Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas for Carlos Quintanilla~BISD Board Succumbs to Temptation


by Jim Barton on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 1:05pm

     Unlike many Americans who could not make their mortgage payments, Carlos Quintanilla will likely not lose his house.  Monies destined for use by the children of the Brownsville Independent School District will be diverted in a clandestine way by the BISD Board of Trustees back to Healthsmart by the dismissal of the $14,000,000 lawsuit the school district had filed to recover two years of discovered overcharges by the provider.   Quintanilla may very well have accomplished his mission, sniffing around the BISD the past couple of years, luring trustees into entanglement, promoting cooperative candidates to replace those not Q-friendly.   If Ted Parker invested in Quintanilla to squelch the lawsuit against Healthsmart, that investment may pay off handsomely.
     In Brownsville, everyone seems to know a trustee, an administrator, an operative influenced by Quintanilla.  What I usually hear is that their friend was conned, duped, drinking the Kool-Aid Quintanilla pours.  That is difficult to believe.  These are grown-up people, professionals, who routinely do background checks on janitorial staff.  Quintanilla is not only a convicted R.I.C.O felon, he looks and acts the part with obvious misrepresentations flying out of his mouth like sparks from a welding rod.  What I believe is that many simply succumbed to temptation, just as those in Mark Twain's fictictious town of Hadleyburg.  I believe the BISD Board of Trustees is rendered ineffectual by an "I will tell on you if you tell on me" mentality, making individual trustees fearful of doing what's right lest their own sins be made public.  Thus, we have paralysis, acquiescence and cowardice displayed.
     Merry Christmas, Carlos!  Sorry kids!
     But, alas, there may be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and it may not be an oncoming freight train!  What if, as I've heard, Judge Carlos Cascos is allowed to appoint an interim district attorney should Villalobos finally declare for a higher office?  What if that interim appointee is interested in actually doing the job? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ernie Hernandez "Steps Up to the Plate" in Cameron Park to Promote Daughter Erin as Justice of the Peace


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 8:15pm
      Erin Hernandez Garcia, candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2-2 loves the baseball analogy "step up to the plate."  She used it to describe her dad, Ernie Hernandez, Jr. a Cameron County Commissioner who graced a turkey plate giveaway with his presence 11/23/11 in the impoverished colonia known as Cameron Park:  "Their particular commissioner is my dad, Ernie.  They called him to help and he stepped up to the plate. . . . . I think it's crucial because this may be the only Thanksgiving dinner they have."  Ten turkeys were donated, then prepared by Rudy's Barbecue.  Dr. Asim Zamir also donated  200 plates as well.   Staff from the Cameron County Sheriff's Department, New Harvest Ministries, Cameron County Precinct 2, along with Norma, Ernie and Erin Hernandez helped out at the feast.
      Ernie Hernandez may have also been "stepping up" to a political plate involving Cameron Park.  Yolanda Begum is Erin's opponent for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2-2 and has strong ties to Cameron Park.  She taught art classes at the Cameron Park and Browne Road Social Center.  Ernie Hernandez, ever the political opportunist, seized an opportunity to give daughter Erin a presence in the colonia.

     Blogger Juan Montoya, beating me to the punch with his coverage of the event, quotes this colonia resident:  ""Why aren't they out there trying to fix the streets and the stagnant resaca that smells like hell because it is stagnant and full of trash and used appliances. If you need a water heater, a shopping cart, or any other appliance, it's in there."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Notice of Substitute Trustee's Sale of 421 S. Dwight, Dallas, TX

Notice of Substitute Trustee's Sale of 421 S. Dwight, Dallas, TX

by Jim Barton on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 7:13pm
Trust, dated September 29, 2006, to the Trustee therein named, for the benefit of OPTION ONE
MORTGAGE CORPORATION, covering the real property described below, which Deed of
Trust is filed for record under Clerk's File No. 200600371497, of the Official Records, of Dallas
County, Texas; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned has been appointed Substitute Trustee in place of the
original Trustee, upon the contingencies and in the manner authorized by said Deed of Trust; and
WHEREAS, default has occurred in the covenants of the Deed of Trust, monetary or
otherwise, and the full indebtedness secured by the Deed of Trust is now due and payable, and
NTex Realty, LP, the owner and holder of said indebtedness has requested the undersigned to
sell the property to satisfy the indebtedness secured by the Deed of Trust.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, the undersigned Substitute Trustee, give notice that I will, after
notice as required by the Deed of Trust and by law, sell at public auction to the highest bidder for
cash, at the North side of the building below the overhang facing Commerce Street of the George
Allen Building, 600 Commerce Street, Dallas, Texas 75202, at 10:00 a.m. (or within three hours
thereafter) on December 6, 2011, the property covered by the Deed of Trust, being more
particularly described as:
Being Lots 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12, Block B/8341 of ARCADIA PARK ANNEX,
an Addition to the City of Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, according to the Map
thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 415, Map Records, Dallas County, Texas.
day Of~/J r~  A1HilOJ
S\. j l/U Tim Fleet, SubstItute Trustee
In spite of any disinformation from Quintanilla, this was posted in Dallas County:
that, whereas Carlos Quintanilla executed a Deed of

Can Escobedo and Quintanilla Be Stopped Before BISD Loses $14,000,000?


by Jim Barton on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 6:02pm
     Just this morning a Dallas court allowed a Temporary Restraining Order with respect to the foreclosure on the home of Carlos Quintanilla until December 12th to allow the court more time to hear the case. 30 Minutes was not enough time for the court to hear the evidence. The court only agreed to this if Quintanilla posted a $1,000 cash bond. This is not unusual as courts bend over backwards to protect the rights of individuals facing the loss of their home.
     How does this affect us in Brownsville?  Con artist Quintanilla, facing foreclosure, liens, bounced checks and other legal problems is desperate for money.  Quintanilla's golden egg may very well be Ted Parker of Healthsmart, an insurance company the BISD is suing for $14,000,000 in overcharges.  How much would it be worth it to Ted Parker if Quintanilla could get trustees elected and administrators appointed who would agree to drop the suit against Healthsmart?  Would Parker pay a million to save fourteen million?

     Trustee Enrique Escobedo, pictured at the top of the article with Quintanilla, is said to be pushing hard for dismissal of the Healthsmart lawsuit.  If he can get the case dismissed in the next few days, it's possible that Quintanilla can get paid and save his home from foreclosure.  The trustees Quintanilla helped elect are Enrique Escobedo, Lucy Longoria and Catalina Presas-Garcia.  Taped evidence also seems to indicate that Quintanilla orchestrated the "firing" or forceout of Superintendent Springston, the termination of Chief Financial Officer Tony Fuller, perhaps because they opposed dropping the suit.
     Escobedo is no stranger to dishonesty.  You may recall the Brownsville Herald story detailing his false claim to a doctorate.  Even after the school in Mexico he claimed issued his doctorate degree stated they had issued him none such and that he was considered a "student", welcome to come back and pursue a degree, he still printed out campaign materials claiming a doctorate.

