|Town Hall Meeting Audience at Tony Gonzalez |
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Mark Twain
"District 4 Commissioner John Villarreal said the relocation of Lincoln Park to a plot on the other side of the expressway would put the facility closer to the neighborhoods that use it most. “We feel usage will go up,” he said, explaining that the $6.5 million the UT System is offering will be more than enough to replace the amenities currently available." Brownsville Herald, 10/30/14.
|Commissioners Gowen, Villarreal, Tetreau,|
UT's Irv Downing, Commissioner Rick
Longoria in Superman T-Shirt
As several speakers pointed out at the Town Hall Meeting in the Tony Gonzalez Park Gymnasium Thursday night, land in the vicinity of Lincoln Park is priced at $450,000 per acre. Simple arithmetic, obviously beyond Villarreal's skill level, would place the value of the Lincoln Park's LAND ALONE at $21,600,000. Add two ballfields, a garden center, two nature trails, an amphitheater, basketball courts, barbecue area and parking and it becomes painfully obvious that UT's offer of a mere $6.5 million is pathetically low ball. Don't forget that Rose Gowen wants at least $2 million from UT's donation for Belden Trail amenities and Deborah Portillo is lobbying for a pet project. Rick Longoria will settle for having the replacement park named after him. Commissioner Jessica Tetreau is on record as against the sale of the park.
While letting the videos posted earlier speak for themselves. a large segment of the audience opposed the sale or transfer of Lincoln Park. Commissioner Tetreau applauded with them. Many of them were connected with Christ the King Catholic Church and Valley Interfaith.
The meeting opened with video by the city and UT, followed by a strange BPUB slide presentation on reducing the odor at the sewage treatment facility next to the are proposed for the new park. Some questioned why the utility had not acted in 25 years to reduce odor if they had the capabilities. One visually impaired commenter, who stated he routinely walks by both of the cities treatment plants, claimed they both "stink."
Commissioner Rick Longoria, who moderated the meeting, meticulously explained that the Superman t-shirt he was wearing was not meant to "make a statement." Few bought that argument since his home is only two blocks from the meeting hall and the town hall meeting had been scheduled for several weeks. Acting as Superman, Longoria led the audience in pledging allegiance to the United States and the State of Texas, then gave an invocation, a prayer to a supreme being, then crossed himself. When I presumptuously suggested to City Manager Charlie Cabler that the microphone used by public commenters should face the three hundred in the audience, not the four commissioners, Longoria shouted to Cabler: "Jim is not running this meeting. I am!"
If Longoria came as Superman, Commissioner Gowen came as Ms. Bored Stiff. That would be an appropriate posture for someone who not only has made up her mind about Lincoln Park, but is already mentally spending a hunk of the ransom money on the Belden Trail. Someone in the audience claims to have noticed Longoria, Gowen and Villarreal texting on their phones when those obviously opposed to the park transfer spoke.
The Lincoln Park matter is scheduled for a City Commission meeting to be held November 4. 2014, which also happens to be Election Day. Some citizens will face a choice of voting after the get off work or going to the 6:00 PM City Commission meeting to protest the sale of Lincoln Park. The scheduling is perhaps as well thought out as the transfer agreement between UT and the City of Brownsville.