Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Caricature of Oscar Garcia, Jr., Brownsville's Poster Boy for Nepotism

Oscar Garcia, Jr.
From the editor:  The caricature to the left is Nena's second effort since her late October stroke.   She's not totally happy with it and will likely try doing the next one outdoors where "there is more light."  

Anyone else would pinch themselves on the hour, every hour, but little Oscar just plays the role, acting as if he knows what he's doing in his latest job procured by his mommy, Juliet V. Garcia, the former president of the University of Texas at Brownsville.

While his resume' may not include a paper route, it does cover his tenure as "Operations Manager" of Carlos Marin's Su Clinica Familar, service on the Brownsville Public Utilities Board and now Project Director for Jacob's Engineering's Phase 1 in delineating where prospective industries will be located on the FM 550 industrial corridor.  

The Greater Brownsville Improvement Corporation awarded Jacob's Engineering $180,000 for the first phase of implementing of the Greater Brownsville Infrastructure & Development Plan purchased for $434,592.08 from Robin McCaffrey's Needham, McCaffrey and Associates, Inc.  Jason Hilts explained that Jacob's Engineering was the only firm to bid on implementing the expensive plan and that their Project Manager would be none other than Oscar Garcia, Jr.  Hilts introduced Oscar to the board.

Actually, young Oscar displayed some nerve even showing his face in front of the GBIC board since the fledgling medical supply company, for which the board had fronted him $250,000, had gone belly up.

None of that matters in Brownsville when you're the son or daughter of one of the city's behind-the-scenes puppet masters.  As Jason Hilts explained:  "We didn't hire Mr. Garcia.  We retained Jacob's Engineering whose Project Manager happens to be Mr. Garcia."  How's that for circular reasoning?

Republican Presidential Candidate Lashes Out Against Mexicans

"Mexicans are bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, murderers and some, I assume, are good people."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Random Tidbits About the Confederate Flag, Slavery, Racism

Man's historical inhumanity to man has come to be represented by symbols, icons, graphics and art, fabricated in cloth, formed from metals or painted on canvas.  The beauty or ugliness of these symbols remains in the eye of the beholder with vociferous arguments on both sides reflecting clear differences in perception.

The Confederate States of America, eventually including thirteen southern former states of the United States of America south of the so-called Mason-Dixon line, were represented by three different flags from 1861-1865, representations of which are still incorporated in the flags of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, while hinted at in the state flag of Arkansas.  Recently, at funeral services for the nine murder victims at a South Carolina church, President Barack Obama described the confederate flag as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation”

The President was referring to the abhorrent practice of slavery, common in the United States since colonial days, wrongfully assumed to be the principal issue of the Civil War.  Then President Abraham Lincoln, in an 1862 letter to New York Tribune Editor Horace Greely, explained the real reason for that war:

"If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Lincoln's mumbo-jumbo not withstanding, the 400 year practice of Africans selling Africans into western hemisphere slavery, providing the economic engine for cotton and other agricultural crops is a huge blemish on humankind.  The purchase of slaves and their continued servitude by affluent Americans is a national disgrace and a perversion of Constitutional values hypocritically embraced.

Descendents of Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings in 1999
Many, many of the so-called founding fathers owned slaves, including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, John Jay, James Madison, George Washington and, of course, Thomas Jefferson.  Thomas Jefferson is claimed to have fathered six children with his slave, Sally Hemings.  Their descendants posed for the picture at the left in 1999.  

For those enslaved and those born into such slavery in the United States, the Confederacy and its flag came to symbolize their slavery, their misery, their oppression.  Otherwise liberal Southern whites countered by saying that the Confederate flag simply represented Southern heritage, Southern culture, not realizing that blacks with Southern ancestries just as lengthy were not included in that heritage or culture.  

In 1970, Neil Young, a rock 'n roller from Canada, released the song, Southern Man, clearly aimed at racism in the United States:

Southern Man

Southern man
Better keep your head
Don't forget
What your good book said
Southern change
Gonna come at last
Now your crosses
Are burning fast
Southern man

I saw cotton
And I saw black
Tall white mansions
And little shacks.
Southern man
When will you
Pay them back?
I heard screamin'
And bullwhips cracking
How long? How long?