     Catalina Presas-Garcia may also be part of the core of corruption.  Notice this excerpt from the Brownsville Herald tieing her to Ted Parker:  "BISD board president Catalina Presas-Garcia has chosen a law firm to defend her against a lawsuit by former athletic director Joe Rodriguez — and it’s the same firm that represents Ted Parker, the onetime owner of Healthsmart Benefits Solutions Inc. which BISD is suing for breach of contract."
     Mary S. Rey overheard a conversation between Quintanilla and Lucy Longoria where Quintanilla screamed:  "I made you, bitch!"  So she may also feel some obligation to the convicted racketeer as well.
     We need to do everything in our power to see that the suit is not dismissed at the whims and direction of a con artist who may profit from such a dismissal.  We need FBI involvement, just as the FBI got involved with the Lubbock City Commission involving Healthsmart.  We owe it to the children of Brownsville to not throw away $14,000,000 at a time when funds are limited just to help a con artist and his cronies. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve at the Crescent Moon~Belly Dancing, Blues, Clay Moore

     The first three short videos, belly dancing is backed up by the Lords of D'Nile.  In the 4th video Clay Moore joins the Lords, doing a bluesy version of "Lucille". 

Carlos Quintanilla, A Victim of Unwarranted Attacks?

 It's helpful to get familiar with the style, the techniques of con artist, flim flam man, convicted RICO racketeer Carlos Quintanilla.  The article below is his feeble attempt to counter our posting of documents detailing some of his financial and legal difficulties.  Actually, his problems are his problems.  They only concern us if it raises his crescendo of desperation to manipulate BISD trustees with respect to the Healthsmart lawsuit.  Our hope is that the trustees act in the best interest of the Cameron County taxpayers, not some convicted racketeer from Dallas who may or may not be working for a healthy commission with respect to the lawsuit. 
      In any event, we wish Mr. Quintanilla's children a wonderful Thanksgiving, regardless of which parent they spend the holiday with or the pre-cooked weight of the turkey. 


BTW. . . . . . .Nena and I are not members of the Tea Party or any other political party. 

The story below is reposted from Juan Montoya's "El Rrun Rrun" blog. 


By Carlos Quintanilla
My friends, my life has been a public record for many many years.
I have fought against monsters and demons and sometimes they get the better of you. I just wanted you to know that I am well, my home is not in danger of being lost, it is in the midst of a very unexpected political fight. I was not able to put two and two together until Jim Barton, (who is proud carrying member of the Tea Party and who has launched a very hateful campaign against me) published it on his blog.
He posted it just because I am who I am.
Read the story, since it has gone on the world wide web, look at the conicidences, question the questions, read the PDF file and my lawsuit and know that we are in for the political fight of our lives, it will not be easy. but we will prevail.
My Children are well and looking forward to cooking that 23 pound Turkey.
Peace be with you. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Carlos.  I want to give you an opportunity to prove that you're not a liar.  I'm inviting you to be a guest columnist for "Mean Mister Brownsville". 

Please prove some of your assertions by providing:

1.  Proof that you made the three trial payments to qualify for a HAMP mortgage.

2.  Provide a Release of Federal Tax Lien document for your home at 421 S. Dwight, Dallas, TX

3.  Provide a copy of the lease you say you have with either Maria Perez or Mary S. Rey for 1205 S. St. Charles, Brownsville, TX

4.  Any evidence that I, Jim Barton, am a member of the Tea Party and the cousin of Rep. Joe Barton

This should be an easy assignment, unless you're lying.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Carlos Quintanilla, DOB 11/07/57 Charged with Theft by Check, Dallas, TX~$500.00

by Jim Barton on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 3:34pm
Peoplefinders matches the name Carlos Quintanilla, the DOB 11-07/1957 with a resident of Dallas, TX and a previous known address in Chicago, IL.  Here is the document:

     Is this OUR Carlos Quintanilla?  Well, even DNA matches are not given a certainty of 100%.  If it is the Carlos Quintanilla we know, this is indeed indicative of another bit of financial and legal headache for the Dallas con man entangled with the BISD board, it has local implications.  There is great interest in whether or not the BISD lawsuit against Healthsmart is dropped.  It is alleged that Trustee Enrique Escobedo is working diligently to get it dropped.  Add Ted Parker and Carlos Quintanilla to the list of those keenly interested.  My only hope is that they are not successful in engineering the dropping of the suit before all the facts are out.
     As I stated in my last post, I'm merely a conduit for this revelation, not its source.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quintanilla's Problems Compounded~IRS Tax Lien for $244,659.99


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 4:38pm

     Some feel that only an alleged payoff for manipulating BISD to drop their suit against Healthsmart could save Quintanilla financially now.  While we can't be totally certain about that, it would not be wise for Escobedo and Presas-Garcia to pursue dropping the suit against Healthsmart at this point.  Facts are just now coming out.  Mary S. Rey indicates that there will be at least a Part 2 to her deposition, some of it involving the Quintanilla-Presas-Garcia relationship.
     BTW, I've not revealed my source in providing the documents about the tax lien and foreclosure.  That person or persons may reveal themselves at a later time.  I simply do not wish to claim credit for this research as I'm merely a conduit.


     We've displayed or linked documents that seem to indicate serious legal, tax and mortgage issues for Carlos Quintanilla.  Why is one man's finances or legal issues of any concern to us?  It is because this man is deeply entangled with the Brownsville Independent School District, a huge entity with an annual budget of over $500,000,000.  Carlos is not here out of benevolence, good will, doing research or charity.  He is here for one thing: M-O-N-E-Y.  He has a plan or scam, if you will, in place to profit from BISD.  Theoretically, how much would it be worth Ted Parker if BISD drops its $14,000,000 lawsuit against Healthsmart?  What if someone could manipulate the board, orchestrate hirings and firings to achieve a certain result?  All of this is theoretical, of course, but I'm simply trying to illustrate what COULD be in the works.  Of course, all of this has been said before by other commentators, but it seemed to be appropriate to mention it here.
       Even Quintanilla's home at 421 S. Dwight Ave, Dallas, TX, mentioned above, facing a huge tax lien is of some interest to Brownsville.  Do you remember during the Fly Frontera fiasco, former Mayor Pat Ahumada tried to distance Quintanilla from the airlines deal that was before the city commission?  "He's just the messenger!" Ahumada kept saying.  "He's not part of the company!"  Ahumada stated April 5th at the commission meeting, almost forcing Craig Grove to bring to commission's attention that the corporate headquarter's address on the Fly Frontera website was 421 S. Dwight Ave., Dallas, TX, Quintanilla's home.

Happy Thanksgiving!    Go Cowboys!

Quintanilla Tries to Block Foreclosure on Dallas Home


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 1:04pm

     It's inappropriate to rejoice on someone else's misery, but the ongoing foreclosure on Carlos Quintanilla's 6000+SF home in Dallas certainly factors in to his desperation level.  I'm just hopeful that enough information about what the convicted racketeer is attempting to do with BISD will get out before he fully accomplishes his mission.
     On a related note, Mary S. Rey informs me that she is proceeding with part 2 of her deposition, which she says will deal more closely with the relationship between Carlos Quintanilla and Catalina Presas-Garcia.  I've alreadly listened to many of the recordings and read the texts and feel it will be powerful.
This link is to evernote.  Once you get there please click on "quintanillaforeclosure pdf 1.4 MB"

ps:  I will be personally reviewing the above document, taking notes.  So I may add more to the story later.   I just wanted to get this much of it out.  Time is of the essence. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Con Artist Quintanilla Threatens Local Blogger


by Jim Barton on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 6:55pm

     According to the blog Downtown Browntown, Carlos Quintanilla sent this message to the blog's publisher, Jerry Mchale:
  ""While I find your blog amusing and informative, I categorically reject the continued slander and defamation you use towards me. Your latest reference to me as a flim-flam man is slanderous and libel per se. You are being advised that any future postings on your blog referring to me in a slanderous and defamatory manner will leave me no recourse but to file civil actions against you and file a complaint against you in your capacity at BISD for slander and defamation with reference to business relations. I am also making a demand that you delete your offensive reference to me as a flim-flam man. I am sure that there are many in Brownsville who fit that description."

