Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Norma A. Guevara Defends Alleged Hit-and-Run Driver, Marisa Govea Hernandez, Attacks Victim's Husband on Social Media

Norma A. Guevara
Norma A. Guevara of Harlingen devotes most of her Facebook page to defending Marisa Govea Hernandez, the lady allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed Mary Tipton February 28, 2015. 

When I heard a very early morning "ping" on my nightstand, I checked the cellphone and found an inbox message from Guevara.  She wanted me to know that Mary Tipton had filed for a protective order against her husband, Ralph Tipton, in 2013.  

While Ms. Guevara is suggesting that Ralph Tipton is or was not a perfect guy, husband, what in the hell does this have to do with his wife getting killed in a hit-and-run accident by Marisa Govea Hernandez.

I don't know the relationship between Guevara and Hernandez, but she referred to Mrs. Hernandez as "Gove," indicating they are likely close friends or relatives.

Norma Guevara went on to say(unedited):

"This is an accident that could've happend  to any one mrs. Gove did everything that was on her hands to try and find what she had hit unfortunately they didn't find anything becuse it was too dark.  Mr. tipton is only manipulating the information."

Just to weigh in on this, Mrs. Hernandez' car struck Mary Tipton on FM 803 near several warehouses and, about 100 yard from a restaurant with a parking area.  There were opportunities for HER to pull off, park her car safely and return to the scene.  She CHOSE not to do that.  

Marisa Govea Hernandez, Driver of the Vehicle That
Struck Mary Tipton
It is not clear that Mary Tipton died from the accident or sometime during the three days her body lay facedown in a ditch under a street lamp. That is why "rendering aid" is so critical. Someone has been hit.  Of course, it was accidental, but leaving the scene of the accident is inexcusable. Fellow humans deserve to be given whatever assistance we can give them in that situation. Waiting till much later and then having her son call 911 does not speak well for the lady's moral character.

Only One Write-In Candidate for Tax Assessor, Randy Gonzalez, Still Actively Campaigning

Back in June, Tad Hasse invited prospective write-in candidates for Cameron County Tax Assessor to the Brownsville Public Library for a candidate forum.

Three candidates showed up to share their resume's and acumen with the public, Jessica Puente-Bradshaw, Leo Lopez and Randy Gonzales. Only one of the three is still actively campaigning for the position, Randy Gonzales.  We are told that Jessica Puente-Bradshaw never actually filed for the position.  We haven't heard hide nor hair from Leo Lopez since that June meeting.

Randy Gonzales, on the other hand, continues to work, holding chicken plate fundraisers, and now announcing a meet and greet at Cobbleheads September 8.

As you may recall, incumbent Tony Yzaguirre received 11,528 votes in the primary, illustrating the lack of information among Cameron County voters.  IF Yzaguirre wins in November and is indicted on any of the 14 counts he's been charged with, then selection of the next tax assessor is taken out of the voter's hands.  In that case, the Cameron County Commissioner's Court will make the selection.  Reports indicate, the commissioners may already have a plan in place to name one of their cronies to the position.

Judge Rene De Coss Denies Attorney Ernesto Gamez' Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Marisa Govea Hernandez in Hit-and-Run Case

Attorney Ernesto Gamez, on the Right
In a 50 minute hearing before the 445th District Court, Attorney Ernesto Gamez approached the bench of Judge Rene De Coss for a hearing associated with the State of Texas vs. Marisa Govea Hernandez, the driver of the car that struck Mary Tipton February 28, 2015.

Judge Rene De Coss
Attorney Gamez and Judge De Coss essentially played ping pong, as Gamez weakly served across the bench, only to have his services slammed back by the judge.

Gamez made a 3914 motion to dismiss the charges against his client, that is, being responsible for an accident causing death.  His initial contention that certain court orders had never actually been signed by Judge De Coss was met with firm words:  "I've signed everything!"

Marisa Govea Hernandez
When Gamez seemed to fumble for proof of something unsigned, De Coss interrupted, asking the lead prosecutor for the DA's office, Oscar Guzman, if any orders proved to be unsigned, would he be comfortable if the judge simply signed them.  Both defense and DA's office agreed to that and De Coss moved on.

