Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Failed Lawyer Illustrates How A Little Knowledge Can Become Dangerous

Disbarred Lawyer
Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
One intermittent, temperamental blogger takes umbrage with our upset with the mayor of Brownsville unilaterally entering into an agreement for near-free office space for a newly elected, but affluent local congressman.  The blogger, who not infrequently sinks into hibernation when the love-bombing of his smattering of readers sinks below his comfort level, takes a self-righteous, self-described high road of moral indignation at our audaciousness to question public officials who act outside the bounds and limitations of their office.

His blog article posted below is a textbook example of fallacious reasoning, unsound argument and a simple inability to connect one dot with another.  It is not difficult to understand how this man, despite a legal degree, could be legally prohibited from practicing the profession.  He simply has a few screws loose that make logical conclusions difficult, if not impossible, even when he works with known facts.  The disbarred lawyer routinely gives unsolicited advice to local, practicing, functioning lawyers much to their amusement.

But, let's first examine exhibit one, Bobby's summation of the rules governing congressional office leases accompanied by his unfortunate diatribe(The highlighting is ours):



For the conspiracy idiots who have nothing better to do than destroy Brownsville and their elected officials you will note the following

They may rent from cities - they can even share office space with US Senators and any number of state elected officials.

They can accept office space based on free rent. It is not a crime.
Finally, all leases are reviewed by

"Should the Member sign the lease right away?

No. Prior to signing a lease, the Member/ Member-Elect must submit the proposed lease, accompanied by a copy of the District Office Lease Attachment, to the Administrative Counsel for review and approval.
There is no challenge in finding facts. The problem is people are obsessed with their need to be ignorant. The internet has made being ignorant a badge of honor. It has validated bullying by cowards who do not have to post their real name. It is making us as people into pathetic weasels.

Brownsville's Mayor
Mean Mister Brownsville:

Now, please note.  We have no quarrel with the above-mentioned rules for congressmen with respect to their office leases.  We will take Bobby's research at face value, but it is irrelevant.  Our concern had no relationship for the rules or limitations placed on those who serve in Congress, but on the rules, limitations and ethics of the Brownsville City Commission.  

Our question was simple, although not simple enough for Bobby Wightman-Cervantes:  "Can Mayor Tony Martinez enter into a lease agreement with newly elected Congressman Filemon Vela unilaterally, without approval of the City Commission?"  Also:  "Is Martinez allowed by city rules and regulations to proceed with renovation, relocation of city staff, etc. without such an agreement in place?"

So, despite Bobby's rant, our position is simple.  We're not worried in the least about government rules for congressmen, simply proper protocol for city officials.  The ignorance is simply Bobby's, accompanied by a smug arrogance that defies understanding.  

Tony Martinez Serves As Role Model for Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi

King Anthony XIII
Mayor Tony Martinez and Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi share a remarkable kinship.  Both men won democratic elections but then moved quickly to assume absolute power.

Mayor Martinez serves as a role model for Mursi, instantly assuming kingship just as Mursi wants to become another Egyptian dictator.  In his first City Commission meeting, Martinez took the board appointments right out of two young commissioner's mouths, referring them instead to a shadowy, unnamed board, not accountable to the citizenry.  Two commissioner's districts instantly lost representation, yet were still subject to taxation.

As his protege Mursi would later do in Egypt, Mayor Martinez also moved quickly to stifle, squelch and stymie dissent by blocking the broadcast of public commenters.  Only the royal pronouncements of King Anthony and his court could officially be heard and seen in the Kingdom of Brownsville.

Although Mursi wants to create a new constitution, Mayor Martinez simply circumvents the existing one which calls for representative democracy.  Since City Commission decisions are actually put to a vote, Martinez laid the groundwork for controlling that vote by heavily subsidizing or providing amenities for commissioner candidates that would guarantee a rubber stamp once elected.  One can argue that the results so far have not been without a few dictatorial hiccups, but the effort has been there.  The campaigns of Commissioners Rose Gowen and Estela Chavez-Vasquez were heavily supported by Martinez with a view to achieving a coalition that would sing backup harmony for Martinez.  Gowen particularly has been a dutiful plant with nearly a perfect pro-Martinez voting record.  One almost forgets the sound of her voice unless some matter of public health or a green initiative comes into play.  Melissa Zamora even rented her house from Mayor Martinez and perhaps still does.  All of this was certainly by design.

Debbie Portillo
But, now with Melissa Zamora moving on to challenge the notoriously unprincipled Aurora de la Garza for District Clerk, the mayor has set his sights on another plant to guarantee him control of the City Commission vote, a young twenty-seven year old Debbie Portillo, already neatly positioned in a job with no actual work but a huge title, Special Assistant to the Executive Director of United Brownsville.  Martinez has already given young Debbie an office in the Cueto Building.  Her boss is Mike Gonzalez, who likely is an expert at video games or crossword puzzles, because there is no work done at the nicely appointed office of United Brownsville.  Annually Gonzalez shines his shoes to make appearances at BISD, P.U.B., the City Commission, the Brownsville Navigation District, TSC/UTB, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation and the Greater Brownsville Incentive Corporation to dun the entities for 25 grand each to finance the do-nothing sham of a think tank.

Martinez is already giving Portillo the Rose Gowen treatment, readying her to replace Melissa Zamora as his personal plant on the City Commission.  Will Martinez subsidize a sea of blue signs to flood the vacant lots, residences and store fronts of District 3 to prove that young Debbie "believes in Brownsville?"  Knowing what we know about monarchies and dictatorships, it will be in District 3 and Brownsville's best interest to block this blatant move by Martinez.  Perhaps businessman Martin Sarkis can be convinced that his city needs him to maintain a balance on the City Commission, preventing the monarchy.

