Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bill Hudson Blasts Taxpayer, Rate-payer Funded United Brownsville for Political Meddling in Letter to Brownsville Herald

From the editor:  Real estate entrepreneur Bill Hudson, in a letter published in the Brownsville Herald Wednesday, blasted United Brownsville, an elitist, self-appointed board with an inappropriate interest in controlling industrial development at the Port of Brownsville and the so-called industrial corridor along FM 550, for meddling in politics.  We publish his letter in its entirety:

"United Brownsville, which is funded by public funds, posted an email declaring that "the word Trump just became an insult toward Latinos."

While it did not actively solicit a donation for the Clinton campaign, it crossed into the political activist game.  I would just as quickly have written had they besmirched a Democrat candidate.'=

United Brownsville appears to be a political machine by virtue of such action.  Unless the city, county and other funding sources approve of using tax dollars for political activism, I suggest they cease and desist in funding United Brownsville.

Shame on so-called "public trust," non-taxed "non-profits" for being political.

Bill Hudson
Brownsville"

Local bloggers have been sounding the alarm for years about the presumptuous, insidious United Brownsville, an affiliation of pompous, greedy business folk who want to position themselves for profit.  

None of Fred Rusteburg, Irv Downing, Carlos Marin or Juliet Garcia were EVER appointed by the City of Brownsville or ELECTED by the voters.  Despite being self-appointed, they have duped Texas Southmost College, the Port of Brownsville, the City of Brownsville, P.U.B., B.I.S.D., the GBIC and BCIC to contribute $25,000 to support their club.

Recently, the misguided, uninformed OP.1033 advocacy group has become intertwined with United Brownsville in political intrigue, even adding Carlos Marin to their staff.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Options the BCIC Ignored Before Spending $86,000 in One Year on Office Space

In 2015 the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation was restless.  They felt stifled and somewhat disrespected having to meet in in the spacious Human Resources room on the fourth floor of the City Commission building.  The small rooms, where the executive director and secretary did their work to facilitate the dispersal of so-called "quality of life" 4B tax dollars, were described as mere "closets."

With the tax dollars of this poorest city of the United States burning a hole in their collective pockets, the BCIC decided to move out of their no-additional-cost-to-the-taxpayer digs at the City Commission building and leased new digs at 2424 Village Drive, just off of Price Road near El Globo Supermarket.  The first year basic cost to the taxpayers was $86,983 including a $46,000 annual lease and $41,000 for furnishings and equipment.

Of course, there are additional costs associated with maintaining an office that were revealed in the February 2016 Accounts Payable.  There is the matter of janitorial services, $90.00 weekly to A&L Floor, Carpet Care or $4680 annually. Monthly utilities for January to PUB were $224.44.  Annually, that would be $2688.  $156.06 was spent for a new front door.  My World Embroidery, possibly creators of the beautiful BCIC fabric wall hanging, were paid twice, $954 and $1136.  An insurance payment to Philadelphia Insurance Company was for $1028.  Coat racks for "Cori's and Rebeca's offices" cost $54.10. Name plaques from Things Remembered went for $204.99.  A desk phone for the "administrative assistant" cost $390.95.  Hundreds of dollars were spent for non-specific "office supplies."

But, was this move to just off Price Road necessary?  One commenter thinks not: 

"That lease shows amazing incompetency. There are great offices available downtown. The Young House, and houses on E Elizabeth. Leaving downtown goes against the City's Comprehensive Plan to boot. If they wanted to leave downtown, the Levi Building has unused office space and that runs the city 280k a year."

Another commenter:

"Typical Backwards Brownsville. Why does Brownsville always have to waste money? Mr. De Leon is exactly right because he knows why the board was formed and for the exact reasons. BCIC was supposed to be used to complete projects like community centers, ecomomic development, parks improvements, bike trails, etc. While Brownsville BCIC puts average citizens on the board, McAllen (and many other TexaS cities) keep the board as a "sort of" city department. In fact, McAllen's board is managed through the city manager's office. 4b funded projects are mostly projects that the City of McAllen wants to use 4b funds to supplement the General Fund. In Brownsville, the City departments have to compete with any and every organization to acquire funds. Ciclobia? Camille Theater productions? Check out this link and see how efficient their program is and it is only just up the road. Look at all of the projects they have completed and the "type" of projects. It's a shame Jim.  A total shame. http://www.mcallen.net/devcorp"

Also, this observation:

"Jim,  Almost the entire second floor of Market Square is empty, certainly more than enough room for offices.  The video room downstairs would make an excellent meeting room."

Of course, the city purchased 13 buildings in 2012 for $3,500,000.  Most remain totally unused, off the tax rolls, deteriorating.

What was the BCIC board thinking?

