Preview: RGV Politics
A semi-first hand account of politics in the Rio Grande Valley and the great State of Texas.
"Politics is the art of controlling your environment"- Hunter S. Thompson
A New Blog
I have created a new blog entitled RGV Politics Re-Visited. You can visit it here at http://rgvpolitics.blogspot.com
A month earlier than I predicted, but there have been a lot of things going on in our political and social environment that for lack of a better phrase- I just couldn't take it anymore.
Blogging will be slow on the new site for now. As I'm typing this, I can still feel the cobwebs and the rust working their way out of my thoughts and fingers. But with a little luck, we'll be up and running at a smooth pace soon.
Thanks again to everybody who left a comment.
RGV Politics...A Semi-First Hand Account of Politics in the Rio Grande Valley and the Great State of Texas...To Be Continued
Due to circumstances that require my wholehearted commitment, I will not be posting to RGV Politics for an indefinite amount of time. My sincerest hope is to return by the November elections, and hiring of a new superintendent for PSJA ISD. At the latest, in time for the newly elected governments to take office in January of 2007. At this point, it's hard to say.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing RGV Politics. Doing so has opened my mind to a political process that until January of this year, I had only understood on a surface level. Nine months later, I found myself peeling layer upon layer to reach a deeper truth at what lies beneath all the corruption, nepotism, and selfishness that has become the status quo in the Rio Grande Valley. It is my strong opinion that this is the reason why political blogging in our area has become so important. We're still digging for that deeper truth.
There is an old saying that goes,"Never bite the hand that feeds". It has become engrained into our South Texas culture to believe "the hand" represents elected officials. Those in power. Those with influence. Those with surnames, kinships, or affiliations who were raised to believe that because of this, the soles of their feet float a little higher off the ground than the rest of ours do. They are wrong. And so were we for believing it for so long.
In truth, "the hand" represents the community. A voter who has a voice in whether the types of actions by elected officials will be tolerated or not. Actions done as a matter of policy and personal conviction. A kickback on a construction project. The hiring of a family member to high-level positions within a school district which is rich with those more qualified to do a better job. Returning a political favor by awarding contracts without a legal bidding process.
RGV Politics, and so many other blogs across the Valley have tried to bring these truths to the surface. For our readers, and for ourselves. Perhaps as a way to better understand the social and political environment we've been raised to accept "as is". No refunds-No exchanges. Through different styles and presentations, the message has been the same.
"The hand" in charge has always been the community. Not elected officials, or their well connected co-horts. It should no longer be a matter of how we continue to support corruption, or questionable policies by electing these people into office. It has become a matter of why we continue to elect these types of people. We can make our communities better once we learn to let go of that fear which dictates that our world will crumble beneath us if we decide to speak out openly about our elected government. We should constantly remind ourselves that the word "elected" means we as a society put them there by choice, and it has always been our choice. Not the other way around.
A final thought for those who might have failed to recognize the importance of voicing an opinion by means of a political blog, or have missed the point entirely. If history judges us, let that judgment be based on an ignorant truth that we as a society chose to adhere to. But let history also know that there were those of us within that society who strived to make a difference.
PSJA ISD makes appearance in The Paper of South Texas
The latest issue of The Paper of South Texas has an article by David Robledo concerning the rise of violence in the Pharr San Juan Alamo school district, and what the school board is doing about it. Or rather, what they hope they can accomplish with a $93,000 a year price tag. If you haven't picked up a copy, you can log on to their web site at www.thepaperofsouthtexas.com
or follow the link on the RGV Politics sidebar.
La Joya...Serving as a sad example to our troubled times...
The political dust in the small South Texas town takes long to settle. Dubbed the jewel of the Valley, recent allegations of nepotism and cronyism by the newly elected school board may have long lasting affects that reach far beyond the city limits of La Joya, Texas. Affects that will stretch across a region thirsty for political change as it is for a solitary rain cloud to cure a parched earth from a much too long lasting summer.
What makes the accusations in La Joya unique, especially in an area of the state as deeply rooted in political corruption as it is on Sunday morning barbacoa, is that the newly elected school board pledged to bring an end to these types of political practices. And it was not so much a political platform, it was touted as a deep personal conviction to do what it takes to ensure these things would never happen again. The enemy was clearly in their sights, and the era of former La Joya Superintendent Filomena Leo was coming to an end. It served as another example of life's musts. Like a rabid dog that needs to be euthanized. For it's own good, as well as ours.
But we're not talking rabid dogs here. And as of late, the current administration would be hard pressed to distinguish itself in a far better league of professional ethics than those of Leo. Especially when, by all accounts, everything politically corrupt about Leo amounted to nothing more than heresay. Which is why the best the newly elected administration could do was remove her from her post for lack of qualifications to serve as Superintendent of schools. Post haste, at that.
The problem with the current administration is that they were smart enough to slip through the cracks to get their piece of the pie. At all costs, especially to the thousands of citizens in the Rio Grande Valley who want more than promises. We want results.