King Anthony Tries His Hand At Gerrymandering

While most of us may view Tony Martinez as a do-nothing mayor, that is not the case.  While he has done nothing for Brownsville, he has worked diligently behind the scenes to promote his own interests.  In addition to setting up Debbie Portillo for a District 3 commissioner run, Tony has tried to gerrymander the other districts in a very self-serving way.  Tony wants to move the affluent Rio Viejo area into District 1 or 4 so that one of his rich cronies could replace John Villarreal or Ricardo Longoria.  He also tried to remove the neighborhood of Jessica Tetreau from District 2.  These are blatant, illogical moves not based in common sense.  It's not about representation, but about control and Tony has shown a flair for manipulation to get what he wants.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maria Susana Flores, Miss Sinaloa 2012 Victim of Drug Wars

Maria Susana Flores
Killed in Crossfire between 
Drug Cartels and Government Troops

Can Tony Martinez Legally Offer Filemon Vela City Owned Office Space?

Tony Martinez
Brownsville citizens are in an uproar over a report in the El Rrun Rrun blog that Mayor Tony Martinez may have taken it upon himself to offer office space above the city parking garage for a token amount($1.00 per anum) to newly elected U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela.

Of course, if Mr. Martinez elected to provide Vela with lifetime free carrot cake from Lola's Bake Shop, his bakery shop on Palm Blvd., no Brownsvillian could rightfully complain, but city properties belong to the taxpayers of Brownsville, and the mayor does not have the legal right to convey use of those properties unilaterally or for a mere pittance.  Salaried city management, along with the elected city commission have the responsibility of protecting city assets, managing them skillfully so that taxpayers get the most bang for their tax dollar buck.  Good asset management never involves providing city assets for less than market value, whatever the ulterior motives.

Actually, City Manager Charlie Cabler may be the only city official empowered to make such a deal involving city assets and we are told such a deal has not been made.  In any event, gifting, leasing or providing city assets for less than market value is not legal.  We have not even mentioned maintenance or utililities which all property owners understand can be substantial, let alone renovation costs.  The El Rrun Rrun report indicates partitions in the rooms above the garage are already being moved, the precursor of renovation.  If that is correct, it indicates a presumptousness on the part of the mayor not provided for or authorized with his non-salaried job description.  He is part of a City Commission, not a unilateral agent representing the City of Brownsville, let alone some sort of anti-Robin Hood, taking from the poor to give to the rich.

The mayor's actions, if reported correctly, raise ethical questions involving partisanship, influence peddling and backdoor deals.  There is no record, for example, of Blake Farenthold, the Republican congressman who currently represents the congressional district in which Brownsville is located, being offered office space by the city.  Does the fact that Vela, like Martinez, is a Democrat mean that the city should be more generous, accommodating and even charitable in his behalf?  Does the poorly kept secret that Martinez craves some kind of federal appointment play into any of this?  While these are inappropriate overtures by Martinez, at best, this is dangerous precedent for Vela, who can well afford his own office space without a city discount or largesse.  Vela does not need the Martinez connection or any appearance of impropriety to jumpstart his congressional service.

Filemon Vela, Marisela Cortez
Another puzzling aspect of this clandestine operation is the hiring of Marisel Cortez, the current Executive Director of the Historic Brownsville Museum as Vela's right hand person in the soon-to-be congressional office.  The affable Cortez, who some have described as in over her head at the museum, may find the operation of the congressional office as extremely challenging.

We await the final details of the contract between Vela and the city, hoping that the eventual agreement, if any, protects the taxpayers in the poorest county in the United States.

Scattered Thoughts~Wrestling Admission for Needy, Voter Suppression, Tony Yzaguirre

Some in Brownsville were a little taken aback when a local wrestling promoter advertised a "Christmas Is Sharing" Toy and Food Drive, then asked for canned goods and unwrapped toys PLUS admission to get into the event.

Typically, in an event associated with a food or toy drive, the commodities ARE the admission, not simply added to the admission.

Of course, if entertainers want to represent their event as charitable in nature, they could use the profits to purchase food and toys, but requiring BOTH donations AND the normal admission price seems a bit much for an allegedly charitable event.

Not surprisingly, Erin H. Garcia is listed below the graphics as one of the sponsors of this event.

Voter Suppression in Florida

Much has been made about the comments of Jim Greer, the former head of the Republican Party in Florida(He was terminated for allegedly stealing money from the party in a case that's still pending.)  Talking about the shortening of the early voting period, Greer stated:  "It's done for one reason and one reason only. . . . We've got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us." 

Greer's predecessor, Charlie Crist, agreed:  "The only thing that makes sense as to why this is happening(shortening early voting) . . is voter suppression.  The sad thing about this is yes, there is prejudice and racism in the party but the real prevailing thought is that they don't think minorities will ever vote Republican."

Does Tony Yzaguirre Outdo Joe Rivera in Campaign Ticket Selling?

