also, you should not be surprised if Perry makes some disastrous cabinet picks. It will take at least two years to weed out the cronies from the competent.

As governor, Perry has been content to let the legislative branch take the lead. The Texas Constitution relegates the governor to cheerleading duties and it may be difficult to gauge just what impact Perry had on various bills.

Still, Perry does show signs of thinking outside the box. He has called for bullet trains on interstate medians, a Trans-Texas corridor, and cancer inoculations for teen girls. All of these initiatives either never left the station or were junked.

I suspect the same fate awaits most of the Tea Party platform he ran on. Without super majorities in both houses, efforts to repeal Obamacare and privatize Social Security will go nowhere. Perry wisely stayed away from supporting major alterations in Medicare, although his ideas about Medicaid may gain traction.

In foreign policy, I expect Perry to be vocally America First which will irritate our European allies. This will also please Perry. The madder Europe becomes with us, the more Perry likes it and the more it pleases the folks who got Perry elected.

He will make every effort to bring peace to our border with Mexico, short of legalizing marijuana in this country. Mexico and Central America will have a higher priority with his administration than they have seen in many years.

In military matters, Perry will lean on the Air Force. An all out bombing campaign on the Afghan-Pakistan border in an effort to force the Taliban to the peace table would not surprise me.

I look forward to a Perry Administration with limited expectations, but that seems to be what most Americans want.

Whatever happened to Laredo's Emerald Tower?

It was supposed to tower 16 stories above the Gateway city. The Emerald Tower woud have been Laredo's tallest building.  Three additional levels of subterranean parking brought the proposed total to 19 stories. The year was 2004.  Subsequently, the plans for the green tower would be scrapped, relegated to the same pile as the outlet mall which was suppose to sit at mile mark 18 alongside IH-35.

The September 20th, 2004 of the Laredo Morning Times Business Journal reported:

For years, C.Y. Benavides and his family have helped create a vision of what Laredo could be. After land donations and other real estate tranactions, Benavides hopes to make his mark on the landscape of Laredo.

The skyline of the city will change dramatically after planned $43 million, 16-story high-rise luxury condo,
business center and microcommunity are completed in about two years. “It’s going to be like a beacon,”
Benavides said. “We have Embassy Suites coming in down the street, and Hawthorne Suites and they are
talking about a Holiday Inn next to that. We can keep on going.

We’ve developing this whole corridor, a mid-town development. It’s not a bad thing.” “I can’t tell you how many
people out there who are so supportive of the project,” he said. All the property to what is now Mall del Norte belonged to his family at one time. “The school wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t sold the property to somebody and all those homes through there. It all belonged to my grandfather.”

The complex will be built on a 10.2 acre corner property north of the intersection of Springfield Avenue and Calle Del Norte, according to Benavides.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today's newspapers might carry a 1x2 inch "ad" showing what movies are plaving at each of our local movie theaters. But there was a time when just about every movie that was showing would have it's very own full size ad appear in the daily newspapers throughout the country.  Locally, I think that started to fade out around the 1980s more or less. 

I remember that when we just had the Plaza, Tivoli, the Bordertown drive inn and the short-lived cinemas I and II, you could open up the Lared Times (especially the Sunday version) and find the kind of ads that are now only found in theater lobbies under "coming attractions".  With the internet and trailers being so readily available, there's no longer any need to advertise in newspapers beyond simply announcing the start times. Que Lastima, some of those ads were pretty entertaining in and of themselves.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

City seeks to continue its love affair with the oil business

Drill, baby drill........, Burn, baby Burn.......,Spend, baby, spend !

This upcoming Monday, June 20th, the Laredo city council will vote on the following agenda item. It supports increasing the current contract with Arguindegui Oil Company by a whopping $875,000. Why is this happening now? Afterall, the price of gas has been coming down lately.  In the last month, the price has dropped nearly 30cents a gallon.  This increase is therefore, not justified.  LaredoTejas urges its readers to call or email your council person or the mayor and tell them to oppose this unwarranted move.

Agenda Item No.25

25. Consideration to amend annual supply contract number FY10-066 awarded to the low bidder, Arguindegui Oil Co., Laredo, Texas, for the purchase of unleaded and diesel fuel for the City of Laredo's fleet, by increasing the contract award in the amount of $875,000.00. The new contract total will be $4,375,000.00. The contract amount is being modified as a result of an industry wide increase in the cost of automotive fuel. Funding is available in the Fleet Maintenance Fund. (Approved by Operations & Finance Committee

How many jobs have been created by Business without Borders?

