Monday, July 30, 2012

City of Laredo Ethics ad hoc advisory committee to meet

This Tuesday evening, July 31st, at 6pm, the City of Laredo Ethics advisory committee will be meeting for the first time in quite a while. The meeting is open to the public and will take place on the 3rd floor of Laredo's City Hall at 1110 Houston street, in conference room number 1.

Since VIDA's successful bid to get the committee active again, there have been several on the city's council and staff that have expressed concern with what the ethics committee might have in store. Notably, the city manager mentioned that, if the city is unable to raise the over $100,000 it raised last year from donors, it might present a problem because the city just might have to pay for their annual Washington/Austin reception(s) with taxpayer money.

As a taxpayer, I appreciate the city manager's concern but I would say that these receptions simply be done away with.  It's not proper for donors (some of whom may enjoy city contracts) to fund the mayor, council and staff's trip(s) and accompanying receptions.  If gives the appearance of impropriety and that is something that should definitely be avoided. Also, there is no need to saddle the taxpayers with the exorbitant bill.  Just don't go and asunto arreglado!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What the state of Texas expects from TAMIU

Performance Measure Targets. The following is a listing of the key performance target levels for the Texas A&M International University. It is the intent of the Legislature that appropriations made by this Act be utilized in the most efficient and effective manner possible to achieve the intended mission of the Texas A&M International University.
In order to achieve the objectives and service standards established by this Act, the Texas A&M International University shall make every effort to attain the following designated key performance target levels associated with each item of appropriation.

Goal: INSTRUCTION/OPERATIONS  Outcome (Results/Impact):

Percent of First-time, Full-time, Degree-seeking
Freshmen Who Earn a Baccalaureate Degree within Six
Academic Years 2012: 42%           2013: 42%

Percent of First-time, Full-time, Degree-seeking
Freshmen Who Earn a Baccalaureate Degree within Four
Academic Years 2012: 25%           2013:  25%

Persistence Rate of First-time, Full-time,
Degree-seeking Freshmen Students after One Academic
Year 2012: 70%                                2013: 70%

Certification Rate-Teacher Ed. Graduates 75%,  75%
Editors note: At present TAMIU is in warning-accredited
status for not having met this goal. If the University fails
again next year, it goes into probation-accredited status. 
After that, TAMIU's college of ed. accreditation would be pulled. 

Percent of Baccalaureate Graduates Who Are First
Generation College Graduates 60%,              60%

Remember: "Fracking" one well, one time uses upwards of 5,000,000 gallons of water

Eagle Ford Shale Well Map - July 2012
Wells on schedule or competed: Red=Gas,Blue=Oil. Green are permitted only 

Here's the latest figures on the activity ongoing in the Eagle Ford Shale play. Figures are compiled from data received by the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency responsible for looking the other way regulating the oil and gas industry.


The Texas RRC updated its Eagle Ford Shale well map with the most recent reported data through July 3, 2012.

Since May 14 when the RRC last updated the data points on its map, the commission has issued 367 permits. That’s more than 7 permits per day over a period of 50 days.

A total of 2,400 wells had been reported producing as of July 3. That’s 314 more oil wells and 107 more gas wells than we had as of May 14. If you’re counting, that’s a pace of more than 8 wells coming online per day.

Data from the RRC is always a little delayed, so we’re likely on pace to surpass 3,000 producing wells by the end of August or early September.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Heatwave misses "once in a lifetime" rainfall

It's ironic that Heatwave Behrler's forecast essentially missed the 6-10 inches of rainfall that fell upon the Gateway City early Friday Morning. Why Ironic? Well,  because this sort of cloudburst could be described as a once in a lifetime rain event and that's exactly the name of the song title by David Byrne of the Talking Heads; the resemblance between Behrler and Byrne's character in the video is uncanny. Byrnes' quirky movements throughout the video closely mimic Heatwave's well-document gyrations during his nightly weather forecasts.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Disturbing trend continues in local politics

The Laredo Morning Times recently reported that long-time United Independent School Disrict board member Pat Campos has filed for a position on the ballot to run for the Laredo city council.  In running for Johnny Rendon's District V upcoming vacancy, Campos continues a long tradition of of local politicians merely switching from one local governing board to another. Its always the same people, only the offices keep changing.

