Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ocupy Laredo:Exiled off Main Street


As Laredo's Most Imposing Blog, La Sanbe put it, the Occupy Laredo movement was, for all intents and  purposes, exiled by our seedy council to the penal colony known locally as El Metro Park & Ride.

District 1 councilman Mike Garza apparently took advantage of an unsuspecting group of citizens, many of whom hadn't even heard of this so-called Park & Ride. Garza was  banking on the notion that simply having the word "Park" in the name of his suggested location would draw a positive response from the would-be-occupiers and lo and behold, his scheme worked.

It now appears that those whom the seedy council chooses to look down upon as ne'er-do-wells will be banquished to the former Laredo Air Force Base wherein the Park & Ride lies. It is not exactly a location that offers Occupy Laredo any semblance of high visibility. Yet, councilman Garza may have overlooked a strategic truth in his ploy.  Within a stones throw of the future Occupy Laredo campgrounds, stands one of the most blatant symbols of the 1 per cent, the privileged few and the dis-connected: The Washington Birthday Celebration Association headquaters.

It looks like the Park and Ride might not be such a bad center of operations for Laredo's fledgling Occupy Movement afterall.

Refresher on Texas laws regarding school buses unloading students


Locally, a 66 year old lady decided to pass an unloading school bus and ended up running over a student's leg.  Cesar Rodriguez of the Laredo Morning Times reported:

Evangelina Cantu Guevara, 66, was arrested and charged with passing a school bus, causing serious bodily injury, in the 4700 block of Sierra Vista Boulevard around 3 p.m. Monday.

Baeza said Cantu Guevara, who was driving a white passenger vehicle, remained at the scene.

Capt. Eloy Vega, Laredo Fire Department spokesman, said the boy was taken to the Laredo Medical Center in stable condition. Vega added the boy had “an injury to a lower extremity.” First responders say he was expected to recover. Meanwhile, authorities arrested Cantu Guevara at the scene.

Her charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of confinement and a $4,000 fine. Custody records Tuesday evening showed the woman had posted bail.
As a reminder, here are the Texas Department of Public Safety's laws governing unloading school buses

State law requirements
State law requires approaching drivers to stop when a school bus is stopped and operating a visual signal (red flashing lights or a stop sign). Drivers should not proceed until the school bus resumes motion; the driver is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated. A driver does not have to stop for a school bus if it is on a highway with roadways separated by an intervening space or physical barrier.

(If a highway is divided only by a left-turning lane, the roadways are not separated and drivers must stop for school buses.)

Punishment for drivers who do not stop
Drivers who do not stop for school buses face a fine of up to $1,000. If a driver is convicted of this offense more than one time, DPS can suspend their license for up to six months.
“DPS has zero tolerance for vehicles that pass stopped school buses,” Davis said. “Drivers must slow down, obey school zone speed limits and stop for school buses to ensure the safety of Texas school children.”
For more information on school bus safety, please contact DPS School Bus Safety Program Administrator Charley Kennington at 254-759-7235 or the Public Information Office at 512-424-2080. More information is also located at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/schoolbus.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Closer look at the Cold Storage Shenanigans by the City

City up to it's old bag of tricks again

The Laredo Morning Times is reporting this morning:

Months after bids were first sought for the item, City of Laredo staff will recommend Monday that the management and operation of two refrigerated inspection facilities be awarded to Garros Services.

The firm is a partnership among custom brokers Eduardo Garza Robles, Raquel San Miguel and Jose Salvador Rosas Quintanilla.

Garros received the high score in a staff evaluation over a firm headed by former Councilman Jose Valdez and a firm based in Pharr.


“They’ve got (more than) 100 years of experience,” said Assistant City Manager Jesus Olivares, who rakes in about $140,000 a year of taxpayer's money. Olivares continued

“They have very strong financial backing. The management plan that was presented by them was very professionally done and basically within line with the industry.”

Olivares sat on a staff scoring committee with Finance Director Rosario Cabello, Bridge Director Mario Maldonado and Purchasing Director Francisco Meza.