As always, city ripped off title from somewhere else

Today's Laredo Morning Times article on Mayor Salinas' speech yesterday made only a passing reference to the city's efforts to create economic opportunities with Central and South America. It seems that the speech would have been the perfect occasion to tout any actual jobs created as a result of those efforts. Since there is no mention of such jobs being created, it appears that this is just another example of  the Mayor's "all brag, no facts" tradition. I think most of you will agree that even if there had been just a few jobs created, we would have all heard of it.

So again, my question is : How many jobs have been created by Business without Borders and other recent, expensive, lobbying schemes by the Mayor and his staff?  I would actually enjoy being wrong and find out that there have been 10, 20 or even 50 jobs generated.  Sadly, I recognize that it's very unlikely due to the simple fact that such a figure was not repeated over and over again at yesterday's infomercial.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why won't our city "leaders" fix downtown's Bruni Plaza?

[Bruni Plaza Fountain]
Laredo's Bruni Plaza circa 1970s

I'm sure that there will be a myriad of complicated reasons why the Bruni Plaza water fountain in Downtown Laredo cannot be repaired and made operational.  The city has spent $300,000 on a downtown revitalization study that has gone nowhere. It has taxed citizens to build, first the $40 million Laredo Entertainment Center and now the $18 million baseball park. So, with so much money being spent so unwisely, why not give downtown a much-needed boost (any boost would help) and make the plaza a little bit more attractive to those that still go downtown?

Is it because a lot of homeless frequent the area and the city is afraid they'll jump in the water?  Is it because no votes are to gained and not bigwigs impressed?  With common sense and self-respect rapidly dwindling among our city leaders, why won't anyone make even the smallest gesture to improve one of our oldest downtown landmarks?  It's embarrassing to our city to have Bruni Plaza in such disarray. It's a shame that we have such a shameless bunch running our town.

Just as always, only North Laredo's point of view is considered

The geo-centric Pro 8 News building in North Laredo

Most times, one thing you cant count on is that Pro8news is a little bit too lazy. Over and over, the only "pulse" they take of public opinion is restricted to their own neighborhood, namely, the North side.  Today was no exception. After Mayor Salinas' laughable "State of the City" address, KGNS took off with their cameras in tow to -where else?- the US post office on Del Mar. 

Not surprisingly, some of the people actually spoke well of the city's "state". A woman said that Laredo was a "nice" city and "well-run". Obviously (as the mayor loves to say), she doesn't live in the part of town that was essentially without water on the same day as the Mayor's comedy act.  Adding insult to injury, thousands of more Laredoans were without AT&T Internet service. This includes many businesses that have come to rely on the service as part of their daily dealings.  Also, the downtown merchants were, reportedly, very unhappy with the Mayor's take that everything is "honky dory". That's a quick three strikes for the Mayor.

 Even  Chamber of Commerce President Miguel Conchas gave a sort of back-sided swat to the Mayor's claim that Laredo, at present, is "better than ever".  Conchas was featured on tonight's news broadcast correctly saying that the Gateway economy is not now as good as it was "back in 2008".  Guacatelas!

Next time, Pro8news might want to go a little bit further to the West, East or South sides to get a better picture of what Laredoans really think of their city government.  As things now stand, about the only thing we "can count on" with Pro8news is that they will continue to interview only their fellow North-siders.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mayor, Chamber come up with another duncical plan


First, there was the "blacking" out of the Nuevo Laredo highway signs. Now, the chamber and Mayor Salinas have teamed up to exclude almost all Laredoans from the city's business.  The Mayor will speak at the so-called "State of the City Address" (Give me a break) event Wednesday and in the process will take part in excluding most of our city from attending the his gaudy speech.

It's not that Laredoans will be fighting to get in, but all taxpayers should have the optioin of attending. The City of Laredo operates with taxpayers' money, as do all cities. However, the Mayor will once again put on a show for a selected few. Anyone wiser would know better. And, simply put, that's probably the reason that this is proceeding: he doesn't seem to know any better.

In the meantime, let me see if I can round up $35.....for gas. No, not THAT kind of gas, I mean good old, $3.53cents a gallon petro.

Ex-Alexander pitcher Pollorena wins for Mississippi State

Luis Pollorena now pitches for MSU

From the

ATLANTA — The game program lists Mississippi State left-hander Luis Pollorena as being 5 feet, 6 inches short. "That's a lie," Pollorena said Friday afternoon, smiling. "I am really 5 foot, 7 and a half." Here Friday, Pollorena, the son of Mexican immigrants, pitched as if he were as tall as the Atlanta skyscrapers in the background at Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium. Pollorena, who might be 5-7 in his spikes, pitched six innings of scoreless, 5-hit baseball, leading the Bulldogs to a 3-0 victory over Southern Miss in the opening round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional.