Tony Yzaguirre

You may recall our story on Joe Rivera's alleged use of county employees to sell tickets to his Xmas Party/Campaign in the halls of the courthouse on county time.  One anonymous commenter claims that Tax Assessor Tony Yzaguirre has a far more effective means of selling tickets.  Please keep in mind that Yzaguirre is in charge of the licensing and transferring of auto titles in Cameron County.  Here is what the poster claims:

"Tony Yzagurie(sic) has a better system for selling campaign tickets. He sends his uniformed police officers to drop off 30 or 40 of his campaign tickets at business(most at Auto Sales Lots) and then he sends the policeman back to collect the money(no return tickets accepted)just cash."

Monday, November 26, 2012

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk Proposes Colony on Planet Mars

Elon Musk
With SpaceX encouraging Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and now Georgia to up the ante for a commercial rocket launch site, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has focused his entrepreneurial  eyes much farther into space.

Musk recently appeared before the Royal Aeronautical Society in London to solicit support for his plan to colonize Mars.  Musk foresees a colony inhabited by as many as 80,000 people with the funding coming largely from those who wish to be part of the colony.

An estimated travel cost of $500,000 per person multiplied by 80,000 could generate 40 billion dollars.  Actually, Musk estimates it would cost only 36 billiion to get the colony up and running.  While not holding firmly to the $500,000 entry price, Musk stated that the fee "would be low enough that most people in advanced countries in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip."   Even with 40 billion worth of ticket sales, Musk figures some public money would be needed to get the project off the ground.

Musk said the Mars colony  would start small, becoming self-sufficient over time.  Needed to be transported to Mars would be "large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen for Mars' atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and surface water ice", according to Musk.  He states that the settlers would build "transparent domes which when pressurized with Mars' atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil."

Meanwhile, on Earth, the environmental feasibility study results for Boca Chica beach is due in January.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Infallible" Pope Benedict XVI Busts Christmas Traditions, But Embraces Virgin Birth, Resurrection

Pope Benedict XVI
.While 1.2 billion of Earth's populace generally accept the doctrine of papal infallibility, Pope John XIII, the head guy just before Pope Benedict XVI, once stated:  "I am only infallible if I speak infallibly. . . . "

The current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI just released a new book, Jesus of Nazareth~The Infancy Narratives, where he chronicles the life of Jesus from birth to age 12.  The book also deals with what the pope feels may be misconceptions and inaccuracies in the way events surrounding the birth are portrayed and acted out in traditional scenes.

The idea of three wise men at the manger, the pope finds to be an historical no-go.  He also states there were likely no animals in and around the manger where the baby Jesus lay nor angels singing.  The pope also notes that historical records show that Jesus was likely born several years earlier than what has always been considered "anno domini," likely 6-7 B.C.

While the papal father questions the historicity of some traditional aspects of the holiday, he finds a logical explanation for the "Star of Bethlehem," which he says coincides with a "major planetary conjunction" in 7-6 B.C.  As for the virgin birth and Jesus' resurrection, Pope Benedict XVI says these concepts remain "fundamental elements" of Christian faith.

Of course, while the events surrounding the birth are biblical, the origin of the holiday may not be.  Some historians associate the origin of the holiday with the Roman Saturnalia or "Birthday of the Sun,"  traditionally celebrated on December 25.  Christmas may be an offshoot of the Roman holiday, a sort of Christianization of what is essentially pagan or non-Christian.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Felipe Calderon Proposes Name Change for Mexico As He Leaves Office

Felipe Calderon
When Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1824, they sort of copycatted their neighbor to the north officially naming their country "Estados Unidos Mexicanos."

Now, Felipe Calderon, the outgoing president, wants to change the name of the country to simply "Mexico."

Calderon's rationale makes sense:

  "Mexico doesn't need a name that emulates another country and that no one uses on a daily basis. . . . . ."It's time for Mexicans to return to the beauty and simplicity of the name of our country, Mexico," Calderon said. "A name that we chant, that we sing, that makes us happy, that we identify with, that fills us with pride."

"Affiliation of Warring Drug Cartels" might be more appropriate, considering the actual, current state of the country with over 50,000 citizens dying in the country's drug wars.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Enrique Escobedo Must Pick A Threesome At BISD

Carlos and Enrique
Enrique Escobedo sits precariously between two triumvirates of trustees desperate for power, influence and control of BISD.  On his left is the contentious Presas-Garcia team including running buds Lucy Longoria and Christina Saavedra.  To his right, the opportunistic, ambitious Powers team with newly acquired associates Jose Chirinos and Minerva Pena.

Enrique can side with either threesome to form an instant board majority or go it alone as an independent.  Of course, his close friend, convicted RICO felon Carlos Quintanilla may have a say in all of this as the $14,300,000 lawsuit against Healthsmart could still be in play.  Interestingly, one threesome has stated their interest in reinstating the lawsuit.  Would Enrique be interested in at least a sizeable settlement of several millions to benefit the kids of BISD or will Healthsmart sweeten the pot and convince Escobedo to let sleeping lawsuits lie?

Enrique will play this out skillfully.  Anyone that can upgrade their vehicle from a rusty puddle jumper to a high end luxury car while working for no salary knows exactly how to play this.

Vela Details Transition to Office, Holiday Wishes

Filemon Vela


Dear Friends and Supporters,

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and once again thank you for your support during the last year. I also thought I would take this moment to give you a short update on our transition into office.

Immediately after the general election at the request of House leaders, I spent a week in Washington addressing house administration issues, staffing concerns, the committee assignment process and a few other matters. I had the pleasure of working with many members of Congress, tenured and new, during that week. On Monday, the 112th Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess to begin work on a plan that will hopefully prevent the country from falling over the "fiscal cliff". In the meantime, incoming members return for another week of orientation, during which we will be dealing with House leadership elections, House floor procedures, the legislative process and other logistical matters, like selecting House office space.