     Threats issued by Quintanilla are nothing new.  As you may know, Mary S. Rey has a son currently incarcerated, charged with murder.   Mary played tapes for us where Quintanilla threatened to go to the victim's family, guiding them in pursuing the harshest penalty should her son be convicted.  Quintanilla threatened me with a lawsuit when I referred to him as a con artist during the Fly Frontera fiasco.
     But Quintanilla is on shaky legal ground here with Mchale.  Defamation and slander typically require a statement to be malicious and false.  Is it incorrect to refer to Quintanilla as a flim flam man or con artist?   The U.S. judicial system has declared Quintanilla GUILTY  of racketeering with a R.I.C.O. felony conviction involving his attempted $700,000 kickback scheme to defraud the G. Heileman Brewing Company.  Since a kickback scheme involves lying, deception and a con, Quintanilla is a convicted liar and con artist.  Calling him a flim flam man is a gross understatement.  Notice that Mchale held back from reporting what was alleged by several during the Fly Frontera fiasco:  that Quintanilla was $85,000 arrears in child support, had bounced $12,000 in hot checks, had numerous liens on his property for non-payment of services and multitudinous lawsuits.
     Threats and cons are just part of Quintanilla's arsenal.  He also plays the race card and apparently dangles the lure of calabaza.  Quintanilla is associated with Accion America, sort of the hispanic version of the NAACP, a group purported to protecting the civil rights of hispanics.  While Quintanilla wore out his welcome in Dallas, many succumbed here in Brownsville.  Fly Frontera was on the verge of passing last April 5th without the 4-day old company every having been vetted by the BEDC.  Former Mayor Ahumada lobbied vociferously on Facebook for the proposal.  Former commissioner Charlie Atkinson kept trying to bring it back long after it was dead.  The lure of calabaza.

     Based on the above, it should be troubling that Quintanilla is unquestionably entangled with the BISD.  Mary S. Rey has recordings and texts that indicate that he is calling the shots, palling around and cavorting with Catalina Presas-Garcia and Lucy Longoria.  Mary overheard Quintanilla calling Longoria a "bitch" when she got cold feet on the Springston firing/termination/resignation.  Why is a convicted racketeer allowed around our educators and their administrators?  He is not an educator or an administrator.  He is not a trustee or teacher.  He is a convicted racketeer from Dallas who cannot leave our community fast enough.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Junior Bonner Contemplates Defamation Suit Against The Paz Files

Junior Bonner Contemplates Defamation Suit Against The Paz Files

by Jim Barton on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 10:01pm
     A bartender knows.  Junior always puts fifty cents in the tip jar on a one fifty draft unless he's down about something.  "What's wrong Junior?" I consoled, trying to bring his troubles out into the open.   "Oh, it's that damn Paz guy!  He's makin' me out as an adulterer.  I ain't ever even been married.  Oh, I've had women, but when I finally realized I was a family man, it was too late.  My looks were gone.  Now, no one wants to even go out with me, not even Paula, the bi-polar lady in government housing."
     "Why would he do that?" I countered.  "Oh, he hired me to do some pokin' around in Brownsville and Harlingen.  He calls it investigative reporting.  I call it gettin' into other people's business.  But, he don't pay nuthin'.  Then, the shithead makes me the story.  I read his shit on the library computer:  Junior Bonner with this woman, Junior with that woman.  It's all a damn lie!  The only woman I asked to marry me was Belinda from the Umatilla Reservation.  I was willing to be a father to her five kids, but she wouldn't have me.  Can't say I blame her.  I'm just no good."
     Full disclosure or as they say, "coming clean" allows a bartender to sort things out.  "Dammit, Junior.  You're one of the best customers I have.  Don't let this Paz fella get to you.  Where is the muddafukka, anyway?"  "Oh, he's up there in Austin.  He's plum skeered of the valley.  Ever since that guy pulled an H.E.B. boxcutter on him.  Skeered the bejeebies outta him and he hightailed it to Austin.  Lives in one of them rent-subsidized apartments where the government pays half.  I don't give a shit."  He tapped his empty Bud Light on the counter.  I replaced it, accepting a fifty cent tip.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"What do you have against Carl Montoya?"

by Jim Barton on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 5:30pm

     An email I received gives me an opportunity to clarify some things.  The email starts out:  "What do you have against Carl Montoya?"  Nothing, really.  Observing him Tuesday night at the board meeting, he seemed thoughtful, attentive, not combative.  He took written notes when offered suggestions.  He reminds me of that able second banana that many corporate CEOs seem to have, you know the ones that carry a notepad with them at all times to jot down the boss's instructions and suggestions.  They learn to write in tiny font so as to get as much information on a small page as possible.  Then, they follow through.  Carl strikes me as that sort of guy.  But, I do not want him as superintendent.
     I learned all I need to know about Carl Montoya as superintendent in his first few hours on the job when he suspended the Chief Financial Officer, Tony Fuller, before drinking his first cup of coffee.  A thoughtful, careful, discerning leader just assuming oversight does not make a huge personnel decision in his first hours of taking office.  He owes his constituents, his staff and his peers more than that.  Initially he probes, he questions, he carefully evaluates the needs  of the district.  He comes up with an evaluation, his evaluation, not someone elses.  Even if he decides a change is needed, he still waits until he has carefully evaluated a replacement.   Only then does he act.
     By making two important personnel moves in the first 48 hours of his new position, Montoya proved that he was not his own man.  He was simply following orders.  Perhaps, that is why even before the last board meeting Presas-Garcia declared Montoya a good "fit" for the job.  That's exactly what Montoya is.  He fits perfectly into the plans of those who want to control the district.  Do you really think that a district with a $500,000,000 annual budget does not deserve a careful nationwide or even statewide search for a superintendent.  The board majority does not.  They already have a "fit".

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes Calls It "Quits"~Brownsville Noise Creates A Memorial

Please click on picture to enlarge.

Bobby will certainly be missed during his hiatus. Is it possible to simply freeze a blog until blog resuscitation becomes routine among medical and/or mental health professionals? Traditionally, internet sayonaras can last as long as 48 hours depending on their severity. If BROWNSVILLE VOICE succumbs, but another relevant blog by the same publisher opens, does that qualify as going back on your word?.

Video of BISD Vote to Make Montoya Sole Candidate for Superintendent

     This was agenda item #43 to make Carlos Montoya the sole candidate for superintendent.  The application window was open only one day to insure Montoya was the only candidate.  This vote certifies that.  Trustees Pena, Aquilar and Colunga seem initially troubled by the process, not so much the candidate.  District rules call for a 10 day applicant window. 
     The vote was initially a 3-3 deadlock which must be with someone abstaining.  After Enrique Escobedo expressed disappointment with the vote, Joe Colunga changed his vote.  Presas-Garcia then announced the vote as 5-2, obviously including the original abstention.  Presas-Garcia then proceeds with an admonition as to what she expects from Montoya, once officially installed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Presas-Garcia Prevents Trustee Pena From Commenting on Agenda Point

.     At the 2:08 mark of the tape Minerva Pena attempts to comment.  She is stopped by Board President Presas-Garcia.  Enrique Escobedo comes to Presas-Garcia's aid.  Later in the video there is some discussion about the legality of  not following policy of an application window of 10 days.  Please note Attorney Arturo Michel's response.  He seems to initially indicate that proper policy was NOT followed by not allowing a 10 day applicant window, but only a 1 day window.  Then he seems to reverse himself by saying that since a 21 day waiting period follows the 10 day applicant window, the district is in compliance by waiting a total of 31 days.  That ruling sort of negates the purpose of having a 10 day applicant window.
      Of course, the board majority is not interested in any other candidates, no matter how well qualified.  They want this one because he suits their purpose.  He will continue to do their bidding. 