Pollorena threw 118 pitches on a day when the temperature was 95 and the heat index over 100. Might as well have been in air-conditioned comfort. Pollorena grew up in the Texas border town of Laredo, on the north bank of the Rio Grande River, where he said, "it's usually about 115."

You can read the entire article at :

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mayor follows McAllen again with "State of the City Address"

No, It's not April Fool's Day, this ad's for real. Honest!

In January of this year, LaredoTejas ran a post about McAllen's State of the City Address. It seemed appropriate since the occasion commemorated that city's 100th anniversary. Laredo, not to be outdone, follows in Mcallen's footsteps once again, albeit 6 months later. In the Gateway City's case, it seems to be just another frivilous attempt to keep the Mayor in the news. 

As LaredoTejas recently noted, neither the Mayor, nor the council were present at Friday's town hall meeting on fracking.  It's pretty sure that the Mayor did not want to be associated with anyone who dared ask questions on behalf of the people. No Way! The Mayor, the city staff and the council have shown repeatedly that their main focus is to please the vested interests, both local and non-local.

It appears certain that the only reason the  Mayor is charging citizens $35 to attend this mealsy event,  is that will more than likely keep most  Laredoans away. Afterall, it was free, real people might show up and Heaven knows we can't have that. This way, only those that are out to please or impress the Mayor will be in the audience. Mayor Salinas would have it no other way.

A O Way to go Laredo!

That's the way it was before Walkmans, Ipods, MP3s and the kind. You would put on a record and listen. It's interesting that this particular song by the Pretenders is a sort of anti-progress song, yet the capitalist king himself, Rush Limbaugh has used it as his theme song for over 20 years, go figure.

The song is "Ohio" but the lyrics could very well apply to just about any other place in the US, even Laredo. This is epecially true about "a government that had no pride".



FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS  Del Mar to the Riverdrive Mall

Sunday, June 12, 2011

LISD West side schools rekindling the pride of the barrios

Last year, Santa Maria elementary earned a highly-coveted recognized rating by the state of Texas. This year, nearby Farias school principal Eduardo "Wayo" Martinez made it a priority to equal this accomplishment. After a long year of hard work and dedication by administration, teachers, students and parents, Farias accomplished its lofty goal as noted by today's Laredo Morning Times.

Scores for TAKs tests in math, reading and even science registered marked improvements. Science passing scores skyrocketed more that 40 percentage points to 84 per cent. The LMT article goes on to detail some of the changes implemented this year which brought about such wholesale change. Some teachers were even known to stay at school until 1 or 2 in the morning. 

Meanwhile, co-west side campus Dovalina also made improvements for the better, garnering an acceptable rating this year. It looks like Laredo's old West side is making overall progress and we, at LaredoTejas are glad to see that. It's no secret that Maximiliano from LaredoTejas, Keyrose, from La Sanbe and BTB from Bordertown blues all hail from Martin High School which has graced the corner of San Bernardo and Park since 1932.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lost lakes vs $18 Million dollar baseball park

Laredoans enjoy the serenity of the West side's Lost Lakes

Pro8news tonight featured a juxtaposition of two very distinct recreation stories. One story centered on the groundbreaking ceremonies for the $18 million dollar baseball park. This was initially promised as an $8M dollar park that more than doubled in price. It seems to be favored by politicians and money grabbing non-Laredoans.

In all honesty, I must say that I voted against the LEC and against the baseball park. Both of these, in my opinion, are intended for the sole benefit of some bigwigs and a sliver of the Laredo population.  There are a great deal of kids in Laredo that never have attended a hockey game and probably will not attend any of the baseball games in the new park.

Going back to the Pro8news segment : one of the outsiders who duped the city into agreeing to build the park mentioned that "at the end of each game, they let the kids round the bases because it's their park". How ridiculous, for $18 million dollars, Laredo gets some outside opportunist giving our kids permission to run the bases and we're supposed to be impressed?  The sad part is that the Mayor, city manager's staff and the council probably were impressed with the proverbial bone thrown their way.

The other story was about the recently re-discoverd lost lakes located between downtown and the Rio Grande. This segment showed Father Bill Davis happily talking about how volunteers from his parish at San Francisco Xavier spent the last three Saturdays cleaning up an area for picnicking. The video showed a good turnout of families and kids clearly enjoying themselves at their picnic. Also, some people were shown kayaking. The price for this: Good old hard work and community cooperation. In other words, Priceless!