OK, Let's review that:

Olivares claims that Garros has 100 years experience? How's that? Does it consist of 10 employees with 10 years experience in the import/export industry?  How many years, if any, do they have in managing a cold-storage center at an international bridge?

Olivares claims that they have very strong financial backing.  Well, if the city is going to let them manage a multi-million dollar facility that was paid for with tax-payer money, then- yes, that's very good financial backing.

Olivares claims that the plan presented by them was very professionally done and basically within line with the industry.  This means nothing at all. It's only Olivare's opinion of  "professionally done". The same goes with "It was within line with the industry"; that means nothing either.

The scoring committee was made up of Olivares, and three other city department directors. What do they all have in common, the only one who can fire them is the city manager. What are the chances that any of them will actually recommend anything other than what the city manager wants?

The city council should table this item and send it back to the drawing board. This is a blatant mis-use of taxpayer money for the purposes of rewarding a privileged few.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Week Ago Today

City Sidewalks, busy sidewalks, filled with Holiday Cheer

Black Friday madness: Grandfather body-slammed by cops, man tasered, two shot, Wal-Mart in bomb scare and woman pepper-sprays rival shoppers on day of chaos

  • Police use taser on father at Wal-Mart in Alabama amid scramble for bargains
  • Woman uses pepper spray on other shoppers at Wal-Mart in Los Angeles
  • Bomb scare as police evacuate Wal-Mart in Arizona after finding

         And a Partridge in a pear tree
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066011/Black-Friday-sales-2011-Grandfather-body-slammed-woman-pepper-sprays-rival-shoppers.html#ixzz1eqCc5tJY

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

LaredoTejas

wishes you and yours

A safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

City council to approve "maquinitas" near HB Zachary School?

According to the internet, this is the proposed Maquinitas site: 3301 Chacota

The following item appears on the Laredo City Council's agenda for Monday, November 28th, 2011. It calls for what appears to be a maquinitas establishment to be approved at 3301 Chacota street. If this information is correct, then this gambling joint will be only a block away from HB Zachary elementary school, which lists an address of 3200 Chacota Street.

From the Laredo City Council agenda for 11/28/2011

Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending Ordinance No. 2010-O-004 authorizing the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit for an amusement redemption machine establishment on Lot 1, Block 2, Cuatro Vientos Norte Subdivision, Phase 1, located at 3301 Chacota Street, Units 21B and 22B, by changing ownership and extending the expiration date; providing for publication and effective date.

Staff supports the application and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of the amendments to the Conditional Use Permit. District I
 

Aww Newt, you shouldn't have : The pillar of morality speaks

Ah que Newt !  Los Payasos de Fox News: The gift that keeps on giving.  We thought with Sarah Palin in exile up in Wasilla, there would be some shortage on stupid stuff on the internet. Obviously, you must have forgotten we still have a Republican Presidential Primary underway.

Otra Vez, nos fallo el Heatwave

"I reckon' it'll be right down mild for ol' Thanksgivin' again"

It looks like another Thanksgiving day with the temperature in the mid-80s. At least that's how it appears according to the weatherman. The forecast for Laredo and vicinity is for a low Thursday morning of 62 degrees and a high of about 84.

Personally,  I think Heatwave Behrler could at least change his name around early November to "Cool Breeze Behrler" or something that might make things seem a little bit more seasonally. With our local weatherman branding the name of Heatwave year round, what are the chances of us getting any nice, cold weather during Thanksgiving or the rest of the Holiday Season?

Maybe it's time to update our "Loteria"

El Borrachin is fast becoming a minority at local beer-selling stores!

Last night (or was it Saturday night), as I was in line to pay at one of our local Speedy Stops, I noticed that I was just about the only one in line not buying any beer. I also noticed that most of those in line were females.

Not long ago, it was strictly a male's territory to be out at midnight or 1am, waiting in line as "last call" neared with 12 packs and cuartos in hand. Alas, it's a different world now. Perhaps it's time to update our still-traditional Loteria.

Henry Cuellar's backs GOP, but Balanced Budget bill still fails in US House



WOW!, Now I really feel like a True Tea Partier !