Gamez moved to his next point, involving a warehouse security video showing the accident, originally 3 days in length, but, while in Brownsville Police Department custody, inexplicably reduced to 30 seconds.  The attorney, representing Marisa Govea Hernandez, claimed that the portion of videotape erased while under BPD custody would show an officer driving slowly later in the night after the accident with his "cop lights" shining on the east and west sides of FM 803. That missing tape evidence would show, in Gamez view, that the 911 call by Hernandez' son, a Cameron County sheriff's deputy, had resulted in an attempt to search for an animal or body.  That, in Gamez' view, would was "mitigating evidence" that would have reduced his client's eventual sentence or even caused her not to be indicted as it could eliminate the aspect of "failure to render aid."

Brownsville Police Detective
Thomas Clipper
Another problem caused by missing video is that such footage would have enabled Attorney Gamez to confront BPD Officer Thomas Clipper about his reported change in testimony.  According to some reports, Clipper first substantiated the claim that an officer used lights sometime in the night after the accident to search for an animal or possible body. Clipper now apparently claims otherwise. Gamez says he needed the lost videotape evidence to confront and impeach Clipper on his changing testimony.

After Gamez motion to dismiss was denied, he asked Judge De Coss to tell Ralph Tipton, the accident victim's husband, to stay out of his office. 

"I find him rude and he puts fear into my staff," Gamez claimed, mumbling something also about urine.

Gamez claimed the District Attorney's office felt the same way.

De Coss replied:  "Mr Gamez, you're an attorney and you know the legal remedy if you don't want Mr. Tipton in your office," obviously referring to a protective order.

At this  point, lead prosecutor Oscar Guzman, from the District Attorney's office stood up: "Judge, no one is barred from the District Attorney's office."

Attorney Gamez' motion to dismiss the charges against his client, Marisa Govea Hernandez, was denied.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hearing Concerning Alleged Hit-and-Run of Mary Tipton Before Judge René De Coss in 445th Judicial District Court Wednesday @ 1:30 PM

                                  Judge René De Coss
District Court Judge René De Coss has scheduled the continuation of a hearing for Wednesday, August 31 @ 1:30 PM in the matter of Marisa Govea Hernandez, whose vehicle allegedly struck Mary Tipton February 28, 2015 on FM 803.

The Hernandez vehicle did not stop, nor was aid rendered to the victim, who was discovered three days later laying facedown in a ditch by a contruction worker walking along FM 803.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

McAllen Police Department Answers Nena's Question: "Do You Have to Report An Accident If Your Vehicle Hits A Skunk?"

Marisa Govea Hernandez, the mother of a Cameron County Deputy Sheriff, realized her white Volkswagen struck something February 28, 2015 while driving south on FM 803.  Three days later, a construction worker, walking along that same road, discovered the body of Mary Tipton, laying facedown in the ditch adjacent to the road.

A court hearing revealed an initial 911 call from the deputy sheriff son of the driver, indicating that an animal had been hit.(Later, the deputy speculated his mother had hit a skunk.)  Next, a dispatcher calls out the report and Officer Nino volunteers to go. Later, Nino calls back to say there's nothing to report.

Ralph Tipton
Ralph Tipton, husband of the victim, has shared dozens of pictures with us via a dropbox, showing extensive damage to the VW, including the headlight, sideview mirror, quarter   panel and windshield, much more damage than any reasonable, honest individual could assume was caused by hitting a skunk.

Nena Barton
Nena brought up an interesting question Saturday: Would an accident involving a vehicle hitting a small animal legally have to be reported?  DPS Austin was closed Saturday, so we called today. We were told that it was DPS policy to refer questions of that nature to local police departments.

We called the McAllen Police Department and our call was directed to Sgt. Tony Gonzalez.  Officer Gonzalez explained that an accident involving a vehicle hitting a small animal would only need to be reported if the damage exceeded $1,000. Hitting a domestic animal, like a horse or cow would likely result in at least $1,000 damage and need to be reported.  Striking and injuring or killing an endangered species would have to be reported. Officer Gonzalez cited one additional reason to file an accident report; to get the damage to your vehicle covered by your insurance company. None of us can read minds, but could that final reason have been the motivation for Mrs. Hernandez, through her deputy sheriff son, to proceed with an accident report, that is, to get her VW fixed?