Sergio Cavazos Addresses the BISD Board During Public Comment

This young man gave an impromptu, extemporaneous speech to the BISD School Board at the board meeting 11/15/11.  My wife, Nena, videotaped all of public comment, so we have the video here.  Sergio, along with his father, have given permission to show the video. 

One Puzzling Thing About the Mary S. Rey Deposition

     One puzzling thing about the Mary Rey deposition:  If she is really under some sort of court order, was actually subpoenaed, how is it that she calls the shots with respect to a Part 2 or 3?  Wouldn't that depend on the questions that need to be asked, not on the one required to testify?
     Wouldn't Judge McDonald or whoever signed the subpoena or order decide when it was satisfied?

This, from the BROWNSVILLE VOICE, is what I'm referencing:



If you close the BV, I will not do the rest of the deposition. Period!
Now, I am extremely disappointed at how Colunga allowed Lucy Longoria to shut him down, and how Cata did not allowed Peña the floor. Is this legal?
Cata was extremely nervous and called the deposition "innuendos and falsifications", but yet does not denied any of them.
I really wanted to send Minerva excerpts from a a conversation where Cata admits to her and Luci being entangled with Quintanilla...Do you want to hear at least that part before you think about closing? My phone number at home is ...-...., you already know the cell ...-...., but that's where it's stored that's why I am asking you to call me on the house ph."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filing a Complaint with the Texas Education Agency about BISD~Basic Information

1.What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written allegation of non-compliance with school laws and rules that fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Education Agency.
2. Who may file a complaint?
Any person, group of individuals, or organization may file a complaint.
3. Anonymous Complaints
Generally, TEA does not accept anonymous complaints. However, anonymous reports of violations involving the administration of tests in the state assessment program are accepted and reviewed by TEA to the extent possible.
4. Courtesy Copy TEA does not acknowledge receipt or respond to courtesy copies of correspondence. A courtesy copy may be classified as transitory information and may be maintained only as long as needed.
5. Email Complaints Information the public sends to TEA by email may not be secure. Confidential or sensitive information should not be transmitted to TEA by email. TEA will remove confidential or sensitive information when replying to the public by email. If a complaint is sent to TEA by email without complete contact information, TEA must verify the sender before reviewing the complaint. The full name, phone number and complete address of the sender will be requested.
6. What must a complaint include?
To adequately review and address a complaint, certain information is needed. TEA must be able to identify a clear violation of a school law and determine whether TEA has authority to act upon the allegation.
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7. Checklist of information to include in a complaint:
  • complainant’s full name, mailing address and signature
  • local written decisions
  • detail description of the actions or decisions that violate a school law (do not include identifying information of a person who is a minor)
  • documentation and facts that give reason to believe that a school law was violated
  • name of the school staff members who were notified of the complaint
  • complaints filed with other agencies and responses from other agencies
  • the resolution requested
  • full and accurate name of involved educators
A general correspondence form is available, but is not required.
8. Where to Send Correspondence?
Correspondence and Complaints are sent to the TEA main address.
Correspondence and Complaints Management
Office of the Commissioner of Education
Texas Education Agency | 1701 N. Congress Avenue | Austin, TX 78701-1494
Fax (512) 463-9008 or Email
9. What happens after the complaint is received? Correspondence and complaints are forwarded to the appropriate TEA office for proper review. TEA staff review the complaint to ensure that TEA has jurisdiction and authority to intervene or investigate the matter. TEA staff also determine whether the complaint has sufficient facts to give reason to believe that there is a violation of school law, if true. If the complaint is not sufficient or TEA does not have authority to address the complaint, TEA will notify the complainant in approximately 10 working days.
10. General Receipt Notice
Complaints that meet the criteria for investigative review will be acknowledged within 10 working days.
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11. Investigation Notice and General Procedures If an investigation is authorized, the TEA will send a written notice to the district superintendent and complainant. The notice will provide parties an opportunity to submit additional information. After a preliminary review, the TEA will notify parties involved of the disposition of the complaint. By rule, the TEA must provide districts an opportunity for informal reviews or educators an opportunity to participate in a conference before finalizing the decisions.
Preliminary findings are not final decisions and are subject to changes following informal reviews or record reviews. If a member of the public requests information that is preliminary or audit working papers, the TEA may request to except certain information from public disclosure through the Texas Office of Attorney General in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act.
Investigations of districts and open enrollment charter schools are conducted under Chapter 39 of the Texas Education Code reviews are conducted under Chapter 97 of the Texas Administrative Code.
TEA divisions have specific investigative procedures in place. Investigative procedures and timelines may differ depending on the program requirements.
12. Final Written Decision
TEA decisions are issued in writing to parties involved.
13. Reconsideration of Final Decisions
Requests for reconsideration, if any, of a final written decision will be explained in the Division's investigation procedures. There is not TEA appeal process for final decisions.
14. Confidentiality and Public Information Requests for TEA Records
TEA follows the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) and will release information in accordance with the TPIA. Information can only be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law. TEA must maintain the confidentiality of all student information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). TEA may seek exceptions to public disclosure of audit working papers and preliminary reports in accordance with the applicable laws.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The BISD Show, 4-1/2 Hours of Incompetence, A Dumb Lawyer, One Bright Kid


by Jim Barton on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 1:40am

     The Brownsville Independent School District, sporting a $500,000,000 annual budget does not want leadership of any kind, thank you very much. Why else would the board eschew a nationwide or even statewide search for a permanent superintendent, leave the vacancy open for a skant day, then lock in a mediocre interim super, known more for obeying orders than issuing them? The rules call for the job to be open for 10 days, then a 21 day period before a winner could be named. Attorney Arturo Michel, the board's equivalent to Craig Ferguson's metal sidekick Geoff Peterson issued his legal one-liner after adding 10+21:  Just wait 31 days. Presto, you're legal! And you thought law school was hard.

     The board president started off the festivities by chastising facility engineering and other officials for allowing a $60,000,000 Veteran's Memorial to be turned over without the welding classrooms being wired for welding. Please tell me I didn't hear that welding students had been sitting in welding classes for two years without welders.

     The small audience outwaited the alleged executive session to hear the dramatic consideration of agenda point #43, which would effectively hand the superintendentship to Montoya. The drama of a tie vote was quickly broken with a change of heart by Joe Colunga, most likely in the interest of peace.
Peace was not the prevailing spirit as matronly realtor Presas-Garcia and annoying Minerva Pena catfought all night. At one point Presas-Garcia simply swiped the floor from Pena with "I'm gonna run the meeting." Joe Colunga questioned the handling of a forensic audit with his agonizingly slow delivery. Bypassing the board with any evidence turned auditors into prosecutors, he felt. Carlos Montoya said "no problemo." He was briefed. Much later, trustee Aguilar asked if he could be briefed.
     The lone bright spot and only coherent adult was Sergio Cavazos, a Veteran's Memorial junior who gave an impromptu presentation in the public comment portion. Sergio praised the new principal at Veteran's for his handling of a difficult situation and mildly chastised the board for not having a concrete plan for the school.