Former Laredo City council members NOW on LISD's board of trustees

Jose Valdez
Johnny Amaya
Dr. Cecilia Moreno
Hector "tito" Garcia

Current UISD employees NOW on the Laredo city council

Mike Garza
Esteban Rangel

Current LISD & UISD board members who are also Webb county employees

Johnny Amaya
Dr. Cecilia Moreno
Rick Rodriguez

Current and upcomng Webb county commissioners formerly with LISD/LCC/City council

Jaime Canales
Rosaura Tijerina
John Galo

And people wonder why nobody votes? Yes, I know I probably missed a few.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What no mayor?

What's this? A forklift supply an service company opens a Laredo branch and no politicos?  Unless they mayor will grace this afternoon's edition of Pro8News or one of the other local media, it looks like our elected officials might have missed a golden opportunity to play to the cameras.

It makes perfect sense for a forklift-related operation to open shop in Laredo with as many trucks and warehouse around. Is it the first of its kind to open locally? I really don't know but still, the mayor's rooster might have fallen asleep; "se le durmio el gallo".

Once again, from today's LMT

Omni Industrial Tire / Industrial Battery have opened a warehouse and service facility in Laredo, Texas located at 4651 Casa Blanca Rd., #13.

Omni is the region’s authorized agent for Deka Industrial Batteries and Global Rubber Lift Truck Tires.

As the North American Dealer of Excellence recipient from Global Rubber, Omni has been in business for over 10 years in San Antonio and has a full service facility in McAllen, Texas.

Omni will stock a wide range of Forklift Tires for the market as well as have onsite tire pressing capabilities for all brands, models, and types of lift trucks.

In addition, Omni will serve as a parts and service center for its forklift battery, charger, and equipment support.

McAllen branch manager, George Moore says, “We are excited to open our facility in Laredo based on the success we’ve experienced there and the demand of our customers.

We’re looking forward to keeping South Texas lift trucks rolling as they have for many years”.

Finally, some good news for the Rio Grande

The local politicians didn't dare mention the recent report by the Texas Clean Rivers Program that found bacterial levels "off the charts" along certain, nearby areas of the Rio Grande .  Now, there finally seems to be some movement towards making the Rio Grande a cleaner, safer river.  Thanks to the Rio Grande International Study Center and it's Executive Director Tricia Cortez for taking the lead in publicizing the alarming results of the recent study.

From The Laredo Morning Times

The City of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, will receive more than $40 million in wastewater and other infrastructure improvements that will provide some households with water services for the first time as well as reduce the amount of waste dumped in the Rio Grande.

A $35.5 million project will provide improvements to the city’s wastewater systems as well as construction of storm water lines.

The improvements will provide more than 1,000 households in Nuevo Laredo with water services and more than 5,100 households with wastewater services.

A loan from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission and North American Development Bank will give $13.3 million in funding for the project, which will also pay for new road paving.

Another $5 million emergency project will disconnect Nuevo Laredo wastewater treatment lines from storm drains that discharge into the Rio Grande River.

A $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will help pay for those services.

The Texas Clean Rivers Program, a partnership between the state environmental agency and local water authorities, released preliminary results in May of a 2011 study of Rio Grande bacteria levels.

The study found that in the stretch of river beginning downtown and running to International Bridge II that fecal coliform and E. coli levels are 10 times the federal standards for swimming, fishing and boating.

“Eliminating wastewater discharges into our shared waterways, such as the Rio Grande, is a priority for the bank,” said Geronimo Gutierrez, managing director of the North American Development Bank.

Read the entire article at :

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

IBWC backs border fence along lower Rio Grande: goes against Treaty

From ABC News

An agency that monitors the U.S.-Mexico boundary is agreeing to a U.S. proposal to build border fence segments in a South Texas flood plain, a move Mexico opposes.

The decision by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission comes despite objections from its Mexican counterpart. Mexico argues the fence would deflect floodwaters to its side of the Rio Grande and violate a bi-national treaty.

The Associated Press on Tuesday obtained a letter the commission sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection noting it will not oppose the project. The commission says its analysis found that the fence proposed for three areas in South Texas would not be a significant obstruction to river waters. Half of the 14 miles proposed would be in the flood plain.