US Representative Henry Cuellar, the blue dog democrat who has lately been voting with the GOP, backed another Tea Party-influenced, balanced budget bill which didn't even make it out of the Republican-controlled house.

Cuellar again threw his support behind Boehner's party as he has done so many times lately. During the Summer, Cuellar voted time and again, against clean air and water and for de-regulation of the abusive oil & gas industry. Many of those bills passed the house but have gone nowhere in the Senate.  This balanced budget bill was just Cuellar's last attempt to appeal the Tea Party and in essence, betray the 99 percent.

From The Associated Press 

The House rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have forced Congress to balance its budget every year as a way to reverse years of deficit spending. A majority of House members supported the balanced budget measure, but supporters fell short of achieving the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution

A Congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment, between Oct. 1-Dec. 31, was required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Republicans who backed the amendment said it was the only way to get Congress to put its fiscal house in order. Democratic critics said a balanced budget requirement would result in drastic cuts in Medicare and other social programs when economic downturns put the budget out of balance.

It was the first House vote on a balanced budget amendment since 1995, when the House approved it but the bill fell one vote short in the Senate.

The first House vote on a balanced budget amendment in 16 years came as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction appears to be sputtering in its attempt to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.

It's only the constitution !

The Occupy Laredo movement is urging visitors to its Facebook page to contact their city council representatives and tell them to vote in favor of OL's permit request to peacefully occupy several of Laredo's parks in rotation.  The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 28th. Will the city "leaders" grant the occupiers their first amendment rights?

Or can we expect the beloved city leaders to resort to their usual obstruction of constitutional rights of its citizens?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Washington Post documents Valley family : Deported & Divided

Princess Martinez was born and raised in south Texas. She and her six daughters are U.S. citizens, but her husband is not. Last year, he was deported after a DUI arrest, and the whole family moved just south of the border to Mexico. Then, the family faced an increasingly common dilemma: where to educate U.S. citizen children after a non-citizen parent is deported. (Video by Alexandra Garcia, Reporting by Alexandra Garcia and Kevin Sieff)


It's the thought that matters, but why such a paltry sum?

Webb County's Shenanigans continue unimpeded

With Webb County wasting nearly one Million dollars of taxpayer money by mis-managing the Community Action Agency and the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program, it appears that the commissioners are now cutting elsewhere to offset their costly shenanigans.

Case in point: from today's County Commissioner's meeting agenda, notice the relatively paltry sum that is being donated by one particular commissioner. With such worthwhile causes obviously needing funding from any source they can secure it, it's surprising that Webb County could only muster such a modest amount.

From Monday's Agenda

Honorable Frank Sciaraffa, Webb County Commissioner Pct. 1

 12. Discussion and possible action to donate $500.00 to the Habitat for Humanity Organization to support their efforts in providing affordable houses for the working poor of Laredo, Webb County, Texas. [Account #605-0201-8801] 

 13.  Discussion and possible action to donate $500.00 to the Webb County Children’s Advocacy Center, a 501 (c ) (3) non- profit organization that provides individual, family and group counseling sessions to child victims and their non-offending family members who have suffered as a result of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and domestic violence. [Account #605-0201-8801]

Aww commissioners, you shouldn't have.
 

Henry Cuellar delivers Taco Palenque tortillas to Kabul

Photo from Houston Chron.com
Congressman Cuellar visits Southern Afghanistan


From MySA.com

WASHINGTON — Texas lawmakers assessing security concerns in Iraq and Afghanistan took time to deliver fresh tortillas to grateful troops over the Veterans Day weekend.

Five congressmen on the House Homeland Security Committee, on a trip organized by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, met with American troops serving in the war zones, as well as those recuperating from wounds at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, R D-Laredo, said he brought tortillas from popular South Texas fast-food restaurant, Taco Planque, as well as letters from Laredo middle schools to the service men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The tortillas were received warmly by Felix Rodriguez, who's serving at the International Joint Command in Kabul.

“I thought that I was going to catch you off guard by asking if you brought us some menudo, but the surprise was to receive a package of tortillas,” Rodriguez posted on Cuellar's Facebook page.

Rodriguez thanked the lawmakers for “your support to the military.”