After Young followed up with another anti-racist tune, Alabama, a southern blues/rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, issued a musical response of their own, Sweet Home Alabama.  Here are the pertinent, mock-argument lyrics:

Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her
Well, I heard ol' Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the governor, boo boo boo
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Brownsville City Commission Meeting, June 16, 2015

Cesar de Leon's Opportunity, Tony's Freefall, United Brownsville's Greed

"If a dog's gonna bite, he'll bite you as a pup."

Former UT Coach Darrell Royal

City Commissioner At Large "A" Cesar de Leon
By now, personable, young Cesar de Leon has been told that he's the only candidate in the recent city elections to achieve elective office with anything resembling a "mandate." Cesar garnered 4,335 votes or 54% in a four man race for City Commissioner At Large "A," far eclipsing the mayor, who merely qualified for a runoff with 43% of the vote.

The empowerment of such a plurality can be easily squandered with a tepid, hesitant start as a City Commissioner.  In 2011, John Villarreal and Estela Chavez-Vasquez both deferred to Tony Martinez in their first City Commission meeting, relinquishing representation for their districts on city boards.  Neither commissioner ever recovered from that weakest of starts, simply filling a seat in their tenure without contributing anything of substance.  Rumor has it that Villarreal is still on the City Commission.

De Leon must come out of the gate prepared, articulate, protecting the people's interests.  Sponsoring agenda items to restore the broadcast of public comment and take the transfer of Lincoln Park off the table would be a brilliant, opportunistic move.  If Abraham Galonsky calls, De Leon should take the call, just as he should for another other constituent, but Cesar must demonstrate he's putting the people first, not Galonsky.  Abraham's $1,000 campaign contribution can always be returned.

Mayor Tony Martinez
Brownsville's biggest loser in the city elections is Tony Martinez, who did manage to overcome Pat Ahumada in the runoff, but appeared haggard, desperate, insecure in doing so. While Martinez initially tried to soar "above the fray" with spiffy ads from the Austin ad agency, Message, Audience, Presentation, Inc., his campaign deteriorated into groveling for votes in adult day care facilities, attack ads and general pandering.  Did he turn his campaign over to Herminia Becerra and her niece, Sylvia Garza-Perez? 

While the City Commission sleeps, UT is purchasing the stinky land next to the sewer plant, preparing to exchange it for Lincoln Park while adding the agreed upon monies for the "amenities."  

Meanwhile, the unelected board now controlling development of the FM 550 industrial corridor, United Brownsville, has posted the agenda for their Wednesday noon meeting at Fred Rusteberg's IBC Bank.  The primary agenda item is succinctly worded:  "LNG."  There is some urgency to get 5 liquefied natural gas plants up and running from the Port of Brownsville to Port Isabel.  The primary customers, Russia and China, are said to be only 5 years away from having their own LPG plants.  This whole mess is essentially short term profiteering with long range effects on the environment.   

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Economic Necessity Drives Actual Recycling in Brownsville, While the City-Mandated Version Flops

The man pictured above, who appears to be in his fifties or sixties, gingerly scales a Brownsville dumpster in search of recyclable cardboard, something he and countless others do daily in this, the poorest city in the United States.

Scrappers, as they are called locally, comb every alley, every dumpster in the city nightly, in search of U.S. or Chinese cardboard, wooden pallets, aluminum cans, iron or anything the scrap yards will buy.

It is a living, albeit a hard one.  

Newcomer Spends Election Day Along Paredes Line Road Near Wendy's

Under threatening Election Day skies, a visitor from Dallas stood stoically, proudly, almost defiantly, just off Paredes Line Road, near Wendy's Hamburgers.  Dressed in a blue bedsheet, perfectly tailored at the shoulders, with an upside down,  blue-handled serving spoon attached chest-high, the man appeared as if an extra in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.  He looked incredibly Biblical.