Sheriff Omar Lucio
In Cameron County, Sheriff Omar Lucio sets a tone of disregarding the law pertaining to traffic accidents.  Certainly, the sheriff's deputies have picked up on the sheriff's cavalier attitude toward Texas law on reporting accidents. 

Repeatedly, Lucio has mollycoddled Officer Gus Reyna, after at least two accidents involving damages far exceeding $1,000 and, in at least one case, bodily injury.  Reyna reported neither accident.  Here is the link to our 2014 story:

New Teacher, Mr. Reed, Welcomes Kids to the First Day of Fourth Grade

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Brownsville Cowboy Fans, How Does It Feel to Have Two Potentially Great Rookies Playing in 2016?

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
Does Jerry Jones even realize how diehard Brownsville's Dallas Cowboy fans are? Likely not. While there are residents who go to Sunday mass, the real masses are in front of their TV sets on Sunday during football season, worshiping at the First Church of the Dallas Cowboys.  If former Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman moved to Brownsville and ran for the House of Representatives, Rene Oliveira would get his ass kicked to La Feria.

H.E.B. clerks and cashiers are in Cowboy jerseys on game day, many attired in Romo 9, others Witten 82 or one of the receivers. The city still celebrates Charro Days, but the city's real charro icons are the Dallas Cowboys, celebrated with Bud Light, guacamole and barbecue every Sunday during the NFL season.

In recent years, Brownsville's Dallas Cowboys have not fared well, once into the playoff segment of the NFL season, with no more success than Brownsville's high school football teams, who've ventured north of Corpus Christi to face players with larger biceps, greater athleticism and speed than produced by the RGV valley's DNA.  Knute Rockne halftime speeches can't overcome simple disproportionate athletic skills.

There's no need to chronicle the Dallas Cowboy"s lack of success in the playoffs since Jerry Jones began chanting; "How'd u like them three Super Bowls?"  The Cowboys have been no closer to the Super Bowl than Brownsville's high school teams to state championships.  In reality, soccer is Brownsville's natural sport, although possibly not as macho an option as "American" futbol.

2016:  The Cowboys of Dallas and Brownsville have two rookies who could, might change their football future.

Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas First Round Selection at Running Back
Ezekiel Elliot, a first round draft choice, played his first game Thursday for the Cowboys against the Seattle Seahawks in a pre-season game.  It wasn't Ezekiel's running that caught initial attention, so much as his toughness.  After a short run, All-Star safety Kam Chancellor tried to rough him up a little after a run.  Ezekiel got up off the turf and, embarrassingly, pushed Chancellor back 10 yards or so.  A  play or so later, Chancellor, miffed by the rookie's assertiveness, was called for a late hit, a 15 yard penalty.

Elliot picked up blitzes, ran effectively and clearly showed that "he won't take any shit" from anyone.

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott
Even before Tony Romo's current broken bone, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was exciting Cowboy fans.  His pre-season quarterback rating leads the NFL and the Cowboys are not the least bit hesitant with him replacing Tony Romo early season.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Babe Laufenberg and Other Honest Sportscasters in My Otherwise Uneventful Life

My self-righteous, religious fanatic father used to refer to TV as "the devil's eyeball."  We were allowed to watch some TV, but only after Bible study and other cult activities.  I was in a 12 year old's version of heaven when dad left on long sales trips for the Gates Rubber Company, while the ineffective, frequently disliked salesman, made a living, slightly north of the poverty line for his wife and 5 kids. (OK, guys.  I left home at 16)

Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese
During those long sales trips, mom didn't object or interfere with my TV watching.  I was actually watching CBS in Payette, Idaho  in 1961 when Dizzy Dean questioned how the game he and Pee Wee Reese were broadcasting could be called the "Game of the Week" when the other channel was showing the Yankees vs. Cleveland.   I was instantly captured by Ol' Diz's honesty and wouldn't have turned the dial for any other game.

