Saturday, February 26, 2011

Only in Laredo: Our Water plants date from the '30s and '50s but we got a $18Million baseball in the works!

One of Laredo's water plants was built during FDR's first term

The 311 operator must have been getting hundreds of call. When I asked to be transferred to the City of Laredo waterworks, he knew exactly to say "Sir, the water pressure is going to be down for a few more hours because they're working on the water plant".  Well, no wonder, according to waterworks director Tomas Rodriguez, our city's two water plants date back to the 1930s and 1950s.  That makes them nearly 80 and 60 years old respectively. Rodriguez added that the 1930s plant is being abandoned while the 1950s plant is being remodeled. Great!, now we're only 60 years behind.

Not to fear, the 18 million dollar baseball park is still in the works. Not only did several schools had to dismiss their students early because of the low water pressure, there's was even more fallout. A reader of the LMT, had this to say:

"There was no water available for the bathrooms at Ochoa baseball field during the Border Olympics Baseball Tournament!! How embarrassing is it for to hear the announcer say, "there is no water so please refrain from using the bathrooms for the nest 1 1/2 hours".  This type of publicity is exactly why Laredo has the image it has, we deserve the image we have. we earn it EVERY day with this kind of B$!! "

'Nuff said.


  1. We have spent quite a bit of money over the last few years on water line upgrades, not enough though. I agree we lack in lots of infrastructure needs (streets and water). However, you never seem to mention that our fire and police departments take up well over 50% (more likely 60%) of our budget expenses. Now, I am not complaining about our fire and police protection in general, but we must look at "all" budget allocations when we complain about allocations.
    As for the baseball stadium that expenditure should be taken directly to the voters who approved the 1/4% sales tax in 2008. I hope that 1/4% tax can be changed to a 4a4b type tax to support economic development and finsh the payments on the arena and ballpark.
    Actually the ballpark is a drop in the bucket in spending. The city budget is around $430 million. Take the $18 million and divide that by 20 years term of payoff (just guessing on term length) and you can see that the ballpark is less than .2 percent of budget.
    Let's go after real improvement and look at salaries, benifits, headcount, efficiencies and make changes there.

  2. Hey Tom Wade, thanks for your input. First of all, The headlines state two facts: The age of the water plants and the cost of the new park. These are facts. now, some will take that headline and say "throw out the bums" others (like you) will tend to downplay it and resort to pointing out that it's a drop in the bucket.

    Objectively, it might be a drop in the bucket of a $430 million budget. However, if you want to look at cuts in fire and police protection, shouldn't we look to cut an 18 million dollar stadium first? I mean most of the jobs it will bring will be filled by people from elsewhere? And these players will not be secure in their jobs (as the bucks are not) and will therefore not buy any homes, they'll rent instead. That will help but the multiplier effect is not as great. Whatever boost they bring to local businesses will not be that much. I hope I'm wrong. There's already hotels and restarants around the are, no new ones will be built simply because of the baseball park.

    You're right I don't mention that police and fire departments account for nearly 60 per cent of our budget expenses because I don't know if that's the case. If it is, then of course, those who get paid big bucks to rein in those costs should be doing just that. I think that most of us bloggers (including yourself) do speak out quite a bit about the ineffective jobs our city & county governments are doing.

  3. Good points.

    What I am trying to say is that I agree, we must continue to make long term investments in things like water and roads. However, we must also be understand all that is the city budget. And that includes, fire, police, and other high cost items. Just look at how much we spend on parks and rec, and look at the impact adding a huge rec. center has on the budget vs. a baseball park. I would be the cost/roi at the end of the day might shock you.

  4. Do you all think President Roosevelt looks like "The Penguin" in this photo?

  5. He probably looked more like the penguin on inauguration day. Back then, the President always wore a top hat for the ocassion. I think JFK was the last one to wear a top hat.

  6. I do think that Laredo spends too much on the recreational centers for such a poor city. I wonder if they are being used by a lot of people. A lot meaning .....a lot.

  7. Top hats:

    *Presidents Lincoln, Harding, and Roosevelt.
    *The Monopoly guy
    *Mr. Peanut

    Oh yea, back to the subject at hand: spending.

    I'll tell you exactly why the city of Laredo focuses so much money on these things. In my opinion, Raul Salinas and the City Council read their Roman History, particularly the parts about "bread and circuses."

    So, to distract a socioeconomically disfranchised population from the ills of Laredo, they give (or try to at least) things that will mollify their entertainment.

    But, I could be wrong. Once I see chariot races in downtown Laredo, I'm moving to San Antonio.