The problem for us, especially those of us who have taken to political blogging as a means to inform people about the right candidate, the ones that will do what's best for the community at large, is that the credibility of such claims are lost. Gone with a nostalgic ideal of wanting to know that this country can still live up to it's original intention. A government by, for, and of the people. Not someone's husband. Not someone's daughter. Not that person who sold the most barbecue tickets for the political fundraiser. But people who care not only about their futures, but ours as well.
The newly elected school board have gotten their say, and have accomplished what they'd hoped for. Their names emblazoned on the masthead. Just another piece of the political pie they so longed for. Their actions to serve as a reminder to any of those across the Rio Grande Valley with the notion of not forgetting when it comes to their own respective school districts, and city commissions that if it can happen in La Joya, it can happen anywhere else as well. If there is a lesson in all of this, for all it's ranting and raving, it is that some politicians need a means to their ends. La Joya just got a taste of how low these types of people are willing to stoop to get there. And that's the sad part for everybody whether you're from La Joya or not.
Official Press Release by the Texas Democratic Veterans Executive Committee endorsing Barbara Ann Radnofsky
For immediate release:August 23, 2006Texas Democratic Veterans was formed June 14, 2002 at the Texas Democratic Convention held in El Paso, Texas. We allow veteran and non-veteran members-the only requirement that we have is that all our members support and honor our veterans and military personnel and keep the issues important to them before the Democratic Party of the State of Texas and the Democratic National Committee. We Texas Democratic Veterans are proud of the legacy of leadership of the Texas Democratic Party over the past 130 years. We see in Barbara Ann Radnofsky someone who, like us, believes that the service of those who have gone before us is something to emulate and respect. She is the daughter of a WWII veteran and the granddaughter of a WWI veteran. Her grandfather was injured in his navy service and proudly served as commander of his American Legion post.When her father was in prisoner of war camp in Germany and the Nazis visited the camp and told all the Jews to step forward, to a man every prisoner stepped forward. Barbara Ann has repeatedly said during her more than 480 campaign trips across Texas that she is here because of the service, risk-taking, and sacrifice of our veterans, and that they deserve the treatment they were promised.Barbara Ann's own words: "My parents raised me to believe that we are here on this earth due to the service and sacrifice of others."Barbara Ann's opponent demonstrates that talk is cheap among too many of our elected officials. Barbara Ann Radnofsky's opponent promised,"I've always said that I would serve no more than two full terms. This may be my last term, or I could run for one more--But no more after that. I firmly believe in term limitations and plan to adhere to that." This was November of 1994, twelve years ago. She signed a contract with America reaffirming her position but broke that contract and pledge when she announced she would run for a third term.On January 17, 2003, the Bush Administration stopped enrolling new Priority 8 veterans for Veterans Administration medical care, and the president's budget continues this restrictive policy. This has prevented one million veterans, who make as little as $26,902 a year, from enrolling in VA health care. For over three years Barbara Ann's opponent has remained silent. The veterans of South Texas for too long have been denied the care they deserve. Barbara Ann stood with them and continues to stand with them demanding a new, fully funded, and operational VA hospital in South Texas. For over twelve years her opponent ignored this issue, and after two terms in office Texas is facing closing of veteran's facilities.Knight-Ridder reported on December 30, 2005 that according to the VA's own data, people who call the agency's regional offices for help and advice are more likely to receive completely wrong answers than completely right ones. It currently takes about $1.4 billion additional funds each year just to maintain current VA services and the federal pay rise.According to the Veteran's of Foreign Wars and other veteran's organizations, the Bush Administration's 2006 VA medical care budget request is woefully inadequate by about $2.4 billion. Raw data from the Veterans Benefits Administration suggest more than 11,000 of the 696,841 veterans who served in the Persian Gulf have died from various injuries and illnesses. More than 256,000 have filed claims against the government for veteran's compensation or medical care. Though the federal agency cautions that the data are raw and not reflective of mortality rates. "It's significant because it's...more than the casualty rates post-Vietnam."Barbara Ann has advocated for service members and exposed the ineffective leadership and anti-service bias of her opponent. Veteran's issues in Texas are long-term, critical, and they deserve careful foresight and advocacy in Washington. It is with great pleasure that the T[...]