Earthquakes becoming more common in fracking-frenzied South Texas


Record setting earthquake about 50 miles SE of San Antonio

From Austin's KUTnews.org

A University of Texas seismologist says hyraulic fracturing itself does not cause earthquakes. But he says earthquakes have been associated with the disposal of fracking fluids.


 “They [drilling companies] pump the water back into the ground into a deep aquifer to get rid of it,” earthquake researcher Cliff Frohlich at UT's institute for Geophysics told KUT News.

“The quakes have been associated with the pumping of water back into the ground, not the producing of the gas,” he said, pointing to seismic activity in North Texas and in Arkansas.

In September, Arkansas banned the use of deep wells to store waste water. StateImpact Pennsylvania points to a study by Southern Methodist University and UT that linked small earthquakes in the North Texas Barnett Shale with the practice, and says the Army Corps of Engineers has expressed concern about drilling for natural gas near dams.

But Frohlich says it’s too soon to say if waste water disposal activities were related to today’s 4.6 magnitude quake in South Texas.  “That’s a question,” he said.

The area southeast of San Antonio has felt earthquakes before. There was a 4.3 magnitude earthquake in 1993 near the same location, and there have been smaller quakes recorded back to the 1970s, Frohlich said.

City, County continue to cower for Eagle Ford Shale jobs


Eagle Ford Shale
Last week, Webb county commissioner Jaime Canales came out once again praising the "jobs, jobs, jobs" impact that the Eagle Ford Shale activity is having on Laredo.  Who doesn't want jobs right?  Now the City of Laredo has the above graphic plastered all over its website: announcing a January, 2012 Job and Vendor fair dedicated solely to the Eagle Ford Shale.

ANGA's local representative Jose Ceballos has demonstrated just how easy it is to buy political favors around town. He definitely has Canales and Mayor Salinas in his corner while the area ranchers and residents are left to fend for themselves. For the politicos, it's an outrage even to ask questions about how fracking might be negatively impacting the health of our citizens as it simultaneously depletes our precious water resources.

Eagle Ford Shale can do no wrong in the eyes and pockets of our beloved elected officials.

Backlash: Author of racist AZ SB1070 kicked out in recall election

Pearce Recall

From The Huffington Post

State Sen. Russell Pearce, the controversial architect of Arizona's immigration law, was voted out of office last Tuesday evening in a special recall election. He was defeated by Jerry Lewis, a fellow Republican who does not support the immigration crackdown and has vowed to reject gifts from special interest groups and work to ban gifts for legislators.

Lewis won with roughly 54 percent of the vote, state officials announced on Tuesday evening. Pearce is the top Republican in the state senate, and a 10-year state legislator. He pioneered S.B. 1070, an immigration law passed in Arizona in 2010 that quickly prompted a lawsuit from the federal government. The law, which would have allowed police to ask for immigration papers at stops if they had "reasonable suspicion" someone was undocumented, was predominantly blocked before it went into effect.

His critics rallied behind Lewis as the most viable alternative to Pearce, forming an unexpected coalition between Republican critics of Pearce and immigration reform supporters. Petra Falcon of Promise Arizona in Action, an immigrant organizing group, said Pearce's loss reflected the public's distaste for Pearce's "extremist positions."

"The political jerseys came off," Falcon said in a statement. "We are willing to work across party lines. We appreciate candidates of all parties who care about the future of our great state: those who respect and bring together diverse communities, focus on education, job creation and building a better Arizona. We look forward to a productive dialogue with Senator Lewis."

Promise Arizona organized about 300 volunteers for a door-knocking campaign, visiting 7,000 residents in the area since September, according to the organization. Promise Arizona contacted about 2,000 Latino voters on Tuesday to encourage them to vote.

Friday, November 11, 2011

OK, this is getting ridiculous, Encinal soon to eat our "green" lunch??

Well, it looks like both our Seedy council and our county commissioner's court have fallen asleep at the wheel again. Last night, the coverage you can count on team at Pro8News reported that a company named CGI is looking to set up shop in Ecincal. They are proposing a recycling center to process old tires (attention: KeyRose), oil field sludge and even municipal waste into "green" diesel fuel. 