Jenny Burke, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that one of the segments, in Los Ebanos, is no longer considered necessary and more funding is needed to build the other two in Rio Grande City and Roma.

A 1970 treaty between the United States and Mexico called on both countries to prohibit the building of anything that "may cause deflection or obstruction of the normal flow of the river or of its flood flows."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Leave it to Fox & Friends to come up with something like this!

Fox and Freinds uses two little girls to attack President Obama's recent comments.

Pro8news: Late again with unemployment "news"

A couple of days ago, LaredoTejas posted about Laredo's rising unemployment rate. To be honest, The Laredo Morning Times had briefly written about the same thing at around the same time. Still, it wasn't until this evening (Tuesday) that Pro8News finally reported on the not-so-new "news".

Also, I found it interesting that channel 8's segment featured the mayor's voice via telephone spinning the employment figures just as LaredoTejas predicted he would. Even more interesting was the fact that when I went to post that particular video, it was nowhere to be found on the Pro8News website. It's not the first time that a mayoral segment has been ommitted from the site.

Not that it was anything noteworthy: The mayor just resorted to his usual "we gotta bring economic development to Laredo with the help of LCC in preparing employees for the workforce". It was something to that effect. I guess the mayor's one-track doesn't let him think of anything creative. The only thing he keeps mentioning is how great the Eagle Ford Shale play is- something that neither he, nor the seedy council, can take any credit for.
Even Fox's Judge Napolitano predicts that the Texas Voter ID law is unconstitutional and will, more than likely, be invalidated

Did I miss someting: Did Mark Schuster deliver on promised events?

I found this interesting report from our "coverage you can count on" people over at Pro8News. It's from April of this year. With the Ventura Group still in a frenzy to finish Unitrade Park on time (which they failed to do so), Mark Schuster tried to appease the natives by promising a slew of events for the upcoming Summer months.

Well, here we are in Late July and, maybe I missed it, but did Schuster really deliver on any of the events he sounded so sure about?

From Pro8News for April 17, 2012

But the new Uni-Trade stadium is more than just a ballpark and will provide more than jobs to the city of Laredo.     The stadium is designed to be used year-round and CEO Mark Schuster wants the stadium to be filled every night.

(Mark Schuster\Lemurs managing partner and CEO): "I mean it really is more than a baseball stadium, it's a venue that holds all kinds of events year-round, professional boxing, mixed martial arts, concerts, festivals. It will have almost 200 events a year."

Late in May, a professional boxing match is scheduled to come to Uni-Trade stadium. Officials said they are still confirming the fighters and say they should announce it next week.
A national beer pong tournament is also scheduled for September.

 As for concerts, inside sources for the Lemurs tells us the stadium plans on kicking off the summer season featuring country singer Miranda Lambert in June

Marketing ploy or authenic letter to the editor: you decide


When the City of Laredo decided to open an un-finished, and very possibly dangerous Unitrade baseball park, there was a surprisingly lack of letters to the editor surrounding the melee. Of course, the bloggers and Laredo Morning Times' Kenny Ryan were certain to take notice.

In contrast, there was a recent, very positive op-ed from a visitor to Lemur park who lavished all sorts of praise for "whoever is running the show" at Unitrade Park. Naturally, it is our job as members of BOLAS (Bloggers of Laredo Association's Standards) to view such a thing as a possible marketing ploy, or at least offer it up to their readers for their consideration.

From The Laredo Morning Times' Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

I was at the game Tuesday night, had a great time, the Lemurs won 7-3 and it was an exciting game.

But what I was much more impressed with was the turnout at the game that night.

The stadium was pretty full for a Tuesday night and the crowd was really into the game.

I also found out that it was two for two night at the Lemurs game and dollar beer!

I would just like to thank whoever is running the show there at the stadium and doing a good job.

The food is great, the beer is cold and the ticket price is affordable, just my kind of having fun.

It’s a beautiful stadium. Thanks.


Rene Garcia

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Laredo's work force increases, as does unemployment rate

Perhaps everybody is heading down to laredo because they keep hearing of how much of an economic boom we are experiencing. Or, then again, maybe it's just that the recent slew of High School and College graduates have already entered the workforce. Either way, the Gateway City's Civilian Labor Force (CLF) has gone up since just a couple of months ago.

