Thursday, December 29, 2011

Green Party to hold 1st Laredo Meeting

The first ever meeting of the Green Party of Laredo or El Partido Verde is scheduled to be held this evening (Thursday, Dec.29th) at 6:00pm at Johnny Carino's.  Anyone who is interested is invited to attend. The Discussion will be about setting up county green party, upcoming elections, and whatever else folks want to discuss concerning progressive politics.

For more information, please visit the Texas Green Party website at

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Would elected officials still give gifts if they had to do it anonymously?

CM Narvaez, Rangel & Mayor Salinas in a giving mood

As it happens every Holiday Season, scores of elected officials were seen (and heard) giving away gifts throughout the Gateway City. While, on its face, it appears to be a noble and generous gesture, what is the real reason behind it?  For one thing, there is definitely the belief by some in our community that this entire Santa Clausing verges on illegality. After all, it could be construed as politicians "buying votes" with taxpayer money.  In essence, campaigning on our dime.

As the title of this post suggest, the whole idea behind all the giving seems to be, not the helping of others, but politicians helping themselves. More often than not, there's the councilperson or mayor or whatever politician is involved hamming it up for the cameras.

Why can they not give gifts to those kids in need in a completely anonymous fashion? I'm sure that logistically, it can be done but then no particular politician could claim credit. The receving kids wouldn't know the difference. They certainly would still be just as happy with their toys. So, when it comes down to it, it seems that it's the politicians who are the real winners in this scheme.

If it's illegal for elected officials to receive gifts because it might influence the way they vote, then it should also be illegal for them to give gifts. Why? For the same reason: because it just may influence how the parents of the kids involved vote? I mean come on, how can you not vote for someone who went out of their way to give your kid(s) some gifts at Christmas time?  So what if it was really the hard-working taxpayers who were actually paying for it all?

Plastic bags as far as the eyes can see

What ever happened to the "no plastic bag" ordinance. I remember reading up on it once a while back but to be honest I don't remember what derailed it.  I think it was tabled and forgotten but I may be wrong. Anyway, as you can see for yourself, the plastic bag industry continues to prosper as Laredo Shoppers rush home with their treasures.

If you look closely, you can almost see the various gases being emmitted. Well, I said "almost".

Let's see: Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastics, plastic and.....plastic!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's better to give than to receive- especially in front of the cameras

The give-away continues around the gateway city. This past week, numerous elected officials have been featured in the news giving away all sorts of gifts and treats to kids, parents and older Laredoans. It's amazing how the cameras always seem to "just happen to be there". 

The generosity, for the most part, seems to be funded by Laredo taxpayers but this is never mentioned. The intention is for those in receipt of these give-aways to think that it comes directly from their benefactors. The only mention I heard Pro8News make of anything to the contrary was that the Sheriff's wife pitched in to participate in the gift-giving.  If that's the case, hats off to her.

Speedy Delivery

This puts the X in Fed-Ex. This guy knows that his every move is being monitored by Fed-Ex and so does his best to keep his deliveries on schedule. He probably also knows that today's method of packaging electronics in between thick, stiff foam plates makes them a whole lot less fragile. How much less fragile? Well let's find out by simply throwing this Samsung monitor over this 6-foot fence.


Friday, December 16, 2011

If anyone wishes to give a listen: Fri. 12/16/2011 3PM

Translation: Howdy!, Occupy Texas Y'all, Dagnabbit!
We are having a statewide TEXAS conference call tomorrow, Friday, at 3PM Central time. Use the following numbers: Listeners dial 712-432-9945 no code required.
Speakers dial 712-432-9946 code is needed to speak request code at: .

How will this one fare?

A couple of weeks ago, an attempt to establish a day care center in the heights area failed to garner the city council's approval. This coming Monday, there's another public hearing on a proposed zoning change in District I.  This particular change would be from be from R2 (Multi-Family Residential) to B1 (limited Commericial). Although a daycare center is not specifically mentioned, a google search turned up the following  picture of the address applying for the zone change : it does somewhat have the appearance of a small daycare center. It'll be interesting to see how the council votes this time around.

Incidentally, the below-listed agenda item indicates that staff does Not support the application.

From the City of Laredo city council agenda for Monday, December 19th

Public hearing and introductory ordinance
Staff does not support the application and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of the Conditional Use Permit. District I
amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by rezoning the south 1/3 of Lot 8 and the south 1/3 of the west 1/3 of Lot 7, Block 1606, Eastern Division, located at 2919 South Louisiana Avenue, from R-2 (Multi-Family Residential District) to B-1 (Limited Commercial District); providing for publication and effective date.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Come dices??

You'd be smiling to if you had such good fringe benefits

Who even knew that the Mayor and Seedy council were getting reimbursed $500 a month for food allowance? Wow, what have they been eating? Also, is that in addition to the filet mignon that they have every first and third Monday at the seedy council meetings?