I've always had a weakness for sportscasters who would "tell it like it is."  Enter Muhammad Ali's friend, Monday Night Football legend, Howard Cosell.  Howard put sports in their place, secondary to verbs, adjectives and prepositional phrases.  Howard knew in December of '80 that John Lennon's death was bigger than any game he, Frank Gifford and Dandy Don were broadcasting.

Watching Babe Laufenberg broadcasting
yesterday's Cowboys game made me recall honest sportscasting. Babe rejects homerism, telling us over the years that the Cowboys were bad, analyzing why they're bad before going to commercial.  Yesterday's broadcast was no exception as Babe explained Romo's desire to go back into the game after a "stiff back" as like a kid going to daddy, then mommy to ask if he can go back into the game.

Nena, watching Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley on TNT's broadcast of NBA basketball, identified with Barkley somehow. Before she lost her sight after the strokes, she read all of Barkley's books, starting with "I Might Be Wrong, But I Doubt It." Nena mockingly uses the Barkley pronunciation of "turrible."

And, then there's Lou Holtz, the quipster, the folk hero, the motivational speaker of sports commentary.  Forty years ago, Lou told us the light at the end of the tunnel was an onrushing freight train:

Dr. Sylvia Atkinson, Bringing Experience and Baggage to the Campaign for BISD Trustee, Position 7

Dr. Sylvia Atkinson
With stints as superintendent in Los Fresnos, Santa Rosa and El Paso, plus considerable administrative experience at BISD, Sylvia Atkinson can submit a resume' unmatched by any of the 18 candidates still in the running for BISD trustee.

That experience is reflected in Atkinson's list of "My priorities" on her Facebook campaign page: No new taxes, balanced budget, raises for teachers and support staff, 22-1 student-teacher ratio in the classroom, restoring cuts to special needs programs, etc.

We asked Atkinson if she was being supported by Mike Hernandez III and Carlos Marin of the ignominious OP 10.33 phony advocacy group.

"No, but if they do try to contribute to my campaign, I will refuse the donation, suggesting they instead send the contribution to BISD or to BISD's lowest performing schools," stated Atkinson.

"I'm aware that you're not a big supporter of BISD Superintendent Zendejas," I suggested.

"I'm concerned about the disconnect between this administration and the community," Atkinson responded.

"I've heard you're concerned about the availability of pre-k," Atkinson continued.

Student, Denied Pre-K, but Surviving
"Well, I was a bit concerned that, in one family, the boy with more obvious Anglo features, was denied the opportunity, because he spoke English, while his brother, with more obvious Hispanic features, was enrolled without a hitch, while also speaking English.  It may not be a racist policy, but it's implemented in a racist way at BISD." 

Atkinson replied that she'd worked with Senator Lucio to make pre-k universal, but thought the bill would not pass.

"It's simply not right to deprive one segment of our community the opportunity for pre-k," she offered. (I agree with Atkinson on this.  The implementation of this program is beyond dumb. Would it not help kids not proficient in English to be grouped with native speakers?  Would not the English-speaking kids be benefited by picking up some Spanish as well as familiarize themselves with the school routine?  Duh!)

Atkinson's several brief tenures with various school districts were not without controversy. According to reports, she left the Santa Rosa School District with an $800,000 shortfall.  At Socorro ISD of El Paso, there were charges of nepotism when three of her friends from Santa Rosa were elevated over more qualified job applicants.  At BISD, while Atkinson was Human Resources Director, her brother Charlie, the former City Commissioner, was hired as a coach over several more qualified applicants, despite not having a teaching degree.