Trust that I am working hard to effectively represent our newly created Congressional district. Also, please be aware that the 113th Congress is tentatively set to be sworn in on January 3rd, 2013. I invite you to visit Washington D.C. during this time and participate in a series of events that are currently in the planning process. As soon as the House leadership officially confirms this date, we will so advise.

Also, we have begun to accept requests for tickets to President Obama's inauguration. Our office will be given a limited allotment of tickets to this event, and will be distributing those tickets on a first come, first serve basis to individuals who reside in Congressional District 34. If you live in this congressional district and have any interest in attending this event, I encourage you to contact Sally Lara at 956.544.8352.

Regards and Happy Thanksgiving,
Filemon Vela

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Cameron County Public Officials Misuse Staff to Steal from the Taxpayers

Joe Rivera
When an employee leaves the premises of a business while "on the clock" to go to the racetrack, a local bar or do anything not part of his job description, he or she is stealing time.  It is a theft because monies are being paid for no actual work.  Employees across the country are terminated daily for such a violation.

Cameron County employees sometimes find themselves in the quandary of being asked to do something by their public official/boss that is not work for the county, but instead is political activity for the public official.  Certainly, to refuse to fulfill the assignment might result in termination, but it is a collaborative theft nonetheless.  The employee is being paid by the taxpayer, not the politician.  Of course, the public official making such demands on his employees bears the heavier responsibility, orchestrating the theft from the taxpayers.

This blog recently detailed an incident involving employees working under County Clerk Joe Rivera selling raffle tickets/donations to his campaign in the halls of the county courthouse.  If these sales were being made on the clock, it is a theft.  If Joe Rivera required his taxpayer paid employees to make these sales on county time, he is a thief and should be terminated.  He should face prosecution and reimbursement to the county for the stolen work hours.

Readers did weigh in on this discussion making comments to the previous MMB article on this subject:

AnonymousNovember 20, 2012 3:29 PM

Jim, this is not news. All staff members of the County clerks office are REQUIRED to either sell or purchase these tickets themselves. They are clearly told not to return unsold tickets. This action has been going on for at least the last ten years, possibly longer. Under threat of joining the unemployment line. Ask any of his staff. They hate it cause they usually get stuck with the tickets.

Jim BartonNovember 20, 2012 4:10 PM

Even if this is common practice, it is unethical. Taxpayers are not paying staff to sell tickets in the halls while on the clock. If Joe Rivera has enough staff to do this, he is overstaffed. This is not only unethical, it is illegal and disrespects those who pay for the staff, built the building, maintain it and provide climate control. It also creates an unlevel playing field in favor of the incumbent.


/DP-MNovember 21, 2012 4:45 AM

This is absolutely illegal. I'm not one to quarrel with Hispanics honoring themselves, i.e. Rivera's portrait or the naming of buildings. Lord knows, there are few monuments to the culture's contributions, in the Valley and elsewhere. But there is the very-recent case of the aide for Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker who got six (6) months in jail for campaigning for another Republican while on the state payroll. All it takes is judges who know and want to apply the law...


Armando Villalobos
Indicted district attorney Armando Villalobos has reportedly been stealing from Cameron County in multiple ways during his tenure.  Simply not doing the job he is paid handsomely to do is a theft, but reports during his recent campaign for congress indicated employees in his office were being asked to work relentlessly in his campaign.  If true, that is a tremendous theft of time from Cameron County taxpayers.  

Interestingly, after Armando's indictment, my wife Nena and I observed him in the courtroom of the Ray Marchan trial, along with his former law partner Eddie Lucio, taking copious notes of the proceedings likely on the county dime.  The county has gotten almost no bang for their buck in the district attorney's office and that is a crime.  

Elia Cornejo-Lopez
We've received similar complaints with respect to Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez as reported in the MMB months ago:

"One of her staffers complained to me: "She makes us work long hours on her campaign. If anyone complains, she says "You're lucky I gave you a job!"

This attitude, pervasive in Cameron County results in unconscionable theft of tax dollars.  Make no mistake.  All of the public officials who advocate, orchestrate and promote this illegal activity are thieves, infinitely more so than the teenager who passes the Stripes' checkout counter with a 12-pack of Bud Light under his arm.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes Proposes Clothing Optional Beach At Southern Tip of Boca Chica

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
With the City of Brownsville and Cameron County keeping their collective fingers crossed for a slice of SpaceX pie, the intermittant blogger Bobby Wightman-Cervantes of the BROWNSVILLE VOICE, has renewed his push for a clothing optional beach just north of the small mouth of the Rio Grande River.  Bobby envisions economic impact from his proposed nude beach:

"If properly done, groups will organize regular retreats to Boca Chica which will help fill our hotels, book flights into Brownsville, and bring periodic boosts in tourism - no matter how you look at it, it is a win for Brownsville."

Were BWC's proposal implemented, citizens of our neighboring country to the south would be a mere 30 or 40 yards such a culture stretching endeavor.  Perhaps irrelevant, but nonetheless factoring in, would be the higher concentrations of E coli bacteria that occur closest to the river's mouth during such outbreaks.  

It has been reported that an unofficial nude beach exists well north of the business sector of South Padre Island.  One wonders if local businesses have experienced any recognizable economic impact from the non-designated area.  