Yes, it seems like even the tiny hamlet of Encinal has jumped on the eat Laredo's lunch bandwagon. Tsk, Tsk. The word is that the plant could be up and running as soon as May, 2012.

http://www.pro8news.com/news/local/Officials-Say-Recycling-Plant-Could-Open-Soon-in-Encinal-133653843.html

Friday, November 4, 2011

Laredo Tejas mulls suspending blog




Man, I don't get to post much lately. I, as have KeyRose, BTB and other bloggers,  am considering suspending this humble blog. At one time, believe it or not, LaredoTejas was coined "Laredo's Most Prolific Blog" by fellow Gateway city blogger Bordertown Blues.   Nowadays, the posts are pretty rare. I haven't really tried to analyze it too much, it's just been that way recently.

With that being said, I would, at least, like to relate some Classic Raul Salinas. Last night, at TAMIU, I attended the premier US screening of Milagro. Naturally, the Mayor was given a chance to speak. He stuck to the correct theme for the evening (the screening) for a minute or two and then: Classic Raulito.

 He started raising his voice and yelling about how "no matter how many bars you have on your shoulders, you're not going to insult the greatest congressman Laredo, Texas USA has ever had". Although I used quotes, I'm am paraphrasing but that was the essence of his rant. Apparently, he was talking about Henry Cuellar and his recent scuffle with a couple of high-ranking Generals. Salinas didn't stop to consider that probably very few people were even aware of this.

He continued off-topic for another few minutes before finally returning to the subject at hand.  Once again, our beloved mayor had managed to hijack another local event.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

San Antonio Mayor knows education impacts city's future economic success



What is it about Laredo that its so-called leaders do next-to-nothing to promote education? Do they not see the direct link between a well-educated populace and a thriving, successful city? Sadly, not only do they not see this link, but it almost seems as if they are threatened by the mere notion of a well-informed, more educated citizenry. Well, its a good thing for the Alamo City that Mayor Julian Castro does not share the same kind of insecurity as our own mayor and seedy council.

From MySA.com

San Antonio leaders want volunteers to brush up on Dr. Seuss, mentor a middle school child and help a high school student score some financial aid.

On Monday, Mayor Juli├ín Castro and other officials announced plans to propel an army of 1,500 volunteers into area schools this year by launching a three-pronged initiative called SERVE SA.

To reach educational goals outlined during the city's SA2020 vision-setting process, SERVE SA would expand the SA Reads campaign for elementary children and the Inspire U mentoring program for middle and high school students.

The initiative will also promote Student Aid Saturdays to help college-bound students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“There is one goal that stands above the rest in San Antonio, one thing we need to accomplish in order to become the city of our dreams,” Castro said to the crowd gathered at Cafe College for the program's launch. “That's to ensure that more of our young people go on to graduate from high school, graduate from college and are ready to take on the jobs of the 21st century.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Class Fed-Ex opens new distribution center in Edinburg


Fed-Ex ramps up new distribution center in Edinburg, TX

From The McAllen Monitor
 
EDINBURG — A large FedEx Ground distribution center that recently opened in the city’s North Industrial Park will provide the shipping company quick access to U.S. 281, shaving hours off delivery times and saving fuel costs for tractor-trailers.

“With the larger building, as we take on new customers, we’ll be able to grow and add people as the customer volume picks up,” said Roy Pittman, the managing director for FedEx Ground’s Gulf Coast region. “All of that played a big factor into (locating in Edinburg) but easy access in and out for our (trucks) is really what drives where we put our stations.”

FedEx Ground moved its Valley distribution center to the Edinburg site in mid-September from the warehouse at 1904 Joe Stephens Ave. in Weslaco. The company employs about 120 people locally in administration, sales and its distribution center, but it expects to add about 50 to 60 new employees with the Edinburg expansion.

FedEx Ground also plans to recruit University of Texas-Pan American students who can take advantage to the company’s tuition assistance program (Aw come on! now, you're just rubbing it in!).