Here are a couple blog comments from the archives that see Atkinson from different perspectives:

She's a tough cookie, but I work with her on a advisory committee of teachers. She's been nothing but professional with us. She makes no excuses for wanting equal levels of staffing at each campus so some people are not happy without the extra staff they got out of Susan Fox. I don't think she wants to be Superintendent. She is very supportive of Mr. Montoya and always gives him credit for anything positive. She even told us at our last meeting how much he is doing to get us raises next year. I think you are just listening to the haters.
Also, this one:

Oh, someone forgot to follow SA to Eagle Pass. She didn't leave there with flying colors. She leaves a trail of nothing but waste material. She stabs friends in their back after they help her get certain positions for she tries to overrun them. She is like the kid in the neighborhood who would not play if he could not be the pitcher. Sure she tells teachers at meeting that Dr. Montoya is a really nice guy. Sure, he is, but he forgets that he is wearing pants. She is a good talker and because she is so intelligent can really pull the wool over your eyes if you allow it.

Atkinson's opposition for BISD, Position 7 includes the extremely popular Rigo Bocanegra, a fireman and community activist, who today led a group of disgruntled bus drivers on a march to the BISD administration building.

The incumbent is Hector Chirinos, who made an absolute mess of the BISD Transportation Department during his tenure.

Norberto Rangel and Orlando Carlos Trevino are also running (also rans?) for Position 7.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Woman Is the Nigger of the World" John Lennon on Dick Cavett

Italo Zarate Claims Dr. Tercero Was Wronged by the TSC Board of Trustees and Will "Beat These Culprits in Court"

TSC Trustee Dr. Reynaldo Garcia
Brownsville resident and frequent Brownsville Herald Letter to the Editor contributor Italo J. Zarate strongly disagrees with the termination of TSC President Lily Tercero.  Zarate's view of the matter seems to dovetail with the views of TSC Trustee Dr. Reynaldo Garcia, who Zarate quotes in his letter published in today's Herald.

According to Zarate, Dr. Tercero "met all the objectives given to her by the board of trustees and some say she even went the extra mile."

"Normally someone with these credentials gets a pay raise, not a pink slip," Zarate says.  What Zarate did not mention in his letter is that Tercero had been actively seeking positions at other community colleges, submitting at least two applications in the last 4 months.  

Mr. Zarate describes Tercero as "a strong woman who I hope will beat these culprits in court."

Dr. Lily Tercero
Actually, if Tercero appears in court any time soon, it may be as a defendant for her unethical and likely illegal bypassing of the Board of Trustees to unilaterally sign a million dollar windstorm contract with an insurance vendor.

Not communicating with the Board of Trustees seemed to be a bad Tercero habit as a once vaunted nursing program fell into probation without any communication from Tercero that things weren't going well.

Even before these administrative issues developed, complaints about "micromanagement" emanated from faculty.  Not surprisingly, under Tercero the faculty attrition rate has been scary.  Educators bristle at being told how to teach by administrators, especially when salary is relatively low.

Italo Zarate and Reynaldo Garcia are simply wrong about Tercero.  Her departure is mandatory for TSC to regroup and grow.

Of the Three RGV Airports, Only One of Seven Passengers Use the Brownsville/South Padre Island "International" Airport

Pan Am Douglas DC-3 at Brownsville Airport, 1946
For those who recall the so-called heyday of the Brownsville/SPI International Airport, it may come as a shock that only 14.2% of RGV passengers getting on planes do so in Brownsville.

Airport Advisory Board, 8/23/2016
Those attending the Airport Advisory Board meeting Tuesday noon were given the calendar year's comparative numbers for the three RGV airports;  McAllen Miller International Airport(MFE), Harlingen's Valley International Airport(HAR) and Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport(BRO).

Airport Director Bryant Walker
Enplanements for the fiscal year totaled 762,647 for the three airports.  Brownsville's total enplanements stood at 108,638, 14.2% of the total. More passengers flew out of McAllen then Brownsville and Harlingen combined, 394,365 or 51.7% of the total.  Valley Int'l totaled 259,644 or 34% of the total.

When board member Luis Cavazos hinted that the numbers might indicate a lack of marketing for the airport, newly hired Airport Director Bryant Walker responded:  "These numbers show we have room to grow."

Board Secretary Chris Hughston theorized that "two thirds of the valley's population now lived in an area stretching from Weslaco to Mission."  He neglected to mention that adjacent to Brownsville is the valley biggest tourist draw, South Padre Island.  