In May of this year, Laredo's CLF stood at 102.2 thousand. By June, that number had increased to 104.2 thousand.  In May, the percentage of those who were actually employed was at 95.1 for an effective unemployment rate of 7.0 percent.

The most recent Texas Workforce Commission figures show that our unemployment rate has increased to 7.9 per cent due to the fact that of the 104.2 thousand individuals in the city's workforce, the percentage of those actually employed stood at  95.9 per cent in June.

OK, so the number of people looking for work locally has gone up by a couple of thousand but our unemployment rate jumped almost a full percentage point. Let's see how the mayor spins this news in such a way that Laredo will, once again, come out looking like South Texas' economic power.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Double Whammy: First TAMIU, now LCC faces accreditation problems

I was watching ol' coverage you can count on and I happen to catch a story with more bad news for Laredo's institutions of higher learning. Last weekend, The Laredo Morning Times reported that TAMIU's college of education is in trouble because many of its graduates are having trouble passing the state teaching test(s).

Now, Laredo Community College seems to have jumped on the dubious bandwagon. VIDA's Dr. Hector Farias was on the news tonight explaining how LCC appears to be in trouble and how college president Juan Maldonado failed to alert the public of this new development. As Dr. Farias said, this information was apparently being kept from those who finance LCC, aka the "chickens" or , as they're also known- our loyal taxpayers.

From the Southern Association of Schools, Commission on Colleges:

Laredo Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges; however, the institution has been  placed on Probation for 12 months after review of the institution’s Second Monitoring Report following action on reaffirmation of accreditation in 2010. The Commission’s accreditation includes all components of the institution—all programs, branch campuses, off-campus sites, and distance learning programs as reported to the Commission; thus, the Probation status applies to the entire institution.

Prior to the institution’s next review by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in June 2013, a Special Committee will conduct an on-site evaluation of its compliance with the Principles of Accreditation—the accreditation standards of the Commission.

What will happen in June, 2013?

SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the accreditation status of Laredo Community College following review of a Third Monitoring Report submitted by the institution addressing the standards cited above for non-compliance and the report of a Special Committee that will visit the institution in spring 2013. The Board will have the following options: (1) remove the institution from Probation without a report or with a Fifth-Year Follow Up Report, (2) continue accreditation for good cause and continue Probation, request an additional report, and authorize a special committee visit, or (3) remove the institution from membership with the Commission on Colleges for failure to comply with the standards or failure to meet the provisions of good cause. Commission staff will not speculate on what decision might be made by the Commission’s Board in June 2013.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mayor's post breaks Laredo record for longest blog sentences

While it is still unclear whether it was mayor Raul G. Salinas or City of Laredo Public Information Officer Xochitl Garcia Mora who wrote a recent Huff Post piece, one thing is clear.  The author, whoever that may happen to be, certainly works on the cutting edge.

Showing almost a complete disregard for traditional and functional sentence structure, the mysterious author chose to unhurl a plethora of commas instead.

The following two sentences, appearing back to back-believe it or not, average about 47 words and 6 commas, each. Not even on their most rambling of days do KeyRose, BTB, QueFregados or any of the other talented Gateway City bloggers come even close to equalling this incredible, albeit dubious feat.


The city's location and development, as a close neighbor to Mexico, aside from creating tourism as Laredo's second-leading industry, has created a unique and dynamic bilingual and bicultural community, for both business and personal sectors of the residents' lives.

Taking advantage of this understanding, appreciation, and mastery of the Spanish language and Mexican culture, business mores, and governmental processes, City of Laredo leaders have gone throughout Central and South America and applied those same principals to facilitate trade from these countries through Mexico, faster, cheaper, and just as securely as other U.S. ports.