The Issue of Violence Plaguing the PSJA School District...What it boils down to
Growing up in the Tri-City area, a child learns one of life's harshest realities early on. The word fair is a concept reserved for those that count themselves among the more affluent members of the community. It is a keen understanding that to have is to be treated with respect, and to have not is something they tend to push further and further towards the edge of long forgotten, or never really went anywhere with anything in the first place. Our community is not mutually exclusive from those around it, but the politics of the situation seems to lend itself a little more to the problem.In an article by James Osbourne in today's issue of The Monitor titled, "Eyebrows rise after mayor's son nets contract", Osbourne tackles the issue of questionable contracts being awarded to a son of a friend's friend. The same ol' twice removed scenario of business that has become the accepted norm in this community, but is a taste that is beginning to fall flat in places like La Joya, or Edinburg. Hector X. Palacios, owner of HXP Counseling and Consultant Services, was awarded a one year contract with the district in the amount of $93,000.00 effective at August 15th's PSJA school board meeting. What makes this interesting, is as the report stated, Hector X. Palacios is the son of the City of Pharr mayor, Leo "Polo" Palacios. What he's being asked to provide the district is detailed in the article, with the overall sentiment being that Mr. Palacios will provide a thirty hour anger management course for those students who are deemed "at risk" by the school district. Mr. Palacios is quoted in the article as saying, "In these classes, the focus is more on intervening for kids who are at risk to join gangs. I'll help them think consequentially and to empathize..Like I tell everyone, it's just a piece of the pie. It doesn't guarantee an end to violence in the schools." An interesting choice of words, and no doubt will garner the approval of the many around him who have hired him in the first place. But for those of us who grew up knowing the exact impact violence has had on our school district, words like these echo the tired stale sentiment of not knowing what to do, but trying in vain to figure it out once they get there. That's fine if the school board wants to talk athletic uniforms, and what next week's school cafeteria lunches will consist of. When it is dealing with children that far exceed a solution that is based upon telling them what the consequences of their actions are, or having a security camera that will somehow magically instill the fear that they will get caught, there is not the vaguest idea what the problem is. Much less an honest offering of real solutions that will last. Real solutions that will change the amount of violence that occurs in our schools. Real solutions that will profoundly affect these children in a more positive light, so that they themselves can serve as positive role models in the community. This is what it boils down to, positive reinforcement. It is perhaps the naivest of concepts, given the cynical environment our children are being raised in. But it is at the root of what is affecting these children in the first place. To be "at risk" doesn't mean you've been singled out in the first grade and your adminstrators are going on a hunch that you just won't cut it in a society you're so desperately rebelling against. "At risk" means you've had your share of troubles, and if we don't scare the living wits out of you, you're bound to do much worse. Which consequently affects who? Who's life is inevitably tarnished by the violence and accusations of incompetence? Not the children we really need to be caring about in the first place. It tarnishes the reputation of a school board that would much rather bandage a downward spirraling situation by paying someone close to a six figure contract on the slightest hope that if e[...]
Republican Senator George Allen sticks foot in his mouth...Seems to be the rule nowadays...But you CAN do something about it...
has it become the practice of the Republican Party to single out non-white citizens as foreign born naturalized citizens for no better reason other than the color of their skin? The gall of which strikes me as peculiar, Mr. Mehlman, given that a very high percentage of our young men and women fighting your "precious" war in Iraq are non-white men and women. Young men and women serving our nation with courage. The likes of which will never be known by lily-livered punks who have the audacity to serve as Senators, and do something as moronic and ignorant as singling out a non-white member of the audience and spew a racial slur his way."-excerpt from a petition provided by moveon.org to Republican National Committee Chairman, Ken Mehlman, urging the organization to stop all support of Senator George Allen's bid for re-election. Personal comment section written and signed by Hector Gomez, Saturday, August 19, 2006.
I received a forwarded email from Ignacio Almaguer yesterday concerning a petition provided by moveon.org. It didn't take me long to process the sheer stupidity with which Senator Allen bases his actions on. Apparently at a campaign stop, Senator Allen singled out a member of the audience who was of Indian descent and called him a "macaque" (spelling has differed among the blogosphere, others have spelled it "macaca"). The word is a derogatory term meaning "monkey". The Senator, in all his fine brilliance, went on to say, "Welcome to America". The citizen he was speaking to was born and raised in Virginia. I signed the petition, and urge all readers of RGV Politics to do the same. You can visit the site directly at www.moveon.org
or visit the petition web page at:
Press Release from Barbara Ann Radnofsky Concerning the TransTexas Corridor...my thoughts for Friday 8/18...
