Monday, January 31, 2011

LMT's Biz Journal's take on city makeover : So far, all sizzle, no steak

Kayaking down the Rio Grande has recently become very popular

Sean Bowlin, in LMT's Business Journal, referred to the city of Laredo's campaign for an image makeover as having a whole lot of sizzle but not much steak. This reminded me of the Rick Perry saying: "all hat and no cattle". Another such saying that comes to mind is when Mr. Cowboy Cumbia  himself, Javier Molina was speaking in front of  former Mayor Betty Flores and the city council. He was upset with the council about some particular issue and stated something to the effect of the city being like a longhorn: a point here,  a point there and all bull in the middle. You get the point. No pun intended. Even Laredotejas has written in the past, that one thing is to makeover the city's image but another thing to actually change the reality of what the city has to offer.

In today's article, Bowlin goes on to question just what the next step in the rebranding effort is. He is not alone. Many of us have also been wondering what follows in the wake of the Kell-Munoz study. After spending $300,000 on that firm for a downtown revitalization study, not much more has happened besides mostly talk.  Bowlin apparently agrees that even all the marketing firms in Texas can only do so much.

One example of how important good ideas are to truly changing our city is the continuing interest in kayaking down the Rio Grande. This did not take the construction of any multi-million dollar buildings. It did not rely on any laws having to be changed. It did not depend on the acquisition of valuable land.  Someone had an idea and moved on it and the results have been very positive. I apologize for not having all the facts on exactly who was responsible for making Rio Grande Kayaking events a reality although the name Big River outfitters comes to mind. Please someone correct me if I'm wrong. The gist of my message is that good ideas are invaluable and we should all have the opportunity to express them to our politicians before they go spending another $300,000 and not having much to show for it.


  1. Yes it is Big River Outfitters who are pushing the change in how we view the Rio Grande and river recreation. They are hoping that with the passage of the paddle boat route, they will be able to expand the business to something a little different for those who can't do as much rowing. Little by little.

    Their races will be held quarterly and kayaking happens whenever you can get a group of 3 or more to sign up. It's $28 for the lesson and includes all equipment rental and guided tour. Andale Maximiliano, animate y vamos!!

    I did this piece & video when they first started:

    I also volunteer with them when I can. I love the idea of changing the image of what we have (ie. the river) into something positive.

  2. Reminds me of my days at Yale when I was on the rowing team.............NOT! Sounds like a good idea-good exercise and of course the scenic route. $28 bucks huh? Lemme see, if I count all my pennies, I might just make it. Thanks for the link.

  3. Wow. Thanks for the props! yes, it's true. Kayaking on the Rio Grande. Its legal. It's clean. it's fun!! It's even cheap! $28 gets you all your equipment, instruction and a guide to join you for a 2 1/2 hour float. Choose between Casa Blanca Lake ( Kayaking 101 for first-timers), and Father McNaboe Park to Laredo Community College for those with any prior experience. Call us at 209.1879. Or visit us at the Rio Grande Plaza Hotel, One South Main. We're also on the web at and on Facebook at

  4. With $300,000 we could work miracles in Laredo and beyond, getting children into nature and nature into the classrooms. We're developing these programs now through the Big River Foundation.

  5. I think it's obvious people are responding to your ideas and that's what we need around here. Thank you both for reading & for posting your comments.

  6. Maximiliano, How'd you like to check out the river, from the river? Que Fregados has come along (and furnished some great video from the shore) but we've yet to have a guest blogger take the trip. As our guest. I've been out of town for two months and we're just starting up again for 2011. Have yet to float the river at this level other than this weekend's race. I need to get out and see how long it takes to do our standard Father McNaboe-to-LCC run at the new low water level. Probably 2 1/2 hours. Weather's looking warm again by the weekend. Why don't you come along?

  7. Wait a minute wait a minute, Eric... you have to take my handicapped butt out first - haha! Just kidding. The only reason I didn't go was because I can't climb down your "ramp" or climb back up.

    Maximiliano, take him up on the offer and I would be glad to videotape. Just don't tip over!!

  8. I just saw these last two post. I sincerely appreciate the offer. I always wondered why not many people took more advantage of the beauty of our ol' Rio Grande. Not being a Mark Spitz (anybody remember him), I'll have to get back to you on the invitation-If someone else doesn't jump on it first (QF)-Just kidding QF.