Look at it this way: for those of you old enough to remember songs from the hippie era, you could say that these two utterances are certainly the Inna-gadda-davida of all sentences.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mayor Salinas pens lengthy, rambling article for Huff Post

Excerpted from The Huffington Post
By Raul G. Salinas

Laredo, Tex. sits on the U.S./Mexico border where IH-35 and two major railroads cross into Mexico. However, the city does not view itself as sitting on the border with Mexico, but as a hub of activity for South Texas and Northern Mexico. While geography has certainly played into the growth and development of the community, achieving this milestone did not happen just because of where the city is located. City of Laredo leaders also did not just sit around and wait for business to come to Laredo. The city's location and development, as a close neighbor to Mexico, aside from creating tourism as Laredo's second-leading industry, has created a unique and dynamic bilingual and bicultural community, for both business and personal sectors of the residents' lives. Taking advantage of this understanding, appreciation, and mastery of the Spanish language and Mexican culture, business mores, and governmental processes, City of Laredo leaders have gone throughout Central and South America and applied those same principals to facilitate trade from these countries through Mexico, faster, cheaper, and just as securely as other U.S. ports. At a recent trade symposium hosted by the City of Laredo with all Central American countries, numerous memoranda of understanding were executed to send their country's goods and products through the Port of Laredo, and the reasons cited included Laredo's facilities, location, security, business opportunities, and bilingual culture of cooperation.

Read the entire article at :

Councilman San Miguel puts ethics commission on this week's agenda

Over the last few weeks, representative from Voices In Democratic Action (VIDA) have been speaking out at Laredo seedy council meetings. For the most part, their concerns have revolved around the city's failure to activate an Ethics Ad Hoc Commission which has been in the works since at least 2006.

Now, councilman Charlie San Miguel has honored VIDA's request by placing the following item on this week's agenda.  The meeting is slated for Monday, July 16th at 5:30pm at City Hall.

From The City of Laredo council meeting agenda

Request by Council Member Charlie San Miguel

1. Presentation and discussion with possible action regarding the Ethics Ad Hoc Commission based   on weekly meetings held for over two years.

TAMIU: Poor educator program = poor Laredo schools

Consider this: Most of Laredo's teachers are graduates of Texas A&M International University. This means that TAMIU is overwhemingly responsible for educating and preparing the teachers that hold a vast majority of the teaching positions in Laredo. So far, it's hard to argue otherwise.

Next: Out of 160 institutions in Texas that prepare future teachers, TAMIU is ranked in the bottom 3 and, as a result, has been warned that it might have it's accreditation pulled if it does not turn things around.

So, is it any wonder that Laredo schools are consistently among the lowest-performing in the state of Texas?

From Today's Laredo Morning Times

Texas A&M International University was one of only three programs the state warned this year for low passing rates on teacher certification exams.

With a 74-percent passing rate in 2011, TAMU failed to meet the State Board of Education Certification standard for educator preparation programs.

In failing to do so, it joined the company of Concordia University in Austin and Texas College in Tyler.

Accredited programs, totaling 160 throughout the state, include colleges and universities but also other entities offering alternative certification.

The university was one percentage point away from achieving accredited status although, in 2011-12, the bar will be raised to 80 percent.

The rating TAMIU received this year, officially accredited-warned, is the second-worst status a program can have before its accreditation is revoked.

If the university fails to meet the standards again next year, its status would be downgraded to accredited-probation, according to the Texas Administrative Code.

A third consecutive failure would draw the curtain on TAMIU’s education program.

But Keck, who has served as TAMIU’s president since 2001, said in his years as a university administrator, he has never seen a program actually lose accreditation.

Except for a stretch from 2003 to 2005 where they were in the 90s, passing rates have ranged from 75 to 87 since 2000.

In that time span, education graduates have passed the state certification exams at an average rate of 84.5 percent.

“I think we should have been (looking to improve results),” Keck said, in retrospect.

“Because it was a number that didn’t flag a warning, we didn’t, and I think that was a mistake.

I think students can certainly do better than that.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Prdediction: Romney to raise $$$ due to being booed by NCAAP

Mitt Romney received some rather loud boos speaking at the NAACP in Houston, Texas on Monday. If a recent pattern continus, Romney stands to raise even more Millions of dollars due to his unruly welcome by the civil rights group.

When Joe Wilson screamed "You lie!" at the President, over a Million dollars were donated to his coffers in the ensuing 24 hours. The same was true of the expansive lise  Tea Party candidates that sought office in 2010.  Outwardly disrespecting the President has translated into big bucks since Obama took office.