Sylvia Atkinson May Avoid Superintendent "Hot Seat" But Retain Power


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:11pm

     Although Sylvia Atkinson, not Carlos Montoya, was apparently Catalina Presas-Garcia's first choice for superintendent, she may be content to manipulate from behind the scenes. You may remember from Mary S. Rey's deposition and associated preserved texts and phone conversations that Presas-Garcia initially wanted Atkinson as superintendent. At least one trustee was opposed to the idea, Lucy Longoria, who stated at the time that she found Atkinson "too difficult" to work with.

     A BISD insider told me: "Atkinson would be foolish to take the superintendent's job and get run off in a couple of years when she can effectively control moves from Human Resources." So, Montoya gets the salary and nameplate, Cata, Sylvia and Quintanilla retain control.    To make this all work, of course, Carlos Montoya has to continue following orders.

     Another tidbit gleaned from Mary S. Rey's records and testimony: Chief Financial Officer Tony Fuller may have sealed his fate when, in a meeting, he felt that trustee Luci Longoria had asked him the same question twice. "I've already answered your question, Ma'am." was Fuller's response. An embarassed Longoria walked out of that meeting saying Fuller was "an idiot" and "had to go."

     Much of Ms. Rey's recorded conversation and preserved texts reveals the board trustees as vindictive and many of their decisions based on personal slights.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Presas-Garcia Finds Carlos Montoya "Fit" for the Superintendent Job

Presas-Garcia Finds Carlos Montoya "Fit" for the Superintendent Job

by Jim Barton on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 8:23pm

     Indications are that the Brownsville Independent School District Board will name Carlos Montoya as the sole candidate for the permanent position of Superintendent of Schools at the 11/15/11 board meeting.   In an interview board President Catalina Presas-Garcia stopped just short of that, but declared Montoya "fit for the job."

     What Montoya appears to be "fit" for is being a willing tool for a corrupt, power-hungry board. Montoya's first few days as interim superintendent made it clear he does not make decisions, he simply carries them out. Consider this: On the first day of his interim stewardship of the super's office, actually in the first hours, before he had set the lumbar support for his high-back office chair, before he knew where the coffeemaker was, he suspended Chief Financial Officer of the district. Tony Fuller. Does that sound like a carefully weighed decision by a thoughtful administrator or hasty move by a lackey simply following orders. Is it not obvious Montoya was pre-briefed and TOLD what to do? He had no time to interview Fuller, let alone evaluate him.

     Add to this a herky-jerky move Montoya made on his third day in the interim position: He replaced 15 year veteran Susan Fox with Sylvia Atkinson as Human Resources Director. Many feel both of these decisions were orchestrated, not only by Catalina Presas-Garcia, but also by her comrade in arms, convicted racketeer Carlos Quintanilla. No wonder Presas-Garcia declared Montoya "fit" for the job.

Here's the link to the original story, including a video with Presas-Garcia:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If Quintanilla Tells A Lie 100 Times, Does It Become A Truth?

by Jim Barton on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 5:58pm

     Carlos Quintanilla is in a frantic damage control mode regarding the Mary Rey deposition, frequently using one of our region's most talented bloggers to get his story out.  This was expected.  When we visited Mary in her home the other day, the first thing she wanted to show us was the textings between her and Quintanilla regarding the $50,000 attorney Ernesto Gamez required to take the case of Mary's imprisoned son.  Quintanilla has said repeatedly that Mary demanded the money outright from Quintanilla in exchange for her work on the BISD campaign, including the use of her clean record name as president of the political action committee formed by Pat Lehmann and Carlos Quintanilla to defeat Zayas, Cortez and Powers.  The preserved textings, however, show clearly that Mary asked Quintanilla for help "raising" the exhorbitant fee, which she promised to "pay back in installments".

     Attorney Ernesto Gamez was a frequent legal representative for imprisoned former sheriff Conrado Cantu.  We were curious as to who recommended Gamez to Ms. Rey.  She was not sure but said Quintanilla was very pleased with the choice.  I was the one who raised the possibility of Quintanilla receiving a kickback on the selection.   That was just a hunch on my part, but kickbacks are certainly part of Quintanilla's modus operandi since he was convicted of a $700,000 kickback scheme perpetrated on the G. Heileman Brewing Company.
     Actually, a convicted con artist is a convicted liar.  He lies for purpose and he lies unnecessarily.  He even lies about where he lives.   There is no way Quintanilla can restore credibility.  He never had it to begin with.  His only realistic hope is to escape going back to prison.  As long as Armando Villalobos retains the title of district attorney, that is a real possibility.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brownsville Needs to Pass the Quintanilla Test


by Jim Barton on Friday, November 11, 2011 at 7:29pm

      In Mark Twain's tale "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" a town faced temptation for the first time from a stranger using the lure of riches.  The town in Twain's story failed the test.   The jury is still out on Brownsville.  Carlos Quintanilla is "The Man Who Would Corrupt Brownsville".  Please don't laugh at that.  Our previous mayor and city commission were poised to approve the ass-backwards Fly Frontera deal April 5 with Quintanilla, the convicted racketeer as the front man.  It was on the agenda as an action item with easily enough votes for passage.  To refresh your recollection, the deal rewarded Fly Frontera Airlines for FAILURE,  with the city of Brownsville responsible for the first 23 tickets on every flight NOT SOLD.  It provided $500,000 startup money for the 4 day old company to buy fuel, parts, pay fees, etc , then subsidized to the tune of $1,000,000 per year for the first two years.  A few angry citizens gave the city commission pause, causing them to table the deal for 21 days.  As Anthony Troiani admitted that night the company had not even been properly vetted by the BDEC.  How many other deals and companies come before the city commission without proper scrutiny from the board anointed to scrutinize them?   Even after the BDEC evalution was finally done, coming back negative and killing the deal, former commissioner Atkinson argued vociferously for weeks for its revival.  The vision of calabaza implanted in Atkinson's brain by Quintanilla fueled his desire to close the deal despite red flags all over the place.
     The $500,000,000 dollar budget of BISD has Quintanilla sniffing all around.  Is there not a grown-up person at BISD that will ask "Why are we involved with a convicted racketeer?  Why is Catalina Presas-Garcia, the board president palling around with him?  Why is Quintanilla allowed to call the shots to the point that he calls trustee Luci Longoria a "bitch" when she hesitates to obey?  Quintanilla is not an educator, not an administrator.  What business does he have around our school officials?
     Do you remember the whirlwind first few days after Carlos Montoya was named interim superintendent?  On Montoya's first day, actually first hours in his office, before he even knew where the coffee machine was, he suspended Chief Financial Officer Tony Fuller.  Two days later, still finding his new parking spot with difficulty, he demotes Human Resources Director Susan Fox, who worked in the job 15 years, replacing her with the much-travelled Sylvia Atkinson.  It's obvious these were not Carlos Montoya decisions.  He hadn't been on the job long enough to evaluate two top officials' performance.  Some are telling me, these moves were orchestrated by Carlos Quintanilla.
     Will Hadleyburg, I mean Brownsville, pass the Quintanilla test?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Eddie Lucio III Re-Election Kick Off Meeting at Brownsville Event Center