"Hi.  I'm Jim.  May I ask your name?" I said, introducing myself.

"I'm Carl," was the softspoken response.

"Well, Carl.  I'm intrigued by your outfit.  Are you portraying Moses or some Biblical character?" I asked.

"Oh, no."

Well, where are you from, Carl?  I asked.


What made you come to Brownsville? 

"I came with some friends."

"How do you like Brownsville?  I know it's hot."

"It was hot in Dallas, too.  I try to dress for the heat."  

"By the way, Carl, what is the purpose or the meaning of the spoon?" I asked.

"It's just for decoration," Carl replied.

When I got back to the car, my son said:  "That's the same man that was naked along the Interstate a couple days ago.  Why don't you give him a couple dollars?  It's hard living on the street."

"Carl, I don't want to insult you, but, here's a little something for your needs," I stated before returning back to my air-conditioned vehicle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Has the Brownsville Mayoral Election Been Tainted, Corrupted by Election Clerk Ceci Rosas?

Election Clerk Ceci Rosas Apparently Violating Oath
The Texas Election Code, designed to protect the integrity of elections conducted in the State of Texas, provides for this oath to be administered to Election Judges and Election Clerks:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will not in any manner request or seek to persuade or induce any voter to vote for or against any candidate or measure to be voted on, and that I will faithfully perform my duty as an officer of the election and guard the purity of the election.” “I swear (or affirm) that I will not suggest, by word, sign, or gesture, how the voter should vote; I will confine my assistance to answering the voter’s questions, to stating propositions on the ballot, and to naming candidates and, if listed, their political parties; I will prepare the voter ’s ballot as the voter directs; and I am not the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter ’s employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs.”

Martinez, Mrs. Martinez, Election Clerk Rosas
The above oath was apparently violated by an Election Clerk serving during early voting at the Brownsville Public Library, Ceci Rosas, who is pictured above and to the left, holding a "Tony Martinez for Mayor" sign.

The unethical support of an election clerk working at the Brownsville Public Library could possibly explain harassment received by supporters of Pat Ahumada holding signs along Central Boulevard.  The Brownsville Police came out twice, once to investigate "loud music" emanating from Ahumada supporters and another call to respond to a complaint that Ahumada's natural voice, not enhanced by electronics, was "too loud."

Election Judge Arcellia Villolon Unethically Conferring
with Constable Candidate Abelardo Gomez and his
Compadre, Junior Andrade in 2012
Brownsville has a history of Election Judges and Clerks unethically working for campaigns, despite swearing in oaths to stay neutral.  In 2012, Election Judge Arcellia Villolan was observed conferring with candidates during voting hours at the Cameron Park polling location.  After Nena snapped the picture at the left Ms. Villolon called the Cameron County Sheriff's office and then Election Administrator Roger Ortiz. While the Sheriff's deputy never approached us, Ortiz threatened to have us arrested for "trespassing."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Larry Brown to Retire As Airport Director of Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

From the editor:  Larry Brown, who has been with the City of Brownsville in various departments since 1973, will be retiring from his current position of Airport Director in July.  

We confirmed this with Public Information Director Patty Gonzalez, after being alerted to current City of Brownsville job listings which include the position of Airport Director.  Ms. Gonzalez was not certain if there would be a nationwide search for a new director, but promised a press release soon.

Below are current job listings from the City of Brownsville website which include the position of airport director:

Current Job Listings

Below is a list of the current openings with our company. Click on the job title to learn more about the opening.

Airport Director

Brownsville, TX USA
July 10, 2015
Full Time

Customer Service Specialist I

311 Police Operations
311A BPD Animal Control
Brownsville, TX  USA
June 11, 2015
Full Time

Traffic Control Warden

311 Police Operations
Brownsville, TX  USA
June 9, 2015
Part Time

Emergency Communications Operator

310-Police Operations
Brownsville, TX  USA
November 5, 2015
Full Time


Self-Portrait by Josie del Castillo