The same is true whenever minorities or the left come down hard on right wing politicians. Whether it be Jan Brewer, Scott Wilson in Wisconsin or controversial sheriff Jos Arpaio. Falling into the latter category, Romeny's coffers are sure to continue to outpace Obama's fundraising efforts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

GOP House squanders $50M in symbolically repealing Obamacare-33 times

From the Huffington Post

While Republicans lambast the cost of implementing health care reform, a new report shows that their efforts to repeal the law have come at a major cost to taxpayers -- to the tune of nearly $50 million.

The House of Representatives again voted to repeal President Obama's signature health care law on Wednesday, marking the 33rd time Republicans have attempted to take down the legislation. The 32 previous repeal efforts faltered at the hands of the Democrat-controlled Senate; the latest attempt is unlikely to break that pattern.

According to a report by CBS News, these efforts, widely viewed as symbolic political maneuvers, come with a high price tag.

CBS' Nancy Cordes reported Wednesday that Republicans' many fruitless attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act have taken up at least 80 hours of time on the House floor since 2010, amounting to two full work weeks. As the House, according to the Congressional Research Service, costs taxpayers $24 million a week to operate, those two weeks amounted to a total cost of approximately $48 million.

The AP relays background on the GOP's repeal efforts:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's all about selling beer

Call it bironga, cheve, Schaeffer, or unas fri-itas, it's still beer and apparently also the main reason the Laredo Roses have fought the city so hard about having a place to play;meaning a place where they can sell beer.

It's a rich Laredo tradition which the Washington's Birthday Celebration Association has pushed increasingly hard the past few years. The WBCA has certainly discovered that selling booze brings in big bucks. JamBOOZie, Jalapeno Festival, A Taste of Los Dos Laredos, Noche De Agave and a Wine-Tasting Gala are some of the alcohol-fueled gatherings that dot the WBCA calendar each February.

Little wonder then, that the Laredo Roses want to follow in the footsteps of the Lemurs and the Rattlers as another vehicle for beer sales to Laredo's only too-willing denizens.

From Pro8News

Monday, July 9, 2012

Woud you pass a US Citizenship test?

Click on the link at the bottom and see if you would pass the US Citizenship test.  Some of the questions that appear are the test are :

1. Who signs a bill so that it can become law?

2. Who was Susan B. Anthony?

3. What ocean is on the East coast of the United states?

OK, I almost forgot the link. Here it is.

Laredo's districts not taking advantage of drop-out prevention program

According to the below information from the Texas Education Agency's website, neither of Laredo's school districts are participating in the Ninth Grade Transition and Intervention Program which has been touted as being rather effective in cutting down dropout rates.

From TEA: Proven Dropout Prevention Strategies

The Texas Education Agency focuses state and federal resources on identifying and replicating proven strategies for dropout prevention and recovery. The Ninth Grade Transition and Intervention Program utilizes data systems to identify struggling students who need early intervention.;

The purpose of the Ninth Grade Transition and Intervention (NGTI) Program is to provide services that target students as they leave eighth grade, who are at-risk of being retained in the ninth grade or dropping out.

Grantees are required to provide a summer transition program, use an early warning data system to identify and monitor ninth grade students who are off-track for graduation, and to provide on-going interventions and activities throughout the school year.


Grant/Project Period

May 16, 2010 – June 30, 2011

Grantees and Funding Amounts Grantee Funding Amount
Aldine ISD $ 258,380
Bloomington ISD $25,838
Brazos School for Inquiry and Creativity $21,729
Brownsville ISD $151,988
Carrizo Springs ISD $39,517
Chilton ISD $21,729
Dallas ISD $258,380
Del Valle ISD $60,795
Edinburg ISD $151,988
Faith Family Academy of Oak Cliff $30,398
Ft. Hancock ISD $21,729
Girls and Boys Prep Academy $25,838
Houston ISD $258,381
La Vega ISD $39,517
Mission CISD $121,591
Pharr San Juan Alamo ISD $151,988
Raul Yzaguirre School for Success $25,838
Rio Grande City ISD $60,795
Robstown ISD $45,597
Valley View ISD $45,597
Weslaco ISD $121,591
Total $1,939,204

Ol' Rick Perry says "no thanks" to medicaid expansion

At least he didn't threaten to secede this time around, but Texas GOP governor Rick Perry has sent a letter to the feds saying that he will not implement the medicaid expansion plan called for by Obamacare.