by Jim Barton on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 11:21pm

     Listening to Eddie Lucio, Jr. talk about Eddie Lucio III at the Brownsville Event Center brought to mind a conversation I had with Letty Perez-Garzoria a couple of weeks back.  She said at the time:  "I don't like political dynasties.  If we elected the father or mother, so be it.  That doesn't mean we need to put their children in office."  Considering the context of our conversation, she was  likely referring to the Hernandez family with  daughter Erin now running for office, but I applied it to the Lucios.  Eddie Jr. introduced his wife and his mother to the crowd, then spoke of walking his son down the halls of the Texas senate when he was 8 or 9 years old, giving me a quick mental image of a silver spoon.
     Then Eddie III spoke.  (Nena's videos appear just beneath this summary.)  Eddie III is hard to dislike, very personable, family oriented and respectful of his family elders.  "My grandmother is the best cook in Brownsville."  I could tell by the way a lady sitting near me said "ohhhhhhhh" that she was touched by young Eddie's comment.
     I listened very carefully to hear what Rep. Eddie III had done for his district, the 38th I believe.  He said he worked hard on three committees, sometimes not getting home on time for dinner.  He mentioned laying the groundwork for a "free standing medical school in the valley in 6 to 8 years."  He's already served over 5 years.  After his remarks, he let his daughter frolick on the stage a bit with her mother looking on. 

     I don't have a Bible anymore but I think I remember a scripture about the sins of the father being visited onto the son.  But I think there is another text that says the opposite.  It's one of those seeming contradictions that Biblical scholars can explain away.  Actually, if we could find the 21 million that went to the "bridge to nowhere" and put it to use revitalizing downtown Brownsville, I would be square with Lucio Jr.  His only punishment would be having a highway named after him that charges citizens 68 cents to go over one ramp.  Then Lucio III can work on getting us that medical school.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Surprise! Surprise! Con Artist Carlos Quintanilla Evidently Uses False Address in Court Deposition


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:23pm
     In the November 7, 2011 deposition of Mary S. Rey, a March 2010 court deposition is referenced.  In that deposition Carlos Quintanilla gives his Brownsville residency address as 1205 St. Charles, Brownsville, TX.  When pressed further, he claims to have leased the property from a Maria Perez.  Of course, there are literally thousands of women with the name Maria Perez, but the home at 1205 W. St. Charles, Brownsville, TX is owned by Mary S. Rey.
     This is not the first time an address has come back to bite Quintanilla.  During the Fly Frontera fiasco acted out at the Brownsville City Commission, then Mayor Pat Ahumada tried to put some distance between Fly Frontera Airlines and Carlos Quintanilla.  That was because it was found out that Quintanilla had a RICO felony conviction for racketeering, being convicted of trying to bilk the G. Heileman Brewing Company out of $700,000 in a kickback scheme.  Ahumada kept saying about Quintanilla.  "He's just the messenger.  He's not part of the company!"  Then it was brought out that the company website of Fly Frontera listed their corporate address as 421 S. Dwight, Dallas, TX  75211.  That was Carlos Quintanilla's home address.  So much for distancing the con artist from the con.
     Here's a bit more Quintanilla address funny business.  In a political ad evidently produced by Quintanilla for the DefeatZayasCortezPowers PAC,  the bottom disclosure listed the sender as Mary S. Rey, Treasurer/Designator, P.O. Box 1194, Olmito, TX.  Ms. Rey was not the treasurer of the PAC and she stated under court deposition that she has never owned P.O. Box 1194 in Olmito. 

"We need Sylvia Atkinson to do the dirty work!" states Catalina Presas-Garcia


by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 7:17pm

A few observations based on the Novermber 7, 2011 deposition by Mary S. Rey:
     After Springston was fired as superintendent of BISD, some on the board clamored for Sylvia Atkinson to be named superintendant.  The topic came up at a meeting at Mary Rey's house including Quintanilla, Presas-Garcia, Rey, Longoria and Miller.  Luci Longoria was not on board, feeling Atkinson would be difficult to work with.  "Still, we need Sylvia Atkinson here to do the dirty work,"  stated Presas-Garcia.  The board settled on Carl Montoya who became simply a "pawn in their game."  Soon Atkinson would be brought in as Human Resources Director.
     Mary Rey has hours of recorded conversations  between her and Quintanilla, her and Presas-Garcia.  Nena and I listened to them Monday night.  The recordings make it clear that Quintanilla has undue influence on the board, calling many shots, prompting Rey to ask Presas-Garcia:  "Why is he here?  Why do you listen to him?  You need to distance yourself from him!"  Presas-Garcia's response is "Why can't we all get along?"  Actually, I had first heard the threat from Quintanilla to rally support against her son in the lobby of the Amigoland Event Center for Pat Ahumada's Town Forum.
     Of interest is also a phone conversation Mary overheard at her home between Quintanilla and Luci Longoria trying to get Longoria to support the firing of Springston.  Ms. Rey heard angry words, then Quintanilla's words "You bitch!" to Luci Longoria.  Ms. Rey said she went over to Quintanilla at that point: "Is everything OK??"  "This woman just isn't coming through,"  Quintanilla responded, referring to Luci Longoria.  . . . . . . .
     Then, there is the whole matter of the DefeatZayasCortezPowers PAC or Political Action Committee.  It's instructive that Quintanilla and his cohorts wanted Mary S. Rey to be the President of the PAC, although she has no political experience.  In retrospect, Mary now thinks that may have been EXACTLY why they wanted her, her inexperience, along with her clean criminal record.  The group that greeted her at VSOT, Lehman''s Central Blvd. "office" included Carlos Quintanilla, Pat Lehmann, Argelia Miller and Ben Neece.  Read into that collective what you will.  With Nena and I being away from Brownsville for so many years, we've only recently become acquainted with these folks.  I've had only one interaction with Pat Lehmann, who I personally pegged as a con artist within a minute or so of my our introduction.  He sells Chinese made scooters which can be purchased new on the internet for half of what he charges.  My nephew was enamored with one and despite my recommendation otherwise, purchased one from Lehmann.  Within a few weeks, the hideously contructed motorbike was self-destructing.  Parts were falling off.  The transmission seized, etc.  My nephew pushed the scooter back to Lehmann's place of business, trying to get Lehmann to honor the warranty.  He initially refused.  The nephew called my son, who called me.  We went down to see Lehmann and were successful with some gentle persuasion to get the warranty honored.  The scooter lasted another month or so.
     This deposition will be carefully scrutinized as will subsequent sessions with Mary S. Rey.  Mary has done our community a great service.  There seems to be a core of corruption here that needs to surgically removed from BISD.  This courageous step by Mary to come forward is a start.

Mary S. Rey Makes A Deal With the Devil to Protect Her Son~A Story with BISD Implications, Part 1

Mary S. Rey Makes A Deal With the Devil to Protect Her Son~A Story with BISD Implications, Part 1
by Jim Barton on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 9:58am

     "Four jail guards and a sergeant beat my son at Carrizalez-Rucker Detention Center" stated Brownsville resident Mary S. Rey.  "He was taken to the hospital for his injuries.   We have the hospital reports detailing his injuries in what the sheriff's department describes as an 'altercation'.  Established protocol had been ignored as the guards and sergeant entered the cell with cameras turned off.   Once I started asking for answers from Sheriff Lucio through certified letters, two guards came forward claiming injuries.  My son was then charged with two counts of assault, but it was simply the sheriffs department covering their asses."
      Will Ripley, former reporter for TV Channel 5 spoke to an eyewitness to the beating.  "Rick", a former jailer claimed the attack on Ms. Rey's son was unprovoked.  He also said her son was shackled and could not move, let alone attack anyone.  Sheriff Lucio said at the time that he didn't know what happened but his staff did nothing wrong.
     Aggravating matters for Ms. Rey's son was a spinal injury suffered in military service.   While at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, her son received injections of what Ms. Rey thought were cortisone.  On November 5, 2010, the day the Will Ripley report aired, Sheriff Lucio transferred her son to Willacy County.   Although detained in Willacy,  all medical services had to be approved by Cameron County.  According to Ms. Rey, those necessary medical services have been denied by Cameron County.