Well, it seems that they will now be eliminating (wait there's more) this $500 monthly allowance and replacing it with 2 (2 x $250) other allowances. They will now be able to get reimbursed an additional $250 for gas, even if gas has been going down AND an additional $250 for home office allowance!  For a grand total of 750 tax payer bucks according to the agenda item below.

OK, this sounds like a job for the IRS. Here's how it appears in the, hot off the press, official agenda for this coming Monday, December 19th.

Amending Ordinance 2007-O-097 defining necessary expenses which may be reimbursed to the Mayor and City Council pursuant to Section 2.02 of the City Charter by eliminating the food allowance line item ($500.00/mo.) for each councilman, and reallocating those funds for each councilman as follows: adding $250.00/mo. for mileage reimbursement; $250.00 increase for home office reimbursement ($750.00 total upon qualification); and, increasing cell phone reimbursement by $25.00/mo.

Zig Zag!

Toby Cisneros, who still holds Laredo's single-game rushing record with 391 yards, was at it again at the New and Improved Shirley Field.  Cisneros used to play for the Martin Tigers at the old Shirley Field a few years back.

In this clip from Pro8news, you can see that even after adding a few pounds, he's still got quite a few moves going for him, leaving at least 4 opposing players in the dust on his way to a touchdown.

UISD wants to frack on Permanent School Land

From The Laredo Morning Times

Amid the Eagle Ford Shale exploration boom and the state budget crisis, UISD wants to tap into any potential oil and gas revenue that could be generated from drilling in Webb County’s permanent school land.

At a meeting Wednesday, a law firm delivered a report to district trustees that includes an analysis of how the county can enhance oil and gas production on the 10,000 acres of land to benefit United, Laredo and Webb Consolidated independent school districts.

The details of the report are unclear, as it was delivered in closed session because of attorney-client consultation.

Before the meeting, UISD attorney Juan Cruz said the district contacted Laredo law firm Person, Whitworth, Borchers and Morales to provide the report to the school board.

The firm specializes in oil and gas and natural resources.

After reconvening in open session late Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to authorize UISD Superintendent Roberto “Bobby” Santos and legal counsel to share the report with the county “to secure increased financial benefits from the school lands fund.”

Through current revenues generated from the land, Webb County commissioners approved Monday the distribution of $878,000 to the three local public school districts.

How much they get depends on their average daily attendance.

The payroll taxcut extension in layman's terms

Here's a White House video on what the payroll tax cuts may look like to the average Jose. Republicans continue to oppose these tax cuts for the middle/lower class while remaining absolutely,almost religiously devoted to continuing current tax cuts for the richest Americans.

If the payroll taxcuts are allowed to expire in about 16 days, that means that that an average Laredo family which makes a total of $50,000 in annual income will have $1,000 dollars less to spend in 2012 than they did in 2011.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What will Laredoans do if NTSB gets its way?

For the thousands of Laredoans who appear to wait until they are actually in their cars to talk or text on their smart phones, the National Transportation Surface Board might be focusing on you soon.  There is news that the NTSB is out to eventually ban all cell/smart phone activities while driving.

Here's how it appeared on CNN

Nambre! alcavo que nomas es El West Side

Que se esperen! It's only the West Side.

This morning, I happen to be driving in the downtown area and was on my way towards the St. Peter's Historical District when I noticed a train, on it's way to the railroad bridge, was blocking Santa Maria.  As most people would, I proceeded East on Scott street until I reached San Bernardo, which was clear. Therefore, I was able to continue on to where I was going.

On my way back, probably about 30 minutes later, Lo and behold, Santa Maria was still being blocked!  There was no signs of any LPD officers nor of any switchmen around to explain the long delay. The citizens were left to fend for themselves. Those driving had to go way out of their way to get around the blocked crossing but what about the pedestrians?  Yes, there were some of them and from I could tell, some had to resort to walking about 6 blocks, 12 actually to get back to the Santa Maria area.  Also, there were those who, for whatever reason, chose to simply wait.......and wait....and wait.

It's only the West Side so I'm sure that the Mayor and the notorious Seedy Council could care less. In the past,it was mostly the far West railroad crossings around Jefferson, Sanchez and Scott that were blocked all the time. Sometimes, the denizens of that part of town would get fed up and simply "pull the pin" on the train, activating it's emergency airbrakes. Entonces, todos la llevaban.

Now, it appears that the "far West Side" has gradually grown to include Santa Maria. As such, this rather busy West Side street has fallen victim to the indifference of the railroads and their cohorts over at city hall.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Not a bad couple of weeks:World Trade Bridge Contract & Unitrade name to be slapped on taxpayer-funded baseball field

Congratulations to the broker guy (whose name escapes me right now) who, in the last couple of weeks, managed to land a lucrative contract (from the Laredo seedy council) to manage the World Trade's new refrigerated inspection center & then managed to get his brokerage firm's name, Unitrade, on the new $18 Million baseball field for the Laredo Lemurs.