It's funny how the GOP / Tea party always hold up the constituion and claim that Obama loves to ignore it.  Yet, for the most part, they have all banded together to ridicule Supreme Court chief justice Roberts and his decision to uphold many parts of the Affordable Care Act.  All of a sudden, they don't think much of the constitution nor of laws the court has found to be constitutional.

From The Christian Science Monitor

The provision that Perry wants the state to reject would add to the state’s Medicaid rolls more than 1.5 million poor, childless adults who are currently ineligible, plus as many as 300,000 pregnant women, children and extremely poor parents who already qualify but aren’t enrolled.

The coverage would begin in 2014. In the first five years, the state’s costs for the expansion would be $5.8 billion, and Texas would receive $76.3 billion in federal matching funds. Despite that prospective gain, Perry said it would be unwise to enlarge “a broken system that is already financially unsustainable.”

The Republican governor also told Sebelius he opposes a state health insurance exchange, which he said would open the door to federal control of Texas’ insurance markets. Some other conservatives have argued Texas should take steps to set up the exchange on its own, in case the federal law survives. If it does, the federal government will establish the exchange.

Federal officials declined to respond directly to Perry, saying that under the law, the exchanges and other benefits will help expand coverage and pledging to work with states to provide flexibility.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Laredo's PIO talks about changing image-then fails to do so herself

Over at La Sanbe,  Laredo's Most Imposing Blog, Editor-in-chief Keyrose is rocking another Laredo-style fiasco.  Yesterday, Blogging Juggernaut BTB posted about Mcallen's (they of our lunch-eating fame) super-sized library.  Today, La Sanbe picked up on a Facebook discussion spurred by the mega-library in which City of Laredo Public Information Officer, Xochitl Mora took umbrage with the fact that some Laredoans were giving kudos to McAllen for having apparently given high priority to their public library.

In her post/rant, Ms. Mora admonishes KR and others for even mildly criticizing our own city's lack of similar support for public places of learning.  She defends the city's mis-handling of the South Laredo library branch construction and scolds laredoans that they shouldn't complain because, according to her, we don't even use the library nor its services.

The most incredulous part of her post/rant was her remark about how we should all be working to change Laredo's image by being the city's biggest cheerleaders.  Obviously, Ms. Mora absolutely failed in her own opportunity to do so. Instead of taking the high road, as befits her position with our city's government, she, instead took the Salinas Regime's usual approach of badmouthing the citizens for even daring to question the city of Laredo on anything what-so-ever.

The Mayor will be truly proud.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

VIDA's Dr. Hector Farias : guarding the chicken coop at city hall

Dr. Hector Farias from VIDA (Voices In Democratic Action) again addressed the city council this week.  He once again urged the city to move on fully activating the still-dormant City of Laredo ethics commission.

Not having the hi-tech digital equipment that Laredo's Most Imposing Blogger, La Sanbe has, I had to resort to typing out the text of his comments to the best of my (and my aching wrist)'s ability.
From the City of Laredo city council meeting for Monday, July 2, 2012

Dr. Hector Farias speaks to Laredo city coucil

"How appropriate that we are here on the eve of fourth of July. We are a country of laws, we are ruled by a constitution, we are obliged to observe that constitution, the const of this city is the city charter. 

Some of you have not read the city charter or chose not to understand it.Let me  give you a very simple example for those of you who have not read it.

Just imagine that city hall is the chicken house and in it are the chickens, we are all here, we are the taxpayers, we pay you, the guards , to protect us from the fox, not to feed us to the fox.

Unfortunately, some of these foxes are already inside the chicken coop and we need that ethics commission to remove the fox. That’s all you need to r3emember….about the city charter. 
You took an oath, and I have Mr. San Miguel’s, they’re all the same: (reads oath) 
I, Charlie San Miguel do solemly swear that I will faithfully execute the duties of The city of Laredo dist 6 of the state of texas and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the laws of the United states and of this state, so help me God  
Signed on the 20th of December 2010.

Vida is here because you all  have violated the city charter and we believe that the ethics commission has not been implemented because it is replete with the violations that have been committed. We’ve got a slew of violations to soon as it’s active, so we’re waiting. 