When Cavazos noted that BISD and PUB administrators were flying out of Harlingen, not Brownsville, Marketing Director Michael Jones, a longtime valley newsman, explained that the State of Texas had a contract with Southwest Airlines, flying out of Harlingen.  

Jones added: "Now that American has a contract with the state, we expect that BISD and PUB officials will start flying out of Brownsville."

The airport now offers free wi-fi along a counter in the terminal. We found one user plugged in Tuesday.

Amelia's Cafe provides meals for airport customers as well as furnishes lunches for the members of the Airport Advisory Board.

The pace of the board seems to have quickened under Bryant Walker, hired as Airport Director this past May.  

In his Director's Report, Walker stated that plans to build a new airport terminal are "on schedule."  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Proof That Dr. Lily Tercero Knew Her Days Were Numbered As Texas Southmost College President

Dr. Lily Tercero, at some point, knew her selection as President of Texas Southmost College was ill-fitting. Her rejection for a similar office at Laredo Community College in May, after an April application, indicated a desire to "jump ship" before being asked.

Trustees Kiko Rendon, Ed Rivera, Art Rendon and Dr. Rey Garcia, now seem to have been totally adrift mentally, in adding an additional year to Tercero's contract during the same time frame that she was seeking employment elsewhere.  Perhaps, Ed and Kiko had already moved on in spirit to their new jobs at car dealer Mike Hernandez III's OP 10.33 and were not focusing on TSC, but, what were Dr. Rey and Art thinking?

Now, we've learned that Tercero is one of four finalists for president of Northeast Lakeview College, one of several San Antonio community colleges associated in the Alamo College District. Tercero's introduction letter to the NLC Search Committee is dated June 19, 2016, well before her August 2, 2016 termination by the board of trustees.

Here is an excerpt from her letter to the search committee:

"I currently serve as the chief executive officer of Texas Southmost College (TSC). The unique opportunity to reestablish TSC as a fully comprehensive, pubic community college has been exhilarating and gratifying. Since my arrival at TSC in October 2011, I engaged in a variety of activities that required extensive communication, collaboration, negotiation, and management skills.  One of my first tasks was to finalize the termination of a 22-year agreement with the University of Texas System, which included the sale, exchange and lease of property as well as the creation of new lease arrangements. Through these extensive negotiations, the College’s assets increased by approximately $25 million and liabilities decreased by almost $9 million."

There is no need to demonize Tercero.  She likely did her best at TSC, but simply was the wrong hire.  

The institution now faces the huge challenge to educate a workforce for actual jobs in Cameron County.  We have too many UTB/TSC graduates working at Burger King because there are few jobs locally matching their degree.  


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Did City Attorney Mark Sossi Engage in Legal Misconduct in Handling Tipton Matter?

City Attorney Mark Sossi, Flanked by City Administrators
Bryant Walker and Lupe Granado
Recently, this blog reproduced a somewhat bizarre Facebook inbox conversation between City Attorney Mark Sossi and Ralph Tipton, the husband of Mary Tipton, who perished in an apparent hit-and-run accident February 28, 2015 after being hit by a vehicle driven by Marisa Govea Hernandez.

You may recall that, in the exchange, Sossi was reaching out directly to Tipton, asking him if they could meet in Hidalgo so that Sossi could share the police practices manual for the City of Brownsville, a manual Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez and Sossi himself had been refusing to turn over.

The Tiptons
Now, the city was reversing field and offering Tipton the manual, likely responding to the tremendous public outcry generated by Tipton's incessant sharing of articles published in this blog on Facebook.

An alert reader noticed something untoward, likely unethical, in the exchange:

"Sossi was representing the City of Brownsville in this matter as City Attorney.  Tipton had also retained a lawyer, Oscar Alvarez of McAllen.  It was legal misconduct for Sossi to approach Tipton directly in this matter, instead of recognizing his lawyer, yet in the conversations you posted, Jim, that seems to be the case."

We republish the conversation below:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pat Ahumada's Oppressive Plastic Bag Ban May Soon Be Over! 4th Court of Appeals Strikes Down Similar Law in Laredo

Plastic Pat Ahumada
Six or seven years ago, the "Fickle Finger of Fate," as they used to call it on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, in the form of a plastic bag, slapped Pat Ahumada  on the chest while he was riding his motorcycle.