     The above is a small part of the backdrop that led Ms. Rey to approach political activist Carlos Quintanilla, the president of Accion America, a group headed by Quintanilla that claimed to promote civil rights for hispanics similarly to the work of the NAACP for blacks.  Quintanilla, a Dallas resident was in Brownsville to influence BISD.    Mary Rey thought maybe Quintanilla could help her deal with what she felt were extreme violations of her son's civil rights.  She was not seeking help with the criminal allegations, just the civil rights issues.  If you fault Ms. Rey for being fooled by Quintanilla's con artistry, please recall that the calabaza promising pied piper easily seduced our previous mayor and some in the city commission with his snake oil salesmanship with unknown promises that led them to fall hook, line and sinker for the Fly Frontera scam.
     According to Ms. Rey, in return for help with her son's civil rights issues, Quintanilla wanted help from Rey in getting rid of "bad candidates" for the BISD school board, namely Cortez and Zayas.  A DefeatZayasCortezPowers PAC would be formed.  Interestingly, Quintanilla, working in tandem with Patrick Lehman, suggested political newcomer Mary S. Rey be President of the PAC and Argelia Miller be treasurer.  Rey states that neither her nor Miller were every involved in handling or depositing funds.  That was all done, she thinks by Quintanilla, Lehman or both.  When she and Miller asked what was going on they were simply told they would brief them later.  They never got that briefing but were kept out of the loop.
     Unfortunately for Quintanilla, Mary S. Rey and Argelia Miller were not the naive tools he may have anticipated.  Both are strong-willed women, unaccustomed to being used.  Ms. Rey fulfilled her end of the bargain, working extremely hard in the BISD campaign as agreed upon, but after two years, Quintanilla had not moved a finger on the civil rights issues regarding her son.  Mary Rey confronted Quintanilla.  He said he was doing all he could, but it was difficult.  He had attended "several" meetings to bring up the issue of her son's treatment.  He was working on civil rights issues in the broader sense, trying to recover 5,000 cars seased in the Dallas area, mostly from minorities.  All of this was evasive double-talk to Mary S. Rey.  She preserved most of these conversations and emails including a thinly veiled threat with Quintanilla insisting Rey cease communication with certain negative people verbally attacking him on the internet.  If Rey refused to curb this communication, Quintanilla might choose to visit with the victim's family in her son's murder case, assisting them to pursue the harshest penalty for her son.  Rey has this threat recorded too.
     While we did visit with Mary Rey last night, getting her story, I understand she has now released the videotape of her deposition.  It is an hour, 41 minutes.  It is already downloaded on my Facebook page, but will be included in the Mean Mister Brownsville portion of this story.  I will stop writing so we can all view the tape, gleaning the pertinent facts.  Then, I will write a supplementary review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mr. Amigo Association Selects Mr. Amigo 2012


by Jim Barton on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 7:02pm

Jerry Mchale, Mr. Amigo 2012

     In a news conference today in the lobby of the Colonial Hotel, the Mr. Amigo Association announced their selection of Jerry Mchale as Mr. Amigo 2012.   Mchale, a local educator, historian, musician and blogger is a departure from previous selections who have all been Mexican Nationals.
     "California's acquisition by the United States under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the defeat of Mexico in the Mexican-American War does not nullify the fact that Mr. Mchale was technically born in Mexico.  His birth a couple of years after the treaty was signed is not a disqualification", stated Michael Garza, the former president of the Charro Days festival.
     "The selection was a no-brainer" opined Ramiro Gonzalez, ramrod for downtown revitalization.  No one has done more for downtown Brownsville than Mr. Mchale.  I can't wait for him to lead the gritos."
     Channel 5 reporter Will Ripley shoved a microphone at Mayor Tony Martinez, who was grinning from ear to ear as he left the Colonial.  "If not Jerry, than who?" was the quick comment from Martinez.
     The Mr. Amigo Association issued this brief statement:  "Our vision is to celebrate the shared culture, friendship and family of Brownsville and Matamoros, to enjoy and promote the traditions and history of our two cities and countries.  Mr. Mchale embodies that spirit, not only as an outspoken advocate of our region, but as a role model for our young."

Acapulco Becoming World's Most Dangerous City~Matamoros Joins Top 50


by Jim Barton on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 2:30am


(Borderland Beat)   A Mexican NGO, the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Publica y Justicia Penal (Citizen's Council on Public Security and Criminal Justice), published a report in October that concluded, by the end of 2011, Acapulco will overtake Ciudad Juarez as the world's most violent city.
Using projections based on SNSP figures for homicides per municipality from January 2011 to August 2011, the report predicted that Acapulco will end the year with a homicide rate of 139.11 (murders/100,000 inhabitants).
The report predicted that Ciudad Juarez's homicide rate will drop to 118.46
The report also predicted that 19 Mexican cities will rank within the world's 50 most violent large cities by the end of 2011.
The report calculated a national homicide rate for Mexico of 25.5 murders/100,000 inhabitants, much higher than the latest official SNSP figure of 11.6 murders/100,000 inhabitants for the year 2008.
(Table below- Mexican cities that will probably rank in world's 50 most violent cities in 2011:
entidad-state, municipio-city, datos SNSP-government homicide figures Jan-Aug 2011, proy-estimated homicides for Jan-Dec 2011, pob. proyec-estimated population, Tasa-homicide rate (murders/100,000 inhabitants)
A Mexican NGO, the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Publica y Justicia Penal (Citizen's Council on Public Security and Criminal Justice), published a report in October that concluded, by the end of 2011, Acapulco will overtake Ciudad Juarez as the world's most violent city.
Using projections based on SNSP figures for homicides per municipality from January 2011 to August 2011, the report predicted that Acapulco will end the year with a homicide rate of 139.11 (murders/100,000 inhabitants).
The report predicted that Ciudad Juarez's homicide rate will drop to 118.46
The report also predicted that 19 Mexican cities will rank rated homicides for Jan-Dec 2011, pob. proyec-estimated population, Tasa-homicide rate (murders/100,000 inhabitants)
The report listed 19 Mexican cities that will rank in the world's top 50 most dangerous for 2011.  Acapulco will be 1st for Mexico and the world.  Among Mexican cities Monterrey is ranked 7th, Reynosa 12th, Tijuana 14th, Matamoros 15th

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fly Frontera Somewhat Revisited

by Jim Barton on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 3:11pm
    For those readers in Latvia that Google says we have:  Fly Frontera was an airline asking for incentives from the city of Brownsville, TX to run flights between Brownsville, TX and Monterey and Tampico in Mexico.   The following account revisits some of the events associated with the deal that was eventually not approved. 