August 18, 2006Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky met with concerned citizens, the advanced Project Development Director of the Texas Turnpike Authority Division Dieter Blick, listened to testimony of Rockwall residents and other spearkers, and gave testimony against the Trans Texas Corridor Thursday evening at the Freshman Center August 17 in Rockwall. She remains in Rockwall for two additional days of study, discussions, and receptions for her U.S. Senate campaign, as she reached her 480th campaign trip."Rockwall certainly has a big voice for the smallest Texas county, and the impassioned objections of its citizens should be heeded," Radnofsky said."Why are we undertaking a project which, if finished in fifty years, will be obsolete, with no studies as to the modes of transportation we'll actually be using at that time? Why are we trying to fund private, massive pofits for foreign corporations, paid for by tolls that are charged to the public, on roads that will be tolled forever?"The reason is not science, technology, traffic congestion, or public need. The reason is generating profit for private companies. Texas lacks the money to finance such a project, and no thinking taxpayer would willingly fund it. TxDOT claims and concedes that Texas lacks the resources, the tools, to fund the estimated 184 billion dollars the project will supposedly cost. The vast majority of the toll money collected will end up in the pockets of foreign corporations."Why does Texas lack the money for highways and public transit development, and rail? Why are communities pitted against each other, fighting for scarce federal highway dollars generated by our gas tax dollars?"The answer: Texas leaders want to fuel private schemes proposed by their big donors and can only justify wasteful private companies reaping huge profits at our expense, charging Texas drivers tolls to pay for private profits if they have an expensive proposal and no money to find it. It's a perfect storm of circumstances, since we Texans donate nearly ten cents of every gas tax dollar from Texas to the rest of the country. Now, TxDOT can rightly claim that Texas is underfinanced for our transportation dollars, giving statewide elected officials a convenient excuse to turn to private financing. The lack of public money has been used to justify a boondoggle project to utilize private industry, to be repaid with money out of the pockets of ordinary Texans."-excerpt from official press release by Barbara Ann Radnofsky 8/18/06. Received via email to RGV Politics. For the complete press release, follow the link to Barbara Ann Radnofsky's home page provided on the side bar.That's the wisdom for today, everybody. Bottle it up and keep it close to your hearts because lightning like that never strikes twice. Especially in a political landscape that has seen more than it's fair share of corruption. What Radnofsky's words do, and should do, is echo the sentiments of every living, breathing citizen this side of the Falfurrias checkpoint. The battle lines are drawn, my friends, what we do now will affect us for the rest of our lives. Something to think about when our commissioners, and mayors want a Republican governor in Austin for the next four years. A governor who has all but sold his soul in promises of better roads and livelihoods for all Texans to ensure that the Trans Texas Corridor becomes a reality. The problem with making those types of promises, is that inevitably, you take a lot of people down with you. The sad fact is, those people have become the everyday working man and woman struggling to provide for their families and themselves. Those are the people who least deserve it. [...]
Texas ISD web site posts PSJA Superintendent Vacancy...Qualifications and Timelines...The Dawn of a new era? or the eve of the same ol' setting sun...
I recently looked up the Texas ISD web site, and found that the PSJA School District Superintendent vacancy is listed. You can find it at http://www.texasisd.com/
The web site has a link to a pdf file brochure provided by the firm of Pena, Ruiz, and Associates who was picked by the school board to handle the candidate search. According to the brochure, candidates for the position must have the following:
-obtained or be qualified to obtain the Texas Superintendent Certificate
-at least 15 years of experience in public schools
-at least 10 years of administrative experience
-at least some experience as superintendent or in central office
-Communication skills in English and Spanish.
The brochure also states that the Board approved a timeline for the entire process. The deadline to apply for the position is August 31, 2006. Interviews will be conducted by the PSJA School Board the first two weeks of September. Those applicants which make the cut for a second interview will be interviewed September 18-22. The first week of October, the above referenced firm of Pena, Ruiz, and Associates will conduct reference checks. The week of October 9-13, the school board will name a finalist for the position. Finally, the week of November 6-10, the Pharr San Juan Alamo School Board will hire it's new superintendent.
The process by which the PSJA School Board SHOULD elect the best possible candidate for superintendent of OUR schools, is in place. Will this school board take full advantage of this process? Or will we be seeing more of the same ol' it isn't what you know, it's.... right. Time will tell.
The Story of Politics continues...The Tri-City Area, and the question of whether change is coming, or not...
A recent anonymous comment on my previous post got me thinking. As far as the question of citizen involvement in the Tri-City area, the anonymous commentator mentioned there are still quite a few people unwilling to get involved because of retaliation. Namely from what he/she called the Tri-Cities main employer, the Pharr San Juan Alamo School District. Well, are we still at that stage when we as a community will only go so far in our demands for better government?
As a lifelong resident of the Valley, and the Tri-City area, I would be foolish to think otherwise. But that should not mean I should lose all hope for a better future, in spite of the consequences. For those out of Valley readers of RGV Politics, the Tri-City area consists of the cities of Pharr, San Juan, and Alamo. Now back to the question of where citizens stand.
As far as I know, there are two community watchdog groups in the Tri-City area. The SanJuanistas who keep an eye on San Juan politics, and Grupo PODER who keep a watchful eye on PSJA ISD policy. From what I gather, though as I am not a member of either group (though there is a link to the SanJuanistas from RGV Politics), the numbers in these groups are not such that they can make a sustained impact on what goes on. They've both shared their victories, but no matter how hard they've tried to make a lasting impact, it's only a matter of time before the way things used to get done makes a quick recovery. My feeling on this is because, as the anonymous commentator mentioned, many people who want to get involved, who know what's wrong, who know what needs to get fixed, and how to fix it, are afraid.