Now, we know that there was one and there was some work done, it’s not been activated. We are here to tell you that by the next meeting, we want to have that ethics commission working, you’ve had years to work on it. 

We know that there have been some reasons for stonewalling, for delaying, because you all know what’s coming. I mean, you all are very smart people, you know exactly what our complaints are going to be and it’s going to be a very busy ethics commission. 

Our attorney will be sending you a demand letter these days and if need be, we’ll go to court to enforce what’s in the city charter, whats in the law. We don’t want to do that but after years of waiting, you leave us no choice".

If we're going to do this, let's do it right!

Below is an entry from the "blog" that seeks to clarify, once and for all, that Laredo is, not in Mexico, but in the state of Texas, and therefore-in the United States.

The problem is that, upon quickly perusing the article, I came across several mistakes that many Laredoans and non-Laredoans alike might readily notice. These appear in red. It would serve our city well to be a little more careful in putting together a website that seeks to present Laredo in a positive light;being a little bit more vigilant in proofreading entries before posting would be a good start.


While Laredo will always embrace its Mexican heritage, the city is equally as (superfluous) proud to be a part of the great state of Texas, firmly within the United States boundary. (Should be boundaries)
Much like Ellis Island in the east (East) and San Francisco to the west (West), Laredo is a major point of entry into the United States. It is a beacon of hope that welcomes(,) with open arms(,) all those who aspire to the great American legacy and wish to further the American way in any capacity.
While a negative hyperbolic image of Laredo tarnishes its good name(,) an outcry for a response has been welling in the city and amongst its many advocates.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baeza: Officer had good reason to be in such close proximity to beer run girl

I dont' think many Laredoans wanted the officer of "Mami Chulas" fame to be fired but it was still surprising to see LPD spokesman Joe Baeza completely absolve the officer of any wrong doing.

Baeza pointed out that the officer was responding to a call, did not choose that particular call himself and had an explanation for the Mami Chula's girl to be in such close proximity to him. A viral photo shows the officer's patrol car with its driver's-side door open and the girl practically, as the lady taking the picture put it, "sitting on his lap".

If nothing else, the officer should have been reprimanded for being so lax with his own safety, and that of the girl.  As the lady taking the picture said on Pro8News, whenever she has dealt with an LPD officer in the past, they have made it clear that she keep her distance for safety reasons.

Can anyone imagine what would happen if a police officer responded to a call and a male subject walked over to the officer's car, opened the car and practically crawled in?  I don't think we want to find out. 

Essentially, the police spokesman stated that the officer did nothing wrong. Does this means that this type of behavior is invited? If it is completely acceptable then can every officer on the department can follow the same protocol without any repercussions?

Most of the people I've talked to (about 10) have indicated, in no uncertain terms, that the officer was definitely wrong in handling the Mami Chula's call the manner in which he did.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

LMT: Mayor, council "flush with campaign cash" from Unitrade owner

Instead of paraphrasing, I will just let you read the following excerpt from an article on Raul Garza, owner of Uni-trade forwarding. The story appeared in today's Sunday edition of the Laredo Morning Times.

From LMT

Recipients of Garza’s contributions include nearly every sitting member of Laredo City Council and, before he was termed out, Valdez.

And in several of those cases, council members reported Garza and his companies as their top contributor.

Council members Mike Garza, Cindy Liendo Espinoza, Juan Narvaez and Johnny Rendon reported receiving between $1,250 and $2,900 each from Garza in campaign contributions between 2008 and 2010.

The mayor reported having received more than $15,000 in monetary and in-kind support from Garza since 2006 — making him the mayor’s second-biggest single contributor.

Garza found himself at the center of public attention four years ago when it was disclosed that the customs broker paid for flights to Mexico City for Salinas and Villarreal on his personal plane.

Councilman Charlie San Miguel, who abstained from voting on the cold storage facility contract, is the brother of Garros partner Raquel San Miguel.

Although the bid on the customs facility contract was considered by a council flush with campaign cash from Garza, a review by a city staff committee gave Garros strong scores compared to the other firms that submitted bids.

In the staff scores, the firm’s proposal received 80.2 of 100 points, while the Pharr-based firm received 53.7 and Laredo Facilitators, the firm led by Valdez, a 31.6.

“I think that council acted with prudence,” Salinas said.