The sincerity of those enjoying their new found lakes made the $18 million crowd look silly in comparison.

Oil & Gas had their advocates at town hall meeting as well

Same as it's ever been. It's all about the MONEY !
One of the most contentious moments of last night's fracking town hall meeting was offered by former LNB head Gary Jacobs. He mentioned that the Safe Fracking Coalition should not be spreading so much mis-information about the Oil and Gas industry and their fracking ways. 

Mr. Jacobs said something to the effect of "it is physically and geologically impossible for chemicals injected at 6,000 feet to contaminate the water table which lies 2,000 feet underground. Notably, an audience member responded to Jacob's "misinformation" accusation by interjecting "How do I know you're not trying to fool ME right now?".

Perhaps Mr. Jacobs should  avoid speaking in absolutes. Maybe he hasn't heard the old saying "everything's possible". Furthermore, he might do well do recall that sadly, people also used to say that it was impossible to sink the Titanic, and everyone knows how that turned out. 

The best approach is to slow down this stampede, collect as many facts and data as possible, do an objective evaluation by non-partisan (in reality bi-partisan) parties and make this information available to citizens, landowners, environmentalists, industry proponents, et al.;  it's like someone said " this shale's been around millions of years, it's not going anywhere so what's the big rush"?

I know, I know, those pushing the fear factor will say depency on foreign oil, and national interests. Well, if the fracking industry is allowed to continue doing as it pleases, we might end up with something a lot more dire : depency on foreign water!

Jaime Canales...absent, Mayor Salinas, absent, city council, absent!

Canales noticeable absent from fracking town hall meeting

Despite receiving several invitations, including some delivered in person, Mayor Salinas, the whole Laredo City Council and County Commissioner Jaime Canales were absent from last night's town hall meeting on fracking.  Canales, who represents heavily-drilled Northwest Webb county might have avoided the meeting due to the presence of some oil/gas proponents in the audience.  Canales has reportedly been wined and dined by industry lobbyists but nonetheless had said recently that both sides had to be carefully looked at. Apparently, he didn't mean looked at by him.

Editor's note: LaredoTejas has been experiencing some technical difficulties with Blogger. My guess is that the same holds true for La Sanbe. Hopefully, it will be up soon so that we may bring you more information. Incidentally, local colossal blog Bordertown Blues has deferred any weekend musings to the "triumvirate": La Sanbe, Que Fregados and yours truly, LT.  Enjoy your weekend BTB!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How dare anyone say Fox is racist!!

Leave it to Fox Nation to allow such inane, racist comments on their website. These people are a joke.  How can we claim to have "American exceptionalism" when morons like these are given an open, un-moerated forum to spew their brainless commentary. I'm surprised they can type.

This particular comment appeared in response to the following story on

Headline: Los Angeles Police Nab ‘Main Aggressor’ in Giants Fan Beating


According to "new" portrait of Paul Revere, Sarah Palin was right

Revisionism, shimsinism: It looks like Sarah Palin was right after all. Surely they portrait offered below cannot be mistaken. A red-faced Paul Revere is shown still holding the bell with which he went around warning the British that, well,  other British were coming.

The dumb and dumber that Palin proves to be, the more her duncical (word of the month) followers worship her. With that kind of blind devotion, who can blame the former, half-governess for being as ignorant as she is. She knows, full well, that no matter what she says or does, they'll keep sending her money.

Paul Revere as seen through the eyes of Sarah Palin

For whatever it's worth: sludge spill reported to EPA online

Your Name: Maximiliano
Your Email:
Your Address: Laredo, Texas
Your City: Laredo, Texas
Your State: Texas
Your Zip: 78040
Your Phone: n/a
Suspected Violation Date: 06/07/2011
Suspected Violator Name: Unidentified: drump truck drove off
Suspected Violator Address: Unknown
Suspected Violator City: Laredo, Texas
Suspected Violator State: Texas
Suspected Violator Zip: 78040
Still Occurring: yes
Notified State DEP/DEQ/DEM: no
Characterized incident as:
Description of incident or hazard: On June 7th, an open-top dump truck spilled what is believed to be fracking flowback waste sludge in Laredo, Texas at the intersection of Victoria street and IH-35 near downtown Laredo.
Specific Directions: The location of the spill was just East of downtown Laredo, Texas. At the intersection of IH-35 and Victoria street.