Roger Ortiz Skips Town for Recount,Escobedo Inherits Headache, Chirinos Victorious

Roger Ortiz
Ortiz statement in his resignation letter that he was stepping down to "spend more time with his family" may have been a face-saving lie as reports indicated he skipped the BISD recount yesterday, allegedly to pursue a potential job interview in San Antonio.  Of course the recount was supervised by Enrique Escobedo, BISD board president with support from Norma Carrillo, Ortiz's administrative assistant.

If Escobedo was auditioning to become Ortiz' replacement, he may have changed his mind after an incredibly hectic count that went into the wee hours this morning.  With eight representatives chosen for each candidate the throng assembled at the BISD administration building on Price Road at 8:00 AM Tuesday November 20, 2012.  Rather than get together the day before, Escobedo and Carrillo chose to wait till the day of the count to provide a training session for participants.  This got things off to a very slow start with the Brownsville Herald reporting that by 4:00 PM fewer than half of the 30,000 ballots had been counted.  The additional task of separating the general election ballots from the BISD ballots was necessitated as the Election Administrator had not provided separate ballot boxes.

In spite of the difficulties, a final count was reached somewhere around 4:00 AM with Jose Chirinos achieving a ten vote victory over Linda Gill-Martinez for BISD Place 7, 14,726 to 14,716.

ADDENDUM, corrections, additions:

Norma Carrillo, the administrative assistant to Roger Ortiz was not present during the count as someone had reported to me.  The election office was represented by Fred Garza briefly, then primarily Melissa Saldana.  The orientation was very brief with actual counting starting around or before 10:00 AM.

Cameron County Democratic Chair Elect Sylvia Garza-Perez made a late appearance.  Her Republican counterpart Frank Morris did not.

One mystery remains.  The ballots, carefully separated into two boxes at the polling places, one for the general elections, the other for BISD, arrived in white boxes sealed in yellow tape with the two elections mixed.  That necessitated the ballots be sorted out.  Another matter sort of swept under the rug was the fact that the machines that count the ballots failed at a couple of the polling places.

Linda Gill-Martinez stayed for the count.  Her counterpart Jose Chirinos was represented by Cecilia Barrera.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Did Cameron County Immortalize County Clerk Joe Rivera Too Soon?

County Clerk Joe Rivera
Cameron County always seems in a total rush to immortalize, recognize and reward Joe Rivera for his long tenured, but mediocre service as County Clerk.

First, we learned of the co-naming of a satellite judicial building for Rivera and Aurora de la Garza, followed up with an extravagant $2,500 portrait of the rule-bending duo not authorized by purchase order.

As if the portrait and building identification were not enough in the way of unearned recognition and reward for Joe and Aurora, County Commissioner Dan Sanchez tried to issue the two raises through a sleight-of-hand last minute addendum to the Commissioners Court minutes authorizing raises totaling nearly $6,000 for the two.

Now, a just received report indicates that Rivera has still not developed the necessary respect for proper protocol or taxpayer dollars:

"Hi Jim.. . . . . Just keep my name confidential. At the courthouse...2 nd floor...not sure of district. But county workers are soliciting attorneys to buy raffle ticket for $25.00 each. They say its for their Xmas party BUT the ticket says "Campaign and Xmas Party". I asked a worker and he verified it was for campaign of Joe Rivera and some funds for their Xmas party. It appears.all workers are required to sell tickets."

In Cameron County, likely the most impoverished county in the United States, our public officials continue to show no respect for the way they use staff payed for by tax dollars nor the use of facilities, paid for, heated and cooled and maintained by the taxpayers.  If the above report is accurate, Rivera needs to be immortalized in a far different way than with an expensive, unauthorized portrait.

Just received a confirmation of this report by a second party:

"have you seen a copy of the raffle ticket? I have one. I noticed it said "campaign" also. Thought it was weird. Every employee got 5 tickets to sell. i bought 2 yesterday AM. Please leave my name out of this"

The type of conduct by the staff of Joe Rivera needs to be immediately investigated.  We recall County Sheriff Candidate and former bailiff Joe Cisneros being terminated for so-called campaign activities perhaps less blatant than this.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Linda Gill-Martinez Demands Recount of Votes for BISD Position 7

Linda Gill-Martinez
Linda Gill-Martinez, the frequently skittish, sometimes incoherent candidate for Position 7 BISD trustee has satisfied the monetary requirements to initiate a recount of the ballots of the November 6 election.

Gill-Martinez seemingly won the election, but with Roger Ortiz as election administrator, nothing is certain.  After provisional, military and misplaced ballots were counted, Jose Chirinos was declared the winner.  The BISD board wasted no time in swearing Chirinos in.

Now, with Gill-Martinez posting a $4,500 bond, a recount has been scheduled for 8:30 AM Tuesday at the BISD administration building.

Gill-Martinez, a retired special education teacher, initially asked for an interview with MMB, then cancelled due to a flare-up of "rheumatoid arthritus" and "being off (her) meds."  Later, during a meet-and-greet of BISD candidates, Gill-Martinez bolted when she learned that candidate's speeches were being videotaped.

Ms. Gill-Martinez was one of six candidates supported by the online politiquera group Brownsville Cheezmeh.  Five of the six candidates lost their elections, with the only victor, Erin H. Garcia accused of substantial voter fraud contributing to her victory.

Four-Star General Fraternizes with Biographer

The Handshake

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mitt Romney Blindsided by Mitt Romney's "Live Mike"

Mitt Romney
With several factors in place that typically assure victory, Mitt Romney sabotaged his own presidential campaign with remarks not always meant for a national audience that became national, revealing how he actually felt inside about the multi-ethnic, diverse electorate.