Hark! methinks I hear more munching of lunches: First IH-69 signs to go up




From The Brownsville Herald
by Steve Clark
 
BROWNSVILLE,TX — The quest to create an interstate between the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the rest of Texas reached another milestone on Thursday, when the Texas Transportation Committee gave the Texas Department of Transportation permission to add “Interstate 69” to the state highway system.

As a result, the TxDOT will add the “I-69” designation to a 6.2-mile stretch of U.S. 77 between the I-37 terminus at Corpus Christi and Texas Highway 44 at Robstown in Nueces County, a portion of roadway that already meets interstate standards. Eventually, once the remaining pieces of U.S. 77 are brought up to interstate quality, I-69 designation will extend all the way to Brownsville. A Dec. 5 ceremony in Robstown will coincide with the posting of the first I-69 shields on U.S. 77. The Federal Highway Administration gave TxDOT permission for all of this in August.

Noting that interstate access is “an important driver of economic development activity,” TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson said the I-69 effort is particularly important to South Texas communities and businesses. Local business, government and transportation groups have been making the same case for years. U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold described the development of I-69 as “crucial to the growth and economic development of South Texas.”

Read the entire article at : http://www.themonitor.com/articles/signs-56184-brownsville-december.html

LLanta sometimes spells Lana


Ahh, Don't you just love the smell of Llantas in the morning?

Here's an interesting article from Mother Earth News about one of Laredo Colossal Blogger BorderTown Blues' favorite subjects; discarded, used, old tires or llantas. In the following article, a KeyRose-like figure has turned his tire-picking-up hobby into a somewhat profitable side job.

From Mother Earth News

You really can earn over $100 a day recycling old tires in almost any populated section of North America," says Washington State's Bob Stevenson. "I've been doing it for years in a number of different cities as far east as Lansing, Michigan and as far north as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And, contrary to what you probably believe, you don't need a truck to get into this business, the work is not heavy, and there are plenty of old tires lying around just waiting for you to pick them up!" (Are you listening KeyRose- it's your chance to cash in!)

I've gotten so many good, practical ideas from MOTHER that I now feel it only fair to tell other readers about my own part-time moneymaker. I pick up old tires for free . . . and then sell almost all that I collect for anywhere from $1.00 to $40 each! What's more, I've been doing this since I was in high school, I've worked this little side business in a number of cities around the U.S. and Canada as I've gone to college and been transferred by the Air Force, and I believe that nearly anyone can do as well as or better than I've done with this grassroots enterprise. It's an especially good venture for a back-to-the-land husband and wife team.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/1977-07-01/How-to-Earn-100-A-Day-Recycling-Old-Tires.aspx#ixzz1cW8dduyB

It's beginning to look a lot like.....late summer, early fall

It's hard to tell whether the brush is simply dry or turning wintry

Ol' Heatwave is predicting another cold cool fresh front for late Wednesday or early Thursday. It should cool things down just a tad but the bad news is that it'll warm up into the low 90s by as soon as Sunday. So if you want to wear your alternate sweater or chaqueta, you'll have a really short window to pull that off.

The best weather for a lumbrita or carnita should be Thursday  when the temperature is expected to reach about 78 degrees for a high. However, it's more than likely the heaviest activity will be, once again, on Cowboy Sunday.

The Vaqueros will face the almost as lowly Seattle Seahawks with their ominous 2-5 record this Sunday at High-Noon at Jerry's world.

Bank of America backs down on debit card fee



From The Associated Press
By Candice Choi

Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases after outraged customers threatened an exodus.

The about-face comes as customers across the country petitioned the bank and mobilized to close their accounts in favor of credit unions and community banks. The outcry prompted other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., to cancel trial tests of their own debit card fees.

Bank of America, the nation's second largest bank, said it reversed course after listening to customers. Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether there was a spike in account closures following the September announcement that it would start charging the fee early next year.

Higher fees have become a fact of life for bank customers in recent years. But this one touched a nerve because it hit so close to home; many Americans have come to rely on debit cards to manage essential expenses such as groceries and gas.

At the same time, there's still lingering resentment over the role that banks played in the 2008 financial meltdown and the ongoing home foreclosure crisis. That anger has come to surface in recent weeks with the Occupy Wall Street movement.