That's understandable. But the problem lies in never finding out how great our community can become without factions, without nepotism. Imagine a community where a citizens right to protest, or question policy does not fall on deaf ears. Imagine a community where these same people are not treated as naysayers, or troublemakers by those factions who continue to rely on history, and tradition to get their way, year in and year out. For that matter, imagine a community with no factions at all. Simply a community that elects certain individuals to get the job done. To do what they're supposed to do, and look out for the community as a whole, not just what we've been used to as the status quo for so long.
Something to think about, and something to question what we really want out of our community. Are there enough of us to demand positive change without fearing retribution? Or have things become so engrained in our communities spirit that to even try to change something would be at once considered foolish, and useless.
San Juan Politics...Same ol', same ol'...I thought we put this behind us...
It seems like San Juan politics just can't let go of the way things used to be run. So from the more things change, the more they stay the same files, here's one for the books. According to a report out of today's edition of The Monitor, San Juan City Commissioners Bobby Rodriguez and Pedro Contreras met last week with a Monitor reporter to make a presentation on proposed land development in south San Juan. Other people in attendance, according to the report, were Greg Ayala, Director of the San Juan Economic Development Corporation, and Charles Schuster, President of the San Juan Plantation Association. Wow, so many chiefs, not enough indians, huh?
But anyway, the report states that San Juan's mayor, San Juanita Sanchez openly criticized Commissioner Rodriguez for not informing the mayor, the mayor pro-tem Eddie Rodriguez, and Commissioner Claudia Gonzalez of last weeks meeting. Commissioner Bobby Rodriguez is quoted in the report as stating that he'd forgotten, and "if there was some confusion I was responsible. I will try to improve on my communication skills, as I have asked the mayor to do so." Gee, you think? How many years must a someone walk before one can no longer use the excuse of forgetfulness.
Now, to Commissioner Rodriguez's credit, I have attended city meetings before, and in those meetings, well...you can't accuse the mayor of playing nice with the Commissioner. But, first off my opinion's subjective to say the least. After all, we can't go around judging people's attitudes simply by what we see at first glance. Secondly, the mayor isn't calling meetings out of quorom to discuss development projects for the city. That's the way things USED to get done. I thought there was a new way of getting things done. A better way. One that would benefit the community as a whole. Last time I checked, I was not informed of any meeting by the commissioners and the San Juan EDC. Of course, I was also not informed that the City Commission meetings would be held on Monday instead of Tuesday. So who's to blame. Jesus, we could go around in circles playing he said/she said can't we?
But damn it, we have better things to argue about. The city needs to move forward in a more positive light, and if all we're going to do for the next few years is wait for one faction to completely vote out the next while playing these childish games, we're better off starting from scratch with a whole other group.
Word to the wise, if anybody wants to make due on moving the city forward regardless of what "faction" one belongs to, they better start by getting the community more involved. Period.
Memories of Robert Frost Poems...Monday, the Day After Sunday's Report...Here we go again...Politics as usual...
I was going to get philosophical on everybody tonight, but the day's work has left me tired and weary, "and miles to go before I sleep," so I'll keep it short. The problem for me started yesterday when I ran across an article in the Sunday edition of The Monitor and read a report entitled "Building security: RMA complete; board plans funding for development". You can read the article at www.themonitor.com, but to sum it all up there are six board members headed by a chairman who are "charged with planning the infrastructure and transportation system for Hidalgo County." The chairman, Dennis Burleson was appointed in 2005 by Republican Governor Rick Perry. Who are the remaining six members and who appointed them to the Regional Mobility Authority?Well, I'm glad you asked because I took a close look at the list, and here it is courtesy of The Monitor:Joe Olivarez-appointed by Pct. 1 County Commissioner Sylvia Handy Ricardo Perez-appointed by Pct. 4 County Commissioner Oscar Garza Ruben Plata-appointed by Pct. 3 County Commissioner Joe Flores Ramiro E. Salazar-appointed by the City of McAllen commissionersRuben Serna-appointed by Pct. 2 County Commissioner Hector "Tito" PalaciosBobby Villarreal-appointed by County Judge Ramon GarciaThe report did not state why these individuals were chosen specifically in regards to experience or qualifications, so if anybody out there has any clue why, drop me a line via the comment section.Here's the thing. Last week, the Democratic blogosphere in the Rio Grande Valley was taken aback at the news that several mayors from the Valley were publicly endorsing Republican Governor Rick Perry's re-election campaign. I don't agree with these types of endorsements because I believe it lends itself to a lot of ethical questions, but to my knowledge there's nothing in the books about not doing it, so we'll have to swallow this one. Basically I was left with questioning why? Why in a Democratic stronghold that is the Rio Grande Valley would our elected offiicals do such a thing? Why, when we need improvements to all our roads would a board be brought together to discuss the financial scope of our infrastructures and "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads" while peering into the economic crystal ball?The thing I won't swallow, though, is the fact that when I posted about these public endorsements, I said there was probably a reason behind it. And sooner or later we'd find out. Well...that didn't take long did it?If you take a look at the list, you may notice that the people appointed to the board represent cities and towns whose very mayors were among the endorsers. Mayors from the Delta area, the mayor of McAllen, the mayor of Pharr, the mayor of Mission."But come on, Hector," you might say, "if we want results, we have to go with the elected official that gets us those results." Quick sidenote, according to various media reports this afternoon, Perry leads public support with 40% of Texans willing to vote for him, Dems it's time to get moving-these elections don't win themselves, but I digress.I understand where you're coming from if you were to tell me something like that. What bothers me, is that we have an elected official who has made his promises for our support, (Valley and other parts of Texas) but yet our electric bills are through the roof, our schools are in need of new facilities, teachers need a competitive pay raise, and the toll road issue will just be rerouted to another part of the Valley affecting citizens who've got enough problems with their communities. Is this is the type of representation we're getting for our votes? Well, it's the same type of government we've grown accustomed to then. Elected officials who want to butter up a Go[...]