Nice going, again, congratulations. It's amazing what you can do when you have the elected representatives of Laredo's taxpayers pulling for you.

EPA proves fracking DOES contaminate water supply: SFC was right again

Report shows SFC was right, local businessman Jacobs-WRONG!

At the Safe Fracking Coalition's first town hall event last June, Laredo businessman Gary Jacobs scolded the SFC and it's invited panelists for supposedly spreading rumors about fracking's dangers. Jacobs insisted that fracking was absolutely safe and scoffed at the idea that the toxic chemicals used in the process could seep upward and contaminate South Texan's precious water supply. 

 Well, it certainly appears that Jacobs was 100 per cent wrong, according to an EPA report made public this week which found that fracking chemicals definitely have contaminated water supplies.

From Business
In a first, federal environment officials today scientifically linked underground water pollution with hydraulic fracturing, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming were likely caused by the gas drilling process.

The agency's findings could be a turning point in the heated national debate about whether contamination from fracking is happening, and are likely to shape how the country regulates and develops natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale and across the Eastern Appalachian states.

Some of the findings in the report also directly contradict longstanding arguments by the drilling industry for why the fracking process is safe: that hydrologic pressure would naturally force fluids down, not up; that deep geologic layers provide a watertight barrier preventing the movement of chemicals towards the surface; and that the problems with the cement and steel barriers around gas wells aren't connected to fracking.
Environmental advocates greeted today's report with a sense of vindication and seized the opportunity to argue for stronger federal regulation of fracking.

No one can accurately say that there is no risk where fracking is concerned, wrote Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, on her blog. This draft report makes obvious that there are many factors at play, any one of which can go wrong. Much stronger rules are needed to ensure that well construction standards are stronger and reduce threats to drinking water.

Friday, December 9, 2011

As Keyrose's banner urges

There's more sad news in regards to the recent tragedy locally. Dios los tenga en paz. 

There's so many people in need in so many different ways.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese would have taken away some of the spotlight

Photo appears courtesy of Colossal blog BorderTown Blues

As Mayor Raul Salinas nears the end of his Peter Piper's Pizza occupation, new theories are surfacing about why they Mayor did not choose Mall Del Norte's Chuck E. Cheese to stage his antics fundraising event. The latter location would have made perfect sense since Mall Del Norte is experiencing high traffic volumes during this Holiday season.

Well, some calls to the LaredoTejas news desk have hinted at a very plausible reason. It might just be that the Mayor chose to pass up on the high visibility that the Mall would have provided for the simple reason that it would've meant him sharing the spotlight with Mr. Cheese himself.

As overpriced as Chuck E.'s pizza is, the 6ft mouse still manages to draw a lot of attention from younger Laredoans. This fact might have very well translated into kids influencing their parents by insisting that they go to "see that giant rat on the roof", and I'm not referring to the Mayor this time.

All in all, it looks like Mayor Salinas has once again, outsmarted everyone and managed to ham it up for the cameras with no popular sidekick to steal his thunder.  The good thing: it's all for a good cause. 

"Buck Nation" should maybe be renamed "Buck Hamlet" : attendance woes continue

Sell-outs are definitely a thingof the past at "Buck Nation"

During the first couple of years of the Laredo's Bucks, their attendance numbers were pretty impressive. I recall reading about records being set rather frequently.  Back then, it was not unusual to have 8,000 people pack the Laredo Entertainment Center (LEA). Unfortunately, now it's pretty common for attendance at the LEA to hover closer to 2,000 fans.

Interestingly enough, the attendance figures are no longer available on the Bucks web page as they were during the teams' first years in town. Now, one has to go the League website (CHL) in order to get that information.

Of the 14 teams that make up the current CHL lineup, the Laredo Bucks rank 11th in attendance. The teams averaging the bigger crowds nowadays include:  Fort Wayne, 7,900 ; Wichita-5,700 and Missouri which averages around 5,500 fans per game.  Meanwhile, "Bucks Nation Hamlet has been averaging about 2,200 fans over 11 games.  The team's non-winning ways may be contributing to the low numbers. With attendance only at 25% capacity, how can the team continue its run at the Laredo Energy Arena?

Now, where have I heard that before? Ah yes, the Safe Fracking Coalition warned us

From Carrizo Springs, Texas
From The Wall Street Journal's article :Oil's Growing Thirst For Water

Under Texas law, an oil company that has the mineral lease on a property has the right to tap aquifers without the consent of landowners.

Dan Waldrop owns 1,200 acres in LaSalle County, about halfway between San Antonio and Laredo, but he doesn't own the mineral rights. The energy company that does has drawn nearly 30 million gallons of water so far from a well it drilled on his property.