City Attorney Mark "The Sossi" Sossi
Likely, after the dramatic, life-changing incident, Mayor Pat immediately dropped to his knees to seek celestial guidance from the green gods and goddesses of the universe, whose spirits likely directed him to seek spiritual guidance from City Attorney Mark Sossi in co-drafting an ordinance banning demonic plastic bags from the city.

BISD Trustee Cata Presas-Garcia Speaking Against Ban
Despite the "diversity" of public "commenters," speaking out against the proposed ban of plastic bags in the city, including school board trustees, preachers, political advocates, truck drivers and even shoppers, the city's self-proclaimed "quarterback" at the time, Pat Ahumada, along with his much-maligned "blocking linemen" on the the city commission, passed the ban.

Soon, Brownsville shoppers were walking out of H.E.B., pushing shopping carts of loose grocery items, unprotected meat and ice cream in the 100 degree Fahrenheit heat, with eggs in styrofoam cartons tumbling from the bottom of the cart to smash on the hot asphalt.  Oh, bags were available for a single George Washington, that is, a dollar, greenback or buck.

When asked why poor people should pay a dollar for a sack to take out their groceries, Pat Ahumada replied:  "Poor people litter too!"  Had Pat made  that profound statement in 2016 someone would quickly have founded the organization "Poor People's Lives Matter."

The Texas 4th Court of Appeals may have given the poor in Brownsville a helping hand.  They just swatted down Laredo's copycat version of Brownsville's anti-plastic bag ban, citing the law as "unenforceable."  The Laredo Merchants Association had challenged the law in 2015.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Public Pressure Forces City Attorney Mark Sossi, Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez to Finally Release Police Procedure Manual to Ralph Tipton

City Attorney Mark Sossi, the ill-advised hire during Pat Ahumada's last term as mayor, is the gift that keeps on taking, blocking governmental tranparency at every possible turn, resisting democratic principles as if they were carriers of the Zika virus.  Sossi has morphed into the city's enabler, including the unethical mayor, the weak-minded city commission and the challenged,but overpaid, city manager.

Sossi's resume' is littered with theft, malpractice and incompetence, including a $167,363 judgement for pocketing funds intended for his previous employer, the Willette & Guerra Law Firm, stealing another $20,711.66 from the Texas Workforce, intended for employee unemployment benefits, a $100,000 tax lien from the I.R.S. as well as two malpractice lawsuits from Brownsville residents who thought retaining the City Attorney in private practice might be a good idea.

Sossi's magnum opus, however, has to be his highschoolish power point, at Mayor Martinez behest, against the broadcast of the public comment of Brownsville taxpayers at City Commission meetings.  Sossi, perhaps possessed by some despot's demon, argued that blocking the broadcast of public comment would lead to a greater diversity of commenters.  Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler all applauded from their graves!

Ralph Tipton
Enter Ralph Tipton, the husband of hit-and-run victim, Mary Tipton, who likely knew little about Sossi's bio when he asked the city to view a copy of the Brownsville Police Department manual, outlining proper, acceptable police procedure.

Tipton, not a police officer, had legitimate questions about the way his wife's case had been handled.  Why did Detective Thomas Clipper not even interview the woman who killed his wife with her vehicle, but, instead, allow the woman's son, a Cameron County Deputy Sheriff, to speak for his mom?  Why did the BPD not search for a body, but instead, accept the deputy's theory that his mom had likely struck a skunk, when the damage to the vehicle included a busted windshield?  Why did the BPD reduce a security camera's tape of the entire incident to a mere 30 seconds, allowing a District Attorney flunky, Oscar Guzman, to decide there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute? 

District Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson
Eight months ago, after Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriquez denied Tipton's request to peruse the police department manual, the matter came before District Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson. Judge Nelson seemed mystified as to why the matter was before him, telling City Attorney Sossi and Tipton: "You two should be working together on this."  Sossi replied by saying that Police Chief Rodriguez did not want the document released to Tipton and that he agreed.  As Gomer Pyle used to say:  "Surprise! Surprise!"