Hail to The Chief...President to visit Anzaldua's Park next week..
There is a sense of nostalgia that comes over a person when someone mentions Anzaldua's Park in Mission, Texas. In my life, Anzaldua's Park was the upper Valley's answer to the mid-Valley's Delta Lake. Most of my memories seem to revolve around spending a few Easter Sunday's at the park. The cracking of multi-colored egg shells on everyone's cousin, sister, brother, aunt, unlce, or grandmother. The smell of South Texas' barbecue staple beef fajitas sizzling on the grill beneath the shade of an old mesquite tree. Ah, memories...but on to the business of business.
According to various media reports, Anzaldua's Park will be visited by the President of the United States George W. Bush. His mission, according to the report out of today's issue of The Monitor, is to "discuss his five-point immigration plan unveiled in a primetime address on May 15." The plan included sending six thousand National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border to aid the Border Patrol in their tasks of keeping our nation's only border, because the one between U.S. and Canada apparently doesn't exist in the minds of Congressional Republicans, safe from terrorists.
More on his visit next week.
Update to last night's post...The List
Mack Harrison over at Valley in Exile has got the complete list of Rio Grande Valley mayors who are taking a stand for issues Valley citizens want addressed by endorsing a candidate who....wait a minute....oh, right. Jesus, so much for hoping it was all a bad dream, they're endorsing the current REPUBLICAN Governor Rick Perry for re-election. You know, the Governor who up until now has meagerly addressed the issues of rising electricity rates, but fully endorses the need for toll roads. The one who called for a special session on school finance reform which did little to address the real needs of educators in the Rio Grande Valley.
You know the one, I thought the mayors of our part of the state knew as well.
Check out Mack's list, until next time, if anybody out there feels the need to explain why the Valley should re-elect Rick Perry, the comment section is open.
Valley Mayors make their endorsements...Who's tide is changing?...and why?
Sometimes you run across a bit of information you wish you hadn't discovered. Word from the blogosphere courtesy of Rio Grande Valley Politics, and Valley in Exile today that mayors from several Valley cities are endorsing Republican Governor Rick Perry.
Here's the list: Brownsville, Harlingen, La Villa, Edcouch, Elsa, Rio Grande City, Palmhurst, McAllen, and Mission.
A few questions come to mind when I see the list.
First, why would any official who is elected to public office that assumably represents the opinions and voice of the community, publicly endorse a candidate? (This one's a no-brainer for those of you who actually take an interest in the political environment of our region, but more on that in a later post).
Second, is it just the view of RGV Politics, or are the cities represented in the list above in very close proximity to each other? (Again, a no-brainer for those of you who understand the implications and forethought into endorsing a candidate for Governor, Democrat/Republican/or Kinky).
Third, are the mayors from the cities listed above, cities which historically stand for Democratic principles, and ideals, assuming that a Democratic candidate doesn't stand a chance against the Republican incumbent? A governor who has up to date paid lip service to the problems that affect Valley residents, i.e. rising electricity rates, school finance, toll roads, etc.? (Alright, a tad presumptious, but not without warrant. Last I heard, the Republican party in general has done little for the Valley except show up during election years to push their agendas and hope that we can trust them enough to at the very least show up at the polls and vote them in. After that, well, what can we do about it then, eh?)
Of the list, three of the Valley's major cities are being represented by mayors who for one reason or another are jumping on the Republican bandwagon. Reasons which will sooner or later become clear to their constituents. But how soon? And if not soon enough, how reasonable is later?
New Web Site Information from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP)
RGV Politics has just received an email from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, or CPPP. It states, "Working with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, CPPP is now maintaining a new online database for assessing how children in Texas and your county are faring."