[logo] US EPA

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Industry loves to spin fracking as economic savior

As Oil Fat Cats exploit the South Texas brushlands, laredoans scrape fracking sludge in the scorching sun. Something's terribly wrong with this #@%*!*#  picture.

While Laredoans were dealing with a spill of mysterious fracking sludge waste at IH-35 and Victoria, the oil/gas industry continues to spin its win-win yarns about the economic wonders of fracking . The TxDot workers who had to scrape the sludge off the interstate with hand-held shovels deserve to know exactly what the horrendous mess they cleaned up consists of.

The following is an excerpt from

The town of Carrizo Springs, Texas, meanwhile, has become the site of a modern day oil boom, where companies are preparing to drill some 3,000 fields over the next 12 months. By some accounts, production from this region alone could increase U.S. oil output by 25% in ten years.

Carrizo Springs is not a completely new discovery so much as a discovery about ways to produce onshore oil economically, using hydraulic fracking, a process that has also enabled producers around the country to tap vast reserves of natural gas long considered unreachable.

Wind in rural Oregon. Oil in South Texas. Two very different energy stories, except for the successes they both are seeing and the results they are reaping: Jobs, revenue, and revived communities that are making the most of their natural resources basking in the prosperity and the pride that results.

Ridiculous: Palin supporters' failed attempt at revisionist history

The Idiots  British are coming! You Betcha! 

From the Huffington Post

Last week, Sarah Palin told a local news station in Boston that Paul Revere "warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms." As the news media rushed to point out that Revere was, in fact, warning the American colonists, not the British, Palin's supporters apparently attempted to update the Wikipedia entry on Revere in order to make the facts conform to Palin's version of history.

According to the revision history on the Wikipedia page, Palin supporters attempted to add the line in italics below:
Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects.
That revision was deleted with the explanation "content not backed by a reliable sources [sic] (it was sarah palin interview videos)."

On Sunday, Palin, a paid Fox News contributor, told Fox News Sunday that she was correct. She says there were British soldiers in the area for years before Revere's legendary ride, and that he was warning them, as well as his fellow colonists.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Instead of Outlet stores, Los Botines might instead get "Fracked"

Los Botines, Texas is located about 18 miles from Laredo, Texas on US Hwy 83.  In 2000, The area immediately south of the tiny hamlet was being considered as the location for development that would include about 100 factory outlet stores. This is how it was (and is still is) reported on wikipedia:

Botines is a census-designated place (CDP) in Webb County, Texas. The population was 132 at the 2000 census. Botines is located 5 miles north of Laredo, Texas. The town's name comes from the Spanish botín, which means buskin, boot, or legging. The thick chaparral in the area gave birth to this name. Botines is home to a large wild burro population. Legend has it that the wild burros all assemble on Palm Sunday to bray together.
A 452,000 ft² retail outlet mall, Laredo Factory Stores is currently under construction in the Southern portion of Botines and should be completed by 2010.
Sadly, the Laredo Factory Stores Mall was NOT under construction and eventually, San Marcos ended up getting the outlet stores.

Now, Los Botines is reported being eyed by the oil and gas companies currently exploiting the Eagle Ford Shale.  They have been salivating at the thought of being able to frack wells so close to our Gateway city. Our citizens should realize that all this talk about fracking is no longer something abstract and far away. It might very well soon be at our very own front door. 

LaredoTejas urges its readers to please attend the June 10th hydraulic fracturing town hall meeting. It will start at 5pm and will be held at the UTHSC-Laredo campus at 1937 Bustamante.

Resting on its laurels not acceptable for City of Laredo

Ahhh, once upon a time in the Southwest

On a recent visit to Laredo city hall, I paid a little bit more attention to the 1993 "All American City" sign posted at the entrance. I hadn't noticed before just how worn out it looked. I started to wonder if it really is such a good idea to keep on displaying the sign year after year. I mean afterall, it's been 18 years since our city garnered such an apparrently coveted designation.  In full disclosure, I believe the city was one of the finalists for the 2007 award  but failed to place in the top ten, thereby receiving no official recognition.

Exactly what is the message that displaying the sign ever since then sends out?  Are people going to say "wow, Laredo actually was an All American city once upon a time" ? Or, will it lead people to wonder why the city hasn't been able to repeat this accomplisment in the nearly two decades since?

The city should not rest on its laurels.  The fact that Laredo gained such recognition was definitely something to be proud of -back in 1993. However, its about time that the city shifts its focus to the present and to the future, instead of continuing to pat itself on the back for the accomplishments of yesteryear.