From the editor:  For reference, we repost two articles from January 2015.  The first article details the huge squandering of 4A tax dollars by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation.  During the years 2013 the board financed over $312,000 in travel money for its symbiotic partner, the BEDC.  16 trips alone were to Colombia where an office was set up, staffed by locals.  At a recent GBIC meeting BEDC Executive Director Jason Hilts announced curtly that the office had been closed.  No explanation.  Also, no economic development or results for all the taxpayer money spent.  

The second article posted below details Rose Gowen's heavy-handed efforts to lease the San Fernando Building from the city as an office for the BCIC.  Gowen illegally chaired the BCIC meeting after the expiration of her term as board member had already expired.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


16 Trips to Bogota, Colombia Highlight BEDC's Public Information Response

Bogota, Colombia, the #1 Destination of BEDC Officials
In the pursuit of economic development for the City of Brownsville, BEDC operatives traveled sixteen times to the exotic destination of Bogota, Colombia during fiscal years 2013-15.(We've published the full report just below this article.)  While typically a combination of Jason Hilts, Gilberto Salinas and Olga Ramos made the Colombia trip, one contingent included as many as eleven.  

Graphic by Diego Lee Rot
From inside City of Brownsville government, a frequent flier was Mayor Tony Martinez, with five trips mentioned, most international.  The mayor, BEDC President Jason Hilts and Tony Cappella made one sojourn that included the countries of Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.  Yes, Tony Martinez is more than willing to travel the world on the taxpayer's dime, but couldn't make it to the town hall meetings on Lincoln Park, downtown parking or even the City of Brownsville employees annual party, cementing the perception of the mayor as an elitist, with no interest in the common citizen.

An anomaly in the list of trips furnished by Jason Hilts were 5 visits to Brownsville, Texas, of all places, by Olga Ramos.  These were cleverly labeled by Jason Hilts as "Inbound Mission I, Inbound Mission II, Inbound Mission III, Inbound Mission IV and Inbound Mission V."  Perhaps, there is some logical explanation for the taxpayers to foot the bill for 5 trips to Brownsville.

As reported in a previous article, $312,541 of taxpayer monies were spent on travel by the BEDC during the three years.  

We requested a more detailed report, including the cost of each trip.  Mr. Hilts said that was possible, but the labor involved would necessitate charging a $270 fee.  Here is how Hilts delineated the charges:

Labor, 4 hours to locate/compile travel costs for 2013 @$15.00 per hour.     $60

Labor, 4 hours to locate/compile travel costs for 2014@$15.00 per hour.      $60

Labor, 4 hours to locate/compile travel costs for 2015@$15.00 per hour.      $60

Labor, 6 hours to prepare summary spreadsheet and electronic redaction @$15.00 per hour
                                             $90

Total for Labor & Overhead $270

Monday, January 19, 2015


Rose Gowen Chairs BCIC Board Meeting Illegally, Gets Angry When Things Don't Go Her Way

Rose Gowen
Rules simply do not apply to Rose Gowen. Her ego, her agenda transcends even the bi-laws of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, where her role as board member, board chairman legally ended December 31, 2014.  

When the BCIC reconvened for the first time in the new year, January 8, 2015, fellow former board members Jude Benavides and Blanca Perez-Moreno recognized their term of service had legally ended, did not participate in the meeting.  No so for Rose, who parked her hybrid in the City Commissioner-reserved free parking slot along E. 10th Street, made her way up to Human Resources on the 4th floor and assumed her role as BCIC chairperson illegally.

The City Commission has known for months that three terms on the BCIC would expire at the end of 2014 just as the term of Sylvia Berry on the Brownsville Metro Advisory Boardwould, but they dropped that ball by not caring for the appointment of new members in their December City Commission meetings.  Berry, Benavides and Perez-Moreno all accepted the legal termination.  Gowen did not.

San Fernando Building, Purchased by the
City of Brownsville in 2012 for $315,000
The driving force behind Gowen's unlawful appearance on the board was Agenda item #9:  Consideration and Action for theBrownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC)to consider the City of Brownsville request as follows:
*For the BCIC office/staff to be housed at the Historic San Fernando Building and
*To enter into an agreement with the City of Brownsville to contribute $225,000 toward the renovation of the Historic San Fernando Building and house the BCIC rent free for eight(8) years.

Ramiro Gonzalez, Director of Brownsville
Redevelopment and Special Projects
Gowen and Martinez heyboy Ramiro Gonzalez presented the item in his newly created role as Director of Downtown Redevelopment and Special Projects.

Initial discussions found board member Elizabeth Hollmann favoring the idea, but when another board member suggested simply buying the San Fernando building from the city, Hollmann liked that idea as well.  The city purchased the historic building, that formerly housed La Movida, El Domino and Mary's Place cantinas, for $315,000 in 2012.  