Romney's sometimes inappropriate remarks remind one of the "live mike" indiscretions a candidate mutters under his breath, referring to a reporter or opponent as a "sonofabitch," then hastily with a smiling face tries to explain away.

Before a group of supporters, Romney suggested that 47% would vote for his opponent no matter what because they viewed themselves as victims who needed the government to take care of them.  He said they felt they were entitled to housing, health care and food.  Regardless of what Romney meant, the comment reflected a certain insensitivity, smugness from a person born with money.

After Obama bailed out Chrysler and General Motors in 2008, Romney wrote a column entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!"  That unfortunate line was not forgotten by swing state voters heavily dependent on the auto industry for jobs and local economics, even with Romney explaining what he actually proposed.

While Romney said he would like to "staple a green card to every Ph.D" in private he implied that most undocumented lacked skill and experience.  He even spoke of hypothetical "self-deportation."  Again, his comments on immigration displayed neither understanding nor sensitivity.

The unfortunate "binders of women" comment in reference to the woman available to work in his administration as governor, showed a flippant disregard for over 50% of voters.

In a long campaign, the insensitivity, the boorishness adds up.  It killed Romney, even in an economy barely  recovering in four years from historic lows.

Brownsville Welcomes New Blogger Into the Blogosphere!

Felix Barton

Roger Ortiz Saves the Worst for Last~BISD Elections A Big Mess!

Roger Ortiz

Roger Ortiz, the highly paid bungler, just can't get it right.  While other Texas counties had elections November 6, all Cameron County had was a mess.  Uncounted military ballots, uncounted provisional ballots, misplaced, uncounted regular ballots, premature announcements of election results and the introduction of the plastic bag as a replacement for the ballot box all marked Roger's last rodeo as Election Administrator.  Obviously, the suggestions sought from a state election official who monitored the July 31 runoff were of no help to Roger on November 6 and its aftermath.

Voters still may face a recount in the Position 7 BISD race between Jose Chirinos and Linda Gill-Martinez, that is if Linda and her sponsors at Brownsville Cheezmeh can come up with the necessary $4,000 to pay for it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

RICO Felon Carlos Quintanilla Starts New Business for Roadside Assistance

Unfortunately, the photo sent me of Quintanilla's Facebook cut off part of the advertisement, but you get the gist of it:  No drivers license or social security card needed.  Only $49. . . is that annually?  Trust Carlos.  The money will stay in the community.

I don't know if he's offering notary public services too, but all we know for sure is that the money collected will stay in the community.  

El Rrun Rrun Tantalizes with Vague Report of Possible Serious Crime

From the editor:  In a story that might have found itself on the cutting room floor of high school journalism classes across the country for want of the "who, what, where and how" usually critical to news stories as opposed to the "what if?" and "could have" the account utilized, Juan Montoya of the "El Rrun Rrun" blog, presented an account that raised more questions than it answered.   With the foundation of "word has spread" Juan reported the disturbing three hour long sexual assault of a BISD bus driver.  But, as Juan wove the story, he inserted conflict, at first stating that the victim told law enforcement that her attacker had been paid to assault her, then supplementing that with "we find" that law enforcement types frequently attribute such a report to a "relationship gone sour."  

Juan Montoya
The victim's "acquaintances,"  Juan adds, have suggested "other factors working here," including  "acute embarrassment at a relationship and tryst gone bad, or some other purely personal motive."

What is Juan insinuating?  Is this story a preemptive strike for a politico who anticipates a forthcoming, actual news story?  Sometimes the story behind the story is worth telling.  The field of subsidized "news" stories is filled with hazards, but no one negotiates that field better than Montoya.  

The story Juan runs with eerily resembles one that I heard last night, but could not verify.  This "fledgling newshound," as Juan described me a couple days ago, simply could not run this story as presented.  Below is the "El Rrun Rrun" account, warts and all:

Was There or Wasn't There an Assault for Pay?

By Juan Montoya
By now the word has spread throughout the city and the Brownsville Independent School District that a female bus driver reported to the Cameron County Sheriff's Department that she was physically and sexually assaulted over the course of about three hours at her apartment Sunday night before the aggressor left.
But apparently, she also told deputies that before the attacker left, he told her that someone had paid him to assault her and "very well."
We, of course, have no way of knowing whether that is exactly what happened, but the suspicion that someone had paid the attacker money to inflict the horrendous act upon ny woman would be cause enought o recoil at the crime.
To think that there was a political motive for the attack is nothing short of heinous.
But now we find that some law enforcement types have expressed some skepticism about the woman's report and say that frequently in some cases where the victim and attacker have a standing relationship that goes sour, reports like these are often the result.
As we said, we have no way of knowing what actually happened. Lest someone criticize us for doubting the woman's story, let us say out front that we condemn the crime – if it actually occurred – in the strongest terms.
But in speaking with acquaintacnes of the complaintant, we are led to think that there may be other factors working here. Perhaps the complaint was the result of acute embarrassment at a relationship and tryst gone bad, or some other purely personal motive. Or perhaps the evening degenerated into something not envisioned by either actor in the occurrence.
If indeed the sexual and physical assault did transgress over the span of three hours, then we're sure that the investigators will have plenty of evidence left over at the scene to determine the identity, if not the motives, of the assailant.
In either case, an assault is nothing we wish upon anybody, sexual or otherwise. Hopefully, the county investigators will get to the bottom of this to dispel any suspicion that a political motivation drove the alleged attack.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Scattered Thoughts~Linda Salazar, John Villarreal, FBI, Evaristo Gamez

Linda Salazar, "The Wedding Planner"
After reading Juan Montoya's article in El Rrun Rrunabout Justice of the Peace of the Peace Linda Salazar using office staff as hallway runners to intercept those registering for a marriage license and steer them to Salazar for the $250.00 ceremony, it occurred to us that Salazar was using methodology similar to Nuevo Progreso dentists.  Dentists have strategically placed runners with business cards and price sheets who, once finding out you need dental work, will walk you to their bosses' office.