He says he is considering trying to make the company pay for it. "In the deed, it says they have the use of the water, and it doesn't say they have free use," he says.

In addition to tapping underground aquifers, oil companies are interested in water from Texas rivers. They have acquired—or are currently seeking to acquire—from local irrigation authorities the rights to nearly 40,000 acre-feet of water a year. That is enough to supply nearly a quarter-million people for a year.

One source has been the Rio Grande. Cities along the river, which are among the fastest growing in the state, draw from it to supply water to residents.

"This is a major concern for us," says Juan Hinojosa, a Democratic state senator from McAllen who represents the area. "The oil companies have a lot more money than we do to buy water rights."

The intense drought over the summer exacerbated the water concerns of cities. More than 964 public water systems, covering 14.7 million Texans, have imposed voluntary or mandatory restrictions, according to the state.

This summer, the city of Grand Prairie, near Fort Worth, stopped selling water to oil companies as part of its drought-contingency measures, which also included lawn-watering restrictions.
Editor's Note: The City of Laredo, a couple of months ago, ended stage 3 water restriction. The prevailing notion is that they did this because it was the only way to justify their selling water to the fracking industry.  So while Fort Worth ends its water sales to the oil and gas companies, Laredo is barely starting theirs. No common sense needed when you're willing to sell-off your town and its resources to the highest bidder.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Laredo's revenue bond rating includes summary view of Gateway City

Obviously, your water bills are going to get bigger & bigger

From The Wall Street Journal

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Fitch Ratings assigns an 'AA-' to the following Laredo, Texas (the city) revenue bonds: --$31.7 million waterworks and sewer system (the system) revenue bonds, series 2011

"Wealth levels among lowest in the U.S."

Laredo is located in Webb County, along the U.S.-Mexico border. The city has an estimated population of 236,000. Population growth has averaged a moderate 2.8% over the last five years. Principal economic activities include tourism, oil, manufacturing, international trade, and government. Tourism remains an important sector of the city's economic base, while government employment continues to grow, accounting for a larger portion of the economy. The city's unemployment rate was estimated at 8% in August 2011, below county (8.5%), state (8.4%), and national (9.1%) levels for the month. As is the case in other Texas border communities, wealth levels are among the lowest in the U.S. However, the area's relatively low cost of living somewhat mitigates this as a credit concern.

Based on what some of our city officials make, you would think Laredo's a lot more wealthier than this rating company indicates. Just between the city manager and his (3) assistants, Laredo taxpayers ditch out nearly $700,000 for their combined salaries. As they say, believe it or not!

Laredo getting recycled, Shreveport-Bossier Captains in the form of "New" Laredo Lemurs

S U C K E R S !! is reporting that our beloved Laredo Lemurs are actually Shreveport's ex-team. The Shreveport-Bossier Captains baseball team has been sold and will now be moving to their palatial $18Million dollar new baseball park right here in our beloved Gateway City.

 For this, we have to thank the wreckless sleight-of-hand of the Laredo seedy council and assorted culprits. Think of it: we've got an $18 Million dollar, brand spanking new baseball field to offer and the best we can get is a used, sold-off, recycled team?  Thanks a lot to all those in Laredo politics that made this fleecing of our taxpayers possible.

From KTBS.Com

The Shreveport-Bossier Captains minor league baseball team has been sold and is moving to Laredo, Texas, next season.

The new team is a member of the American Association and will be called the Laredo Lemurs.

"We thank everyone involved with our efforts in Shreveport-Bossier for the last nine years, starting with the fans, along with sponsors, city officials, and our staff," team president Scott Berry said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The city of Laredo is building an $18 million, 6,000-seat ballpark. The Captains played at Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport.

Also, here's an interesting post in regards to the above KTBS story. This individual seems to have a rather low opinion of the Gateway City as well as of those who make these multi-million dollar deals and in the process, rip off unsuspecting taxpayers from mid-sized towns all across the country.


If anyone thinks Shreveport is a crappy place, then they've never been to Laredo, TX. All the readers here shouldn't take this personally, these types of teams aren't really successful anywhere. They just move them around, milk the money they can out of the market, and then move them somewhere else once the "new" wears off.

The only one doing really well of this deal is whoever the politically-connected contractor is in Laredo that talked them into building an $18 million ballpark.

Yesterday, 2:42:29 PM

LaredoTejas, likewise, has predicted that the Captains Lemurs will come into Laredo, pander to the unsuspecting kids and their parents with their connection to the animated motion picture Madagascar 3, which by then will be nearing release, rake in the big bucks and skip town shortly aftewards.

Oh wait, we should be grateful, I've heard that they might even let Laredo kids run the bases after the games. Now thats worth $18 Million dollars right there!