With the discussion floundering, "Chairman" Gowen called for a simple motion to adopt the agenda item. Dead silence.  No board member made a motion.

A comment was made that this might be a matter for the "new" board to consider.  Gowen, visibly angered said:  "I can't believe this."

San Fernando's interior, showing decades of
paint colors(likely leaded)
A not very well kept secret is that Gowen wants to close the streets around Market Square to vehicle traffic, eliminate parking on one side of Adams Street for a bike lane, making the square a pedestrian mall, of sorts.  Pushing that agenda propelled her to ignore the expiration of her term as board chairman as dictated by the bi-laws.




23 comments:

  1. We must remember that Rose Zavaletta Gowen is first a "Zavaletta" and that makes here superior to all other humans and exempt from the laws of lesser men and women. Rose, like other "Zavaletta/Zavaleta" bring to the table an extraordinary ego and superiorority complex. Just being born a "Zavaletta/Zavaleta" gives them the self-ordained ability to dismiss all others as inferior and take control of any situation. We see her "superiority complex" in the way she conducts city business....and assumes a power that legally she doesn't have. She and Tony Martinez make a great paring for this city......they don't need no "stinkin' badges" or any term limits to stop their egos from flaring.
    ReplyDelete

    Replies


    1. I guess we'll see how much her ego and " superiority complex " help her the day the feds finally catch up with her fat ass! Uugh!
      Delete
  2. Is there nobody courageous enough to stand up to this woman?
    ReplyDelete
  3. Jim,

    Have Ahumada do an appraisal on this dump. Looks like it has all the markings of another inside deal for that price. Don't forget to factor in the hazardous waste issues.
    ReplyDelete

    Replies


    1. Shut up, jediondo! JUST SHUT UP!!!!
      Delete
    2. Es hediondo.....
      Delete
  4. She has also used money from the bag tax for here bike and walk trails. Why haven't they use this money for recycling like the ordinance states.
    ReplyDelete

    Replies


    1. Covered bus stops with benches and sidewalks and street repair.
      Delete
  5. Jim,
    We, (3 of us) are more than willing to take a position on this board to make a difference. This Zavaleta woman needs to go NOW. 
    ReplyDelete
  6. I thought peter goodman was the downtown development director. Is this a separate/ different position than the one created for Ramiro Gonzalez?
    ReplyDelete
  7. Brownsville citizens don't care how " their" city is run. Take a drive to Mcallen and compare the two cities. Brownsville is a joke
    ReplyDelete
  8. "ugh" --- Rose Gowen
    ReplyDelete
  9. -A comment was made that this might be a matter for the "new" board to consider.  Gowen, visibly angered said:  "I can't believe this."-

    Believe in Brownsville!
    ReplyDelete
  10. ROSE!..UGH!...yeah..WHAT IS SHE GOOD FOR?...absolutely nothin'! Say it again...YEAH...
    ReplyDelete
  11. You do not put all coments only what please you how bias is your thinking
    ReplyDelete

    Replies


    1. Did you have something to say in favor of the bike crazy bitch? Some proof perhaps that more feel good toadies instead of real growth is not the reality, merely a planted perception? Bring it.
      Delete
    2. She bent over for bikers cause she figured out that they VOTE ,so everybody that's bitching get your families asses off the couch and go VOTE !
      Delete
  12. who is on this stupid board?
    ReplyDelete
  13. DID YOU ALL NOTICE SHE TRIED TO APPOINT SOMEONE TO THE BCIC BOARD AND SHE DIDN'T GET A SECOND? WOOOOOW!
    ReplyDelete

Former Mayor Pat Ahumada's Letter Blasts County Judge Candidate Eddie Trevino


To My Friends For Good Government:

For those who are not aware, there is a "Run Off" election coming up for Cameron County Judge. In my opinion one of the worst public servants we have had is Eddie Trevino and let me tell you why, but do not take my word for it-take the time to do your own research.

1) Eddie never did anything or should I say very little, as city commissioner or mayor for the citizens of Brownsville. Eddie did milk the city and did it well. There was no transparency under Eddie Trevino as mayor and his compadres got rich with taxpayers money. Remember when he was getting an auto allowances, healthy insurance coverage for him and his family, and other benefits not allowed under city charter. Eddie is an attorney, but does not know the difference between legal and non-legal entitlements, nor does he go by legal precedents as all mayors before him did when we knew all we were entitled to was no more than $50 per month and we gave our time as a civic public servants. Eddie sought to benefit as he did by knowingly getting benefits costing taxpayers thousands of dollars and never paid it back when finally caught.