One of the most recent articles on the web page deals with the rise of children living in poverty. For more information you can log on to www.cppp.org/kidscount
Xicano Power has a few words about our health care system...The Phoenix Rises
Xicano Power at Para Justicia Y Libertad has a good post on the state of health care in our country. I know some of us have had similar experiences with our loved ones, young and elderly alike. Glad to hear your grandmother is doing better, XP. You can read the post at Para Justicia Y Libertad by clicking on the web site on my link list.
Results for the Kerry-Feingold Proposal
Here's are the results of the Kerry-Feingold proposal via John Kerry's email.
"Just hours ago, the Senate voted on the Kerry-Feingold proposal to redeploy American combat troops out of Iraq by July 1, 2007. Thirteen Senators voted for it."
The thirteen Senators that voted "For" the proposal are listed as the following:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-sponsor
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) co-sponsor
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
"Please call, write, or email these Senators and acknowledge their leadership on Iraq."-Sen. John Kerry.
Big thanks from RGV Politics to anybody who took the time to look at the proposal by Senators Kerry and Feingold. Extra big thanks to those of you who signed the petition as well.
Star-Teleram Op-Ed piece...Link to HD 90 State Rep. Lon Burnam's article...
I just received an email from House District 90 State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth. He has an op-ed piece that came out in yesterday's issue of the Star-Telegram. The piece is titled, "Hold that applause", and the issue is this past special session on school finance reform. It's an excellent piece, and I thought I'd pass it along to the readers of RGV Politics. Here's the link, http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/14842147.htm
State Rep. Burnam would like some feedback, so post your comments on RGV Politics and I'll pass along the local reaction, or there might be a feedback section on the Star-Telegram's web site, you could leave your comments there as well.
City of Pharr..."On the Rise"....Especially the high price of renovations...
Word out of The Monitor today, newly designated All-America City of Pharr is looking to spend $2.1 million on renovations to the Tierra Del Sol golf course.
Whew, must be the price to pay to keep up with the "Jones's" across small town Americana.
So who pays for this?
Surely not the National Civic League that designates All-America cities across the nation in the first place. According to Mack Harrison over at Valley In Exile (http://rgvmack.blogspot.com/
) basically the organization provides the city permission to use banners and stickers for promotional use. These items are emblazoned with the All-America City logo.
Great way to help the taxpayers who now face $2.1 million in renovating a golf course to be completed just in time for the Winter Texans to take advantage of, as City Manager Fred Sandoval was quoted in the report. Well, okay, fine, yes Winter Texans are probably the best business the golf course gets, but man, if I'm a taxpayer and the city I live in is going to spend $2.1 million of my taxpayer dollars to renovate a golf course, you better bet your bottom dollar I'd be demanding free golf lessons, community functions, summer youth golf programs, and invitations to any and all events taking place at Tierra Del Sol year-round. Year-round, not conveniently scheduled events to cater to one set of the community who's only here half the time.
I've got an idea.
Why doesn't the city use that $100,000 Mayor Palacios was questioning when he offered to hire a couple of extra police officers but was actually going to be used...
Oh, that's right. They spent the money frivolously by attending a conference where all they got out of it was bragging rights and a couple of bumper stickers to boot.
Hope they can fit the name of the golf course on those banners as well. At $2.1 million, they'll need all the help they can get.
Upcoming Campaign Stops for Barbara Ann Radnofsky...Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate...
Via information sent by email to RGV Politics, here are Barbara Ann Radnofsky's scheduled campaign stops in the Rio Grande Valley this week:
June 16, Hidalgo Fundraising Barbecue
6-9 p.m. Mission, Texas.
Contact Sonny Martinez or Juan Maldonado at (956) 867-8096
Directions-Take Conway north through Mission to Mile 3. Wal-Mart on the right, turn left. First road is Trosper. Turn left for 2.5 miles.
June 17 Fundraising Breakfast, Brownsville
9:30-10:30 a.m. Brownsville, Texas
Contact Rose Melendez or Sylvia Berry (956) 433-1015
Directions-VICC, Brownsville, Texas.
There's more information on Barbara Ann Radnofsky's web site, just click on the link in my sidebar. If you've got any questions regarding how to get to the Mission fundraiser, let me know and I'll try to clear up any questions.
Barbara Ann Radnofsky...Democratic Nominee to visit Valley this week...back to the drawing board for one blogger...
"What bothered me then, and still bothers me now, is that she (Radnofsky) won by the slimmest of margins. This in turn worries me. Hidalgo-Radnofsky 9,418 (Gene) Kelly 8,565 difference of 853 votes. Cameron-Radnofsky 3,212 Kelly 2,478 difference of 734 votes. That's slim pickin's for an area of the state that although is historically Democrat, also has a history of voting on name recognition alone. That's the worrisome part, Seth....if (Gene) Kelly could pull 11,043 votes from people who don't know him from Adam, I'm worried (Kay Bailey) Hutchison may do the same. I believe in her (Radnofsky), and what she can accomplish. If I didn't, I wouldn't have voted for her, and the issue of whether she could win the RGV in November wouldn't even cross my mind." Exerpt from an email to Seth Davidson, Campaign Manager for Barbara Ann Radnofsky for U.S. Senate, 4/19/2006.