Juan's earlier article about Salazar illustrated how she tipped  more difficult to work cases submitted by state troopers, constables and sheriff's deputies to JP, 2-2 Kip Van Hodge, soon to be replaced by the as-yet-unindicted Erin H. Garcia.  This gives another possible reason for Ernie Hernandez wanting to create a new JP position for Carlos Masso.  Ernie may have been concerned about Erin assuming Kip's workload.

John Villarreal
With the Election Commission open to applications for a new Election Administrator, what about John Villarreal?  With a degree and bilingual, he meets some of the criteria.  But, this statement by County Judge Carlos Cascos may rule John out:  "If they have been past officers of either party, I know that I would not support anybody like that.  It would give the appearance that somebody was coming in on a bias on a certain political thought process."

Many also still remember how John went livid last summer at EarthFest on seeing Mary Helen Flores, a supporter of his former opponent in the commissioner race, Tony Zavaleta, passing out CAVA fliers.  Add that to his close ties with Ernie Hernandezsoon to be more solidified with the marriage of his sweet sister Joanna to Ernie's son, the normally mild-mannered Villarreal may not be the person Cameron County needs in that critical role.

Jerry Mchale, who is briefly leaving the blogosphere to be with his ill 87 year old father.departs with this kind, if inaccurate, note:  "I will not be posting for a week. Brownsville is in the good hands of Juan Montoya and Jim Barton. I sometimes consider my blog hardly more than the frosting on their cake. But I will return and I will remain vigilant."

We wish Jerry a peaceful, nostalgic visit with his father and family, especially if it turns out, as he suspects, to be their final days with his dad.

Visiting with the F.B.I. can be educational, particularly with respect to understanding their scope, jurisdiction and focus with the emphasis on federal matters.  Just as acts you assume would garner their interest, actually do not,  seemingly trivial infractions may catch their interest.

We've detailed on this blog how Election Judge Arvelia Villolon summoned Roger Ortiz to confront us about taking pictures of vans delivering the elderly, disabled and mentally-challenged to the Cameron Park polling place during early voting last July.  The issue was having a camera within the measured polling area, a regulation we willingly obeyed.  When Ortiz found that our camera was in our vehicle as we told Ms. Villolon it would be, he said that we were loitering.  One of the agents we spoke with found that charge to be out of the purview of the election administrator and bordering on criminal.  But Ortiz has enough problems.  If he can fade off into the sunset and do no more harm to the process, we'll be satisfied.

A popular videostreamed comedy show host raised the possibility of a show themed on the seeming second death of downtown Brownsville.  Fixtures in the Permit DepartmentEvaristo Gamez and Leonel Garza are frequent targets for those who feel permit approval moves along at a snail's pace downtown.  While Mayor Tony Martinez did mention downtown revitalization as a priority of his administration, he finds little to inspire him unless it also involves UTB.  The clandestine forum now called Imagine Brownsville uses its imagination only to raise funds, siphoning off tax dollars via several city entities, but has yet to plant its first tree or lay its first brick downtown.

Cata Presas-Garcia
Courtesy of Chris Davis
Juan Montoya of El Rrun Rrun, in what may be his victory lap of subsidized articles for Cata Presas-Garcia, lamented:
 " . . . . . . . local blogger Jim Barton, of Mean Mister Brownsville, Barton continued to post unflattering photos and unfounded allegations of her being a "puppet" for Dallas Accion America president Carlos Quintanilla. Quintanilla has been a favorite whipping boy for Barton, a fledgling would-be newshound."

While we understand the point of view and the incentives involved, that won't stop us from pointing out the obvious close association of the apparently re-elected trustee with the convicted Dallas RICO felon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Carlos Quintanilla Eagerly Awaits BISD Vote Canvass, Possible Recount

Carlos Quintanilla
While his blog, CareBrownsville, has been shut down, his visibility in Brownsville almost zero, make no mistake.  Carlos Quintanilla eyes the BISD elections just as a vulture eyes its prey.  The Dallas con artist, who sells himself as an advocate for Hispanic rights with his group Accion America, has done some of his best work for benefactor Ted Parker, the former majority owner of Healthsmart, by manipulating BISD elections so that trustees would be elected who would drop the $14,300,000 lawsuit by BISD for overcharges.

Quintanilla with Cata Presas-Garcia
Parker and Quintanilla are still somewhat anxious to retain a majority of BISD trustees who will oppose the reinstatement of the lawsuit.  With the seeming re-election of Cata Presas-Garcia, the tandem seems to be in good shape, but an additional trustee in their corner would strengthen their position.  While I've been told that Linda Gill-Martinez is that extra majority-supportive vote, I've not seen any actual evidence linking her to Quintanilla.  She has been faithfully supported by Erasmo Dragustinovis, the guru of the Brownsville Cheezmeh cult, whatever that support is worth.