2) Remember when Eddie thought about selling PUB, which is the result of the attached poster. Then Eddie got into co-hoots with his dear good friend Carlos Marin, who decided that Brownsville needed a strategic plan. So they both concocted the idea to take all of the city departments strategic plans and compile them into one plan and call it Imagine Brownsville and sell it back to the city for an initial payment of $850,000, plus an annual fee of $25,000 from each public entity. Te plan was put together and is updated using our staff and resources. The worst part about this scam costing taxpayers millions is that it organized Eddie Trevino and Carlos Marin to take control of public entities, while promoting themselves as civic minded people through an organization that was for PROFIT when they collected the $850,000. Many civic minded people volunteer and work through the Chamber, BEDC, and other organizations to help our city with no expectation to get paid, but Imagine Brownsville/Carlos Marin used all of our resources and got paid $850,000 up front with Eddie's help. They sure are civic minded individuals. Can you afford Eddie and more plans like Imagine Brownsville or backroom deals to benefit his friends?

3) I was elected on June 16, 2007, but 4 days before on June 12, 2007 Eddie Trevino provides a sweetheart contract to raise the city manager's salary and guarantees him 6 months severance pay, all of which will cost taxpayers over $200,000 (see attached contract) and it is against city charter. This was unprecedented and for a reason no city manager before got this kind of contract, but Eddie cannot read or understand the city charter and he is a lawyer. City charter entitles the city manager 30 days severance pay. You cannot blame Charlie Cabler, you have to blame those who we elect to do the right thing, but chose to give away the store, after all it is not there money. Secret contacts like this is only the tip of the iceberg should Eddie Trevino get elected as county judge, but ultimately your vote and effort to allow this or stop this from happening will decided.

4) For over six months I have requested from PUB through Open Records that they provide me what Eddie has been paid as BPUB Board Attorney, the estimate is over $500,000, but I want confirmation and cannot get it. Eddie has fought me tooth and nail not to provide the information using BPUB resources. In my opinon, Eddie can only survive by having BPUB as his client and scamming taxpayers and if you want to trust him as county judge, that is up to you. Eddie was hurting before he manipulated the system to gain personally and if elected you will only empower him to do more with the help of his compadres like Carlos Marin, after all it is only taxpayers money they well keeps on giving. I guarantee you, United Brownsville will be the first at the trough. This organization is a political based to work hard behind the scenes to get Eddie and people like the mayor elected. You will see more deals like the Casa Nylon purchase that is worthless to the city and cost taxpayers $2.3 million and if you compare to the Mercantile Bank purchase by the county, it proves how stupid those people who allow these things to happen are and we elect them. What I hear has saved the mayor from indictment is his relationship to Judge Hanen's wife and relationships with the FBI and they are immune from prosecution. It is who you know in this town.

Eddie keeps hiding to comply with my Open Records request by claiming the information requested is competitive and sensitive, even though it is citizens monies, but I guess Eddie has made it his private venture and the Attorney General agrees. Eddie hides by claiming that it is all related to TENASKA, which is another scam the mayor and him got us into and has already costing us millions and millions of dollars when it is not a feasible project, plus higher utility rates. TENASKA is another Bridge To Nowhere project that cost the Port of Brownsville $21 million before exposed.

5) The TENASKA deal was pushed by Mayor Martinez and Eddie Trevino against all who wisely said was not needed or worth it, but they managed again to enrich their compadres and will continue should you support this kind of entitlement type of government that rips off taxpayers. And some just went livid when I was wrongfully accused of stealing a check, how this pales to all of the above. I can look anyone in the eye knowing this was political and an effort to ruin me, but it gives the haters something to spread their poison with while supporting individuals like Eddie and the Mayor. Go figure!

The above is only a synopsis of the type of leadership you are being asked to vote for and if you do, I repeat what I said in My Turn Article. Some of the people we elect are like vacuums who suck the life out of our county and city and we rush to destroy those who try to do what is right. Don't take my word for it, but enlighten us on what contributions Eddie has made as a public servant without benefiting.

In spite of ourselves, many good things do happen in our community, but how much more could happen if we did not have these kind of people who support this kind of government. We elected them and are now entrenched, Your vote makes the difference. It is up to you to vote for Eddie or make sure you talk to those who support Eddie and let them know what they are voting for, because many want to believe he is the Voice of Reason and for Family Values, but I would not trust him or the mayor one iota.

Attached is the city manager's contract and Eddie's picture poster that says it all why Eddie wants your vote. Thank you for your time and consideration to the above. This is my opinion based on actual facts and what I know of Eddie Trevino, but ultimately it is up to you.

Kindest regards,

Pat Ahumada

FROLICKING, SKIPPING, LEVITATING THROUGH MARKET SQUARE

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