     A young couple approached us at the Crescent Moon Cantina, actually greeting us by name.  Facebook introduces us all with pictures of people we've never actually met.  John, the husband, brought up Brownsville Cheezmeh:  "I was on board with most of what they did early on.  Then I think the group sort of lost its way.  You may remember I made the comment that they were in danger of becoming more of a politiquero group than a watchdog group."  I didn't really remember the post he was referencing.  We talked for a minute about Fly Frontera.  "Yeah, that was a no-brainer; had to be stopped,"  John said.
     Yes, John, Fly Frontera was such an obvious scam that a Hollywood script writer would have to tone the story down a bit to make it realistic.  The principle characters Carlos Quintanilla, the front man for the airline, Mayor Pat Ahumada and Commissioner Charlie Atkinson, three cartoonish caricatures almost beyond believability:  Carlos Quintanilla, the convicted RICO racketeer looked like the carnival guy who watches you try to land your quarters on greased plates, then flips one effortlessly, landing it squarely on a plate to show you the game is not rigged.  Mayor Pat Ahumada, could win you over with his smile, then lose you with his arrogant stubbornness.   Charlie Atkinson was everyone's whipping boy, inarticulate but verbose, pushy but unconvincing.
     A group of us met at Craig and Laura Grove's  house a day or two before the April 5 city commission vote on the airline deal to organize our comments for the public meeting.  Dino X. Chavez, a CPA with an MBA, Alex Guerrero, Laura Miniel and Linda Dragustinovis were there among others.  Someone had obtained a copy of the proposed contract so we knew about the $500,000 upfront money for fees, spare parts, fuel, etc.  We knew Fly Frontera was a startup company, registered only 4 days before the commission meeting.  The contract rewarded failure with the City of Brownsville paying $130 for every ticket NOT sold up to the first 23.  This meant that the most profitable flight would be an empty flight using less fuel.  We also knew about the $1,000,000 likely annual contribution by the city for each of the first two years.
     Several of us had done research on the Fly Frontera front man Carlos Quintanilla.  The first thing coming up Googling the name was a RICO felony conviction for running a scam on a brewery, then other allegations surfaced:  $85,000 arrears in child support, $12,000 in hot checks, liens on his residence, etc.  We knew Ahumada would try to distance Quintanilla from the deal and he did, but the fact that the company's web site listed Quintanilla's home address as the company's headquarters nullified that claim.  We decided not to focus on Quintanilla, but the merits of the deal instead.  Craig would start out, then Dino would do the numbers and I would wrap up.
     The commission meeting April 5th started as usual with proclamations, a routine agenda item or two, then broke for executive session.  It would be an agonizing two and a half hour wait as we were eager to testify.  We saw that food was taken in to the commissioners.  Dagoberto Barrera tried to lead the courtroom in some kind of chant or cheer.  Finally, the mayor and commission came back in.   Ahumada announced that there would be no public hearing on Fly Frontera.  The matter was being tabled for up to 21 days.   Angry words came from some in the gallery. Commissioner Troiani then stated that the deal was in the commission's hands.  Sharing details of the contract would not be fair to the airline or the city.  He said the 21 days would allow for the item to be fully vetted by the boards supporting the commission, an obvious admission that due diligence had NOT been done.  As some of us walked out, a motion was made to allow discussion.  It was obviously not what Ahumada wanted.  "We're going to lose an airline!" he kept saying.   Commissioner Longoria asked for the floor, reiterating in rapidfire delivery that the item had NOT been discussed in executive session, that since it was tabled, no public comment was required, but that they were going to open it up.   He repeated the statement several times as if to convince himself.
    Realtor Craig Grove went first, dressed meticulously in a suit, hands clasped behind him.  He began respectfully with his carefully worded speech.  Ahumada interjected "no personal attacks" forcing Craig to restart.  Atkinson could not restrain himself.  "What about your car burglary?"  Craig then turned to the audience in disbelief:  "They've done a background check on me and found that at seventeen, yes seventeen I was charged with breaking into a car."  Exchanges between Atkinson and Grove continued with Ahumada finally saying that Craig's time was up.  Craig persuaded Ahumada to allow him to finish his speech since it was Atkinson's interjections that had used up his time.  After Craig, I believe Zeke Silva spoke, then Pan Am President Bob Hedrick.  I spoke after Hedrick.  We left the commission room with the phrase "21 days" ringing in our ears.
     Over the next several days, several of us dialogued with Mayor Ahumada about the merits of the deal on Facebook.  Some of these discussions lasted past 3:00 am. with the mayor defending every aspect of the deal.   At some point Ahumada challenged us to a public debate on Fly Frontera.  It was originally billed as a debate between Pat Ahumada and Brownsville Cheezmeh with several named individually.  Then, it was changed to a Mayor's Forum, not a debate,  to be held at the Amigoland Event Center on Mexico Blvd.

     The Event Center was nearly full for the forum.  Police Chief Carlos Garcia was working security.  Ahumada was wearing his mayor shirt, white with his name and title monogrammed.   Ahumada set it up so that he  and those favoring the plan would speak from the lectern, using the public address system.   Those opposed to the plan were given a near dead hand microphone and told to line up along the south side of the building.   Ahumada spoke first, then he allowed Carlos Quintanilla unlimited time to speak about the proposal.  Quintanilla mentioned one public official after another by name with the implication that they were on board with the proposal.  He said something about working closely with County Judge Carlos Cascos.  Next, Ahumada called Ruben Gallegos, Jr. president of the GBIC board.  Gallegos talked at length about how good it was the city was finally getting direct flights to Mexico.  He said he didn't believe anything he read on the internet, implying that the information about Quintanilla was likely incorrect.  While Gallegos was talking Craig Grove texted Judge Cascos to say that his name was being used in support of the deal.   Craig showed me the text from Cascos saying that he did not know enough about the plan to favor or oppose it and did not know Quintanilla.
     Those speaking against the airline deal were given a 5 minute time limit which was strictly enforced.  CPA Dino X. Chavez had worked with the numbers provided by plan advocates, incorporating research he had done about current flights to Monterey and Tampico out of Houston.  He had charts that had to be held up by another speaker in line.  Dino couldn't complete his presentation in 5 minutes, so I relinquished my time to him.  Ahumada noted that, indicating I would not be allowed to speak since I had given up my time.  Craig Grove, thinking quickly, got in line behind me.  That irritated Ahumada, but the speaking line had not officially been closed.  When Craig's turn to speak came, he relinquished his minutes to me, much to the chagrin of Ahumada.
     In my opening line I mentioned that Mayor Ahumada was treating those opposed to the plan like second class citizens.  When I said that, Ahumada, who was now leaning against the lectern in an ultra casual pose, let out a huge sigh, clearly audible through the sound system.  As soon as I used the name Carlos Quintanilla, Ahumada shouted "No personal attacks!"  I assured him I was attacking no one, proceeding to describe Quintanilla as a very smart, sly individual  who had just name dropped most in city and county government.  I asked the audience if they remembered that he had invoked the name of Judge Carlos Cascos, mentioning the text Craig had showed me on his cell phone.  "Carlos Cascos says he does not know enough about the deal to support or oppose it.  As to Carlos Quintanilla, he says he does not know the man."   The audience let out a collective gasp.  I believe Fly Frontera died with that gasp.
     We learned April 26 that Fly Frontera had been withdrawn.  We were told that the BDEC had finally done its homework and found the company not financially stable. 


Grandson Jack in Market Square Walking with grandson Jack downtown is a challenge.  He frolicks, skips, cuts in front of you, runs ahead,...