We may have to wait as long as two weeks for final results.  Election Administrator Roger Ortiz' ineptitude never makes things easy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

BISD Elections Turn Ugly! Ortiz Being Ortiz!

Cata Presas-Garcia
Happy with Results
Despite ten years as Election Commissioner, Roger Ortiz still doesn't know how many precincts make up Cameron County.  Oh, and he forgot we have a military with the right to participate in elections.

Juan Montoya broke the story of Roger Ortiz' continuing ineptitude with a comment from an effected candidate:
 "When we went to check the vote, Roger told us that there were four precincts that hadn't come in as well as the military ballots that hadn't been counted," said a candidate. "The questions is, why not? Were they waiting to see what the results would be so they could pull out the others and change the results. This stinks to high heaven!"

A meeting was scheduled for 8:00 AM at the Cameron County Elections Office to discuss the issues.  Deja vu?

Someone leading with a plurality likely not affected by a recount is Cata Presas-Garcia:  “I am so glad that the people have spoken. . . . .  my knowledge of the district as a former employee, my dedication, the experience I have as a parent and taxpayer — and to the people who have guided and mentored me through the years and the support of the voters who elected me.  My duty is to represent the students, educators and employees of the district and do it to the best of my ability.” 
Those words likely sound hollow to administrators vindictively shifted to positions outside their area of expertise or fired or to teachers intimidated by bullying from the ill-mannered trustee.  

Linda Gill-Martinez
The one likely affected by the new tabulations, the apparent early winner for Position 7, Linda Gill-Martinez, may have mixed feelings.  Gill, who spoke haltingly in public forums, seemed "spacey" and "out of it," bolted at a meeting of candidates at the first sign that campaign speeches were being videotaped.  Earlier, after requesting an interview with MMB, she called the day it was scheduled to say she was suffering from the affects of rheumatoid arthritis and was "off her meds."  Since BISD trustee meetings are on local television, such stage fright, reticence may have been problematic for Ms. Gill.

If Roger Ortiz does indeed snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for Gill, the primary effect may be with the alliances both inside and outside the board.  While Gill, might have been easily influenced to tag along with the Presas-Garcia element controlled by convicted RICO felon Carlos Quintanilla, Jose Chirinos may not.  

Roger Ortiz
Gill was also sponsored by Brownsville Cheezmeh with their guru Erasmo Dragustinovis promising his dwindling flock direct access to BISD matters via Gill.  It's doubtful that Chirinos will give the Cheezmites the same special access.(For the record, the Cheezmite success rate would stand at 1-5 if Gill's victory is overturned with Erin H. Garcia being the only Cheezmite winner, although utilizing blatant voter fraud.)

While Ortiz' exit as Election Administrator can't come soon enough, the priority is finding a capable replacement not connected to partisan or fraudulent interests.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Potential Unacceptable Candidates for Cameron County Election Administrator

From the editor:  The new election administrator inherits a staff of eight to manage several elections a year,  order elections supplies, promote voter registration and voting and preserve the sanctity of the process.  Below are a few names that may or may not be considered, but in my opinion have certain flaws that make them unacceptable for this critical county appointment, a sort of preemptive strike to call attention to the unsuitability of certain possible candidates:

Norma Carrillo
Norma Carrillo, the current administrative assistant to Roger Ortiz, dealt with us graciously during a visit to the office while Ortiz was out.  She answered questions about the election code and the handling of mail-in votes.  When we showed her a printout of Herminia Becerra's neighborhood including Western Blvd., where nearly 100% of the voters in 2010 utilized mail-in ballots, she said: "They(The Hernandezes) will probably use vans this time around to bring in voters from the nursing homes."

This showed us that Ms. Carrillo is aware of the methods used by the corrupt element in county elections.  Still, I'm not certain Carrillo is the kind of dynamic administrator that could reach out to the community with presentations presenting the Election Code requirements, deal with voter fraud and the heavyhandedness of elected officials.

Jared Hockema
Jared Hockema, a bright young man, who served as the assistant to the Cameron County Democratic Chair understands the mechanics of elections.  His internship under Gilberto Hinojosa is certainly a negative.  Decisions made while the de facto county chair may illustrate his unsuitability for the job of Election Administrator.  Foolishly, he appointed Linda Castro Dragustinovis of Brownsville Cheezmeh, an organization evidently receiving political contributions from Erin H. Garcia and Carlos Masso through its P.A.C. Bringing Brownsville Change, whose address is the same as Linda's former notary public office.  While very young, Hockema has obvious ties to the old corruption, is simply too partisan, just what we don't need in a new election administrator.

Carlos Masso
Carlos Masso is currently out of a job, discounting his law practice, such as it is.  In a political payback scheme Ernie Hernandez tried to orchestrate the creation of a new justice of the peace position for Masso, allegedly to pay him back for financing the money-drained Erin H. Garcia JP campaign by helping pay for the politiqueras and van drivers utilized collectively by the Masso, Gomez and Garcia campaigns.

Masso is exactly what we DON'T need as election administrator with ties, not only to the Hernandezes, but allegedly with the infamous Escobedo brothers.

Sylvia Garza-Perez

Although just elected Cameron County Democratic Chair, would Ms. Garza-Perez accept the job of Election Administrator?  The thought borders on nightmarish.  The notoriously aggressive, ill-mannered Garza-Perez is the niece of politiquera Herminia Becerra and is not fit for her current job, let alone that of Election Administrator.

Not to overstate the point, but she also has close ties to the Hernandez machine.


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