That was two months ago following the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate Run-Off. Barbara Ann Radnofsky, in my mind won by the slimmest of margins in the Rio Grande Valley. (See "Too close for comfort" post, April 2006) The general feel two months later really hasn't changed much. If you asked the average voter on the street, they may not even know there is a general election in November in the first place. After the primaries, things are relatively back to normal. Even I got back into the normal swing of things, although Seth Davidson invited me to spread the message around the Valley as far as who and what Barbara Ann Radnofsky stands for. "Sign me up," I told him, as I immediately made plans to give the Valley heavy, heavy doses on information regarding Radnofsky.
What ended up happening was local politics became a hotbed for change. Especially in the case of extreme local politics from my own point of view in San Juan, Texas. Here the main focus of the year seems to be out with the old, in with the new.
So I got a little sidetracked from writing letters to the editors of different publications around the Valley. You see my writing is usually well thought out, at least by my standards, albeit seemingly hurried some times, but nevertheless, I'm not some three hundred pound gorilla randomly striking the letters on my keyboard. Then hoping against hope that people will make sense of it all.
I sincerely believe in getting the word out about Barbara Ann Radnofsky.
So I recently emailed Seth again, apologized for any delay I've personally made in doing my part to get the word out, and what my plans were for jumping on board again. The good news is Barbara Ann Radnofsky will be visiting South Texas this week at different functions, and fundraisers, and for the Valley's sake, that's good. Especially at the midpoint of her campaign for U.S. Senate against Kay Bailey Hutchison. The great news will have to hold off a little longer as I'm hoping certain events will come through for us. Until then, look to RGV Politics to be posting more on the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate, Barbara Ann Radnofsky.
Click on Radnofsky's web page link on my sidebar for more detailed information regarding the candidate....(to be continued)
San Juan City Commissioners Meeting...It's Tuesday, It's Hot,...And something doesn't smell right...
Every now and again, since I started this blog back in January, there have been brief instances when I question the value of continuing RGV Politics. I don't do this full time, and I don't get paid for it. Why then, should a citizen care about what's going on in his community? For that matter, why should a citizen care about passing on any pertinent information other citizens may not otherwise get? Tonights San Juan City Commissioners meeting cleared all of the skepticism I had about continuing on this path. I have attended two meetings, the previous one and tonights, and overall, I'm getting a good feeling about the current administration. For instance, Mayor San Juanita Sanchez in item 10 of tonight's agenda brought up the issue of city commissioners sitting on the San Juan Economic Development Corporation. The mayor questioned the ethics behind having a sitting commissioner being able to vote on items brought forth by the EDC that affect the City of San Juan. Commissioner Eddie Rodriguez motioned for a vote to eliminate any sitting city commissioner to serve on the EDC as well. Commissioner Claudia Gonzalez seconded the motion. The motion passed. And, hell, I for one applaud their efforts. Why? Because by voting to bar any sitting city commissioner from voting or holding office within an Economic Development Corporation means there's less chance of anything unethical going on. Commissioner Bobby Rodriguez had something to say about this when he stated that up until now, the EDC has been transparent in all their dealings, which brought "tsks" and hushed colorful comments from some citizens in attendance. Not sure what that means, but if you're like me, you can probably put two and two together on that count. However, the little cynic in me can't help but bring into question the items that followed the EDC vote.To wit, items 11, 12, and 13.Item 11: Consider and approve appointment(s) to Amigos del Valle Corporation Board of Directors.Commissioner Eddie Rodriguez nominates Commissioner Claudia Gonzalez.Commissioner Claudia Gonzalez nominates Commissoner Eddie Rodriguez as alternate.Item 12: Consider and approve appointment(s) of representative(s) to the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization.Commissioner Eddie Rodriguez nominates Mayor San Juanita Sanchez.Commissioer Claudia Gonzalez nominates Mayor Pro-Tem Eddie Rodriguez as alternate.Item 13: Consider and approve appointment to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council Board of Directors.Commissioner Claudia Gonzalez nominates Commissioner Eddie Rodriguez.The votes passed. Now....Something doesn't smell right to me. It didn't at the very moment it was happening, and in retrospect as I type these words, it still doesn't.Here's the thing. If, as citizens, we are going to demand a better government whether you're from Brownsville, or Hidalgo, or Pharr, or Edinburg, we need to put an end to anything that even closely resembles that tired word, "compadrismo". Now, I'll concede that if we're going to clean up dirty politics, we're going to have to weed the old regimes out. I'm speaking of course, of factual information, not innuendos, or I heard it from a friend of a friend. I'm talking about honest to goodness, in your face, we don't care if everyone and their grandmother's know what's going on we're going to do it anyway type of politics. The Valley is in need of a positive change from th[...]