What dangerous secrets did this police procedure manual hold that Police Chief Rodriguez and City Attorney Sossi so desperately want to hide from the taxpayers?  Did it authorize waterboarding, demonic chants or hexes?  

Sossi continued to stonewall until this past week when the publicity created on this blog and Ralph Tipton's incessant use of Facebook and every option he could muster to publicize the nature of his wife's death, that Sossi finally relented, telling Tipton that "his superiors had ordered him" to share the police manual.

We will reprint below, without commentary, copies of a Facebook discussion between Tipton and Sossi about the manual:

Sossi was offering the elusive manual to Ralph Tipton, if Tipton would meet him in Hidalgo. Ralph was being a bit coy, because, unbeknownst to Sossi, Tipton already had the manual.

Of course, all of this back and forth means nothing unless Mary Tipton gets justice, despite all facets of the local representation of the so-called justice system seriously underperforming.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Diego Lee Rot Foundation Feeds Needy in Brownsville

BISD Opens for Education August 22. Will The Taxpayers Get Their $550,000,000 Worth?

Brownsville kids are just as smart as other kids.  If you need proof, Google Brownsville's chess championships.  IQ, the so-called intelligence quotient, measuring the ability to learn, would prove that kids in Brownsville have the capacity to learn as much as kids in Seattle.

Yet, when BISD students move on to Texas Southmost College or the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, they need beau-coups of remedial courses before taking their legitimate college instruction. In other words, they need to be brought up to speed on things they should have learned in high school.

BISD has to get an "F" for actual performance.


English language unfamiliarity?  I don't buy that excuse.  My wife, Nena, spoke only Spanish when she entered first grade in Brownsville in 1949. She spent a year learning English.  BISD now enrolls kids as young as 3 into Pre-K for that very reason.

Vietnamese immigrants won the Arkansas state spelling bee 12 straight years.  

Racism does play a role in qualifying for Pre-K in Brownsville.  Both of my grandsons are mixed race and speak English.  The grandson appearing more Anglo was not allowed into Pre-K.  The grandson with more obvious Hispanic features, despite speaking English, made the cut.

No problemo.  Both kids will torch BISD.  The one now entering first grade reads my blog to me daily without hesitation.

What if you sent a dozen BISD students to a Montana one-room school house for 1-12?  Would they need remedial courses at TSC?  Doubt it.

What if we gave Idea Schools $550,000,000 annually to educate our kids?  Could they do the job better than BISD?  Based on performance, the answer is "Yes!"

BISD is a wreck.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Blog, The Uncertainty of Life, Pageviews, Starting First Grade

We, Nena and I, appear misleadingly weak in the picture to the left. Yes, I'm holding a cane, but it's because I wrecked my Volkswagen, breaking the femur bone in my leg and twisting my knee to shit.  I've recovered now, ready to run a marathon or write an irrelevant blog.

Nena looks good, doesn't she, despite three strokes in the last year and a half?  She has some memory and vision loss, but still manages what's left of our household with an iron fist.

Our motivation to continue struggling with life is our grandson, Jack.  We lose him to the first grade in a week. I'm not sure what BISD will do with him.  He told me yesterday that a certain character in Minecraft only drops its prey 5% of the time.  Whatever.  He can read anything.  "Just try to behave and do what the teacher tells you to do," were my instructions.

This past week three stories reached individually over 25,000 pageviews.  That's so weird.  It's not that they were that well written.  They must have simply struck a cord.  Juan Montoya of El Rrun Rrun has likely experienced those same surges in readership at times, unexplainably.

The Brownsville Herald is deposited at the foot of my steps every morning at 6:00 AM.  The Herald studies the blogs, covers stories we've been covering and now emphasizes pics by Miguel Roberts and Jason Hoekema.  The Herald is learning from us.  No biggie.

Recently, I've tossed in a few graphics from Diego Lee Rot, our 44 year old son.  Nena's creativity is in his DNA, revealed in art and music.



Self-Portrait by Josie del Castillo